5 January 2023 – Environmental Justice & Human Rights

5 Jan, 2023 | News Digests

Controversial Cumbria coal mine decision by government may be scrutinised in court

Sky News, 04 Jan 2023

The government said the coal mine is compatible with climate commitments, but campaigners argue the coal, which would be used for the steel industry, should be left in the ground to stave off global heating and international condemnation. A legal battle is brewing over the government’s decision to approve the UK’s first new coal mine in decades, shortly after it had pressured other countries to ditch the polluting fossil fuel. Friends of the Earth (FOE), which fiercely campaigned against a new mine in Cumbria during the years of planning disputes, has confirmed it will file a claim later this month. It will focus on the impacts that the mine, which is to provide coking coal for steel-making, will have on climate breakdown. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel.

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Five environmental trailblazers forging a better world

UN Environment Programme, 04 Jan 2023

As 2023 begins, the planet is facing what experts call an alarming deterioration of the natural world. Humans have disturbed some three-quarters of the Earth’s dry land and two-thirds of its marine environments. As forests fall and oceans fill with pollution, 1 million species are being pushed towards extinction. But around the world, scientists, entrepreneurs, indigenous leaders and many others are finding innovative ways to protect and revive battered ecosystems. Among those environmental pioneers are the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP’s) most recent Champions of the Earth. Recipients of the UN’s highest environmental honour, many have served as inspiration for everyday people aiming to do their part to protect and restore the natural world.

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‘Feels like summer’: Warm winter breaks temperature records in Europe

Reuters, 04 Jan 2023

Record-high winter temperatures swept across parts of Europe over the new year, bringing calls from activists for faster action against climate change while offering short-term respite to governments struggling with high gas prices. Hundreds of sites have seen temperature records smashed in the past days, from Switzerland to Poland to Hungary, which registered its warmest Christmas Eve in Budapest and saw temperatures climb to 18.9 degrees Celsius (66.02°F) on Jan. 1. In France, where the night of Dec. 30-31 was the warmest since records began, temperatures climbed to nearly 25C in the southwest on New Year’s Day while normally bustling European ski resorts were deserted due to a lack of snow.

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Why 2023 will be a watershed year for climate litigation

The Guardian , 04 Jan 2023

Over the past 12 months, courts from Indonesia to Australia have made groundbreaking rulings that blocked polluting power plants and denounced the human rights violations of the climate crisis. But 2023 could be even more important, with hearings and judgments across the world poised to throw light on the worst perpetrators, give victims a voice and force recalcitrant governments and companies into action. Although the bulk of climate lawsuits have been filed in the US, most have been thrown out of court or bogged down in procedural arguments. This year will, however, finally see a case go to trial when a group of children and young people between the ages of five and 21 square off against the state of Montana. Over two weeks in June, they will argue that the US state is failing to protect their constitutional rights, including the right to a healthy and clean environment, by supporting an energy system driven by fossil fuels. They will also say climate breakdown is degrading vital resources such as rivers, lakes, fish and wildlife which are held in trust for the public.

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UN climate chief aims dig at Britain over coalmine

The Times, 03 Jan 2023

The UN’s new climate change chief has issued a thinly veiled criticism of the British government’s decision to approve its first coalmine in decades after calling for an end to the polluting fuel at international climate talks. The decision on the Cumbria mine was due during the Cop27 climate conference in November, when the government pushed for an acceleration of a global coal phase-out and helped to organise a $20 billion deal for Indonesia to ditch coal. The planning decision was delayed but then green-lit just weeks afterwards by Michael Gove, the levelling-up secretary.

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Proposed EU Nature Restoration Law Could be the First Big Step Toward Achieving COP15’s Ambitious Plan to Staunch Biodiversity Loss

Inside Climate News, 02 Jan 2023

In the race to reach the new COP15 goals to heal damaged ecosystems, the European Union could have a head start if it passes an ambitious nature restoration law pending in the European Parliament. The new EU law would set specific timetables for repairing degraded rivers, wetlands, fields and forests across 1.6 million square miles stretching across the 27 member countries from Scandinavia to the Iberian and Balkan peninsulas. If enacted, it would be the first big step toward achieving the global targets set at the U.N.’s biodiversity conference held in Montreal in December, which called for reweaving some of nature’s tattered fabric to staunch the loss of plant and animal species. With biologists warning that a mass extinction is probably already under way, a new agreement at the conference sets a global goal of protecting 30 percent of degraded ecosystems by 2030.

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