20 January 2022 - NPWJ News Digest on Environmental Justice & Human Rights

Articles

‘The treeline is out of control’: how the climate crisis is turning the Arctic green
The Guardian, 20 Jan 2022

In northern Norway, trees are rapidly taking over the tundra and threatening an ancient way of life that depends on snow and ice. As the planet warms, the Arctic treeline is accelerating towards the pole, turning the white landscape to green. The trees used to creep forward a few centimetres every year; now they are leaping north at a rate of 40 to 50 metres a year. In the European Arctic, the birch is the leader of the pack.

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As Malaysian state resumes log exports, Indigenous advocates warn of fallout
Mongabay, 19 Jan 2022

Effective Jan. 3, the state of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo has ended a ban on exporting unprocessed logs. The ban was put in place in 2018 in a bid to bolster the state’s timber processing industry; critics warn that overturning it will lead to an increase in both legal and illegal logging in the state’s remaining forests. Any increase in logging will especially affect the state’s forest-dependent Indigenous communities, including groups that are trying to assert legal rights to their ancestral land.

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2021 joins top 7 warmest years on record: WMO
UN News, 19 Jan 2022

Last year joined the list of the seven warmest years on record, the UN weather agency said on Wednesday, and was also the seventh consecutive year when the global temperature has been more than 1°C above pre-industrial levels; edging closer to the limit laid out under the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Global warming and other long-term climate change trends are expected to continue as a result of record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the agency said.

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Peru demands compensation for disastrous oil spill caused by Tonga volcano
The Guardian, 19 Jan 2022

Peru has demanded compensation from the Spanish oil giant Repsol after freak waves from a volcanic eruption near Tonga caused an oil spill described as the worst ecological disaster to hit the South American country in recent history. Authorities cordoned off three beaches on Monday after 6,000 barrels of oil were spilled during the offloading of a tanker at La Pampilla refinery off the coast near Lima, just north of the capital Lima.

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UN sounds alarm on Somalia’s ‘rapidly worsening’ drought
Al Jazeera, 19 Jan 2022

Somalia’s “rapidly worsening” drought has left more than two million people facing severe food and water shortages, the United Nations has warned. The Horn of Africa is now “on the verge of a fourth consecutive failed rainfall season”, according to a joint statement by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Somali government released late on Thursday. The drought has already forced an estimated 100,000 people to flee their homes in search of food, water and pasture for their livestock.

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We’ve breached Earth’s threshold for chemical pollution, study says
Mongabay, 19 Jan 2022

A new study has found that the release of novel entities — artificial chemicals and other human-made pollutants — has accelerated to a point that we have crossed a “planetary boundary,” threatening the entire Earth operating system, along with humanity. There are about 350,000 different types of artificial chemicals currently on the international market, with production of existing and new synthetic chemicals set to substantially increase in the coming decades.

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After COP26 letdown, can India's Gen Z climate warriors prevail?
Al Jazeera, 19 Jan 2022

“I came [to Glasgow] with hope … that governments would finally tear away from their greed and injustice and work to create a better world,” she told Al Jazeera via email. “The truth is, I am heartbroken, disappointed and betrayed.” Her feelings of disappointment and betrayal were even more bitter given the headlines India grabbed during the summit. By the close of the summit, India’s climate cred took a bruising, when the country, along with China, weakened the final agreement’s anti-coal commitments by changing the pledge “phase out” coal to “phase down”.

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Argentine towns sizzle amid 'hottest days in history'
Reuters, 14 Jan 2022

"Practically all of Argentina and also neighboring countries such as Uruguay, southern Brazil and Paraguay are experiencing the hottest days in history," said Cindy Fernandez, meteorologist at the official National Meteorological Service. "We're having many days of clear skies where solar radiation is very intense and in a context of an extreme drought Argentina has been going through for about two years," she said.

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