26 November 2020 - NPWJ News Digest on Environmental Justice & Human Rights

Articles

Government blocks proposed mine that threatened Alaska salmon fishery
The Guardian, 25 Nov 2020

The Trump administration on Wednesday denied a permit for a controversial gold and copper mine near the headwaters of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery in south-west Alaska. Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League advocacy group, said the decision would be met with a “sigh of relief” from tribal people, fishers and local communities. Marc Fink, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said the mine would have caused “irreparable damage” to the Bristol Bay area.

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Is Jeff Bezos really serious about beating climate change?
The Financial Times, 25 Nov 2020

An Instagram post earlier this month from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — announcing he had scattered $791m across various climate charities. And there’s more on the way — Bezos’s donations are “just the beginning” of his $10bn Bezos Earth Fund. For Bezos, routinely celebrated as one of the most disruptive innovators on earth, his climate donations are distinctly lacking in either disruption or innovation. Recent events at Amazon make Bezos’s giving look a bit defensive. In September 2019, employees began staging walkouts to protest the company’s climate policies, creating a major image problem. Some of the employees’ demands have been met — Amazon adopted a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

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Wildlife crimes and human rights abuses plague Taiwanese fishing vessels, crews say
National Geographic, 25 Nov 2020

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), a U.K.-based nonprofit that investigates environmental and human rights abuses, says that [there are] widespread human rights, environmental, and fishing violations among many Taiwanese fishing vessels. In a recent report, the EJF said that abuse of crew members—along with illegal fishing for sharks and dolphins, among other species—is common in Taiwan’s distant-water fishing fleet, one of the world’s largest with more than a thousand vessels. China and Taiwan represent nearly 60 percent of the world’s distant-water fishing vessels.

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1% of farms operate 70% of world's farmland
The Guardian, 24 Nov 2020

One per cent of the world’s farms operate 70% of crop fields, ranches and orchards, according to a report that highlights the impact of land inequality on the climate and nature crises. Since the 1980s, researchers found control over the land has become far more concentrated both directly through ownership and indirectly through contract farming, which results in more destructive monocultures and fewer carefully tended smallholdings. Taking the rising value of property and the growth of landless populations into account for the first time, the report calculates land inequality is 41% higher than previously believed. 

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Carbon dioxide levels keep rising despite industrial lockdown
Aljazeera, 23 Nov 2020

Carbon dioxide levels hit new highs last year and are expected to keep growing in 2020, despite coronavirus-related restrictions that forced a global industrial slowdown. The alarming patterns were published on Monday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), crushing hopes that lockdowns across the world would have pushed emissions, the main driver to climate change, to a record low.

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