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International Update Volume 44, Issue 8

ECONOMISTS CRITICIZE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT’S CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY

Australia

Last week, three senior Australian economists criticized the Abbott government's policies on climate change. Economist Ross Garnaut and former Treasury secretary Ken Henry attacked the government’s “direct action” policy, whereby companies and farmers would be paid to reduce emissions, arguing that it would cost close to $4 or $5 billion—rather than the $1.5 billion the government predicted. Former Reserve Bank governor and current chairman of the Climate Change Authority Bernie Fraser followed suit on Wednesday with an address to the National Press Club.

FIRES IN SUMATRA SURPASS JUNE 2013 LEVELS

Indonesia

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he may take over management of the escalating fires on the island of Sumatra if local officials in Riau province do not increase their efforts to stop the burning. According to the World Resources Institute, Sumatra had 3,101 fire “hot spots” from February 20-March 11—a number that far exceeds the fire alerts from June 13-30, 2013, the peak of the previous haze crisis.

UK REPORT CALLS FOR “FRACK-FREE” ZONES

United Kingdom

A report commissioned by groups including the National Trust and the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust called for the UK to designate “frack-free zones” in an effort to protect the country’s wildlife and avoid water pollution. According to the study, over 500 sites notable for their importance to wildlife are located in areas under license to fracking companies, and 2,500 more could be at risk.