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What's New?

Government Accountability Office Study Recommends Important Changes to Deal with Flood Risks from Climate Change
February 15, 2024. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued an extensive report today entitled "Climate Change: Options to Enhance the Resilience of Federally Funded Flood Risk Management Infrastructure" which provides a set of 14 recommendations that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can use to address a range of critical challenges to infrastructure from flooding caused in significant part by climate change. As the GAO explained in its WatchBlog post announcing the report, the corps "is responsible for planning, designing, and constructing much of the nation's federally funded flood risk management infrastructure--for example, levees, dams, floodwalls, floodgates, and hurricane barriers--that help protect communities from coastal storms and floods."
   Read the Report.
   Read the GAO WatchBlog Post on the Study.

COP28 Ends with Global Commitment to Phase Out Fossil Fuels
December 13, 2023. The COP 28 Climate Change Conference in Dubai has ended with the announcement of an agreement known as the "Global Stocktaking" decision which, among other things, calls for a phasing out of the use of fossil fuels by 2050. The press release announcing the end of the conference said: "'Whilst we didn't turn the page on the fossil fuel era in Dubai, this outcome is the beginning of the end,' said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell in his closing speech. 'Now all governments and businesses need to turn these pledges into real-economy outcomes, without delay.' The global stocktake is considered the central outcome of COP28--as it contains every element that was under negotiation and can now be used by countries to develop stronger climate action plans due by 2025. The stocktake recognizes the science that indicates global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut 43% by 2030, compared to 2019 levels, to limit global warming to 1.5°C. But it notes Parties are off track when it comes to meeting their Paris Agreement goals."
   The COP 29 conference will be held in November 2024 in Azerbaijan.
   Read the COP 28 Press Release Announcing the Agreement and Other Conference Actions.
   Read the "Global Stocktaking" decision.
   Read the Chairman's End of Conference Speech.
   Access the COP 28 Website.

Supreme Court Denies Hearing in State Challenges to Biden Administration Policy on "Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases"
October 11, 2023. The Supreme Court denied certiorari yesterday in a case brought by Missouri and ten other states challenging the Biden administration's climate change policies requiring that the social costs of greenhouses gases are to be calculated by an interagency working group and used in agency policymaking across the federal government. A number of states brought challenges that were dismissed in the lower courts. (See the post on this page of April 5 concerning the Fifth Circuit ruling on the Louisian suit.) The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri dismissed for lack of standing and the Eighth Circuit affirmed that ruling. The Supreme Court included the denial of certiorari in an order list released yesterday and no dissents from denial were issued by any of the justices. Missouri v. Biden, No. 22-1248.
   Among the first things President Biden did upon taking office was to issue E.O. 13,990 entitled Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science To Tackle the Climate Crisis. Part of that order re-establish an interagency working group that was to "develop guidance on the 'social cost of greenhouse gases'" that would include "dollar estimates quantifying changes in carbon, methane, and nitrous oxide emissions (collectively, 'greenhouse gases') for consideration by federal agencies when policymaking." Louisiana v. Biden, at 2.
   Read the Lower Court Opinions.
   Read Missouri's Petition for Certiorari.
   Read U.S. Brief in Opposition to the Petition for Certiorari.
   Read E.O. 13,990.
   Read Request for Comment on "Technical Support Document: Social Cost of Carbon, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide Interim Estimates Under Executive Order 13990."

White House Announces Creation of the American Climate Corps
September 20, 2023. The White House today announced that it is creating through executive action an American Climate Corps that was orignally proposed as part of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) but was not included as part of the final legislation. The administration's announcement did not indicate whether a new executive order would be forthcoming, but issued "Fact Sheet" which states that the Climate Corps policy is "a workforce training and service initiative that will ensure more young people have access to the skills-based training necessary for good-paying careers in the clean energy and climate resilience economy. The American Climate Corps will mobilize a new, diverse generation of more than 20,000 Americans--putting them to work conserving and restoring our lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, deploying clean energy, implementing energy efficient technologies, and advancing environmental justice, all while creating pathways to high-quality, good-paying clean energy and climate resilience jobs in the public and private sectors after they complete their paid training program." It lists action proposed for a number of federal agencies, including the Department of Labor, Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Energy, and AmeriCorps which will be part of an interagency memorandum memorandum of understanding that will provide the foundation for the new program. It indicated that "AmeriCorps will stand up a new 'American Climate Corps hub,' which will support the American Climate Corps." Finally, the fact sheet announced the creation of a new website that is intended to recruit young people to learn more about the Corps and indicate their possible interest in joining.
   After the proposal was removed from the IRA proposal, the states of California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, and Washington created climate corps programs. Todays' White House announcement indicated that in addition to those the states of Arizona, Utah, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Maryland are in the process of creating such programs.
   Read the Fact Sheet on the Climate Corps.

GAO Issues New Report on State and Local Efforts to Address Climate Change
August 4, 2023. The Government Accountability Office has released a new report entitled "Climate Change: State and Local Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Vehicles. In introducing the report GAO said: "The Explanatory Statement on the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 included a provision for GAO to examine the extent to which states and MPOs collect performance information on transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, among other things. This report describes activities selected state DOTs and MPOs have taken related to estimating, analyzing the effects of transportation investments on, and using reduction targets for on-road greenhouse gas emissions." The GAO examined 10 state departments of transportation and 10 metropolitan planning organizations.
   Read the Report.
   View the GAO WatchBlog Post on the New Report.

EPA Proposes New Standards to Address Lead Levels in Schools and Homes
July 12, 2023. The Environmental Protection Agency had issued proposed rules significantly reducing allowable levels of lead dust and other indicators of lead-based paints. In issuing the proposed rules, EPA wrote: "Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposal to strengthen requirements for the removal of lead-based paint hazards in pre-1978 buildings and child care facilities, known as abatement activities, to better protect children and communities from the harmful effects of exposure to dust generated from lead paint, advancing President Biden's whole-of-government approach to protecting families and children from lead exposure. If finalized, this rule is estimated to reduce the lead exposures of approximately 250,000 to 500,000 children under age six per year." For more information and documents, see the Health Care, Disability, and Development page of this website.

Summit for a New Global Financial Pact Next Week in Paris
June 15, 2023. Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, and Emmanuel Mcron, President of the french Republic have announced a "Summit for a New Global FInancial Pact" next week in Paris to address current and future challenges to meeting the SG 2030 goals and addressing climate change as well as the social and economic dimensions of sustainable development. In announcing the event, the Summit website indicates that: "The Summit will last two days. It will include debate at the highest level between Heads of State and Government, leaders of international organizations, and representatives of civil society, foundations, funds and the private sector." They organizers also noted that they expect more than 100 heads of state, 300 representatives from civil society and international organizations, and 70 representatives from private sector and philanthropic organizations.
   Access the Summit Website.

AP Story highlights General Services Administration Pollinator Protection Initiative
June 13, 2023. The AP recently carried a story by Mark Pratt entitled "Honeybee Health Blooms at Federal Facilities Across the Country" considering the progress of the General Services Administration's Pollinator Protection Initiative one year after its implementation. The in response to a 2014 presidential memorandum on protection of pollinators, the GSA program locates beehives on the roofs of federal buildings in different locations around the country. The presidential memorandum resulted in a task force report entitled "National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators." The AP story also has a brief video on the program.
   Access the GSA Pollinator Protection Initiative Website.
   Read the 2022 GSA Announcement of the Pollinator Initiative.
   Read the AP Story.
   Read the 2014 Presidential Memorandum.
   Read the Task Force Report.

Fifth Circuit Rejects State Challenges to Biden Administration Policy on "Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases"
April 5, 2023. The Fifth Circuit has dismissed a challenge by a number of states to a Biden administration policy that is part of the administration's initiative to address climate change. Among the first things President Biden did upon taking office was to issue E.O. 13,990 entitled Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science To Tackle the Climate Crisis. Part of that order re-establish an interagency working group that was to "develop guidance on the 'social cost of greenhouse gases'" that would include "dollar estimates quantifying changes in carbon, methane, and nitrous oxide emissions (collectively, 'greenhouse gases') for consideration by federal agencies when policymaking." Louisiana v. Biden, at 2. Ten state attorneys general challenged the order and its implementation in the Western District of Louisiana on a variety of grounds. A panel of the Fifth Circuit has dismissed the case on grounds that they lacked standing to bring the suit.
   Read the Opinion.
   Read E.O. 13,990.
   Read Request for Comment on "Technical Support Document: Social Cost of Carbon, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide Interim Estimates Under Executive Order 13990."

President Biden Issues Memorandum Protecting Pacific Island and Atoll Ecosystems and Cultural Heritage
March 24, 2023. President Biden has issued a new presidential memorandum entitled "Memorandum on Conserving the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Pacific Remote Islands" directing the Secretary of Commerce to move the process forward to develop marine sanctuaries in for a number of islands and atolls in the Pacific, following on earlier proclamations during the G.W. Bush and Obama administrations, intended to provide ecosystem and also cultural heritage protection in the region. In today's memorandum, the president specifically addressed Howland, Baker, Jarvis, and Wake Islands; Johnston and Palmyra Atolls; and Kingman Reef and the areas around them. In the memorandum issued today, the President wrote in part: "The areas around Howland and Baker Islands, Palmyra Atoll, and Kingman Reef that remain unprotected include ecologically significant deep-water habitats and an associated array of seamounts with exceptional value for their biodiversity; spawning and feeding grounds for skipjack, yellowfin, and bigeye tuna species; and multiple apex predators that play a vital role in maintaining ecological balance and resilience of the ecosystem. Research continues to reveal the importance of these relatively unexplored habitats to the health, nutrient cycling, and carbon sequestration of the ocean."
   Read the Memorandum.
   Read Proclamation 8336 of January 6, 2009 (Establishment of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument).
   Read the Proclamation 9173 of September 25, 2014 (Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Expansion).

New IPCC Report on Climate Change and Calls for Action
March 20, 2023. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued its finds for the AR6 Synthesis Report with one its dramatic conclusions stating that: "Global GHG emissions in 2030 implied by nationally determined contributions (NDCs) announced by October 2021 make it likely that warming will exceed 1.5°C during the 21st century and make it harder to limit warming below 2°C. There are gaps between projected emissions from implemented policies and those from NDCs and finance flows fall short of the levels needed to meet climate goals across all sectors and regions." IPCC Headline Statements. The press release accompanying publication of the report is not intended to abandon hope and advocates actions needed if there is an attempt to save the 1.5 target and certainly avoid the 2 degree point. However, it also insists that: "Emissions should be decreasing by now and will need to be cut by almost half by 2030, if warming is to be limited to 1.5°C."
   Since the meeting at which the report was approved has just concluded, the full report has not yet been released, but the Summary for Policymakers and a variety of supporting materials are posted below. The full report will be posted as soon as it is available.
   Some of the findings of the report were anticipated in light of various earlier reports, see the posting for April 4 on this webpage.
   Read the Report's Summary for Policymakers.
   Read the Headline Statements Released by IPCC with the Report.
   Read the Press Statement on Release of the Report.
   Access the IPCC AR6 Report Page with Video and Links to the Elements of the Report and Supporting Materials.
   Read the IPCC Slide Presidentation on the Report.
   Read UN Secretary General's Statement on Release of the Report.
   Access the IPCC Website.

EPA to Issue Rules to Address PFAS Pollution in Drinking Water
March 15, 2023. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced yesterday a series of actions to address PFAS (Per- and and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) pollution, particularly in drinking water, as part of the implementation of what EPA terms its "PFAS Strategy Roadmap." In announcing the proposed rules, the agency release noted: "EPA will be holding two informational webinars about the proposed PFAS NDPWR on March 16, 2023, and March 29, 2023. The webinars will be similar, with each intended for specific audiences. Registration is required to attend. The webinar recordings and presentation materials will be made available following the webinars at this website. For questions related to the public webinars, contact" They will also be holding a hearing on May 4. More information on these activities and the registration links are available on EPA's PFAS Webpage (posted below).
   Read the EPA Press Release.
   Read the EPA Pre-publication Notice of Rulemaking of March 13.
   Read EPA's Fact Sheet "EPA's Proposal to Limit PFAS in Drinking Water."
   Read Biden Administration March 14 Fact Sheet on Actions to Address PFAS Pollution.
   Read EPA's "PFAS Strategy Roadmap."
   Access EPA's PFAS Webpage.

United Nations Reaches Historic Agreement on Oceans Protection
March 5, 2023. Delegates from over 190 countries at the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction reached agreement on what is being called a historic agreement on protecting oceans and the species in them. It concerns the oceans outside national jurisdictions. As the UN announcement indicated: "Already being referred to as the 'High Seas Treaty', the legal framework would place 30 per cent of the world's oceans into protected areas, put more money into marine conservation, and covers access to and use of marine genetic resources." There is some technical work to be completed before the text will be released and there will be a formal adoption process.
   Read the UN Press Announcement of the Agreement.
   Access the BBNJ Website.

GAO Produces Recommendations for Dealing with Agricultural Challenges Due to Climate Change
February 16, 2023. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has announced a new report entitled "Options to Enhance the Resilience of Agricultural Producers and Reduce Federal Fiscal Exposure," setting out 13 recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to address challenges related to climate change. In presenting the report, GAO wrote: "Agricultural production is projected to decline in regions with increased frequency and duration of climate change impacts, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment. Congress has appropriated more than $15 billion in agricultural disaster relief in recent years. Extreme weather events also create fiscal exposure from the federal crop insurance program. In 2021, this program insured over 100 agricultural commodities, with a total program liability of $136.6 billion."
   Read the Report.
   Read the GAO Blog Post on the Report.

COP 15 UN Biodiversity Conference Today Approved New Global Biodiversity Framework To Protect the Environment and Address Climate Change
December 19, 2022. The COP 15 Biodiversity Conference Concluded with passage of a new document known as the Global Biodiversity Framework with commitments to protect 30% of land and 30% of ocean areas as well as to take other actions to address climate change. Some 196 nations agreed. The press release announcing these actions noted that: "Convened under UN auspices, chaired by China, and hosted by Canada, the 15th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the "Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework" (GBF), including four goals and 23 targets for achievement by 2030." The U.S. has not ratified the Biodiversity Convention and is therefore not a member of the conference of parties to the convention.
   Read the UNEP Press Release on the Actions Taken by COP 15.
   Read the Kunming-Montreal Global biodiversity framework.
   Read the Monitoring framework for the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework.
   Read the Mechanisms for planning, monitoring, reporting and review.
   Read the Capacity-building and development and technical and scientific cooperation.
   Read Resource mobilization.
   Read Digital sequence information on genetic resources.
   Read the Biodiversity Convention.
   Access the Conference of the Parties (to the Biodiversity Convention) Website.
   Access COP 15 Resources.
   Access the COP 15 Website .
   Access the COP 15 Documents and Materials Website .

