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International Update Volume 46, Issue 30

CHINA TO PROMOTE MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY AGRICULTURE

China

The Chinese State Council announced plans to increase agricultural production while simultaneously promoting more environmentally friendly agricultural techniques within the next five years. The plans include stimulating sustainable agriculture to protect water resources and arable lands, improving agricultural technology, in part by involving the information industry, and upgrading fisheries and plantation structures.

GERMAN GOVERNMENT TO ASSIST UTILITIES WITH NUCLEAR WASTE DISPOSAL

Germany

Last week, the German cabinet approved a deal to move the responsibility for nuclear waste disposal and storage from utilities to the state. The deal will require the four utilities operating Germany’s nuclear plants to pay 23.3 billion Euros (US $25.32 billion) to cover interim storage, transport, and final disposal of radioactive wastes; any additional costs will be covered by the state.

KIGALI MEETING AGREES TO WORLDWIDE PHASEOUT OF "SUPER WARMING" HFCs

United States

One hundred and seventy countries recently passed the Kigali Amendment, a legally binding Amendment to the Montreal Protocol that will phase out hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs), low-cost refrigerants frequently used in air conditioners and refrigerators. HFCs are “super greenhouse gases” that are 1,000 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide; scientists estimate that they would contribute to almost a full degree Fahrenheit of atmospheric warming, despite being only a small percentage of total greenhouse gases.