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International Update Volume 45, Issue 29

UNITED KINGDOM IMPOSES A FIVE PENCE CHARGE FOR PLASTIC BAGS

United Kingdom

Monday October 5, 2015, marked the start of a mandated, five-pence (US $0.08) charge for plastic bags in England. Customers are required to pay for plastic bags for groceries, clothing, and other types of retail. The fee is intended to reduce waste and pollution. The government estimates that, prior to this charge, approximately 7.6 billion plastic bags are handed out over the course of a year—nearly 140 bags per person. There are exemptions to the fee, however. Stores with fewer than 250 full-time employees are not required to enforce the charge.

SCOTLAND PLACES MORATORIUM ON UNDERGROUND COAL GASIFICATION

Scotland

Scotland announced on October 8, 2015, that it is extending the ban on shale gas imposed in January to include a moratorium on underground coal gasification (UCG). UCG is a process where gas is extracted through the injection of oxidants into underground coal deposits, followed by heating them to temperatures that permit the gases to escape. Scotland is planning to delve into an in-depth investigation of both shale gas fracking and UCG. After the investigations, slotted to be completed in 2017, the Scottish government will determine whether or not to retain bans on shale gas and UCG.

PAKISTANI HIGH COURT CREATES 21-PERSON CLIMATE COUNCIL

Pakistan

The High Court of Justice in the Pakistani city of Lahore mandated the creation of a climate council that will require the Pakistani government to meet its environmental commitments. The case that prompted the rule was brought by a farmer named Asghar Leghari who claimed that Pakistan had violated his fundamental rights due to lack of action on climate change.