House Oversight Committee Releases Documents Alleging Greenwashing by Oil Companies Who Claim to Be Moving to Address Climate Change
December 9, 2022. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform today released a memorandum and supporting documents on what it terms an "Investigation of Fossil Fuel Industry Disinformation." In its announcement of these releases Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Representative Ro Khanna, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment" alleged that their investigation and supporting documents indicate that: "the fossil fuel industry engages in 'greenwashing' to obscure its massive long-term investments in fossil fuels and failure to meaningfully reduce emissions." Press Release. They provided the documents to which they referred which are indicated below.
   Read the Memorandum for the Committee .
   Read the Committee's Press Release About the Documents.
   Read the API document.
   Read the BP document.
   Read Chevron document.
   Read the Exxon document.
   Read the Shell document.

GAO Provides Interactive Map Identifying Climate Hazards for U.S. State Department Operations Abroad
November 29, 2022. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today published an interactive map showing climate hazards that could disrupt U.S State Department operations around the world. This followed on a report issued on November 17 on the subject entitled, "Overseas Real Property: State's Initial Assessment of Natural Hazard Risks Faced By its Posts." The new map allows users to apply filters for All Risks, Extreme Heat, Extreme Wind, Water Stress, Riverine Flooding, Coastal Flooding, Earthquakes, Landslides, and Tsunamis
   In an unusual step, GAO has also released a brief YouTube Video, narrated by GAO Acting Director of Physical Infrastructure Catina Latham, explaining the map and the Climate Security and Resilience Program created in 2020.
   Access the Interactive Map of Climate Hazards.
   Read the GAO WatchBlog Post.
   Read the November 17 Report.
   Watch the YouTube Video with GAO Acting Director of Physical Infrastructure Catina Latham.

COP 27 Participants Create "Loss and Damage Fund" for Vulnerable Countries Impacted by the Climate Change and Other Decisions Under the "Sharm el-Sheikh Plan"
November 21, 2022. UN Claimate Change has announced new agreements reached at COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Including Creation of the Loss and Damage Fund to Address Impacts of Climate Change. They also announced a series of decisions taken at the conference as well asthe what is being termed the "cover decision" for the agreements known as the "Sharm el-Sheikh Plan." The release explains: "COP27 saw significant progress on adaptation, with governments agreeing on the way to move forward on the Global Goal on Adaptation, which will conclude at COP28 and inform the first Global Stocktake, improving resilience amongst the most vulnerable. New pledges, totaling more than USD 230 million, were made to the Adaptation Fund at COP27. These pledges will help many more vulnerable communities adapt to climate change through concrete adaptation solutions. COP27 President Sameh Shoukry announced the Sharm el-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda, enhancing resilience for people living in the most climate-vulnerable communities by 2030. UN Climate Change's Standing Committee on Finance was requested to prepare a report on doubling adaptation finance for consideration at COP28 next year. The cover decision, known as the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan, highlights that a global transformation to a low-carbon economy is expected to require investments of at least USD 4-6 trillion a year. Delivering such funding will require a swift and comprehensive transformation of the financial system and its structures and processes, engaging governments, central banks, commercial banks, institutional investors and other financial actors." News Release. COP 28 is scheduled for this time next year in Dubai, United Arab Emerites. The first order of business will be to determine whether there is action on implementation of the commitments from COP 26 and COP 27 and specifically whether there is both action on reducing emissions and also providing the funding promised in these conferences.
   Read the Press Release on the creating of the "Loss and Damage Fund" and Other Actions taken at COP-27
   Access the "Decisions taken at the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference" Webpage.
   Read the Sharm el-Sheikh Plan
   Access the COP-27 Website
   Access the UN Climate Change Website.

GAO Issues Science & Tech Spotlight on Biorecycling of Plastics
November 21, 2022. The Government Accountability Office today issued a "Science & Tech Spotlight" on the subject of "Biorecycling of Plastics." The GAO Watchblog Post on the subject explains that: "Of the 353 million tons of plastic waste generated globally in 2019, nearly 70 percent was put in landfills or incinerated, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. generated about 36 million tons of municipal plastic waste in 2018, with about 9 percent recycled." Given the importance of that fact, GAO has published a very brief "Science & Tech Spotlight" issue dealing with efforts to development biorecycling technologies that can break down the plastics with the goal of being able to reuse the recycled plastic material, made largely from petrochemicals originally thus reducting chemicals and also addressing the major waste and pollution impacts of plastic.
   Read the GAO Science and Tech Spotlight
   Read the GAO Watchblog Post on the Spotlight

New UN Climate Change Reports Intensify Dire Climate Change Warnings Ahead of Global COP 27 Conference in Egypt Next Month
October 27, 2022. UN announcements yesterday by "UN Climate Change" ahead of the COP 27 Climate Conference to be held November 6-18 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt warned of even more dramatic changes to come as most countries fall short of commitments under the Paris Climate Accords. Another major report came from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) the UN's "specialized agency for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences." The third report came from UNEP, the "Emissions Gap Report 2022." All three sets of reports issued ominous findings about global warming and related climate change and insisting that time has run out and action is essential to avoid the rapid approach of direct climate consequences, far worse even than those dramatic impacts already apparent.
   The release on the "Nationally Determined Contributions Report" began: "A new report from UN Climate Change shows countries are bending the curve of global greenhouse gas emissions downward but underlines that these efforts remain insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. According to the report, the combined climate pledges of 193 Parties under the Paris Agreement could put the world on track for around 2.5 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century. Today's report also shows current commitments will increase emissions by 10.6% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. This is an improvement over last year's assessment, which found countries were on a path to increase emissions by 13.7% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels." Despite some indication of progress in some areas, the overal report provides yet another grave warning about the threats of global warming and the inadequate response of nations notwithstanding their commitments at the time of the Paris Accords and even since COP 26 in Glasgow in 2022.
   . The UNEP has just issued its Emission Gap Report 2022 entitled "The Closing Window." In the press release announcing the UNEP Emissions Gap Report, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned: "Our world cannot afford any more greenwashing, fake movers or late movers," he added. "We must close the emissions gap before climate catastrophe closes in on us all." In its release, UNEP wrote, "As climate impacts intensify, the Emissions Gap Report 2022 finds that only an urgent system-wide transformation can avoid an accelerating climate disaster."
   In its press announcement on its new report, "The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin," the WMO said: "WMO records biggest increase in methane concentrations since start of measurements." "In yet another ominous climate change warning, atmospheric levels of the three main greenhouse gases--carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide--all reached new record highs in 2021, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). WMO's Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reported the biggest year-on-year jump in methane concentrations in 2021 since systematic measurements began nearly 40 years ago. The reason for this exceptional increase is not clear, but seems to be a result of both biological and human-induced processes. The increase in carbon dioxide levels from 2020 to 2021 was larger than the average annual growth rate over the last decade. Measurements from WMO's Global Atmosphere Watch network stations show that these levels continues to rise in 2022 over the whole globe. Between 1990 and 2021, the warming effect on our climate (known as radiative forcing) by long-lived greenhouse gases rose by nearly 50%, with carbon dioxide accounting for about 80% of this increase."
   Read the UN Climate Change Press Release on the Report.
   Read the 2022 Nationally Determined Contributions Synthesis Report
   Read the 2022 Long-Term Low-Emission Development Strategies Synthesis Report
   Read the UNEP Emissions Gap Report.
   Read the Press Release for the UNEP Report.
   Read the WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.
   Read the World Meteorological Organization Press Release on the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin
   Access the UN Climate Change Website
   Access the World Meteorolgical Organization Website

New Study Shows Artic Warming Four Times Faster than Global Average
August 11, 2022. In a new article entitled, "The Arctic has warmed nearly four times faster than the globe since 1979" published was today in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, Mika Rantanen, Alexey Yu. Karpechko, Antti Lipponen, Kalle Nordling, Otto Hyvärinen, Kimmo Ruosteenoja, Timo Vihma and Ari Laaksonen state that: "[D]uring the last 43 years the Arctic has been warming nearly four times faster than the globe," a rate higher than many previous studies. The piece examines data with respect to the phenomenon known as Artic Amplification, the more rapid warming of the artic as compared with rates in other regions. These authors, from institutions in Finland and Norway, begin with the fact that: "The faster warming rate in the Arctic compared to the globe as a whole is nowadays considered a robust fact." [The study is available online Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 3, Article number: 168 (2022).]
   Read the Article

Government Accountability Office Issues New Report on Coordination in Implementing U.S. Policies to Address Global Food Security
June 13, 2022. The Government Accountability has issued a new report entitled "Global Food Security: Coordination of U.S. Assistance Can Be Improved." In announcing the new report, GAO explained: "The Global Food Security Strategy calls for a whole-of-government approach to reducing global hunger and food insecurity. The U.S. Agency for International Development coordinates with other agencies to fulfill this goal. In the 4 countries we selected for our review, agencies reported many ways of coordinating assistance with each other and key stakeholders. But we found their coordination could be improved. For example, the agencies haven't devised a way to share information about each other's current and planned spending."
   The report focused on a study of the federal government's framework for providing coordinated assistance in four countries, including Bangladesh, Guatemala, Kenya, and Niger. "The agencies responsible for implementing the U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy (GFSS)-collectively known as the GFSS Interagency-have established mechanisms for coordinating assistance at the global and country levels.... Agency officials and key stakeholders generally reported favorably on the quality of this coordination. GAO found that the GFSS Interagency's mechanisms for coordinating food security assistance generally address four of seven leading practices GAO has identified as important for collaboration. However, this coordination can be improved." The report goes on to point out both the positive responses and also a number of specific recommendations for improvements in coordination.
   Read the Report
   Read the GAO Blog Post on the Report

Biden Administration Announces Reversal of Trump Era Policies Under the National Environmental Policy Act
April 19, 2022.The Biden administration's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in the Executive Office of the President announced today that it will publish a final rule in the Federal Register tomorrow that restores requirements under the National Environmental policy Act (NEPA) for full environmental impact assessments that include consideration of climate change impacts when regulators are making decisons on permitting of new projects or any other situations involving environmental assessments. This rule reverses actions taken by the Trump administration. In a statement on the rule, the CEQ wrote: "Today, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) finalized a targeted regulation that restores three basic elements of its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations, including a reaffirmation that Federal agencies must evaluate all relevant environmental impacts--including those associated with climate change--during environmental reviews. The specific changes made by today's final "Phase 1" rule restore longstanding provisions that were modified for the first time in 2020; these 2020 changes caused implementation challenges for agencies and sowed confusion among stakeholders and the general public."
   In 2017, President Trump issued E.O. 13807 "Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects," which, inter alia, directed CEQ to revise the NEPA rules in keeping with the administration's commitments to reduce environmental permitting requirements and delays. In response, CEQ launched a rulemaking process and issued the final rule making a series of significant changes in July 2020.
   Immediately upon taking office, President Biden issued On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued E.O. 13990, "Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis" which revoked Trump's executive order and called upon the CEQ and other executive agencies to review NEPA related and other environmental rules. He followed that a week later with E.O. 14008, "Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad," which mandated a variety of actions, but in particular required CEQ and OMB to ensure that permitting decisions including consideration of the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. The CEQ issued interim final rules pending completion of a more comprehensive two-phase rulemaking review and revision. The rule that is now being issued is the Phase 1 rule. The rulemaking process for Phase 2 is ongoing and is intended to be a more comprehensive examination.
   Read the Final Rule as submitted to the Federal Register for Publication on April 20.
   Read the Council on Environmental Quality Announcement of the Rule and Other Actions to Restore NEPA protections.
   Read the Trump E.O. 13807.
   Read the 2020 Final Rule Issued Following on the Trump order.
   Read the Biden E.O. 13990.
   Read the Biden E.O. 14008.
   Access the Council on Environmental Quality Website.

Recent Materials Available on Development in Bangladesh
April 15, 2022. A number of important studies and policy documents have recently been published dealing with development in Bangladesh by UNDP, the Workd Bank, and the Government of Bangladesh. Among these new publications is a new Human Development Report from UNDP entitled, "Advancing Human Development in Bangladesh: Looking Ahead." The World Bank just this week released a "Bangladesh Development Update for 2022." This follows on an updated "Systematic Country Diagnostic in 2021" and in preparation for a new "Country Partnership Framework" not yet released that will replace the current framework for FY 16-20. These materials also follow on the adoption by the government of Bangladesh in 2020 of the 8th 5 year development plan and then by the 2021-22 budget documents. Before that, in 2019, the World Bank issued a report entitled "Financing Solutions For Micro, Small And Medium Enterprises in Bangladesh."
   Read World Bank Bangladesh Development Update 2022.
   Read World Bank Press Release on the New Bangladesh Development Update 2022.
   Read the 2021 UNDP Bangladesh Human Development Report.
   Read the World Bank's 2019 Report "Financing Solutions For Micro, Small And Medium Enterprises in Bangladesh."
   Read the World Bank Systematic Country Diagnostic : 2021 Update.
   Read Country Partnership Framework for Bangladesh for the Period FY16-20.
   Read Bangladesh 8th 5 Year Plan.
   Access the Government of Bangladesh 2021-22 Budget Materials.
   Access the World Bank in Bangladesh Overview Website (Context, Strategy, Results).

Biden Administration Releases New Information on Climate Change Implications for Budget and Finance in FY 2023 and Beyond
April 11, 2022. The White House has added information on the budget and finance implications of Climate Change for the FY 2023 budget and beyond, including two White Papers entitled "Climate Risk Exposure: An Assessment of the Federal Government's Financial Risks to Climate Change" and "Climate-Related Macroeconomic Risks and Opportunities." These are new additions beyond the materials provided with the President's Budget Proposal.
   The administration has also uploaded the remaining key documents related to the release of the president's Budget of the United States for FY 2023, including the "Analytic Perspectives" document which provides the economic and policy assumptions behind the budget, and the "Budget Appendix" which is the document that contains the very detailed information on agency budgets and funds. Those items available are provided in the March 28 post on this webpage.
   Download the "Climate Risk Exposure: An Assessment of the Federal Government's Financial Risks to Climate Change" report to Accompany the FY 2023 Budget.
   Download the "Climate-Related Macroeconomic Risks and Opportunities." report to Accompany the FY 2023 Budget.

