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Devastated Island Leaders: Climate Change 'A Truth Which Hits Us'
As residents in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands prepared to take cover from Hurricane Maria, representatives of island nations devastated by hurricanes made a plea to the UN for recovery funding.
In a hastily-convened special session, leaders of Barbuda, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and other nations detailed the billions of dollars needed to rebuild after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and argued that the increasing impacts of climate change on island nations required a rethinking of how the UN provides humanitarian aid.
The intense hurricane season and climate change were top talking points for several officials at the UN yesterday. While criticizing President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris agreement, French President Emmanuel Macron said the hurricanes were "the direct result of carbon dioxide emissions," while UN Secretary-General António Guterres said reducing emissions "must clearly be part" of responding to the hurricanes.
"There are lives being destroyed," Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina said. "Irma is not a phenomenon in isolation, but an extreme symptom of a greater problem ... Climate change and its consequences should not be the subject of speculation or debate. It's a truth which hits us and which causes great uncertainty."
As reported by the New York Times:
"The issue of whether countries should be assured of some aid to rebuild from storms or droughts, or to relocate citizens if need be, is known in United Nations parlance as 'loss and damage.' The question of wealthy nations' responsibility for providing this compensation has never been fully resolved. Industrialized nations have consistently rejected being held legally liable for their decades of carbon pollution.
After a protracted debate, the Obama administration allowed the Paris agreement in 2015 to acknowledge the special needs of vulnerable countries, but American negotiators supported a provision saying that doing so 'does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation.'"
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The world awakened to the hole in the ozone layer in 1985, which scientists attributed it to ozone depleting substances. Two years later, in Montreal, the world agreed to ban the halogen compounds causing the massive hole over Antarctica. Research now shows that those chemicals didn't just cut a hole in the ozone layer, they also warmed up the Arctic.
Formosa Plant May Still Be Releasing Plastic Pollution in Texas After $50M Settlement, Activists Find
On the afternoon of Jan. 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas.
After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa in 2017, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region's waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.
Malaysia Sends Plastic Waste Back to 13 Wealthy Countries, Says It Won’t Be 'the Rubbish Dump of the World'
The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.