1 July 2021 - NPWJ News Digest on Environmental Justice & Human Rights

Articles

Offsets being used in Colombia to dodge carbon taxes – report
The Guardian, 30 Jun 2021

Forest protection carbon offsets that may have no benefit to the climate have been used by polluters to avoid paying carbon taxes in Colombia, according to a report. In 2016, a levy of about $5 (£3.60) was introduced in the South American country to cover the use of some fossil fuels. However, companies that emit carbon dioxide can avoid paying the tax by buying carbon offsets from Colombian emission reduction projects, including those that conserve threatened natural carbon banks such as peatlands, forests and mangrove swamps.

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Africa's top emitter seeks $10 bln for shift from coal
Reuters, 30 Jun 2021

South African state power utility Eskom, Africa's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, is pitching a $10 billion plan to global lenders that would see it shut the vast majority of its coal-fired plants by 2050 and embrace renewable energy. Discussions have already started with development finance institutions like the World Bank and the African Development Bank, a senior Eskom official told Reuters.

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UBS joins peers to track how lending affects environment, jobs
Reuters, 30 Jun 2021

A group of banks, including UBS (UBSG.S) and Singapore's DBS (DBSM.SI), on Wednesday announced plans to create a new way of measuring the environmental and social impact of their financing. The group, called Banking for Impact, which also includes ABN Amro (ABNd.AS) and Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO), will team up with Harvard Business School for the project, which aims to help promote a transition to a sustainable economy.

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Alarm over plans to shield post-Brexit environment watchdog from scrutiny
The Guardian, 30 Jun 2021

The body created to regulate, monitor and enforce environmental standards in the UK post-Brexit will be shielded from scrutiny as a result of prohibitions on access to information, campaigners say. The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), which is being set up under the environment bill, should offer independent scrutiny of government and public bodies, and investigate public complaints about environmental matters.

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Pacific island of Nauru sets two-year deadline for U.N. deep-sea mining rules
Reuters, 29 Jun 2021

The tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru has notified a U.N. body of plans to start deep-sea mining, giving the International Seabed Authority (ISA) two years to complete long-running talks on rules governing the new and controversial industry. Nauru President Lionel Aingimea notified ISA about the mining plans to be carried out by a subsidiary of The Metals Co in a letter dated June 25 and seen by Reuters on Tuesday. 

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Asian, tropical coastlines most vulnerable to rising seas - study
Reuters, 29 Jun 2021

Tropical nations will face more coastal inundation from a rise in sea levels due to climate change than other countries, according to new research that also more than doubles the number of people estimated to be impacted. Using land elevation data gathered by laser pulses beamed by satellite to Earth, scientists identified coastal areas low enough to make them vulnerable to a one-meter rise in sea level - a level the world is on track to see by 2100. Higher water levels will likely lead to more damage and disruption from flooding and storm surges.

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On climate change frontline, indigenous provide pointers to save planet
UN News, 25 Jun 2021

From the Arctic to the Amazon, the Himalayas to the Sahel, the 11 indigenous communities featured in a new FAO study are revealed as “self-reliant and resilient, living sustainably and in harmony with their ecosystems, even when inhabiting harsh environments”.  “They generate hundreds of food items from the environment without depleting natural resources and achieve high levels of self-sufficiency”, said the UN agency, which explored ancestral knowledge in the Solomon Islands among the Melanesians who combine agroforestry, wild food gathering and fishing to generate 70 per cent of their dietary needs.  

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How ‘Ecocide’ Could Become an International Crime
Bloomberg, 25 Jun 2021

From oil spills to open-pit mining, clear-cut logging to heavy-net trawling, humans continue to scar the planet despite mountains of legislation, regulation and good intent. Some environmental lawyers want to make destruction of an ecosystem an international crime -- “ecocide” -- on par with genocide or war crimes. Past attempts were stymied by the challenge of defining what would constitute a crime. But amid rising concern about climate change, a new definition has been published that could make ecocide the first new crime added to international law since 1948.

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Climate action must take into account women’s right to land
Al Jazeera, 24 Jun 2021

On a rainy day in April 2018, I rode a small speedboat along the Kapuas River in West Kalimantan province, Indonesia, headed for three tidal swamp villages, whose residents had protested against the expansion of oil palm plantations on their farmland and settlements. The government had permitted a palm oil company to establish and expand its plantations in the area.

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