New IPCC Report on Mitigation of Climate Change, but UN Secretary General Demands Action
April 4, 2022. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the third in a series of working group reports that will come together in the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report this fall. This third report is entitled "Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change." The Fifth Assessment Report was issued in 2014.In announcing the release of the mitigation working group report, the Chair of the IPCC said, "The IPCC report before us today is powerful evidence that we have the potential to mitigate climate change.We are at a crossroads. This is the time for action. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming and secure a liveable future."
   However, UN Secretary General António Guterres was far more blunt and direct. He wrote: "The jury has reached a verdict. And it is damning. This report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a litany of broken climate promises. It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unliveable world. We are on a fast track to climate disaster.... We are on a pathway to global warming of more than double the 1.5°C limit agreed in Paris. Some Government and business leaders are saying one thing, but doing another. Simply put, they are lying. And the results will be catastrophic. This is a climate emergency.... We left COP26 [twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] in Glasgow with a naïve optimism, based on new promises and commitments. But, the main problem--the enormous, growing emissions gap--was all but ignored. The science is clear: to keep the 1.5°C limit agreed in Paris within reach, we need to cut global emissions by 45 per cent this decade. But, current climate pledges would mean a 14 per cent increase in emissions. And most major emitters are not taking the steps needed to fulfil even these inadequate promises. Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But, the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness.... Today's report is focused on mitigation--cutting emissions. It sets out viable, financially sound options in every sector that can keep the possibility of limiting warming to 1.5°C alive. First and foremost, we must triple the speed of the shift to renewable energy. That means moving investments and subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables--now... Choices made by countries now will make or break the commitment to 1.5°C.... Climate promises and plans must be turned into reality and action, now. It is time to stop burning our planet and start investing in the abundant renewable energy all around us." SG Press Release.
   Read the Report Summary for Policymakers.
   Read the Report.
   Read UN Secretary General's Statement on Release of the Report.
   Read the IPCC Chair's Press Statement on Release of the Report.
   Access the IPCC Website.

UN Secretary General Warns of Highest Number of Conflicts Since 1945
March 31, 2022. UN Secretary General António Guterres announced today in his remarks for the meeting of the Peacebuilding Commission on the report on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace: "As detailed in my report, we are facing the highest number of violent conflicts since 1945. From Yemen to Syria, Myanmar and Sudan. From Haiti to the Sahel and on and on. And now the war in Ukraine--a catastrophe shaking the foundations of the international order, spilling across borders and causing skyrocketing food, fuel and fertilizer prices that spell disaster for developing countries.... As we meet today, one quarter of humanity lives in conflict-affected areas. Two billion people. Last year, 84 million were forcibly displaced because of conflict, violence and human rights violations. And this year, we estimate that at least 274 million will need humanitarian assistance." As it begins a new session, he called on commission to address three areas of concern. "First, I urge Member States to implement the financing recommendations included in my report.... Second, to support these critical investments, I encourage Member States to come to April's high-level meeting with concrete solutions.... And third, we need Member States, the United Nations system, international financial institutions and all partners to do far more to join up our humanitarian, peace and development efforts. The flames of conflict are fuelled by inequality, deprivation, and underfunded systems."
   Read the Secretary General's Remarks.
   Read the Secretary General's Report on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace.

GAO Calls on EPA to Develop A Lessons Learned Process to Address Responses to Emergencies
March 18, 2022. The Government Accountability Office today issued a new report entitled "Household Hazardous Waste Removal: EPA Should Develop a Formal Lessons Learned Process for Its Disaster Response," suggesting the need for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop a "lessons learned" process to apply to its emergency responses such as the wildfires in California. The report recognizes some efforts by EPA following the fires in 2018 and 2020, but concludes: "EPA conducts lessons learned activities on a case-by-case basis and does not have a formal lessons learned process in place for wildfire or other disaster responses that specifies when and what lessons learned activities should be conducted. The National Response Framework-which describes how the federal government, states, and others should respond to disasters and emergencies-states that planning for disaster response should include a feedback loop, including through lessons learned processes. Developing a formal lessons learned process that includes key practices, such as tracking corrective actions, will help EPA be better prepared to respond to future disasters, including those that involve removing household hazardous waste." GAO Blog Post on the Report.
   As part of its report, GAO recalled a number of previous reports that it issued with respect to lessons learned efforts. "GAO, Project Management: DOE and NNSA Should Improve Their Lessons Learned Process for Capital Asset Projects, GAO-19-25 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 21, 2018); Telecommunications: GSA Needs to Share and Prioritize Lessons Learned to Avoid Future Transition Delays, GAO-14-63 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 5, 2013); and NASA: Better Mechanisms Needed for Sharing Lessons Learned, GAO-02-195 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 30, 2002). Center for Army Lessons Learned, [Handbook]Establishing a Lessons Learned Program: Observations, Insights, and Lessons (Fort Leavenworth, KS: June 2011)." GAO, EPA Should Develop a Formal Lessons Learned Process for Its Disaster Response," at 4, note 9. The last report in the list was prepared by the Center for Army Lessons Learned but cited by GAO in its recent report.
   The last report in the list, the Center for Army Lessons Learned, "Establishing a Lessons Learned Program: Observations, Insights, and Lessons," is a handbook prepared by the Center for Army Lessons Learned, but not just for military use. As the new GAO report noted, "The handbook is intended to assist any government or civilian organization that wants to develop a lessons learned capability." GAO, EPA Should Develop a Formal Lessons Learned Process," at 4.
   Read the Full GAO Report
   Read the GAO Blog Post on the Subject and the New Report
   Read GAO, Project Management: DOE and NNSA Should Improve Their Lessons Learned Process for Capital Asset Projects, GAO-19-25 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 21, 2018)
   Read GAO, Telecommunications: GSA Needs to Share and Prioritize Lessons Learned to Avoid Future Transition Delays, GAO-14-63 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 5, 2013)
   Read GAO, NASA: Better Mechanisms Needed for Sharing Lessons Learned, GAO-02-195 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 30, 2002).
   Read Center for Army Lessons Learned, Establishing a Lessons Learned Program: Observations, Insights, and Lessons (Fort Leavenworth, KS: June 2011).

Brookings Institution's Center for Sustainable Development Publishes Policy Brief on U.S. Progress or Lack of it Toward Meeting UN Sustainable Development Goals
March 18, 2022. The Brookings Institution's Center for Sustainable Development has released a policy brief entitled "The State of the Sustainable Development Goals in the United States," written by Tony Pipa, Krista Rasmussen, and Kait Pendrak. The webpost announcing the work explains that it advocates more focus by the U.S. on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It also presents a set of findings concerning U.S. progress on some of the goals using data before the COVID-19 crisis. As a policy brief, the document concludes with recommendations.
   This webpage (the one you are now viewing) provides the goals, the UN resolution that adopted them, and the UN sustainable Development Goals Reports for 2016-2021 in the.
   Access the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Resolution, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals Reports for 2016-2021.
   Read the Brookings Policy Brief.
   Read the Brookings Policy Brief Executive Summary.
   Read the Brookings Web Post on the New Release.
   Access the Brookings Institution's Center for Sustainable Development Website.

GAO Publishes New Testimony on Climate Resilience
March 8, 2022. The Government Accountability Office today released a testimony given before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology entitled "Climate Resilience: Opportunities to Improve Federal Planning and Implementation." The report focused on GAO's Disaster Resilience Framework. "GAO's Disaster Resilience Framework can serve as a guide for analyzing federal action to facilitate and promote resilience to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. The framework is organized around three guiding principles—information, integration, and incentives (see figure)—that can help Congress and federal agencies improve federal climate resilience planning and implementation." Testimony Highlights page.
   Read the Testimony.
   Access the GAO Blog Post on the subject.

Climate Change Impacts on the Safety of Chemical Facilities
March 2, 2022. The Government Accountability Office has published a new report on the dangers of chemical accidents related to the effects of climate change on Chemical facilities across the nation, along with an interactive infographic showing the climate related dangers to plants around the country. In a GAO blog post entitled "Is Climate Change Impacting the Safety of Chemical Facilities?" GAO offered observations from the new report "Chemical Accident Prevention: EPA Should Ensure Regulated Facilities Consider Risks from Climate Change" that was released yesterday. The GAO explained in its blog post that: "Across the nation, the federal government regulates approximately 11,000 facilities that make, use, or store extremely hazardous chemicals in amounts that could harm the public if accidentally released. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires these facilities to develop a risk management plan to prevent or minimize the consequences of an accidental release. Climate change may increase the frequency and intensity of certain natural hazards, putting these facilities at greater risk of damage and releasing chemicals into surrounding communities. According to federal data, approximately 31% of the facilities we analyzed (3,219 of 10,420) are located in areas impacted by some natural hazards, such as wildfires and flooding."
   Is Climate Change Impacting the Safety of Chemical Facilities?
   View the Interactive Graphic on Chemical Facilities and Climate Change
   Chemical Accident Prevention: EPA Should Ensure REgulated Facilities Consider Risks from Climate Change.

Supreme Court Today Heard a Major Case on Climate Change and With Broad Consequences for Administrative Law and Regulation in Particular
February 28, 2022. The Supreme Court is this morning heard oral arguments in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 20-1530 challenging the EPA Green House Gas regulatory authority. These are a number of consolidated cases. This case not only considers the EPA actions on emissions, but also other major administrative law dimensions.
   Listen to the audio of the Supreme Court oral argument in West Virginia v. EPA
   Read Supreme Court Docket Page for West Virginia v. EPA with links to key documents.
   Read the Brief of Petitoner West Virginia.
   Read Brief for Federal Respondents (EPA).

IPCC Issues Dramatic New Report on Climate Change
February 28, 2022. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change today issued a strongly worded new report entitled Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vunerability. The IPCC Chair's remarks on the report explain the seriousness of the report and the situation in stark terms. "The findings of the IPCC report we are releasing today are clear: the stakes for our planet have never been higher. Last August, the IPCC's the Working Group I report showed--unequivocally--that human activities have warmed the climate at a rate not seen in at least the past 2000 years. We are on course to reaching global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius within the next two decades. And temperature will continue to increase unless the world takes much bolder action. The Working Group II report we are releasing today provides the latest understanding of what does this warming means for the people, ecosystems and the planet. The report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction. It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our well-being and a healthy planet. It also shows that our actions today will shape how people adapt to climate change and how nature responds to increasing climate risks. Severe climate change impacts are already happening. Vulnerable people, those marginalized socially and economically, are the most exposed to climate change impacts--and have the fewest resources to adapt. Today we also deepen our understanding of solutions to climate change and how adaptation can help us lower risks and reduce vulnerability. These solutions open up new opportunities for innovation in our societies and economies. Our collective and individual adaptation can be an effective strategy. But, there are limits to how much we and other species can adapt. Beyond certain temperatures, adaptation is no longer possible for some species. Our report is a blueprint for our future on this planet. It recognizes the interdependence of climate, ecosystems and biodiversity, and people. It integrates natural, ecological, social, and economic sciences more strongly than in earlier IPCC assessments. It provides new knowledge and information at regional levels and focuses on cities where the majority of the people of the planet live and opportunities for adaptation and mitigation arise. Critically, this report highlights the importance of including and using diverse forms of knowledge, such as Indigenous and local knowledge. But, most importantly, it emphasizes the urgency of immediate and more ambitious action to address climate risks. Half measures are no longer an option."
   Read the Report.
   Read the IPCC Chair's Press Statement on Release of the Report.
   Access the IPCC Website.

UNEP Announces New Report Warning of Dramatic Growth and Intensity of Wildfires
February 23, 2022. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and GRID-Arendal today announced the release of a new report entitled Spreading like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires. In its press release, UNEP explains that: "Climate change and land-use change are projected to make wildfires more frequent and intense, with a global increase of extreme fires of up to 14 per cent by 2030, 30 per cent by the end of 2050 and 50 per cent by the end of the century.... The paper calls for a radical change in government spending on wildfires, shifting their investments from reaction and response to prevention and preparedness [and asks] governments to adopt a new 'Fire Ready Formula', with two-thirds of spending devoted to planning, prevention, preparedness, and recovery, with one third left for response. Currently, direct responses to wildfires typically receive over half of related expenditures, while planning receives less than one per cent." The report also recommends that governments draw upon indigenous knowledge to assist in understanding patterns in the environment and responding to them.
   The report emphasizes that it is critical to understand the fact that the effects of the fires and the climate factors that exacerbate them have particularly harsh effects on those least able to endure them. "Wildfires disproportionately affect the world's poorest nations. With an impact that extends for days, weeks and even years after the flames subside, they impede progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals and deepen social inequalities: People's health is directly affected by inhaling wildfire smoke, causing respiratory and cardiovascular impacts and increased health effects for the most vulnerable; The economic costs of rebuilding after areas are struck by wildfires can be beyond the means of low-income countries; Watersheds are degraded by wildfires' pollutants; they also can lead to soil erosion causing more problems for waterways; Wastes left behind are often highly contaminated and require appropriate disposal." UNEP Press Release.
   Last but not least UNEP emphasizes in its announcement of the report that: "Wildfires and climate change are mutually exacerbating. Wildfires are made worse by climate change through increased drought, high air temperatures, low relative humidity, lightning, and strong winds resulting in hotter, drier, and longer fire seasons. At the same time, climate change is made worse by wildfires, mostly by ravaging sensitive and carbon-rich ecosystems like peatlands and rainforests. This turns landscapes into tinderboxes, making it harder to halt rising temperatures."
   Read the Report.
   Read the UNEP Press Release.
   Access the UNEP Website.
   Access the GRID-Arendal website.

NOAA Issues Sea Level Rise Report
February 15, 2022. The National Ocean Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced the release of its multi-agency 2022 Sea Level Rise Technical Report. As the agency noted: "This multi-agency effort, representing the first update since 2017, offers projections out to the year 2150 and information to help communities assess potential changes in average tide heights and height-specific threshold frequencies as they strive to adapt to sea level rise."
   Read the Full NOAA Sea Level Rise 2022 Technical Report.
   Read the Report Executive Summary.

EPA Accounces New Greenhouse Gas Standards for Passenger Vehicles and Light Trucks
December 21, 2021. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan yesterday signed the final rule for greenhouse gas standards for passenger vehicles and light trucks. In announcing the new rules, EPA declared that: "The final standards, for Model Years (MY) 2023 through 2026, leverage advances in clean car technology to unlock $190 billion in net benefits to Americans, including reducing climate pollution, improving public health, and saving drivers money at the pump.... The ambitious standards through 2026 also set the light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) program on track to provide a strong launch point for the Agency's next phase of standards for MY 2027 and beyond. EPA is planning to initiate a separate rulemaking to establish multi-pollutant emission standards under the Clean Air Act for MY 2027 and later that will speed the transition of the light-duty vehicle fleet toward a zero-emissions future consistent with President Biden's Executive Order, Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks.... The standards finalized today are the most ambitious vehicle emissions standards for greenhouse gases ever established for the light-duty vehicle sector in the United States.... EPA's final standards for 2025 and 2026 deliver even greater net benefits and emissions reductions than those proposed in the initial rulemaking stage in August of 2021. Through 2050, the program will result in avoiding more than 3 billion tons of GHG emissions which is equivalent to more than half the total U.S. CO2 emissions in 2019. These ambitious standards are cost-effective and achieve significant public health and welfare benefits.... While these standards are ambitious, they provide adequate lead time for manufacturers to comply at reasonable costs. EPA's analysis shows manufacturers can comply with the final standards with modest increases in the numbers of electric vehicles entering the fleet. By MY 2026, EPA projects that the final standards can be met with sales of about 17 percent electric vehicles (EVs), and wider uptake of advanced gasoline engine and vehicle technologies available today." Press Release
   Read Final Rule "Revised 2023 and Later Model Year Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards."
   Read the EPA Press Release on the Rules.
   Access the EPA Webpage on the New Rules with Links to Key Rulemaking Documents.
   Read the EPA Fact Sheet ("Regulatory Update") on the New Rule.

