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International Update Volume 45, Issue 5

LACK OF FUNDS LEAVES ZIMBABWE AT RISK OF CLIMATE CHANGE DISASTERS

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is facing a funding crisis for programs and projects intended to mitigate disasters caused by climate change. The Ministry of Environment, Water, and Climate is facing a budget cut of $41 million compared to last year, bringing the ministry's 2015 budget down to $52 million. Recent floods, which have killed 20 people so far this year, highlight deficiencies in funding for the nation's meteorological department, for example. Reduction in domestic funding, as well as slow access to international financing, have contributed to the crises.

NORWAY PENSION FUND DIVESTS FROM COAL AND OTHER CARBON EMITTERS

Norway

Norway's Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) recently announced that it removed 114 companies from its portfolio in 2014 due to environmental and climate change concerns. The list included 32 coal mining companies along with tar sands operations, cement manufacturers, and gold mines.

SETTLEMENT ENDS CLASS ACTION OVER 2009 AUSTRALIA WILDFIRE

Australia

Parties reached a settlement agreement worth $235 million in compensation for victims of one of Australia's deadly 2009 wildfires. Defendants included Victoria government agencies and utility companies, with AusNet Electricity Services agreeing to the largest sum of $204.5 million. The settlement marks the end of a series of lawsuits stemming from fires that ravaged rural Victoria on February 7, 2009, in what has become known as "Black Saturday." Total compensation now amounts to approximately $627 million.