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International Update Volume 45, Issue 23

SCOTLAND TO ISSUE BAN ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS

United Kingdom

The Scottish government announced that it plans to ban the commercial growing of genetically modified crops. Richard Lochhead, environment secretary of Scotland, stated that the potential risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to the environment and wildlife outweighed the technological benefits. A government spokesperson stated that the ban would not apply to laboratory research on GMOs. The European Union passed an amendment this year that allows member states and devolved administrations to restrict or ban GMOs within their territory.

RUSSIA STAKES NEW CLAIM TO ARCTIC TERRITORY

Russia

Russia formally submitted to the United Nations a claim to a vast area of the Arctic Ocean, which includes the North Pole. The 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea convention states that a nation may claim an exclusive economic zone over the continental shelf abutting its shores. Russian president Vladimir Putin claims scientific evidence shows that the shelf extends 150 miles further out from Russian shores than previous estimates have shown. This claim would expand Russia's total territory on land and sea by about 463,000 square miles.

AUSTRALIA TO CUT CARBON EMISSIONS BY 26 PERCENT BY 2030

Australia

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced a goal of cutting Australia's emissions by at least 26 percent by 2030. The prime minister stated that the pledge was an environmentally responsible move that would not sacrifice economic growth. Critics state that Australia's goal lags behind those made by the United States, European Union, Canada, Germany, and Britain, if a 2005 benchmark is applied.