Biden Administration Takes Action to Address Corruption Based on Report in Response to National Security Study Memorandum
December 12, 2021. The Biden Administration this week announced actions designed to address corruption in various countries around the world, including issues in the U.S., in response to a report entitled "U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption" that was prepared as a result of National Security Study Memorandum-1 issued on June 3, 2021. The Strategy focuses on: "To curb corruption and its deleterious effects, the U.S. Government will organize its efforts around five mutually reinforcing pillars of work: Modernizing, coordinating, and resourcing U.S. Government efforts to fight corruption; Curbing illicit finance; Holding corrupt actors accountable; Preserving and strengthening the multilateral anti-corruption architecture; and Improving diplomatic engagement and leveraging foreign assistance resources to advance policy goals." Id. at 5. A Fact Sheet issued by the White House on December 6 provides additional information on these specific points. In his National Security Study Memorandum, President Biden announced: "In issuing this National Security Study Memorandum, I establish countering corruption as a core United States national security interest. My Administration will lead efforts to promote good governance; bring transparency to the United States and global financial systems; prevent and combat corruption at home and abroad; and make it increasingly difficult for corrupt actors to shield their activities." NSSM-1 at 2.
   Read U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption.
   Read the Biden Administration Fact Sheet on U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption.
   Read National Security Study Memorandum-1(NSSM-1).

President Biden Issues Executive Order Aimed at Addressing Climate Change Goals Through Procurement Policies and Management Actions Mandated for Executive Branch Agencies
December 10, 2021. (Updated December 18, 2021). President Biden has issued Executive Order 14057 entitled "Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability." In issuing the new order, the administration announced in an accompanying Fact Sheet that: "[H]ow the United States will leverage its scale and procurement power to lead by example in tackling the climate crisis. The executive order will reduce emissions across federal operations, invest in American clean energy industries and manufacturing, and create clean, healthy, and resilient communities. The President is building on his whole-of-government effort to tackle the climate crisis in a way that creates well-paying jobs, grows industries, and makes the country more economically competitive. The President's executive order directs the federal government to use its scale and procurement power to achieve five ambitious goals: 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity (CFE) by 2030, at least half of which will be locally supplied clean energy to meet 24/7 demand; 100 percent zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) acquisitions by 2035, including 100 percent zero-emission light-duty vehicle acquisitions by 2027; Net-zero emissions from federal procurement no later than 2050, including a Buy Clean policy to promote use of construction materials with lower embodied emissions; A net-zero emissions building portfolio by 2045, including a 50 percent emissions reduction by 2032; and Net-zero emissions from overall federal operations by 2050, including a 65 percent emissions reduction by 2030."
   In taking this action, the Biden administration announced its intention to use its buying power and processes to leverage broad change not only in government but beyond to other areas of the economy, affecting private as well as public action. This is an approach to policymaking common to presidents of both political parties over the years. "Through this executive order, the federal government will transform its portfolio of 300,000 buildings, fleet of 600,000 cars and trucks, and annual purchasing power of $650 billion in goods and services." Fact Sheet
   It added, "Today's executive action is a part of the President's broader commitment to increasing investments in America's manufacturing industries and workers to build back our country better. By transforming how the federal government builds, buys, and manages its assets and operations, the federal government will support the growth of America's clean energy and clean technology industries, while accelerating America's progress toward achieving a carbon pollution-free electricity sector by 2035."
   The Fact Sheet explains further that: "In addition to the five new commitments that form the pillars of today's executive action, the President also directed the federal government to orient its procurement and operations efforts in line with the following principles and goals: Achieving climate resilient infrastructure and operations; Building a climate- and sustainability-focused workforce; Advancing environmental justice and equity; Prioritizing the purchase of sustainable products, such as products without added perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); and Accelerating progress through domestic and international partnerships."
   Read the Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability.
   Read the FACT SHEET: President Biden Signs Executive Order Catalyzing America's Clean Energy Economy Through Federal Sustainability.

U.S. Government Accountability Office Issues New Report on Combating Illegal Fishing Internationally
December 6, 2021. The GAO has recently issued a report entitled "Combating Illegal Fishing: Clear Authority Could Enhance U.S. Efforts to Partner with Other Nations at Sea." In posting the report, GAO explained that: "The U.S. works with other nations through multilateral agreements to collectively manage high seas fisheries. For example, the U.S. is a member of nine regional fisheries management organizations (RFMO), which are treaty-based organizations of nations with an interest in managing and conserving fisheries in specific regions of the sea. These organizations establish rules for vessels fishing in the RFMO agreement area, such as limits on the numbers and types of fish that can be caught. In addition, the U.S. establishes bilateral agreements and conducts at-sea operations focused on strengthening other nations' capacity to manage their own fisheries and fleets. For example, the Department of Defense (DOD) leads a program aimed at building African partner nations' capability to enhance maritime security and enforce their maritime laws. However, DOD officials told us that, as a result of changes to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, the department no longer has clear authority to conduct the operational phase of this program--known as Operation Junction Rain. By determining whether it has the authority to conduct this operation, and, if not, seeking such authority, DOD could continue efforts to support African partner nations' capability to enforce fisheries laws and regulations, which in turn helps them work to counter illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing." GAO Webpage on the Report.
   Read the Report.
   Read the GAO Webpage on the Report.

COP 26 Conference Focus Today on Forest, Agriculture, and Land Use
November 6, 2021. The COP 26 conference today has focused on Forests, Agriculture, and Land Use with particular attention to the FACT Dialogue (Forest, Agriculture, Commodity Trade) process and efforts to bring private sector firms together with NGOs and governments to find ways to use market pressures to decrease deforestation and indeed to lead to reforestation. The concern is also to address the concerns of food producers, particularly those with small holdings and also indigenous groups. This year 2021, participants in the government-to-government FACT Dialogue, has involved government-to-government talks, but also discussions by a multi-stakeholder taskforce, held discussions on the topics of "trade and market development; smallholder support; traceability and transparency; and research, development, and innovation." They announced today at COP 26 what hey call the FACT Roadmap to address these issues. The FACY Dialogue is hosted by the COP 26 presidency, but it is also supported by the Tropical Forest Alliance.
   Read the FACT Roadmap in English.
   Access the FACT Website.
   Access the Tropical Forest Alliance Webpage on the FACT Dialogue.
   Access the COP 26 Glasgow Climate Change Conference News Via the UN Climate Change Website.
   Access the COP 26 Glasgow Climate Change Conference Website.

COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference Announcement on Commitment to Phase Out Coal
November 4, 2021. The participants at COP 26 announced today a Clean Energy Transition under the rubric of the new Energy Transition Council. Some 44 countries and 32 companies committed to one or more agreements related to the use or financial support for the use of coal. The press release on these new commitments explained that: "At least 23 countries have made new commitments today to phase out coal power, including five of the world's top 20 coal power-using countries; Major international banks commit to effectively end all international public financing of new unabated coal power by the end of 2021; At least 25 countries and public finance institutions commit to ending international public support for the unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022; Boost comes as overall a 190-strong coalition agrees to phase out coal power and end support for new coal power plants thanks to a package of support from the UK and international partners; Coal is being consigned to history today at COP26, as countries, banks and organisations move away from the single biggest contributor to climate change." It then explains that: "A just transition to clean energy and the rapid phase-out of coal has been at the heart of the COP26 Presidency as part of its efforts to minimise temperature rises in line with the Paris Agreement. The breadth of commitments in Glasgow today at Energy Day signal the world is moving towards a renewable future. At least 23 nations made new commitments to phase out coal power, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Poland, South Korea, Egypt, Spain, Nepal, Singapore, Chile and Ukraine. In a new 'Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement', countries also committed to scaling up clean power and ensuring a just transition away from coal. Today's announcements follow a collapse in the financing of coal, as developed nations have pledged new support to help developing countries make the transition to clean energy. Banks and financial institutions also made landmark commitments at COP26 today to end the funding of unabated coal, including major international lenders like HSBC, Fidelity International and Ethos. This follows recent announcements from China, Japan and South Korea to end overseas coal financing which now means all significant public international financing for coal power has effectively ended. In addition, a group of 25 countries including COP26 partners Italy, Canada, the United States and Denmark together with public finance institutions have signed a UK-led joint statement committing to ending international public support for the unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022 and instead prioritising support for the clean energy transition. Collectively, this could shift an estimated $17.8bn a year in public support out of fossil fuels and into the clean energy transition. Developing countries including Ethiopia, Fiji and the Marshall Islands offered their support, signalling growing unity. This is an inclusive agenda that must recognise the development and energy needs of all economies. . . . Today, 28 new members also signed up to the world's largest alliance on phasing out coal. The Powering Past Coal Alliance, launched and co-chaired by the UK and Canada. New members include Chile and Singapore, joining more than 160 countries, sub-nationals and businesses. And 20 new countries, including Vietnam, Morocco and Poland committed to building no new coal plants, matching similar announcements over the past year by Pakistan, Malaysia and the Philippines, and building on the No New Coal Power Compact launched in September by Sri Lanka, Chile, Montenegro and European partners. . . . In separate announcements, major emerging economies today took significant steps to move from coal to clean power. India, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Africa announced partnerships with the Climate Investment Funds to accelerate their transitions away from coal power, backed by a dedicated $2bn facility. Indonesia and the Philippines announced pioneering partnerships with the Asian Development Bank to support the early retirement of coal plants. These followed the ground-breaking $8.5bn deal to support South Africa's just transition to clean energy announced at the World Leaders Summit on Tuesday.
   Even as this annoucement was made, there is a recognition that such countries as China and India are not participants in the new agreements publicized today.
   In addition, those public officials and business leaders announcing commitments recognized the need to address the social and economic displacement involved and to ensure transitions for those affected by the phase-out of coal. For this reason and because of differential impacts across countries and regions the term "just transition" is used in a number of the documents and releases.
   Part of this effort is the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which is "a coalition of national and sub-national governments, businesses and organisations working to advance the transition from unabated coal power generation to clean energy" orignially created by Canada and the UK at the time of COP 23 in 2007. At present, PPCA includes 165 countries, cities, regions and businesses.
   Read the Press Release "Issued on behalf of the UK COP26 Presidency and the COP25 and COP26 High-Level Climate Champions."
   Access the Power Past Coal Alliance Website
   Access the COP 26 Glasgow Climate Change Conference News Via the UN Climate Change Website.
   Access the COP 26 Glasgow Climate Change Conference Website.

E.U. Commission President and U.S. President Formally Launch the Global Methane Challenge at the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow
November 2, 2021. United States President Biden and European Commission President Von der Leyen formally launched the Global Methane Challenge today at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26)in Glasgow. They originally announced the formation of this effort to reduce methane, a critically important pollutant in the battle against climate change, on September 17. The original joint press release announcing the effort explained that: "Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and, according to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, accounts for about half of the 1.0 degrees Celsius net rise in global average temperature since the pre-industrial era. Rapidly reducing methane emissions is complementary to action on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and is regarded as the single most effective strategy to reduce global warming in the near term and keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach. Countries joining the Global Methane Pledge commit to a collective goal of reducing global methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030 and moving towards using best available inventory methodologies to quantify methane emissions, with a particular focus on high emission sources. Delivering on the Pledge would reduce warming by at least 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2050." In their launch announcement at COP 26 today, they indicated that more than 80 countries have joined the pledge to date.
   In a parallel effort to demonstrate U.S. commitment, President Biden announced two new sets of administrative rulemaking processes in the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation designed to address methane as well as a new program directed at reducing agricultural methane issues. The EPA issues a press release on the new rules and provided the initial documents launching the rulemaking process, uncluding the proposed rules themselves.
   Read the Global Methane Pledge.
   Read Joint Press Release of the U.S. and the European Commission of September 18, Announcing the Creation of the Global Methane Challenge effort.
   Read the EPA Press Release on the New Methane Rules.
   Read the New Proposed Rule and Related Rulemaking Documents.
   Access the Global Methane Pledge Website.
   Access the COP 26 Glasgow Climate Change Conference News Via the UN Climate Change Website.
   Access the COP 26 Glasgow Climate Change Conference Website.

COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference Underway in Glasgow Scotland
November 2, 2021. The UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) is now underway in Glasgow Scotland. Yesterday representatives of 105 countries signed a "Declaration on Forests and Land Use" and those leaders and other representatives of private sector organizations and others added commitments designed to finance the forest and lands efforts and to undertake consumption practices that reduce damage to these resources. The declaration included the following commitments. "We will strengthen our shared efforts to: Conserve forests and other terrestrial ecosystems and accelerate their restoration; Facilitate trade and development policies, internationally and domestically, that promote sustainable development, and sustainable commodity production and consumption, that work to countries' mutual benefit, and that do not drive deforestation and land degradation; Reduce vulnerability, build resilience and enhance rural livelihoods, including through empowering communities, the development of profitable, sustainable agriculture, and recognition of the multiple values of forests, while recognising the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as local communities, in accordance with relevant national legislation and international instruments, as appropriate; Implement and, if necessary, redesign agricultural policies and programmes to incentivise sustainable agriculture, promote food security, and benefit the environment; Reaffirm international financial commitments and significantly increase finance and investment from a wide variety of public and private sources, while also improving its effectiveness and accessibility, to enable sustainable agriculture, sustainable forest management, forest conservation and restoration, and support for Indigenous Peoples and local communities; Facilitate the alignment of financial flows with international goals to reverse forest loss and degradation, while ensuring robust policies and systems are in place to accelerate the transition to an economy that is resilient and advances forest, sustainable land use, biodiversity and climate goals. We urge all leaders to join forces in a sustainable land use transition. This is essential to meeting the Paris Agreement goals, including reducing vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C, noting that the science shows further acceleration of efforts is needed if we are to collectively keep 1.5°C within reach. Together we can succeed in fighting climate change, delivering resilient and inclusive growth, and halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation."
   The UN reports that the financial commitments included: "12 donor countries pledged to provide $12 billion (£8.75 billion) of public climate finance from 2021 to 2025 to a new Global Forest Finance Pledge. This will support action in developing countries, including restoring degraded land, tackling wildfires and advancing the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. In addition, 12 country and philanthropic donors pledged at least $1.5 billion (£1.1 billion) to protect the forests of the Congo Basin. This is the area home to the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world, which is critically important to global efforts to address climate change as well as to sustainable development in the region. 14 country and philanthropic donors also pledged at least $1.7 billion from 2021 to 2025 to advance Indigenous Peoples' and local communities' forest tenure rights and support their role as guardians of forests and nature. In addition at least £5.3 billion ($7.2 billion) of private sector funding has been mobilised. CEOs from more than 30 financial institutions with over $8.7 trillion of global assets have committed to eliminate investment in activities linked to agricultural commodity driven deforestation, alongside the billions of private finance mobilised to support the forest economy through three flagship initiatives." Press Release.
   In addition, they announced financial and also market practice changes designed to reduce the damage caused by current practices that have spurred degradation and loss of forests and critical land resources. The UN announced: "The Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF) Coalition exceeded its target of mobilising $1 billion in public-private commitments. LEAF will provide finance to tropical and subtropical countries that successfully reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation. Private finance will be provided only by companies already committed to deep emissions cuts in their own supply chains, in line with science-based targets. This is expected to become one of the largest ever public-private efforts to protect tropical forests and support sustainable development. Nine multilateral development banks have also launched a joint statement outlining the actions they will take to mainstream nature into their policies, analysis, assessments, advice, investments and operations, in line with their respective mandates and operating models." They add that: "28 governments, representing 75% of global trade in key commodities that can threaten forests, have signed up to a new Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Statement. This statement is part of a Roadmap of actions designed to deliver sustainable trade and reduce pressure on forests, including support for smallholder farmers and improving the transparency of supply chains. In addition, 10 of the largest companies managing over half of global trade in key forest-risk commodities such as palm oil and soy have announced that by COP27 they will lay out a shared roadmap for enhanced supply chain action consistent with a 1.5 degree Celsius pathway. The outcomes of the event demonstrate how action on forests and land-use can contribute to keeping the 1.5 temperature goal in sight, to supporting sustainable livelihoods, and to meeting shared promises on adaptation and finance." Press Release
   Read the "Declaration on Forests and Land Use".
   Access the COP 26 Glasgow Climate Change Conference News Via the UN Climate Change Website.
   Access the COP 26 Glasgow Climate Change Conference Website.

