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

Articles

ITLOS Advisory Opinion on Climate Change and Oceans: Possibilities and Benefits
Opinio Juris, 21 Jul 2021

The rule of law for oceans faces the challenges presented by climate change. Scientific evidence shows that climate change is causing menacing issues in the oceans. For example, sea-level rise, acidification, and deoxygenation of the oceans, amongst others. (see: 2019 IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate). In this regard, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) requires an interpretative adjustment, enabling it to provide legal guidance in tackling the consequences of climate change. 

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Germany counts cost of floods as hopes of finding survivors fade
Reuters, 21 Jul 2021

A relief official dampened hopes on Wednesday of finding more survivors in the rubble of villages devastated by floods in western Germany, as a poll showed many Germans felt policymakers had not done enough to protect them. More than 170 people died in last week's flooding, Germany's worst natural disaster in more than half a century, and thousands went missing. "We are still looking for missing persons as we clear roads and pump water out of basements," Sabine Lackner, deputy chief of the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.

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Tackle climate change with same urgency shown to pandemic, says COP26 president
The Times of India, 21 Jul 2021

Four months from now, all eyes will be on world leaders slated to meet in Glasgow to discuss measures to combat climate change. The 2021 United Nations Conference, known as COP26, is anticipated to be the most important meeting to battle rising temperatures, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, wildfires and other catastrophic events. 

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EPA Plan for Top Environmental Equity Job Faces Long Road Ahead
Bloomberg Law, 21 Jul 2021

The Environmental Protection Agency’s quest to elevate its top environmental justice post to one that needs Senate confirmation may drag into next year—if it happens at all—despite being a top priority for the Biden administration. Congress still needs to authorize the position at a time when it has numerous competing priorities. In addition to getting through the Senate, the new appointee would need to assuage the concerns of labor unions, which would have some say in shaping any reorganization of the EPA’s existing environmental justice employees. 

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Coalition believes it has numbers to stop Great Barrier Reef being listed as ‘in danger’
The Guardian, 20 Jul 2021

Australia’s global lobbying offensive to keep the Great Barrier Reef off the world heritage “in danger” list has secured support from at least nine of the 21-member committee that will make the decision, according to a diplomatic email seen by Guardian Australia. Australia’s Paris-based ambassador to Unesco, Megan Anderson, said in the email she believed the government had won enough support to delay the decision on the “in danger” listing until at least 2023.

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How a powerful US lobby group helps big oil to block climate action
The Guardian, 19 Jul 2021

When Royal Dutch Shell published its annual environmental report in April, it boasted that it was investing heavily in renewable energy. The oil giant committed to installing hundreds of thousands of charging stations for electric vehicles around the world to help offset the harm caused by burning fossil fuels. On the same day, Shell issued a separate report revealing that its single largest donation to political lobby groups last year was made to the American Petroleum Institute, one of the US’s most powerful trade organizations, which drives the oil industry’s relationship with Congress.

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Addressing the Climate Crisis Through Procedural Environmental Rights in the Age of Information
Jurist, 17 Jul 2021

Climate change is recognized as “the common concern of humanity.” On June 28, 2021, the European Council enacted a climate change law to reduce greenhouse gases emissions by 55% by 2030 – from 1990 levels – and to accomplish a net zero-emissions economy by 2050. Despite the legal enshrinement of net-zero and emission targets, the European Union only accounts for a limited share in global greenhouse gases emissions. 

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