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International Update Volume All, Issue All

LOCUST SWARMS SPREAD TO SOUTH SUDAN, THREATEN FOOD SECURITY OF MILLIONS

Africa, Tanzania

Locust swarms across Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Tanzania, and Uganda have now entered South Sudan, threatening crops and livelihoods of 25 million people. The locust outbreak in Kenya is the worst the country has faced in 70 years, while Somalia and Ethiopia are experiencing their worst swarms in 25 years.

CANADIAN COURT DISMISSES INDIGENOUS CHALLENGES TO PIPELINE EXPANSION

Canada

On February 4, Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal ruled against four challenges by First Nations groups against the controversial expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

PORTUGAL, GERMANY, AUSTRALIA MOVE TO EXIT COAL, CUT EMISSIONS

Germany

Portugal, Germany, and Australia have taken measures this past week to achieve ambitious emissions reduction goals. On January 28, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced that a hydroelectric project under construction in northern Portugal will replace all power lost from the closing of the country’s final coal plants. The project, called the Tamega complex, will generate enough energy to supply 2 million homes.

NEW CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK SPOTLIGHTS DANGERS OF WILD ANIMAL TRADE

China

A recent coronavirus outbreak in Asia has been linked to illegal wildlife trade in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, according to Chinese government officials (The Guardian). The virus has killed at least 25 people and sickened over 800 in Asia, as well as one person in the United States who had recently traveled to Wuhan.

AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER DENIES ROLE OF CLIMATE POLICY IN BUSHFIRES

Australia

Widespread bushfires across New South Wales and Kangaroo Island in Southeast Australia have scorched over 25.5 million acres of land, equal to the size of South Korea (Reuters).The fires have claimed 27 deaths and destroyed over 2,000 homes, with conditions expected to worsen the weekend of January 10 (New York Times).

THAILAND, MEXICO CITY KICK OFF 2020 WITH PLASTIC BAG BANS

Thailand

Effective January 1, Thailand’s plastic bag ban in major stores follows a yearlong campaign against single-use plastics after several incidents in which animals died from plastic blocking their digestive systems (Reuters

YOUTH ACTIVISTS, ISLAND NATIONS CALL FOR URGENT ACTION AT U.N. CLIMATE TALKS

On December 6, over half a million protesters marched outside the U.N. climate summit in Madrid, demanding that world leaders take action (BBC).

LEADERS, COMPANIES RAMP UP CLIMATE EFFORTS AHEAD OF EUROPEAN GREEN DEAL

EU

European Union leaders will push for a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at an upcoming summit December 12-13, according to a draft statement released December 2. Previous efforts to endorse climate neutrality have been blocked by Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, who rely heavily on coal (Reuters). 

CHINA EXPANDS COAL CAPACITY, THREATENING PARIS CLIMATE GOALS

China

While most of the world works to reduce reliance on coal, China has expanded its coal-powered generation to a level equal to the generating capacity of the European Union. According to a United States-based research group, Global Energy Monitor, China raised its coal-firing capacity by 42.9 gigawatts (gW), or 4.5%, in the last 18 months. In the same period, the rest of the world cut its coal power capacity by 8.1 gW. Coal plants currently under construction in China add another 121.3 gW—enough to power all of France.

STUDY: CLIMATE CHANGE WILL BURDEN FUTURE GENERATIONS WITH LIFELONG ILLNESS

Rising temperatures and extreme weather events from climate change would leave children vulnerable to illnesses throughout their lives, according to a study published on November 13 (Reuters).