New High-Level U.S. Reports on the National Security and Foreign Policy Dangers of Climate Change
October 21, 2021. The Biden Administration this morning issued a fact sheet on "Prioritizing Climate in Foreign Policy and National Security," announcing a series of reports prepared by the Intelligence Community (IC), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the White House staff assessing the likely impacts of claimate change on both national security and foreign policy. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) led the IC effort to develop the first "National Intelligence Estimate on Climate Change." The Department of Defense has added its own "Climate Risk Analysis." The DHS has released its "Strategic Framework for Addressing Climate Change." Finally, the White House staff has produced a "Report Report on the Impact of Climate Change on Migration." All of these come ahead of the COP 26 Glasgow Climate Change Conference from October 31 to November 12.
   These reports add a different dimension to the set of major reports and studies (see earlier posts on this webpage) that have been issued in the run-up to the Glasgow meeting.
   The administration announcement today also indicates that the reports were prepared in response to two executive orders issued by President Biden earlier this year, including Executive Order 14008 on "Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad" and Executive Order 14013 on "Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs to Resettle Refugees and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration."
   Read the National Intelligence Council's National Intelligence Estimate on Climate Change.
   Read the DOD Climate Risk Analysis.
   Read the DHS Strategic Framework for Addressing Climate Change.
   Read the White House Staff Report on the Impact of Climate Change on Migration.
   Read EO 14008 "Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad"
   Read EO 14013 "Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs to Resettle Refugees and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration."
   Read the White House Fact Sheet: "Prioritizing Climate in Foreign Policy and National Security."
   Access the COP 26 Glasgow Climate Change Conference News Via the UN Climate Change Website.

New Study Addresses Climate Change in the Amazon and Its Relationship to Heat Stress
October 1, 2021. Beatriz Fátima Alves de Oliveira, Marcus J. Bottino, Paulo Nobre, and Carlos A. Nobre have today published an article in the prestigious journal Nature entitled "Deforestation and Climate Change are Projected to Increase Heat Stress Risk in the Brazilian Amazon." In their abstract to the piece, the authors wrote: "Our findings suggest that heat stress index could exceed the human adaptation limit by 2100 under the combined effects of Amazon savannization and climate change. Moreover, we find that risk of heat stress exposure was highest in Northern Brazil and among the most socially vulnerable. We suggest that by 2100, savannization of the Amazon will lead to more than 11 million people will be exposed heat stress that poses an extreme risk to human health under a high emission scenario."
   Read the Online Version of the Article.
   Download the .pdf Version of the Article.

United Nations Secretary General Presses for Action on Climate Change Based on New Report Showing Dramatic Warming Trend
September 18, 2021. UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a statement on Friday following the release of a new report from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), entitled United in Science 2021: A Multi-Organization High-Level Compilation of the Latest Climate Science Information, concerning the serious failure of the parties to the Paris Agreement to meet their commitments to address catastrophic climate change. He warned that the report: "shows that the world is on a catastrophic pathway to 2.7°C of heating. This is breaking the promise made six years ago to pursue the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement [on climate change]. Failure to meet this goal will be measured in the massive loss of lives and livelihoods. Science tells that we need a 45 per cent cut in emissions by 2030 to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century. Today's report implies an increase of 16 per cent in emissions in 2030 compared to 2010 levels. The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was a code red for humanity. But it also made clear that it is not too late to meet the Paris Agreement's 1.5°C target. We have the tools to achieve this target. But we are rapidly running out of time." UN Secretary General Press Release. The Secretary General was referring not only to the UNFCCC report but also to the Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in August (See the posting for August 9 on this webpage).
   The Secretary General's statement and the reports come ahead of the COP 26 Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, Scotland set to begin at the end of October (See the postings for September 7 and August 9 on this webpage).
   The UNFCCC explained in its release of the new report that: "The United in Science 2021 report, the third in a series, is coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with input from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Global Carbon Project (GCP), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the Met Office (UK). It presents the very latest scientific data and findings related to climate change to inform global policy and action." UNFCCC Press Release
   Read the Secretary General's Statement.
   Read the UNFCCC United in Science 2021 Report.
   Read the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Press Release Accompanying Its New Report .
   Read the IPCC Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis report's "Summary for Policymakers."
   Read the Full IPCC Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis Report.
   Access the UNFCCC website.

UN Secretary General Adds Call for Increased Efforts to Meet Funding Commitments in the Face of the New Reports on Climate Change
September 18, 2021. Toward the end of his statement on the new United in Science 2021 report UN Secretary-General Guterres added: "We also need developed nations to finally deliver on the $$100 billion commitment promised over a decade ago in support to developing countries. The Climate Finance report published today by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) shows that this goal has not been reached either." He was referring to a report issued on the same day by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)entitled Climate Finance for Developing Countries Rose to USD 79.6 Billion in 2019. Although the title indicates some increase in funding, it remains far from the full commitment that was made at the time of the Paris Climate Accord.
   In announcing the report OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann said: "Climate finance continued to grow in 2019 but developed countries remain USD 20 billion short of meeting the 2020 goal of mobilising USD 100 billion. . . . The limited progress in overall climate finance volumes between 2018 and 2019 is disappointing, particularly ahead of COP26. While appropriately verified data for 2020 will not be available until early next year it is clear that that climate finance will remain well short of its target. More needs to be done. We know that donor countries recognise this, with Canada and Germany now taking forward a delivery plan for mobilising the additional finance required to reach the USD 100bn a year goal. The report finds that public climate finance from developed countries reached USD 62.9 billion in 2019. Bilateral public climate finance accounted for USD 28.8 billion, down 10% from 2018, and multilateral public climate finance attributed to developed countries accounted for USD 34.1 billion, up by 15% from 2018. The level of private climate finance mobilised was down 4% at USD 14.0 billion in 2019, after USD 14.6 billion in 2018. Climate-related export credits remained small at USD 2.6 billion, accounting for just 3% of total climate finance.
   Read the Secretary General's Statement.
   Read the OECD Secretary General's Press Release on the Financing Report.
   Read the OECD Climate Finance for Developing Countries Rose to USD 79.6 Billion in 2019 Report.

Prestigious Medical Journals Around the World Issue a Joint "Emergency" Warning that Climate Change is an Overriding Threat to Health and Wellness
September 7, 2021. More than twenty of the world's leading medical journals issued a jointly authored editorial over the weekend calling on world leaders and indeed people throughout the world to respond to climate change as a global health emergency. In the U.S. the New England Journal of Medicine's carried the editorial entitled "Call for Emergency Action to Limit Global Temperature Increases, Restore Biodiversity, and Protect Health." They say, in part, "The greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5° C and to restore nature. Urgent, society-wide changes must be made and will lead to a fairer and healthier world. We, as editors of health journals, call for governments and other leaders to act, marking 2021 as the year that the world finally changes course."
   It is useful to read this call for action along with the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the posting below for August 9. These warnings and calls for action come ahead of the Glasgow COP 26 Climate Change Conference that will take place from October 31 to November 12.
   This unprecedented action was taken by the following editors and journals: Editor-in-Chief, East African Medical Journal (L.A.); Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Population, Health, and Nutrition (A.H.B.); Editor-in-Chief, Danish Medical Journal (T.B.); Editor-in-Chief, PLOS Medicine (R.B.); Editor-in-Chief, The BMJ (F.G.); Editor-in-Chief, British Dental Journal (S.H.); Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet (R.H.); Senior Adviser, UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (L.L.-L.); Editor-in-Chief, Revista de Saúde Pública (C.A.M.); Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Nursing Studies (I.N.); Interim Editor-in-Chief, CMAJ (K.P.); Executive Editor, Pharmaceutical Journal (N.P.); Editor-in-Chief, Dutch Journal of Medicine (M.G.M.O.R.); Editor-in-Chief, New England Journal of Medicine (E.J.R.); Editor-in-Chief, National Medical Journal of India (P.S.); Chair, UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (R.S.); Editor-in-Chief, Medical Journal of Australia (N.T.); Editor-in-Chief, International Nursing Review (S.T.); Editor-in-Chief, Pan American Journal of Public Health (D.V.).
   Read the New England Journal of Medicine Editorial.
   Access the COP 26 Glasgow Climate Change Conference website.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Issues New Climate Change 2021 Report With Its Strongest Warnings Yet
August 9, 2021. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today issued statements coming from its recent meeting. As the IPCC explains in a press release today the "IPCC Working Group I report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, approved on Friday by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks starting on July 26. The Working Group I report is the first instalment of the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed in 2022." The report makes clear that the the time is fast running out to meet the internationally agreed increase in global temperature and that even if strong measures are taken rapidly, "it could take 20-30 years to see global temperatures stabilize."
   The crisis in climate change, as the report stresses, is not just temperature. Summarizing some of the reports findings, the IPCC press release cautions: "But it is not just about temperature. Climate change is bringing multiple different changes in different regions--which will all increase with further warming. These include changes to wetness and dryness, to winds, snow and ice, coastal areas and oceans. For example: Climate change is intensifying the water cycle. This brings more intense rainfall and associated flooding, as well as more intense drought in many regions; Climate change is affecting rainfall patterns. In high latitudes, precipitation is likely to increase, while it is projected to decrease over large parts of the subtropics. Changes to monsoon precipitation are expected, which will vary by region' Coastal areas will see continued sea level rise throughout the 21st century, contributing to more frequent and severe coastal flooding in low-lying areas and coastal erosion. Extreme sea level events that previously occurred once in 100 years could happen every year by the end of this century; Further warming will amplify permafrost thawing, and the loss of seasonal snow cover, melting of glaciers and ice sheets, and loss of summer Arctic sea ice; Changes to the ocean, including warming, more frequent marine heatwaves, ocean acidification, and reduced oxygen levels have been clearly linked to human influence. These changes affect both ocean ecosystems and the people that rely on them, and they will continue throughout at least the rest of this century; and For cities, some aspects of climate change may be amplified, including heat (since urban areas are usually warmer than their surroundings), flooding from heavy precipitation events and sea level rise in coastal cities."
   Read the Press Release.
   Read the Report's "Summary for Policymakers."
   Read the Full Report.
   Access the Newly Interactive Atlas.
   Access the IPCC Webpage with the Report and Materials Related to it.
   Access the IPCC Website.

GAO Issues Report on Microenterprise and Related Development Assistance Focused on Whether There Are Lasting Benefits for Women and the Poor
July 15, 2021. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report entitled "Microenterprise and Related Development Assistance: Challenges in Evaluating Lasting Benefits for Women and the Poor." The report found little evidence from existing programs funded by USAID of significant ongoing benefits. Out of 27 programs studied, GAO reported that: "Of the nine impact evaluations, which assess net effects by making comparisons with groups not receiving assistance,two reported statistically significant short-term effects at the overall projectlevel-including increased household income and improved children’shealth-but seven did not; and the two that reviewed projects for longer-term effects identified none thatwere statistically significant." Highlights Page. The study focused particularly on "assistance for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)."
   Read the Full Report.
   Read the GAO BlogPost on the New Report and the Subject.

EPA Moves to Rescind Trump Administration EPA Rule on Cost/Benefit Calculations for Clear Air Regulation
May 13, 2021. The Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it was taking action to rescind the Trump administration's rule changing cost/benefit calculations for policies issued under the Clean Air Act that made it substantially more difficult to justify regulation. The EPA announcement indicates that the agency is issuing an interim final rule to eliminate the Trump rule based on a review the agency conducted in response to President Biden's Executive Order 13990, "Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science To Tackle the Climate Crisis" issued on his first day in office.
   The EPA indicated that although it would entertain comments on the action, it could take immediate action and avoid a lengthy rulemaking process because the Trump administration had issued the cost/benefit rule as a procedural rule rather than a substantive rule and actions related to it are exempt from the full rulemaking process under the Administrative Procedure Act. That rule, issued in December 2020 asserted that: "This is a rulemaking of agency organization, procedure, or practice. This procedural rule would not regulate any person or entity outside the EPA and would not affect the rights or obligations of outside parties. As a rule of Agency procedure, this rule is exempt from the notice-and-comment and delayed effective-date requirements set forth in the Administrative Procedure Act. See 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(2),(b)(A),(d)." 85 Fed. Reg. 84130, 84131 (December 23, 2020). That Trump administration action was challenged and those cases are still pending at this time.
   Read the Proposed EPA Rescission Action as Sent to the Federal Register.
   Read the EPA Press Release on the Rule.
   Read the Biden Executive order 13990.
   Read the Trump administration rule issued in December 2020 that will be rescinded by today's EPA action.

