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International Update Volume 46, Issue 33

PARIS AGREEMENT TO MOVE FORWARD EVEN IF UNITED STATES WITHDRAWS

Earlier this month, many saw the COP22 meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, as an opportunity for decisionmakers from around the world to begin discussion on implementation of the climate commitments made the previous year in Paris. With President-elect Trump pledging to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, concerns have moved from implementation to how the Agreement might progress without U.S. involvement. At the conference last week, attendees were hopeful that China will take the lead in reducing global carbon emissions.

AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK INVESTS IN CLIMATE CHANGE

Africa

Last week at the COP22 meeting in Marrakesh, members of the African Development Bank announced their plans to combat and prepare for the impacts of climate change. The Bank sees pushing forward on energy development—including investment in renewable energy—as a way to boost the economy of African countries and combat climate change. The Bank’s plan, the New Deal on Energy for Africa, plans to invest $12 billion in the continent’s energy sector, including in developing up to 300GW of renewable energy power by 2030 as part of their African Renewable Energy Initiative.

AFRICAN COUNTRIES COMMIT TO PROTECTING FORESTS FROM PALM OIL INDUSTRY

Africa

At a meeting in Marrakesh, seven African countries signed the TFA 2020 Marrakesh Declaration for the Sustainable Development of the Oil Palm Sector in Africa, thereby committing themselves, with support from the palm oil industry, to prioritize sustainable palm oil development.

SAMARCO SUED FOR DAM RUPTURE IN BRAZIL

Brazil

A Brazilian federal judge agreed to hear an environmental criminal case brought against Samarco, a Brazilian mining company. In August of this year, the Fundao dam, which contained mining waste, broke, causing a large mudslide that killed 19 people and polluted a major river; it is perhaps Brazil’s largest environmental disaster. Prosecutors say the dam had been unsafe for several years, though Samarco denies knowledge of any risks to the dam’s integrity.