21 January 2021 - NPWJ News Digest on Environmental Justice & Human Rights


Biden moves to have US rejoin Paris Accord, halt Arctic leasing
Aljazeera, 21 Jan 2021

United States President Joe Biden took steps to return the US to the international Paris Agreement to fight climate change on Wednesday, the centrepiece of a raft of day-one executive orders aimed at restoring US leadership in combating global warming. Biden’s actions will also include a sweeping order to review all of former President Donald Trump’s actions weakening climate change protections, the revocation of a vital permit for TC Energy’s Keystone XL oil pipeline project from Canada, and a moratorium on oil and gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that Trump’s administration had recently opened to development, Biden aides said.

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Indigenous Women Are Championing Climate Justice
Open Society Foundations, 19 Jan 2021

Globally, women-led resistance movements are effectively stopping or slowing local environmental destruction that threatens our whole planet. This is happening in spite of gross underrepresentation of women in decision-making roles at international and environmental organizations, and the huge obstacles that leaders like Mama Aleta must overcome to have their voices heard.

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Fighting climate crisis made harder by Covid-19 inequality, says WEF
The Guardian, 19 Jan 2021

Tackling the existential risk posed by the climate crisis will be made harder by the growing gap between rich and poor triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Economic Forum has said. The body that organises the annual gathering of the global elite in the Swiss town of Davos said warning signs of the threat posed by infectious disease had been ignored for the past 15 years, with disastrous results. Despite the loss of almost 2 million lives to Covid-19, the WEF’s global risks report found that environmental issues were considered to pose the biggest danger in the coming years, both in terms of impact and likelihood.

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Supreme Court Case Could Limit Future Lawsuits Against Fossil Fuel Industry
The New York Times, 19 Jan 2021

The Supreme Court heard a case on climate change on Tuesday that could help shape the fate of dozens of similar lawsuits across the country. […] the justices decided to hear the case on a single, highly technical legal question: What happens when a federal court sends a case to be heard in state courts?

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UN countries challenge Australia's Indigenous incarceration record in human rights review
The Guardian, 18 Jan 2021

The Australian government is to be challenged over the country’s lack of progress in reducing rates of Indigenous incarceration at a UN hearing this week. Sweden and Uruguay have submitted questions in advance about the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australian prisons, while Germany wants to know why Australia has delayed a push to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years.

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