GAO Testifies on Dangers to Superfund Site Safety from Climate Change Effects
May 13, 2021. The Government Accountability Office has just published the testimony of J. Alfredo Gómez, Director, Natural Resources and Environment Mission Team, Before the Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives. It is entitled "Superfund: EPA Should Take Additional Actions to Manage Risks from Climate Change Effects." His testimony is actually a discussion of that 2019 report. As he noted in the testimony: "Available federal data on four potential climate change effects--flooding, storm surge, wildfires, and sea level rise--suggested that about 60 percent (945 of 1,571) of all nonfederal NPL sites were located in areas that may be impacted by one or more of these potential climate change effects, according to our October 2019 report." Testimony at 7. (NPL sites are superfund sites that are on the National Priority List for remediation. Gómez explained the term "nonfederal NPL sites." "About 90 percent of these sites are nonfederal, where EPA generally carries out or oversees the cleanup conducted by one or more potentially responsible parties (PRP). The other NPL sites--approximately 10 percent--are located at federal facilities, and the federal agencies that administer those facilities are responsible for their cleanup.")Id. at 3.
   The testimony provides a very brief, but clear and helpful primer on the Superfund law and its administration for those unfamiliar with the program and the law that governs it. See pages 1-7 of the testimony.
   Read the Gómez testimony.
   Read the October 2019 GAO Report Superfund: EPA Should Take Additional Actions to Manage Risks from Claimate Change.

Biden Administration Hosts Leaders Virtual Summit on Climate
April 25, 2021. President Biden, together with Vice President Harris, Secretary of State Blinken, and the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, hosted a two-day virtual summit on climate this week. The summit sought to have leaders from a variety of nations around the world dedicate themselves to new and more aggressive climate change targets [(Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)] under the Paris Climate Accords ahead of the COP 26 conference to be held in Glasgow on November 1-12. In addition, the summit focused on the need for commitments needed to ensure effective implementation of those targets, including financing. President Biden promised that the U.S. will cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 and to be "net-zero" by 2050 in the global effort to stay within the global warming target of 1.5° Celsius. However, although he recognized that the largest economies have a special obligation to take serious action, he also pointed out that the U.S. is responsible for 15% of global carbon emissions. This is essential, according to all participants to ensure the "mitigation, adaptation, and finance needed," as UN Secretary General Antonio Guitierrez indicated in his address to the summit. Of course, the key is not just plans. The president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, David Kabua, concluded his speech at the Leaders Summit for Climate by asking: "How will you move from plans to implementation to align with a 1.5 degree future and help others do the same? Your answer will define the future for your children and grandchildren--and for mine."
   At the same time that the leaders focused on reducing emissions, President Biden and other leaders stressed that the effort to address climate change is not just about the negative, reducing carbon emissions, but also the positive opportunity the Net Zero effort provides for development in all of its senses, including the economic and social dimensions as well as the environmental aspects. Neither President Biden nor other leaders used the expression, but the message was one of putting the "development" back into "sustainable development."
   A critically important theme of the discussions at the summit concerned financing for sustainable development, and particularly to support the battle against carbon emissions and climate change. Several of the presenters focused on the recent initiatives taken to mobilize both private and governmental financial support for actions aimed at achieving the UN Climate Change goals and particularly the "Net Zero by 2050" goal. Part of this discussion is the international commitment to common action, but with differentiated responsibilities. Although the countries committed at the Climate Convention conference in 2010 to provide $100 billion to address climate change, there has been related limited real fulfillment of that commitment. Principle 7 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development provided that: "States shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem. In view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiated responsibilities. The developed countries acknowledge the responsibility that they bear in the international pursuit of sustainable development in view of the pressures their societies place on the global environment and of the technologies and financial resources they command."
   In conjunction with the Leaders Summit, there was also a launch this week of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ). This is a private bank led and UN convened initiative of the Net Zero Banking Alliance consisting of the world's largest banks, asset managers, and insurers, some 43 banks with $28.5 trillion in assets. The GFANZ was launched with 160 firms with assets of some $70 trillion. It will also work with the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative and Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance and, soon to be launched, Net Zero Insurers Alliance.
   The GFANZ discussed above focuses primarily on private sector financing for sustainable development in pursuit of the Net Zero goal. However, even before these efforts were undertaken, country representatives met at the December 12, 2017, two years after the Paris Agreement, and created the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund Framework (OPSWF). This is an effort to manage national sovereign wealth funds in a manner that supports the international commitment to support efforts to address climate change. The member states of the OPSWF met in Paris on November 20, 2020 in the 3rd Annual OPSWF Summit to review progress on the framework. The OPSWF published its framework document in 2018, explaining the organization and the framework it created. It also published a report on progress as discussed at the 2020 summit.
   The Leaders Summit was also the scene of the announcement of another financing institution, the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF) Coalition, which is led by Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States with a number of private sector firms, including Amazon, Airbnb, Bayer, Boston Consulting Group, GSK, McKinsey, Nestlé, Salesforce, and Unilever. As LEAF announced in its initial press release: "This initiative aims to mobilize at least $1 billion in financing, kicking off what is expected to become one of the largest ever public-private efforts to help protect tropical forests, to the benefit of billions of people depending on them, and to support sustainable development." The LEAF coaliton promises "full and effective participation of local and indigenous peoples in line with the Cancun Safeguards. Those Concun Safeguards, agreed to at the 2010 COP 16 conference, included commitments to: "Respect for the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples and members of local communities; The full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular indigenous peoples and local communities."
   Of course, these actions are all in addition to the existing Global Environmental Facility (GEF) that was central to the Agenda 21 agreements at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 which involved the World Bank, UNEP, and UNDP. Finally, there is also the Green Climate Fund (GCF) created as part of the Paris Agreement.
   Read Watch the Leaders Summit on the State Department YouTube Channel.
   Access the U.S. Department of State Website on the Leaders Summit on Climate with a variety of resources.
   Access the White House Issued "Fact Sheet" on the Leaders Summit, including the U.S. Commitments.
   Read the Rio Declaration of 1992.
   Access the UN Climate Change Website on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
   Watch the Launch Video for the COP26 &the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ).
   Access the Glasgow Banking Alliance Website.
   Access the United Nations-Convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance.
   Access the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative Website.
   Access the UNEP Finance Initiative Website.
   Read the UN Climate Change Press Release "New Financial Alliance for Net Zero Emissions Launches" April 21, 2021.
   Access the Green Climate Fund Website.
   Access the Sustainable Markets Initiative Website.
   Read the Global Climate Fund "GCF at a Glance" Project Portfolio.
   Access the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund Website.
   Read the 2018 Publication One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund Framework.
   Read the 2020 Publication One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund Companion Document Produced at the November 2020 Summit.
   Access the LEAF Coalition.
   Read the Press Release Announcing for Formation of the LEAF Coalition.
   Access the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Website.
   Access the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP 26) Website Scheduled for November 1-12, 2021.

New GAO Report Finds that USAID Needs to Do Better in Ensuring and Documenting Funding Support for Micro-, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Women Owned Enterprises
March 30, 2021. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report entiled Micro-, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Development: USAID Needs to Develop a Targeting Process and Improve the Reliability of Its Monitoring. The report discussed the $265 million that is targeted annually to assist the development of micro-, small, and medium-sized. "We identified three key gaps that impair USAID’s ability to develop such a process. First, USAID has not identified the total funding subject to the targeting requirements. Second, although USAID has programs designed to help the very poor, it is unable to determine the amount of funding that reaches this group. Third, although USAID has MSME activities that benefit women, it has not defined enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women and does not collect data by enterprise size. These gaps leave USAID unable to determine what percentage of its MSME resources is going to the very poor and enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women." Highlights.
   Read the GAO Report.

GAO Issues New Report on Electric Grid Resilience and Climate Change
March 11, 2021. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report entiled "Electricity Grid Resilience: Climate Change Is Expected to Have Far-reaching Effects and DOE and FERC Should Take Actions."
   Read the GAO Report.

D.C. Circuit Blocks Trump Effort to Eliminate the Clean Power Plan
January 19, 2021. The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion today in American Lung Association v. EPA, striking down down the attempt by the Trump administration's EPA to eliminate the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, addressing serious pollution issues from fossil fuel fired power plants and other important elements. The per curiam ruling began by explaining that: "The question in this case is whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acted lawfully in adopting the 2019 Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE Rule), 84 Fed. Reg. 32,520 (July 8, 2019), as a means of regulating power plants' emissions of greenhouse gases. It did not. Although the EPA has the legal authority to adopt rules regulating those emissions, the central operative terms of the ACE Rule and the repeal of its predecessor rule, the Clean Power Plan, 80 Fed. Reg. 64,662 (Oct. 23, 2015), hinged on a fundamental misconstruction of Section 7411(d) of the Clean Air Act. In addition, the ACE Rule's amendment of the regulatory framework to slow the process for reduction of emissions is arbitrary and capricious. For those reasons, the ACE Rule is vacated, and the record is remanded to the EPA for further proceedings consistent with this opinion." Slip op. at 16-17.
   Read the Opinion.
   Read the EPA Rule Repealing the Clean Power Plan.
   Read the EPA Clean Power Plan Rule of 2015.

Climate 21 Project Provides Biden Transition Team with Recommendations
November 11, 2020. Climate 21, a group consisting of a wide range of experts and experienced high-level government officials has provided a summary report entitled "Transition Recommendations for Climate Governance and Action" to the Biden/Harris transition team. The group explains that: "The Climate 21 Project taps the expertise of more than 150 experts with high-level government experience, including nine former cabinet appointees, to deliver actionable advice for a rapid-start, whole-of-government climate response coordinated by the White House and accountable to the President. The memos below contain the Climate 21 Project’s recommendations for 11 White House offices, federal departments, and federal agencies, as well as cross-cutting recommendations on personnel and hiring." Then candidate Biden indicated from the beginning of the presidential campaign that climate change is among his top priorities.
   Read the Transition Recommendations for Claimate Governance and Action.
   Access the Climate 21 Website.

GAO Addresses Challenges in the Recently Reauthorized National Flood Insurance Program
October 14, 2020. The GAO Watchblog Issue for today begins: "Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968 to protect homeowners and alleviate taxpayers' exposure to flood losses. However, the growing magnitude of major flood events, combined with attempts to keep homeowners' policy rates affordable, threaten the program's solvency and expose taxpayers to losses. Finding common ground on flood insurance reform has been difficult." The program was technically reauthorized in Public Law No: 116-159, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 which extended the program through September 30, 2021. The Watchblog summarizes a variety of the issues raised in a number of reports issued by GAO since it placed the program on its "High Risk" list.
   Read the GAO Watchblog on the Current Discussion Concerning the National Flood Insurance Program..
   Read 2006 posting of the program on the GAO "High Risk" list.
   Read the June 2020 Report National Flood Insurance Program: Fiscal Exposure Persists Despite Property Acquisitions.
   Read the May 2020 National Flood Insurance Program: FEMA Can Improve Community Oversight and Data Sharing.
   Read the April 2017 Flood Insurance: Comprehensive Reform Could Improve Solvency and Enhance Resilience.

California Governor Issues Executive Order Moving the State Away from Gasoline=-Powered Vehicles
September 24, 2020. California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-79-20 yesterday, mandating that all passenger vehicles sold be zero emission vehicles by 2035. The governor's press release explains that: "Following the order, the California Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035--a target which would achieve more than a 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80 percent improvement in oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide. In addition, the Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100 percent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks. To ensure needed infrastructure to support zero-emission vehicles, the order requires state agencies, in partnership with the private sector, to accelerate deployment of affordable fueling and charging options. It also requires support of new and used zero-emission vehicle markets to provide broad accessibility to zero-emission vehicles for all Californians. The executive order will not prevent Californians from owning gasoline-powered cars or selling them on the used car market."
   Read the Executive Order.
   Read the Governor's Press Release on the Order.

Trump Administration Announces Decision to Move Forward with Oil and Gas Leases in the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
August 17, 2020. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt has announced that he has signed the Record of Decision (ROD), providing approval for the the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska to move forward. He indicated that his action was taken pursuant to Title II of the 2017 tax legislation called for leasing of portions (1.56 million acres) of ANWR. Bernhardt said in his press statement on the action that: "The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 directs the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to conduct at least two area-wide leasing sales, not less than 400,000 acres each, within the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Program area of ANWR. The lease sales must be held within seven years with the first lease sale taking place before December 22, 2021 and the second lease sale before December 22, 2024. The Act also requires the Secretary of the Interior to grant rights-of-way and easements necessary for successful development of the oil and gas resources and authorize up to 2,000 surface acres, or .01 percent of ANWR's 19.3 million acres, to be covered by production and support facilities."
   Read the Secretary's Press Release Announcing that the Program Will Go Forward.
   Read the Record of Decision.
   Read the Environmental Impact Statement Published in September 2019.
   Find the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Title II.

Bipartisan Group of Former EPA Administrators and Some 500 Former EPA Career Employees and Political Appointees Release "Resetting the Course of EPA Report"
August 13, 2020. Six Former Environmental Protection Agency administrators, from the Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama administrations have written a letter in support of a new report entitled Resetting the Course of EPA produced by the Environmental Protection Network (EPN), a bipartisan group of some 500 former EPA career employees and political appointees. The report begins from a set of foundation principles. "We strongly believe that EPA should recommit to its mission of protecting public health and the environment and set a course toward a new vision for the agency as it confronts pressing needs--from addressing environmental risks and inequities to vigorously confronting climate change. The following six priorities are critical to creating a renewed EPA: 1. EPA must reaffirm its commitment to fully protect public health and the environment. 2. EPA must conduct its scientific and economic analysis free from political interference. 3. EPA must incorporate environmental justice in every aspect of its work in order to address and resolve inequitable environmental conditions. 4. EPA must focus on the most significant and pervasive public health and environmental risks, prioritizing actions that provide the greatest health benefit for the greatest number of people, including vulnerable populations. 5. EPA must innovate and collaborate with states, tribes, local governments, and federal agencies as co-regulators, as well as with stakeholders, including the private and non-profit sectors and community groups, to build an effective and resilient system of public health and environmental protections. 6. EPA must earn and maintain broad public trust by demonstrating the best ethical behavior, transparently considering all stakeholder viewpoints, and providing objective environmental information." Id. at 4.
   The 6 former EPA administrators' letter echoes the report's finding that meeting environmental needs will require resources, but the EPA's capacity and resources have been cut over time. "As new threats to the health and environmental needs of a growing population have multiplied, EPA's budget has declined. In inflation-adjusted dollars, EPA's budget was more than 50% higher under President Ronald Reagan than it is today." Letter at 2. They explain: "The nature of the environmental and health challenges our nation faces have changed. Fifty years ago, pollution was visible and unrelenting throughout our country. Today, less visible but equally dangerous environmental hazards threaten communities in ways that differ place to place, person to person. Climate change is having far-reaching impacts on air quality, infectious diseases, and water quantity and quality, as well as intensifying destructive climate events such as floods, storms, wildfires, and droughts. Environmental injustices are putting lower-wealth communities, communities of color, and indigenous communities at disproportionately high levels of exposure, risk, and vulnerability to toxic pollution, not to mention the pandemic we are now facing. Speedier, more effective assessments and responses will be needed to face this and future pandemics, new toxic hazards, and other emerging or unmitigated health risks." Id. at 1.
   Read the Resetting the Course of EPA Report.
   Read the August 12, 2020 Letter of Support of Six Former EPA Administrators in Support of the Report.

