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International Update Volume All, Issue All

COLOMBIA COURT UPHOLDS RESTRICTIONS ON GLYPHOSATE FUMIGATION OF COCA

Colombia

On July 18, Colombia's constitutional court upheld restrictions on the aerial spraying of the herbicide glyphosate to eliminate coca, the base ingredient in cocaine. All eight of the court's judges held that the national narcotics council would decide whether spraying could restart, noting that it was not necessary to prove with absolute certainty that the herbicide was not harmful, but that the council should consider all available scientific evidence about minimizing risks to health and the environment.

BRITAIN IMPOSES ZERO EMISSION TECHNOLOGY REQUIREMENT ON NEW SHIPS

United Kingdom

On July 11, Britain's maritime minister announced that all new ships ordered from 2025 onwards and destined for its waters must be equipped with zero emission technology in an effort to curb maritime pollution. The new requirements are part of the Clean Maritime Plan that includes a competition to find innovative ways to reduce maritime emissions and a call for evidence to reduce emissions in the United Kingdom's (UK's) waterways and on its domestic vessels.

INDIAN STATE LAUNCHES FIRST CAP-AND-TRADE PROGRAM FOR PARTICULATES

India

India's western state of Gujarat has launched the world's first "cap and trading" program in an effort to combat particulate air pollution. The program is being launched in the city of Surat, where textile and dye factories are a major source of pollution. Under the program, the government will set a cap on emissions and allow the factories to trade permits among themselves to stay below the cap. The trading system is intended to incentivize factories to find new and inexpensive ways to reduce their emissions because they can sell any extra reductions to other factories.

FRANCE INTRODUCES NEW "ECOTAX" ON PLANE TICKETS

France

On July 9, France's transport minister announced plans to introduce a new "ecotax" on all flights from French airports beginning in 2020. The tax, which will cost between 1.50 euros and 18 euros, is expected to raise over 180 million euros that will be used to invest in eco-friendly transport infrastructure, such as rail. The tax will not apply to flights arriving in France. For the full story, see https://www.apnews.com/be0605b81b214502b2fce419869ea09e.

KENYAN TRIBUNAL BLOCKS CONSTRUCTION OF COAL PLANT AT HERITAGE SITE

Kenya

On June 26, a Kenyan environmental tribunal blocked construction of a coal-fired power plant in Lamu County, where a UNESCO world heritage site is located. Environmental groups challenged the government's issuance of a license to a power company to operate the plant, arguing the plant would cause environmental damage. The tribunal found that the National Environmental Management Authority failed to adequately involve county residents in public participation, as required by law. For the full story, see https://www.apnews.com/04c8f0a0cb6a41cba853a74e431e62a7.

FRENCH COURT HOLDS STATE RESPONSIBLE FOR PARIS AIR POLLUTION

France

In a lawsuit brought by a resident arguing that air pollution in Paris caused her respiratory problems, the administrative court of Montreuil held that the state had repeatedly failed to take sufficient measures to prevent pollution from rising above government-set thresholds between 2012 and 2016, when the resident contracted bronchitis.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN COUNTRIES PLEDGE TO TACKLE MARINE TRASH

On June 24, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations pledged to tackle marine trash in the region. The declaration was adopted by the association's 10 member states at its biannual summit and expresses the members' commitment to "prevent and significantly reduce marine debris, particularly from land-based activities." The association also published a framework for how it intends to address the trash problem, including policy planning and engaging the private sector.

CENTRAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES BLOCK EU 2050 ZERO-CARBON EMISSIONS TARGET

EU

At a European Union (EU) summit on June 20, efforts led by France and Germany for the 28-member EU to agree to a 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target was blocked by three central European countries. The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland refused to sign on to the agreement, which is projected to require the bloc to invest an additional 175 billion to 290 billion euros per year in clean energy technology. The summit was the last chance to agree to the target before global climate talks in September.

CANADA BANS SHARK FIN TRADING

Canada

On June 18, Canada passed a new law banning the import and export of shark fins. Called the Fisheries Act, the new law also requires depleted fish populations to be rebuilt. Canada, which is the largest importer of shark fins outside of Asia, is the first G20 country to ban the export and import of shark fins. For the full story, see https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-canada-fisheries/canada-becomes-first-....

DUTCH COURT FINES SHELL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND LABOR LAW VIOLATIONS

Netherlands

On June 17, a Dutch court fined Shell $2.8 million for violating environmental and labor laws at its chemical plant in the village of Moerdjik. The court ruled that the company did not take sufficient precautions to prevent two explosions at the plant that injured two workers, and held that the company was liable for an ethylene oxide gas leak at the same plant. For the full story, see https://www.apnews.com/a4e35696a00f4e8790b1f61fdb32f116.