Environment and Climate Change

‘Bringing reusable bags has been a challenge’: Woolworths backflip on plastic bags

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Woolworths has backflipped on its plastic bag ban after irate customers refused to pay for plastic bags at the checkout. Melissa Cunningham Brisbane Times The supermarket giant will hand out free reusable plastic bags for 10 days, after stores were inundated with complaints from customers who refused to pay for bags or did not have enough of their own stored up. It comes a week after Woolworths issued a ban on single-use plastic bags in stores across Victoria, New South Wales, ... Read More »

China’s scrap plastic ban saddles neighbors with piles of problems

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Thailand and Vietnam struggle with redirected waste but is there a silver lining? NIKKI SUN and APORNRATH PHOONPHONGPHIPHAT, Nikkei staff writers Nikkei Asian Review HONG KONG/BANGKOK — The world is awash with scrap plastic, six months after No. 1 importer China closed its doors to the recyclable materials on environmental grounds. The ripple effects are hitting the shores of Southeast Asia’s emerging countries, which have seen a surge in plastic shipments — not all of them legal. “Thai people are ... Read More »

Palm oil ‘disastrous’ for wildlife but here to stay, experts warn

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The deforestation it causes is decimating species such as orangutans and tigers – but the alternatives could be worse, finds authoritative report Damian Carrington The Guardian It is consumed daily by billions of people but palm oil is “disastrous” for wildlife such as orangutans and tigers, according to an authoritative new report. However, the analysis warns that alternatives are likely to drive biodiversity losses elsewhere, rather than halt them. The analysis, from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), found… Palm oil ... Read More »

An island nation in the Mediterranean Sea is running dry

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Countries in the eastern Mediterranean are increasingly vulnerable to drought as the changing climate brings higher temperatures and less precipitation. NBC2 MARONI, Cyprus — The salty water of the Mediterranean in plain view from Charis Christoforou’s olive farm is no help to the cracked, white earth suffering from a third year of drought. A shortage of rain combined with clouds of dust carried over from the water-starved Middle East has slashed Christoforou’s olive production to a quarter of what it ... Read More »

China Just Handed the World a 111-Million-Ton Trash Problem

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The world’s biggest waste importer is no longer buying. So where’s all that trash going to go? Eric Roston Bloomberg Few people consider used plastic to be a valuable global commodity. Yet China has imported 106 million tons of old bags, bottles, wrappers and containers worth $57.6 billion since 1992, the first year it disclosed data. So when the country announced last year that it finally had enough of everybody else’s junk, governments the world over knew they had a problem. They just didn’t know exactly ... Read More »

Anger grows in Philippines over China’s control of shoal

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Public backlash as documentary shows Filipino fishermen accusing Chinese para-military forces of forcibly taking the best of their catch Richard Javad Heydarian Asia Times Once again, the Scarborough Shoal dispute is threatening to torpedo Philippine-China relations. Two years into office, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is facing a widespread public backlash over reports that the Chinese coast guard is controlling the contested shoal and surrounding areas and routinely harasses Filipino fishermen. In a widely-watched documentary broadcast on the GMA Network, a… ... Read More »

High risk of food shortages without pesticides, says chemical giant

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Head of Syngenta, world’s biggest pesticide maker, says rejecting farming tech could have serious consequences within 20 years Damian Carrington in Basel The Guardian The world is likely to face food shortages within 20 years if pesticides and genetically modified crops are shunned, according to the head of the world’s biggest pesticide manufacturer. J Erik Fyrwald, CEO of Syngenta, also said the technologies to produce more food from less land are vital in halting climate change, but that better targeting ... Read More »

Harvard scientists: Trump environmental policies could result in 80,000 more deaths per decade

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A new essay from two Harvard University scientists concluded that the Trump administration’s environmental policies could result in an additional 80,000 deaths per decade. Avery Anapol The Hill The research, from public health economist David Cutler and biostatistician Francesca Dominici, pointed specifically to the health impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) policies on air pollutants and… “This sobering statistic captures only a small fraction of the cumulative public health damages associated with the full range of rollbacks and systemic actions proposed ... Read More »

How Native American food is tied to important sacred stories

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The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling, on June 11, that asked Washington state to remove culverts that block the migration of salmon. Rosalyn R. LaPier The Conversation The ruling has significant implications for Northwest Coast tribes, whose main source of food and livelihood is salmon. The legal decision stems from the 1855 Stevens treaties when Northwest Coast tribes retained the “right to take fish” from their traditional homelands. Fighting to protect salmon habitat, however, is more than ... Read More »

Are courts the new front line for climate justice?

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Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation. In lieu of bold steps from governments and companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, climate justice advocates and lawyers have stepped up to force their hand through litigation. by Maysa Zorob and Marion Cadie | Business and Human Rights Resource Centre Thomson Reuters Foundation News Traditionally, legal cases have been brought against governments, but there is now a steep rise in climate lawsuits ... Read More »

Mediterranean could become a sea of plastic, WWF warns

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The Mediterranean could become a “sea of plastic,” the WWF warned on June 8 in a report calling for measures to clean up one of the world’s worst affected bodies of water. MARSEILLE Hurriyet The WWF said the Mediterranean had record levels of “micro-plastics,” the tiny pieces of plastic less than five millimeters in size which can be found increasingly in the food chain posing a threat to human health. “The concentration of micro-plastics is nearly four times higher” in the Mediterranean compared with ... Read More »

Brumby law ‘turns Australia into global laughing stock’

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Environment groups condemn legislation protecting feral horses in national park Lisa Cox The Guardian Australia has become a “global laughing stock” after the New South Walesparliament passed legislation to protect the heritage of feral horses in the Kosciuszko national park, environment groups say. The Berejiklian government, with support from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party and the Christian Democrats, passed the Kosciuszko wild horse heritage bill 2018 through the NSW Legislative Council late on Wednesday. On Thursday, Dave Watson, a… Brumby ... Read More »

NSW chooses timber over koalas, critics of habitat plan claim

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The great bulk of new reserves set aside by the Berejiklian government for koala habitat offer no new protection for an animal whose numbers are plummeting in some regions of the state, new mapping analysis shows. Peter Hannam Brisbane Times The government last month hailed the release of its $45 million koala strategy as “the biggest commitment by any state” to protect the “national treasure”. But mapping details obtained by environmental groups show 82 per cent of the reserves being set aside ... Read More »

England’s fields ‘are turning to concrete’

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ENGLAND’S green and pleasant land is being concreted over “at an alarming rate”, campaigners warned yesterday. John Ingham Express The area of undeveloped greenfield land used for housing has soared by 58 per cent in four years, said the Campaign to Protect Rural England. The pressure group called for the Government to require brownfield sites to be used before greenfield land is released. The group cited official figures showing that the area of “nonpreviously developed land” lost to housing annually ... Read More »

7 Reasons US Should Not Ratify UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

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President Donald Trump recently proclaimed June 2018 to be National Ocean Month and stated his support for better utilizing the vast resources contained in America’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the 200-nautical mile zone off U.S. coasts over which the U.S. has jurisdiction.j Authors: The Daily Signal There are now sure to be renewed calls for the United States to accede to the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea—also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty—as a useful ... Read More »

Crop exports to wilt as autumn rains fail over much of Australia

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Australia’s third-driest May on record has compounded the misery facing many of the nation’s farmers, with the window for winter plantings closing fast. Peter Hannam The Canberra Times Projections by Rabobank released on Friday indicate 21.6 million hectares of winter crop will be planted this year. While down 2 per cent on the previous year, the drop in Queensland and NSW will be much more severe at 11 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively. Rainfall last month was down ... Read More »