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International Update Volume 47, Issue 25

THOUSANDS PULL WATER-THIRSTY WEEDS FROM ETHIOPIA'S LAKE TANA

Thousands of people in northwest Ethiopia marched to Abay River and Lake Tana as part of the “Save Lake Tana” movement to remove invasive water hyacinth by hand. The free-floating, water-thirsty perennial is swallowing the northeast shores of Lake Tana, impacting both aquatic habitat health and local fishermen. Lake Tana is the source of the Blue Nile and the largest lake in Ethiopia, and is used for transport, tourism, hydroelectric power generation, ecological conservation and fishery operations.

LEGACY DEFORESTATION WARMING CLIMATE FASTER THAN EXPECTED

New research indicates that the conversion of land, often to farms and ranches to produce food for people, has a bigger impact on the climate than anticipated. Only about 20 percent of the carbon dioxide that has been added to the atmosphere comes from clearing forests. But land used in the clearing is responsible for about 40 percent of the warming of the planet, according to a study published by Environmental Research Letters. Much of the current effort to meet the goals of the Paris agreement involves cutting the use of carbon-based fossil fuels in favor of sustainable alternatives.

FRANCE TO END OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION BY 2040

France

France plans to pass legislation this year to phase out all oil and gas exploration and production on its mainland and overseas territories by 2040, becoming the first country to do so. France has previously stated its goal to discontinue the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles by the same year, and President Macron wants to make France carbon-neutral by 2050. The decision is, however, largely symbolic because France produces only about one percent of its consumption. The country will continue to import and refine oil.