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International Update Volume 45, Issue 35

NATURE RIGHTS TRIBUNAL CONDEMNS OIL EXPLOITATION IN ECUADOR

Bolivia, Ecuador

Concurrent with the official COP21 negotiations in Paris, leaders of indigenous nations from North and South America were in Paris demanding justice for violations of the rights of the earth. In 2010, in Bolivia, the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth gave rise to the International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature as an alternative to the COP meetings. This year, the tribunal reviewed several cases that dealt with Ecuador’s oil exploitation, particularly in Yasuni National Park.

CHINA TO INTRODUCE TOUGH CONTROLS ON SHIP SO2 EMISSIONS

China

Starting in January 2016, China will introduce tough emissions controls for ships entering three key port areas in order to reduce sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide results in acid rain, which causes respiratory challenges and sometimes premature death. If the controls are implemented strictly, they will ensure that oil suppliers augment the use of cleaner marine fuel. The rule will affect ships entering the port areas of Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta, and the Bohai Bay rim.

POLAND SUED BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION OVER AIR POLLUTION

France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Sweden

The European Commission is taking Poland to court due to Poland’s inability to tackle poor air quality. Poland is Europe’s most polluted country, with pollution levels more than double those in France. More than 40,000 Poles die each year due to air pollution. Poland uses coal and, on occasion, garbage to heat the country’s homes. South Poland, near the ski resort towns, feels the effects stronger than the rest of the country due to local neglect of environmental rules.