23 March 2023 - NPWJ News Digest on Environmental Justice & Human Rights


Millionaires will burn through two-thirds of the world’s carbon budget by 2050, scientists warn
Euro News, 22 Mar 2023

Millionaires will burn through more than two-thirds of the world’s carbon budget over the next 30 years, new research has warned. To limit global warming to below 1.5°C, we can only burn a certain amount of carbon. But millionaire emissions alone will deplete 72 per cent of this allowance before 2050, according to a paper published in the latest Cleaner Production Letters journal. “Continued growth in emissions at the top makes a low-carbon transition less likely, as the acceleration of energy consumption by the wealthiest is likely beyond the system's capacity to decarbonize,” the scientists warn. The research coincides with the release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which warns that a ‘liveable future’ requires urgent emissions cuts.


Earthjustice Applauds Reintroduction of the Environmental Justice for All Act
Earth Justice, 22 Mar 2023

As Congress addresses the climate crisis and looks to rapidly build out the clean energy infrastructure of the future, this bill provides a blueprint for a better way forward that includes communities in the decision-making process from the beginning. The bill would enable frontline environmental justice communities to hold polluters accountable in court for projects that use federal funds and engage in environmental discrimination. It contains bold policies that will strengthen the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to require federal agencies to consider the cumulative and disproportionate impacts of pollution on communities of color and those of low-income and would use new fees on oil, gas, and coal companies to fund investments in environmental justice communities.


Opening Headquarters Conference, World Leaders Stress Urgency of International Action to Protect Water as Basic Human Right, Common Dominator for Sustainable Development
UN Press, 22 Mar 2023

Forty-six years since the last United Nations Water Conference was held in Mar de Plata, Argentina, global leaders met today at Headquarters in New York to zero in on the global water crisis and the need to protect this precious resource as a basic human right for the planet’s 8 billion people. The United Nations Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018–2028, kicked off with opening remarks by Water Conference Co-Presidents Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan, and Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands. Mr. Rahmon stressed the urgency of international action as 2 billion people lack safe drinking water; 3.6 billion people lack safe sanitation; and almost 0.5 million people die from water-related infectious diseases every year. 


New climate paper calls for charging big US oil firms with homicide
The Guardian , 22 Mar 2023

Oil companies have come under increasing legal scrutiny and face allegations of defrauding investors, racketeering, and a wave of other lawsuits. But a new paper argues there’s another way to hold big oil accountable for climate damage: trying companies for homicide. The striking and seemingly radical legal theory is laid out in a paper accepted for publication in the Harvard Environmental Law Review. In it, the authors argue fossil fuel companies “have not simply been lying to the public, they have been killing members of the public at an accelerating rate, and prosecutors should bring that crime to the public’s attention”. “What’s on their ledger in terms of harm, there’s nothing like it in human history,” said David Arkush, the director of the climate program at consumer advocacy group Public Citizen and one of the paper’s authors.


EU climate chief calls for higher ambition at COP28 after IPCC report
EURACTIV, 21 Mar 2023

The latest synthesis report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “should be the basis for greater ambition at COP28” the EU’s climate chief Frans Timmermans said about the UN’s yearly climate conference which will take place in Dubai this year. “Temperatures have already risen to 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a consequence of more than a century of burning fossil fuels, as well as unequal and unsustainable energy and land use,” the UN said after its climate body, the IPCC, published its yearly report on Monday (20 March). The EU’s climate chief, Frans Timmermans, took to Twitter to remind that Dubai will host this year’s COP28 in November, offering an opportunity to quickly raise global climate ambitions after what he said was a disappointing UN climate summit last year. “Many stakeholders, far too many, are not prepared to do more today in the fight against the climate crisis,” he said after COP27 in November.


Scientists deliver ‘final warning’ on climate crisis: act now or it’s too late
The Guardian , 20 Mar 2023

Scientists have delivered a “final warning” on the climate crisis, as rising greenhouse gas emissions push the world to the brink of irrevocable damage that only swift and drastic action can avert. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), made up of the world’s leading climate scientists, set out the final part of its mammoth sixth assessment report on Monday. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, said: “This report is a clarion call to massively fast-track climate efforts by every country and every sector and on every timeframe. Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once.” In sober language, the IPCC set out the devastation that has already been inflicted on swathes of the world. Extreme weather caused by climate breakdown has led to increased deaths from intensifying heatwaves in all regions, millions of lives and homes destroyed in droughts and floods, millions of people facing hunger, and “increasingly irreversible losses” in vital ecosystems.