09 Mar 2023 - NPWJ News Digest


Lebanon: Electricity Crisis Exacerbates Poverty, Inequality
Human Rights Watch, 09 Mar 2023

The 127-page report, “‘Cut Off from Life Itself’: Lebanon’s Failure on the Right to Electricity,” argues that electricity is fundamental to nearly every aspect of living and participating in present- day societies, and as such, the internationally protected right to an adequate standard of living includes the right of everyone, without discrimination, to sufficient, reliable, safe, clean, accessible, and affordable electricity. At present, the government provides electricity for only one to three hours a day on average, while people who can afford it supplement that supply with private generators. 

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Europe experienced second-warmest winter on record
Al Jazeera, 09 Mar 2023

Europe is emerging from its second-warmest winter on record as climate change continues to intensify. The average temperature in Europe from December to February was 1.4 degrees Celsius (2.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 1991-2020 average for the Boreal winter season, according to data published by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). That ranks as Europe’s second warmest winter on record, exceeded only by the winter of 2019-20. Europe experienced a severe winter heatwave in late December and early January, when record-high temperatures hit countries from France to Hungary, forcing ski resorts to close because of a lack of snow.

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U.S. and Europe Angle for New Deal to Resolve Climate Spat
The New York Times, 08 Mar 2023

American and European officials meeting in Washington this week are trying to agree on the outlines of a limited trade deal that would allow European companies to qualify for some of the benefits of the Biden administration’s new climate legislation, in a bid to assuage a major source of tension between the allies. The governments hope to announce their intention to begin negotiations over an agreement focusing on the critical minerals that go into electric vehicle batteries as soon as Friday, when President Biden is set to meet with Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, at the White House.

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How the nuclear lobby scuttled the EU’s anti-greenwashing tool
Al Jazeera, 08 Mar 2023

One year ago, hopes were high for what was considered to be the most important environmental legislation in Europe. The European Union’s taxonomy regulation was meant to become the global “gold standard” for science-based policy that directs investment towards climate-friendly goals. But a long-delayed decision was made by the European Commission (EC) that ultimately included nuclear power and gas as “environmentally sustainable economic activities”. The Climate Complementary Delegated Act, a non-legislative supplement to the regulation, was adopted on March 9, 2022, and came into effect on January 1 this year. It is being challenged by Austria, a number of NGOs, and one member of the European Parliament.

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Tropical cyclone Freddy set to further weaken cholera-hit Malawi
United Nations News, 07 Mar 2023

“Malawi is really experiencing the deadliest cholera outbreak in its recorded history - nothing less than that - and the country is also struggling to respond to an earlier outbreak and ongoing COVID-19 cases across the nation,” said Rudolf Schwenk, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Malawi Representative. In an update to journalists in Geneva, Mr. Schwenk reported that since the outbreak was officially announced a year ago, cholera has spread to 29 districts across Malawi. “It’s all over the country, affecting more than 50,000 people and over 1,500 deaths,” he said, via videolink from Lilongwe. “Of these, more than 12,000 children have contracted cholera, and of these, unfortunately 197 - almost 200 - have died.” 

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Aluminum’s Amazon Footprint
Human Rights Watch, 06 Mar 2023

The experience of communities in the Amazon is just one example of the environmental and human rights impacts of producing aluminum. Because bauxite is found near the earth’s surface, bauxite mines strip large areas of land, frequently impacting local ecosystems and communities. Bauxite refining creates an alkaline waste product called “red mud” that contains heavy metals and other elements that can be harmful to humans if the waste is not stored correctly and enters local water sources.

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