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International Update Volume 48, Issue 5

PLASTIC WASTE ACCUMULATING IN THE ARCTIC

Norway

Plastic waste is building up in the wilderness of the Norwegian Arctic. Researchers are particularly concerned about huge concentrations of microplastic fragments in sea ice. Norwegian fishermen are worried that their fish stocks may lose their reputation for being untouched by pollution. A report from the Norwegian Polar Institute to the recent Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø says there's a great need for more research into the extent of possible harm from plastic. For the full story see http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-42947155.

INTER-AMERICAN COURT RECOGNIZES HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT AS HUMAN RIGHT

Colombia

The Inter-American Court on Human Rights, in a landmark decision, concluded that a healthy environment is an autonomous right, “fundamental to the existence of humanity.” The decision was the result of Colombia’s consultation on the scope of States’ obligations to protect human rights from damages to the marine environment in the Greater Caribbean region.

TROPICAL TREE-DWELLERS MAY BE BETTER EQUIPPED FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

Animals that live in trees in the tropics are likely to be better at crossing mountains and dealing with climate change compared to ground-dwelling animals. A new study has found that the temperature within a tropical forest varies considerably, with tree canopies experiencing wider extremes of heating and cooling compared to the ground or soil. Canopy animals likely have the physiology that allow them to move across mountains freely, unaffected by the climate, and may be more resilient against climate change.