GAO Recommends Pilot Projects on Climate Change Migration to Relocate Communities Under Threat
August 5, 2020. The U.S. Government Accountability OFfice has issued a new report entitled "Climate Change: A Climate Migration Pilot Program Could Enhance the Nation’s Resilience and Reduce Federal Fiscal Exposure" recommending that the federal government undertake pilot programs to examine how to address the need to move communities and populations in response to the impacts of climate change such as sea level rise. Pointing to two communities, one in Alaska and the other in Louisiana that have taken literally decades to move away from a clear threat, the GAO explains why and how such pilot projects are needed.
   Read the Report.

Federal District Court Orders Shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline
July 7, 2020. Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia yesterday issued a ruling ordering shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline. In beginning his opinion in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the judge wrote: "Lake Oahe is a large reservoir lying behind a dam on the Missouri River and stretching between North and South Dakota. Fearing severe environmental consequences, American Indian Tribes on nearby reservations have sought for several years to invalidate federal permits allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to carry oil under the lake. Today they finally achieve that goal--at least for the time being. Following multiple twists and turns in this long-running litigation, this Court recently found that Defendant U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it granted an easement to Defendant-Intervenor Dakota Access, LLC to construct and operate a segment of that crude-oil pipeline running beneath the lake. This was because the Corps had failed to produce an Environmental Impact Statement despite conditions that triggered such a requirement. The Court consequently remanded the case to the agency to prepare such an EIS, but it asked for separate briefing on the appropriate interim remedy. In other words, the Court asked the parties whether the easement should be vacated and the pipeline emptied during the remand process. Although mindful of the disruption such a shutdown will cause, the Court now concludes that the answer is yes. Clear precedent favoring vacatur during such a remand coupled with the seriousness of the Corps' deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow for the thirteen months that the Corps believes the creation of an EIS will take." Id. at 1-2.
   This is the latest step in a long-running litigation and Energy Transfer, the company operating the pipeline has already indicated its intention to contest this ruling.
   Read the Opinion.

Idaho Federal Magistrate Blocks Trump Administration Policy on Oil and Gas Leases in Sage Grouse Territory
February 28, 2020.Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush of the U.S. District Court for Idaho yesterday issued a preliminary injunction against oil and gas leases under a Trump administration Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Instruction Memorandum of January 2018 in a case brought by the Western Watershes Project of the Center for Biological Diversity aimed at protection of Sage Grouse habitat. This is part of a larger challenge launched by the environmental advocacy group against the announced intention of the Trump administration to streamline permitting processes and make it easier and faster to obtain oil and gas permits. The opinion finds that the 2018 IM failed to provide notice and comment process and the judge therefore ordered the 2010 policy reinstated pending a proper process to change it by BLM. The state of Wyoming and the Western Energy Alliance intervened in the case in support of the Trump administration policy. The ruling came after the BLM had submitted the administrative record in October 2019 and a subsequent hearing.
   Read the Memorandum Opinion.
   Read the January 2018 BLM Instruction Memorandum
   Read the Obama administration's 2010 Instruction Memorandum Replaced by the 2018 Memorandum
   Read the July 2018 Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.
   Read the Original Complaint in the Case.
   Read the Center for Biological Diversity Press Release on the Injunction.

Ninth Circuit Dismisses "Juliana" Case on Climate Change for Lack of Standing
January 17, 2020. A divided panel of the Ninth Circuit has reversed a district court ruling with orders to dismiss the case brought by a number of young people alleging that the failure of the federal government to address climate change violated their constitutional rights. The opinion explains at the outset that: "The plaintiffs claim that the government has violated their constitutional rights, including a claimed right under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to a 'climate system capable of sustaining human life.' The central issue before us is whether, even assuming such a broad constitutional right exists, an Article III court can provide the plaintiffs the redress they seek—an order requiring the government to develop a plan to 'phase out fossil fuel emissions and draw down excess atmospheric CO2.' Reluctantly, we conclude that such relief is beyond our constitutional power. Rather, the plaintiffs' impressive case for redress must be presented to the political branches of government."
   Read the Opinion.

New UN Commission Report Finds Horrific Conditions for Children in Syria
January 16, 2020. The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria has published its Report on Children’s Rights over the course of the Syrian War, entitled "They have erased the dreams of my children." In its press release on the report, UN Human Rights Council explains that: "the three-person Commission outlines the multiple rights violations children have been subjected to--including over five million children displaced internally and abroad--and how boys and girls have been robbed of their childhood over the course of the brutal eight and a half-year war. 'I am appalled by the flagrant disregard for the laws of war and the Convention on the Rights of the Child by all parties involved in the conflict', said Commission of Inquiry Chair Paulo Pinheiro. 'While the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic has the primary responsibility for the protection of boys and girls in the country, all of the actors in this conflict must do more to protect children and preserve the country's future generation,' he noted.Children have been killed and maimed, and subjected to myriad violations by warring parties, states the report, which covers the period between September 2011 to the end of October 2019. On multiple occasions, pro-Government forces used cluster munitions, thermobaric bombs and chemical weapons causing scores of child casualties. Rape and sexual violence have been used repeatedly against men, women, boys and girls as a tool to punish, humiliate and instil fear among communities. Government forces have detained boys as young as 12, subjecting them to severe beatings and torture." Press Release
   Read the January 16 Report.
   Read the Commission's Press Release on the New Report.
   Access the Commission's Website.

President Trump and Administration Officials Move to Change Environmental Regulatory Permitting Requirements
January 10, 2020. President Trump yesterday announced major changes in the rules and processes governing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that he asserts will cut permitting time for major infrastructure projects to two years or less by implementing reduced regulatory requirements and a new policy he called the "One Federal Decision" requirement. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking allows only 60 days for public comment in what is be a hotly contested rulemaking proceeding, whatever the final decisons will be.
   Read President Trump's Statement on the New Policy.
   Read the Council on Environmental Quality Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Published yesterday.

States and Advocacy Groups Renew Litigation Against EPA Refusal to Ban the Pesticide Chlorpyrifos
December 18, 2019. (Update of July 22, 2019 post.) The New York Attorney General, joined by California, Washington, Maryland, Vermont, Hawaii, Oregon, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia, has renewed the attack on the EPA refusal to ban chlorpyrifos along with a similar petition filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Pesticide Action Network of North American, and nine other advocacy groups. On August 7, following the July EPA final decision refusing to ban the cholorpyrifos (by removing the tolerances that permit the chemical to continue on the market), the two set of parties filed petitons for review in the Ninth Circuit, where the previous litigation on the matter has been heard. On December 9, the states, led by the New York Attorney General, filed their brief on the review action. The case now consolidates both petitions and is styled League of United Latin American Citizens v. Wheeler, No. 19-71982. The states and advocacy groups contend that EPA's actions violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) and were arbitrary and capricious in violation of the APA. They ask the court to issue a mandamus to EPA, compelling the agency to withdraw the tolerances, relying on the the APA's call for courts to "compel agency action unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed." 5 U.S.C. § 706(1) This case marks the most recent round of litigation seeking to overturn the Trump administration EPA's decision to reject requests to ban the chemical. That decision and the earlier documents originally posted July 22 are provided below.
   Ending a regulatory process that began with a petition by environmental groups in 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency on July 18 issued a final order rejecting efforts to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos. The Trump Administration's Scott Pruitt, then EPA administrator, had issued an order on March 29, 2017 denying the petition to "revoke all tolerances for the pesticide chlorpyrifos under section 408(d) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and cancel all chlorpyrifos registrations under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act." 82 Fed. Reg. 16,581 (Apr. 5, 2017). The order issued on July 18 rejected objections to Pruitt's order and entered a final decision denying the petitions to ban the pesticide. The Trump administration action came after a lengthy process in the Obama era had announced a proposed rule that would have banned the pesticide.
   Read the Brief of the States, led by the New York Attorney General, in the Ninth Circuit.
   Read the States' Petitioner for Review of EPA Denial,led by New York, in the Ninth Circuit.
   Read the LULAC Petition for Review of EPA denial.
   Read the New York Attorney General's Press Release of December 6, 2019.
   Read the July 18, 2019 "Final Order Denying Objections to March 2017 Petition Denial Order." 84 Fed. Reg. 35,555 (July 24, 2019).
   Read the Objections to the March 29, 2017 EPA order filed by a variety of environmental groups, including the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Earth Justice.
   Read the March 29, 2017 EPA Order.
   Read 2015 Obama administration EPA Proposed Rule that would have effectively banned the pesticide.
   Read the August 10, 2015 9th Circuit Ruling Mandating Response from EPA to the PANNA and NRDC petition to ban chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Action Network of North America v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, (In re Pesticide Action Network N. Am.), 798 F.3d 809 (9th Cir. 2015).

GAO Provides Testimony on The Need for More Effort by Federal Agencies to Address Environmental Justice Challenges
November 20, 2019. J. Alfredo Gómez, Director, Natural Resources and Environment of U.S. Government Accountability Office released testimony he provided to before the Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, entitling his testimony "Environmental Justice: Federal Agencies Could Benefit from a Strategic Approach to Assess Progress." This testimony follows on a September 2019 report to Congress entitled "Environmental Justice: Federal Efforts Need Better Planning, Coordination, and Methods to Assess Progress. Mr. Gómez indicated that despite years of attention to the situation, the problem continues. He also explained that: "As we reported in September 2019, 12 of the 16 agencies developed environmental justice strategic plans with strategic goals, but most of the agencies have not shown clear progress toward achieving these goals and the purpose of the executive order." Testimony at 6.
   Read the Testimony.
   Read the September 2019 Report.

GAO Reports on Importance of Addressing Climate Change Implications for Superfund Sites
November 18, 2019. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has issued a new report entitled, "Superfund: EPA Should Take Additional Actions to Manage Risks from Climate Change," warning about the need to consider the impacts of climate change on Superfund sites and cleanup. The summary of the report begins by noting that: "Available federal data-from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Forest Service-on flooding, storm surge, wildfires, and sea level rise suggest that about 60 percent of all nonfederal National Priorities List (NPL) sites are located in areas that may be impacted by these potential climate change effects." The report goes on to explain, for example that: "In 2017, Hurricane Harvey dumped an unprecedented amount of rainfall over the greater Houston area, damaging several Superfund sites that contain hazardous substances. At one site on the San Jacinto River in Texas, floodwater eroded part of the structure containing such substances, including dioxins, which are highly toxic and can cause cancer and liver and nerve damage. That same year, the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA) stated that many temperature and precipitation extremes have become more frequent, more intense, or longer in duration. The NCA reported that climate models are consistent with these trends continuing, which may make certain natural disasters more frequent or more intense. Further, the NCA reported that some climate change effects, including sea level rise and increased coastal flooding, could lead to the dispersal of pollutants, which could pose a risk to public health." The report goes on to examine the Environmental Protection Agency's actions to deal with threats to the 1,336 active Superfund sites and notes as well that there are 421 sites that EPA had determined need no further cleanup action.
   Read the Report.
   Read the GAO WatchBlog Post on Climate Change and Superfund.

11,000 Scientists Issue Dramatic Warning About Climate Emergency
November 6, 2019. The Journal BioScience published online yesterday a paper by William J. Ripple, Christopher Wold, Thomas M. Newsome, Phoebe Barnard, and William R. Moomaw, and joined by 11, 258 signatories from 153 countries entitled "World Scientists' Warning of a Climate Emergency" stating at the outset: "[W]e declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency." The authors conclude: "To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live, in ways that improve the vital signs summarized by our graphs. Economic and population growth are among the most important drivers of increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion (Pachauri et al. 2014, Bongaarts and O'Neill 2018); therefore, we need bold and drastic transformations regarding economic and population policies. We suggest six critical and interrelated steps (in no particular order) that governments, businesses, and the rest of humanity can take to lessen the worst effects of climate change." Their six steps deal with dramatic reductions of energy consumption, the need to address short-lived climate pollutants, an urgent need to protect and restore ecosystems, changes in food production and consumption patterns, the need to address economic systems driven primarily by commitments to ever-increasing levels of growth and fueled by practices that dramatically exploit and damage the environment, and the need to stabilize and where possible reduce the dramatic levels of population growth.
   Read the Report.
   Read the study in .pdf.

Study Based on New Analytic Model Estimates Three or More Times More People in Danger from Sea Level Rise than Previously Estimated
October 30, 2019. Scott A. Kulp and Benjamin H. Strauss published a new article entitled, "New Elevation Data Triple Estimates of Global Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Flooding," in Nature Communication online yesterday. The authors assert that the existing digital elevation models (DEM) are flawed and result in biasing calculations of vulnerability to sea-level rise toward less exposure than is actually the case. The authors propose a different model which, they argue, corrects the calculations and removes the bias, producing a more accurate "extreme coastal water level (ECWL) exposure." They conclude: "We find that assessments using CoastalDEM instead of SRTM multiply median global ECWL exposure by roughly three or more for all scenarios and models considered. The majority of people living on implicated land are in developing countries across Asia, and chronic coastal flooding or permanent inundation threatens areas occupied by more than 10% of the current populations of nations including Bangladesh, Vietnam, and many Small Island Developing States (SIDS) by 2100."
   The new study is already attracting considerable media attention. See Chris Mooney, "Scintists Triple Their Estimates of the Number of People Threatened by Rising Seas," Washington Post, October 29, 2019.
   Read the Study.

GAO Issues a Report on U.S. Assistance to Central America
October 28, 2019. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report entitled "U.S. Assistance to Central America: Department of State Should Establish a Comprehensive Plan to Assess Progress toward Prosperity, Governance, and Security" which raises concerns about a number of issues and particularly recommends that the "State [Department] collaborate with DOD and USDA to develop a comprehensive approach to monitoring and evaluation of projects that support Strategy objectives. State did not concur, citing lack of authority to direct other agencies’ actions. GAO modified the recommendation to clarify that a collaborative effort would allow State to include information about all relevant projects as it evaluates progress under the Strategy as discussed in this report." Report Summary. It also found that: "Limited information is available about how U.S. assistance improved prosperity, governance, and security in the Northern Triangle."
    The Congressional Research Service has also issued a "2019 Update to its Report on Policy Issues on the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America."
   Read the GAO Report.
   Read the CRS 2019 Update to its Report on Policy Issues on the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America.

