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International Update Volume All, Issue All

NEW ZEALAND FLOATS PLAN TO SAVE ENDANGERED DOLPHINS WITH AI AND DRONES

New Zealand

On February 25, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the New Zealand government would be collaborating with conservation groups—the World Wild Life Fund and MAUI63—and major fishing companies—Moana New Zealand and Sanford Limited—on a new initiative to protect the critically endangered Maui dolphin.

INDIA ARRESTS 22-YEAR-OLD CLIMATE ACTIVIST FOR ALLEGED SEDITION

India

On February 13, 22-year-old Indian climate activist Disha Ravi was arrested at her home in Bengaluru. Ravi is the co-founder of the Bengaluru chapter of Fridays for Future, an organization created by Greta Thunberg to promote youth climate activism. Delhi authorities have accused Ravi of sedition and criminal conspiracy (Time).

FRENCH COURT RULES FRENCH STATE RESPONSIBLE FOR CLIMATE INACTION

France

Last Wednesday, the Administrative Tribunal of Paris ruled that France’s failure to meet its greenhouse gas reduction commitments have caused “ecological damage.” In order to meet its emissions reduction targets under the Paris Climate Accords, France had passed domestic laws promising to decrease emissions by 1.5% annually and 3% annually beginning in 2025. However, according to France’s High Council on Climate, these goals have yet to be achieved.

DUTCH COURT ORDERS SHELL TO PAY DAMAGES FOR NIGERIAN OIL SPILL

Nigeria

This past Friday, a Dutch appeals court ruled that Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary was responsible for two pipeline leaks in the Niger River Delta, occurring in 2004 and 2005 in the villages of Oruma and Goi (Reuters and Bloomberg).

GLOBAL COMMUNITY WELCOMES UNITED STATES BACK TO PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT

Just hours after being inaugurated last Wednesday, President Joe Biden began his presidency by signing a series of Executive Orders, one of which re-entered the United States into the Paris Climate Agreement. Though the United States only formally exited the agreement last November, the country has been relatively absent as a key player in climate negotiations since Donald Trump took office in 2016. Biden’s move, viewed by many as the return of U.S.

DISAGREEMENTS OVER AMAZON DEFORESTATION LOOM OVER EU-MERCOSUR PACT

Brazil

President Emmanuel Macron has been vocal this week in his opposition to the impending trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Mercosur trade bloc, made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The French President has refused to sign the agreement on the grounds that, if ratified, it would increase soy trade between the EU and Brazil, leading to increased deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest, as land is cleared for commercial agricultural use.

CHINA DELAYS NOTIFICATION OF MEKONG RIVER DISRUPTION TO DOWNSTREAM NEIGHBORS

China

On January 6, China notified the Mekong River Commission (MRC), whose Member States include Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, that it would be holding back the Mekong’s water flow for 20 days. China’s statement on the matter was delivered one day after the new U.S.-funded Mekong Dam Monitor found that disruptions to the river’s water level caused by operation of China’s Jinghong Dam had begun on December 31.

ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS SEEK INCREASED TURTLE PROTECTION THROUGH USMCA

Mexico

On December 17, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Mexican Center for Environmental Law filed a petition under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the replacement for the long-standing North American Free Trade Agreement.

EU PUSHES BACK ON MEMBER STATES FOR AIR POLLUTION VIOLATIONS

Last Thursday, the European Commission announced that it will be taking Greece and Bulgaria to the European Court of Justice for continuing to violate air pollution limits, despite multiple previous warnings.

FRENCH COURT GIVES MACRON THREE MONTHS TO JUSTIFY LACK OF CLIMATE ACTION

France

Last Thursday, France’s highest administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, ruled that the French government would have three months to show that it is enacting policies to ensure it will meet its carbon emissions reduction requirements (Conseil d’Etat [FR],