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International Update Volume All, Issue All

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.

IEA RELEASES REPORT ON EMBRACING HYDROGEN TO REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS

On June 14, the International Energy Agency released its first major report on fuel that calls for the use of hydrogen as a potentially emissions-free source of energy. According to the report, the cost of producing hydrogen from renewable energy could fall by 30% by 2030 and the fuel could reduce emissions in the transport, chemicals, and steel industries. The agency outlines several recommendations for producing hydrogen from renewable energy sources and spreading its use across economies.

UK PROPOSES NET ZERO EMISSIONS TARGET

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (UK) government is proposing to amend its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, which was agreed to under the Climate Change Act in 2008, to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The net zero target was recommended last month by the government's advisory Committee on Climate Change. According to the committee, there is a 50-50 chance of staying below the recommended 1.5°C temperature rise by 2100 if the UK and other countries achieve the target. For the full story, see https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48596775.

ISLAND STATES UNITE TO END POLLUTION

Caribbean

Twenty-seven island states across the Caribbean, the Pacific, and the Indian Ocean are uniting under a new initiative to manage and eliminate toxic chemicals and waste. Under the new initiative, called the Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemical Development in Small Island Developing States (ISLANDS) program, the island states will work together to eliminate over 23,000 metric tons of toxic chemicals and avoid the release of over 185,000 metric tons of marine litter.

MYANMAR ANNOUNCES ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE POLICIES

Myanmar

On June 5, Myanmar announced two new policies—the National Environmental Policy and the Myanmar Climate Change Policy—for addressing the country's environmental management and climate change strategies. The two policies, which explicitly recognize the rising threat of extreme weather and other impacts of climate change to the country's economic and social development, aim to transform Myanmar into a climate-resilient, low-carbon society.

SCOTLAND PROPOSES NEW MARINE PROTECTED AREAS

Scotland

The Scottish government is proposing to establish four new marine protected areas (MPAs) to provide special protections for minke whales and basking sharks in feeding grounds around Scotland. The proposed areas are located at the southern trench in the outer Moray Firth, north-east Lewis, the Sea of the Hebrides, and Shiant East Bank, and would cover 5,000 square miles of sea. The government aims to complete Scotland's MPA network by the end of 2020. For the full story, see https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-48542985.