03 December 2020 - NPWJ News Digest on Environmental Justice & Human Rights

Articles

New Zealand declares a climate change emergency
The Guardian, 02 Dec 2020

New Zealand has declared a climate change emergency and committed to a carbon-neutral government by 2025, in what the prime minister Jacinda Ardern called “one of the greatest challenges of our time”. A motion tabled in parliament on Wednesday recognised “the devastating impact that volatile and extreme weather will have on New Zealand and the wellbeing of New Zealanders, on our primary industries, water availability, and public health through flooding, sea level rise, and wildfire”.

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A Hotter Planet Is Already Killing Americans, Health Experts Warn
The New York Times, 02 Dec 2020

Rising temperatures and environmental pollutants are already endangering the health and well-being of Americans, with fatal consequences for thousands of older men and women, a team of public health experts warned Wednesday. Their report, published in The Lancet, called on lawmakers to stem the rise of planet-warming gases in the next five years.

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International lawyers draft plan to criminalise ecosystem destruction
The Guardian, 30 Nov 2020

International lawyers are drafting plans for a legally enforceable crime of ecocide – criminalising destruction of the world’s ecosystems – that is already attracting support from European countries and island nations at risk from rising sea levels. The panel coordinating the initiative is chaired by Prof Philippe Sands QC, of University College London, and Florence Mumba, a former judge at the international criminal court (ICC). The aim is to draw up a legal definition of “ecocide” that would complement other existing international offences such as crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

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Shell in court over claims it hampered fossil fuels phase-out
The Guardian, 30 Nov 2020

A court in The Hague will hear claims that Royal Dutch Shell has broken Dutch law by knowingly hampering the global phase-out of fossil fuels, in a case that could force the company to reduce its CO2 emissions. Lawyers for a consortium led by Friends of the Earth Netherlands will argue on the first of four days of public hearings on Tuesday that Shell has been aware for decades of the damage it has inflicted and is acting unlawfully by expanding its fossil fuel operations.

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