Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

U.S. One of Five Countries to Oppose UN Environment Pact

Politics
French President Emmanuel Macron launches the Global Pact for the Environment in September. Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in New York

The U.S. was one of only five countries to vote against a UN move towards establishing a Global Pact for the Environment on Thursday, The Associated Press reported.


The pact, the brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, would be "the first international legally binding document, gathering and harmonizing all environmental laws in one single document," according to the Permanent mission of France to the UN.

The resolution, approved by 143 of the 193 members of the UN General Assembly, with seven countries abstaining, called on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to produce a report for September's General Assembly session outlining any gaps in international environmental law. It also empowered a working group to prepare recommendations for filling those gaps to be presented in 2019.

Supporters see the pact as a way to continue the work of the Paris agreement and the 2030 UN goals for fighting poverty and protecting the Earth.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre, who spoke before the vote on behalf of the resolution's more than 90 co-sponsors, raised concerns about climate change, water and air pollution and biodiversity loss, saying these problems were already impacting the world's most vulnerable populations.

"If we don't act decisively, we are exposing ourselves to dire consequences: the exhaustion of natural resources, migrations, and an upsurge in conflicts," he said.

But President Donald Trump's appointee for U.S. UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, disagreed. In a statement reported by Fox News on Wednesday, Haley said she would vote against the resolution.

"When international bodies attempt to force America into vague environmental commitments, it's a sure sign that American citizens and businesses will get stuck paying a large bill without getting large benefits. The proposed global compact is not in our interests, and we oppose it," she said.

Her statement is of a piece with Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement.

The other countries who voted against the resolution were Russia, Turkey, the Philippines and Syria.

The idea for the pact was first floated by Macron in June 2017 and officially launched with a UN speech by Macron on Sept. 19, 2017.

In the speech, Macron alluded to the UN's long history of environmental statements and protocols based on extensive research and said all that work deserved to be codified in a single document.

"This draft is a challenge posed to us all: to build, in a way, the law which the epoch we've entered—the anthropocene epoch—needs," he said.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A grizzly bear sow with cub in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Danita Delimont / Gallo Images / Getty Images Plus

Grizzly bears in Wyoming and Idaho won't be subject to a trophy hunt thanks to a federal court decision Wednesday upholding endangered species protections for these iconic animals.

Read More Show Less
Oregano oil is an extract that is not as strong as the essential oil, but appears to be useful both when consumed or applied to the skin. Peakpx / CC by 1.0

By Alexandra Rowles

Oregano is a fragrant herb that's best known as an ingredient in Italian food.

However, it can also be concentrated into an essential oil that's loaded with antioxidants and powerful compounds that have proven health benefits.

Read More Show Less
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meets Ronaldo Caiado, governor of the state of Goiás on June 5, 2020. Palácio do Planalto / CC BY 2.0

Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has presided over the world's second worst coronavirus outbreak after the U.S., said Tuesday that he had tested positive for the virus.

Read More Show Less
Although natural gas produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, it is a major contributor to climate change, an urgent global problem. Skitterphoto / PIxabay

By Emily Grubert

Natural gas is a versatile fossil fuel that accounts for about a third of U.S. energy use. Although it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, natural gas is a major contributor to climate change, an urgent global problem. Reducing emissions from the natural gas system is especially challenging because natural gas is used roughly equally for electricity, heating, and industrial applications.

Read More Show Less
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved two Lysol products as the first to effectively kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces, based on laboratory testing. Paul Hennessy / NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a list of 431 products that are effective at killing viruses when they are on surfaces. Now, a good year for Lysol manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser just got better when the EPA said that two Lysol products are among the products that can kill the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unveils the Green New Deal resolution in front of the U.S. Capitol on February 7, 2019 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

By Judith Lewis Mernit

For all its posturing on climate change, the Democratic Party has long been weak on the actual policies we need to save us from extinction. President Barack Obama promised his presidency would mark "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow," and then embraced natural gas, a major driver of global temperature rise, as a "bridge fuel." Climate legislation passed in the House in 2009 would have allowed industries to buy credits to pollute, a practice known to concentrate toxic air in black and brown neighborhoods while doing little to cut emissions.

Read More Show Less

Trending

About 30,000 claims contending that Roundup caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are currently unsettled. Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

Bayer's $10 billion settlement to put an end to roughly 125,000 lawsuits against its popular weed killer Roundup, which contains glyphosate, hit a snag this week when a federal judge in San Francisco expressed skepticism over what rights future plaintiffs would have, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Read More Show Less