GAO Issues New Disaster Resilience Framework
October 23, 2019. The U.S. Government Accountability office has just issued a new report entitled Disaster Resilience Framework: Principles for Analyzing Federal Efforts to Facilitate and Promote Resilience to Natural Disasters. As Comptroller General and head of GAO Gene L. Dodaro points out: "Since 2005, federal funding for disaster assistance is approaching half a trillion dollars, most recently for catastrophic hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and other losses in 2017 and 2018. The need to better manage the federal government's fiscal exposure to climate change has been on GAO's High Risk List since 2013." GAO Press Release. He goes on to explain the organization of the new framework. "GAO's disaster resilience framework is organized around three approaches or principles that managers who oversee disaster response efforts may find useful in strengthening national disaster resilience. They are: (1) accessing information that is authoritative and understandable to help decision makers identify current and future risk and the impact of risk reduction strategies; (2) integrating analysis and planning to help decision makers take coherent and coordinated resilience actions; and (3) providing incentives to help make long-term, forward-looking risk-reduction investments more viable and attractive among competing priorities." Id.
   Read the GAO Disaster Resilience Framework.
   Read the GAO Press Release on the New Framework.

New York State Case Against Exxon Alleging Fraud on Climate Change Risk Exposure Begins
October 22, 2019. A case filed by then New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood in October 2018 against Exxon alleging fraudulent behavior by the company in the way it represented its risks as a business from climate change issues goes to trial today. The complaint explained: "This case seeks redress for a longstanding fraudulent scheme by Exxon, one of the world's largest oil and gas companies, to deceive investors and the investment community, including equity research analysts and underwriters of debt securities (together, 'investors'), concerning the company's management of the risks posed to its business by climate change regulation. Exxon provided false and misleading assurances that it is effectively managing the economic risks posed to its business by the increasingly stringent policies and regulations that it expects governments to adopt to address climate change. Instead of managing those risks in the manner it represented to investors, Exxon employed internal practices that were inconsistent with its representations, were undisclosed to investors, and exposed the company to greater risk from climate change regulation than investors were led to believe." New York v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, New York State Supreme Court, County of New York, October 24, 2018, Complaint, at 1.
   Earlier this month, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy notified Exxon of her intent to file suit against he company. "The Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General has reason to believe that Exxon Mobil Corporation ('ExxonMobil') has violated the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act (the 'Act'), G.L. c. 93 A, § 2, and applicable regulations by engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the marketing and/or sale of ExxonMobil-branded fossil fuel products to Massachusetts consumers and in the marketing and/or sale of ExxonMobil securities to Massachusetts investors." The Massachusetts action began with a series of investigations going back to 2016.
   Read the Complaint.
   Read the Notice of Intent to Sue Sent by Massachusetts Attorney General to Exxon.
   Access the Documents on the Massachusetts Attorney General Investigation of Exxon.

IPCC Issues New and Serious Oceans Report
September 27, 2019. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a new report: "Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate" warning of the need for immediate action to address serious challenges. The IPCC press release accompanying the report explains that: "The ocean and the cryosphere-the frozen parts of the planet-play a critical role for life on Earth. A total of 670 million people in high mountain regions and 680 million people in low-lying coastal zones depend directly on these systems. Four million people live permanently in the Arctic region, and small island developing states are home to 65 million people. Global warming has already reached 1°C above the pre-industrial level, due to past and current greenhouse gas emissions. There is overwhelming evidence that this is resulting in profound consequences for ecosystems and people. The ocean is warmer, more acidic and less productive. Melting glaciers and ice sheets are causing sea level rise, and coastal extreme events are becoming more severe." The report speaks to the need for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also the need to start immediately to find adaptations to the rapidly changing environmental conditions.
   Read the Full Report.
   Read the Summary for Policymakers.
   Read the IPCC Press Release to Accompany the New Report.
   Access the IPCC Website.

Australian Government Issues Great Barrier Reef Report Warning of Serious Dangers Ahead
August 31, 2019. The Australian governments Great Barrier Reef Marine Parks Authority has issued its 2019 Outlook report which presents serious warnings about damage to the Great Barrier Reef and threats that are imminent. It finds that: "The report finds the greatest threat to the Reef is still climate change. The other main threats are associated with coastal development, land-based run-off, and direct human use (such as illegal fishing)." Website assnouncement.
   Read the Full Report.
   Read the Report-in-Brief. (This download may have difficulties and will be rechecked later.)
   Access the Report Fact Sheets.
   Access the 2019 report webpage of the Australian Great Barrier Reef Marine Part Authority.

EPA Proposes Rules to Roll Back Methane Limits in New Source Performance Standards for the Oil and Gas Industry
August 29, 2019. The U.S. Environmental Protection Administration today released proposed rules on New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry. In its fact sheet on the proposal, EPA indicates that: "The proposed amendments would remove all sources in the transmission and storage segment of the oil and natural gas industry from regulation under the NSPS, both for ozone-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and for greenhouse gases (GHGs). The existing NSPS regulates GHGs through limitations on emissions of methane." It also indicated additional steps. "The amendments also would rescind the methane requirements in the 2016 NSPS that apply to sources in the production and processing segments of the industry. As an alternative, EPA also is proposing to rescind the methane requirements that apply to all sources in the oil and natural gas industry, without removing any sources from the current source category. As part of today's action, the Agency also is seeking comment on alternative interpretations of EPA's legal authority to regulate pollutants under section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act." In its press release, EPA indicates that these changes are expected to save industry $17-19 million per year between 2019 and 2025. The comment period for the proposed rules will be just 60 days.
   Read the Proposal to be Submitted today to the Federal Register for Publication.
   Read the EPA "Fact Sheet on the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry."
   Read the EPA Press Release on the Proposed Rules.

UN Climate Change Panel Issues New Report on on Climate Change and Land Use
August 8, 2019. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is today releasing a new special report entitled Climate Change and Land, an IPCC Special Report on Climate Change, Desertification, Land Degradation, Sustainable Land Management, Food Security, and Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Terrestrial Ecosystems. The report examines both the impact of land use practices and policies on climate change and also the impact of climate change on land and its productivity. Although it finds that changes in land use policies are essential, the panel said in its press release announcing that report that: "Land is already under growing human pressure and climate change is adding to these pressures. At the same time, keeping global warming to well below 2°C can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors including land and food, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its latest report on Thursday."
   Read the Summary for Policymakers
   Read the Fact Sheet Issued with the Report
   Read the August 8 IPCC Press Release on the Report.
   Access the IPCC Webpage on the Report and Its Release.
   Access the IPCC Website

GAO Examines Programs in 6 States for Children with Trauma
May 22, 2019. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has just released a report entitled "Children Affected by Trauma: Selected States Report Various Approaches and Challenges to Supporting Children." The study examines what six states, Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin, are doing to support children who have experienced significant trauma. As the introduction to the report explains: "Trauma is a widespread, harmful, and costly public health problem, and its effects are particularly detrimental to children, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Children can be exposed to various types of trauma. Any frightening, dangerous, or violent event that threatens the life or safety of a child or their loved ones can potentially be traumatic. For example, in fiscal year 2017, HHS reported that there were approximately 674,000 victims of child maltreatment, including neglect and physical and sexual abuse. In addition, in 2016, students ages 12 through 18 experienced an estimated 749,400 victimizations (theft and nonfatal violent victimization) at school and 601,300 victimizations away from school. While not every child who experiences trauma will suffer lasting effects, studies have shown that for many there are serious short- and long-term consequences. As GAO has previously reported, trauma significantly increases the risk of mental health problems, difficulties with social relationships and behavior, physical illness, and poor school performance." Id. at 1.
   Read the Report.

10th Circuit Finds BLM Violated NEPA in Issuing Fracking Permits in New Mexico
May 14, 2019. The Tenth Circuit last week ruled in favor of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) challenges to fracking permits granted by the Bureau of Land Management in the Chaco region of New Mexico, but in the same case rejected challenges based on the Hational Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Writing for the panel in Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment v. Bernhardt, Judge Mary Beck Briscoe found that in issuing the permits for fracking wells in the Mancos Shale area in northwestern New Mexico the BLM had failed to consider adequately the water impacts of the pending specific drilling applications in light of the "reasonable foreseeable development scenarios (RFDS)" that estimated a like 3,960 new wells would be developed in the area. Although the court rejecting a large number of the specifically challenged environmental assessments (EAs) because the record in the case was not complete with regard to all but a few of the actions, Judge Briscoe concluded: "We remand to the district court with instructions to vacate the FONSIs [Findings of No Significant Impact] and APDs [Application for Permit to Drill] associated with EAs 2014-0272, 2015-0036, 2015-0066, 2016-0029, and 2016-0200/2016-0076, and to remand those EAs to the BLM to conduct a proper NEPA analysis." Id. at 50.
   Read the Opinion.

Early Summary of IPBES and UN Report on Species Loss Released Showing Major Losses and Serious Threats of More
May 6, 2019. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES, an independent Intergovernmental body the membership of which is taken from some 132 UN members nations and affiliated with UNESCO, UNDP, UNFAO, and UNEP) has released a summary version for policymakers on a new UN report on species loss warning that: "Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history-and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world." The scope of the study was broad. "Compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries over the past three years, with inputs from another 310 contributing authors, the Report assesses changes over the past five decades, providing a comprehensive picture of the relationship between economic development pathways and their impacts on nature. It also offers a range of possible scenarios for the coming decades. Based on the systematic review of about 15,000 scientific and government sources, the Report also draws (for the first time ever at this scale) on indigenous and local knowledge, particularly addressing issues relevant to Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities." UN News Release
   There is a great deal of detailed information in the report summary and even the release, but the following provides a taste of the findings. "The Report finds that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history. The average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900. More than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reef-forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened. The picture is less clear for insect species, but available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10% being threatened. At least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century and more than 9% of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more breeds still threatened." Id.
   There has been such a demand for the summary for policymakers that the site is down. More information will be posted once it is available.
   Read the United Nations Report Summary and News Release on the UN Sustainable Development Goals Site.
   Read the Summary for Policymakers (unedited advance version).
   Read the IPBES Press Release.
   Access the IPBES Website.

Trump Administration Relaxes Safety Rules Put in Place After the Deep Water Horizon Oil Rig Disaster
May 3, 2019. The Trump administration has just announced the publication of a new final rule governing safety and blowout protections on oil and gas rigs ["Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf-Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Revisions" (WCR)], as part of its effort to reduce regulatory requirements in general and to facilitate increased exploration and production of ocean-based petroleum operations, which replaces rules put in place in 2016 after investigations of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster.
   In the preamble to its proposed rule, issued back in May 2018, 83 Fed. Reg. 22128, 22131 (May 11, 2018), Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), explained the origins of the new rule. "On March 28, 2017, the President issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13783-Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth (82 FR 16093). The E.O. directed Federal agencies to review all existing regulations and other agency actions and, ultimately, to suspend, revise, or rescind any such regulations or actions that unnecessarily burden the development of domestic energy resources beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law. On April 28, 2017, the President issued E.O. 13795-Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy (82 FR 20815), which directed the Secretary to review the WCR for consistency with the policy set forth in section 2 of E.O. 13795, and to 'publish for notice and comment a proposed rule revising that rule, if appropriate and as consistent with law.' To further implement E.O. 13795, the Secretary issued Secretary's Order No. 3350 on May 1, 2017, directing BSEE to review the WCR for consistency with E.O. 13795, including preparation of a report 'providing recommendations on whether to suspend, revise, or rescind the rule' in response to concerns raised by stakeholders that the WCR 'unnecessarily include[s] prescriptive measures that are not needed to ensure safe and responsible development of our OCS resources.'"
   Read the Final Rule as Submitted for Publication in the Federal Register.
   Read the Department of Interior Press Release on the Final Rules.
   Read the Proposed Rule from May 2018.
   Read the Department of the Interior, Secretary's Order 3350, May 1, 2017, "America-First Offshore Energy Strategy."
   Access the 2016 Obama administration Rule Replaced by the current Trump administration rule.

EPA Gives Haskell Indian Nations University an Award for Food Recovery Efforts
April 28, 2019. On April 26, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 administrator James Gulliford presented Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas with a 2018 Food Recovery Challenge Regional Award. The award is part of a program conducted jointly by EPA, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in an effort to reduce the more than 39 million tons of food waste generated in the U.S. each year.
   Read the EPA Press Release on the Award Presentation.

EPA Issues New Guidance on Preparation for Dealing with Disasters Including Those Caused or Intensified by Climate Change
April 28, 2019. On April 24, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a new guidance document entitled "Planning for Natural Disaster Debris" which includes discussion of the impact of climate change on causing or exacerbating natural disasters with attention to climate change adaptation as one of the important aspects of preparing for or when possible avoiding disasters.
   Read the New Guidance Document.
   Read the EPA Notice of Availability for the Guidance Document as Published in the Federal Register.

World Bank Report on the Costs of Not Educating Girls
April 8, 2019. In a publication that did not receive as much attention as it warranted when it was issued last year, the World Bank issued a report entitled "Missed Opportunities: The High Cost of Not Educating Girls." The root of the problem, the report notes is that: "Globally, nine in ten girls complete their primary education, but only three in four complete their lower secondary education. In low income countries, despite progress over the last two decades, less than two thirds of girls complete their primary education today, and only one in three completes lower secondary school." Key Results, p. 1. The report found that the fact that so many girls did not receive adequate elementary education and even more lacked secondary educational opportunities had a number of serious consequences. "Specifically, the study documents associations of low educational attainment for girls with six domains of interest:(1) earnings and standards of living; (2) child marriage and early childbearing; (3) fertility and population growth; (4) health, nutrition, and well-being; (5) agency and decisionmaking; and (6) social capital and institutions." Key results, p. 2.
   Read the Missed Opportunities Report.
   Read Fact Sheet on the Report.
   Read the World Bank Press Release on the Report.

Federal Court in Alaska Finds Trump Executive Order to Offshore Allow Drilling Violates Statute
April 1, 2019. Judge Sharon L. Gleason of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska has rejected President Trump's order aimed at allowing drilling on areas of the outer continental shelf, finding that: "Section of Executive Order 13795, which purported to revoke prior presidential withdrawals of OCS lands for leasing, is unlargul, as it exceeded the President's authority under Section 12(a) of OCSLA [Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act]." League of Conservation Voters v. Trump, Order re Motions for Summary Judgment, at 30.
   Read the Order.
   Read President Trump's EO 13795.
   Read the Obama Executive Order 13754.
   Read the Obama Presidential Memorandum of January 27, 2015.
   Read the Obama Presidential Memorandum December 20, 2016 .
   Read the Obama Presidential Memorandum, Second Memorandum December 20, 2016.

UNDP Focuses the Upcoming Human Development Report 2019 on Inequality
March 31, 2019. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has announced that: "The 2019 Human Development Report will focus on understanding the dimensions of inequality most important to people's wellbeing, and what is behind them. The report will go beyond the dominant discourse focused on income disparities to also consider inequalities in other dimensions such as health, education, access to technologies, and exposure to economic and climate-related shocks. It will use new data and methods to highlight how inequality affects people's lives in a way that measures based on averages cannot; and it will take a long-term view towards 2030 and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and beyond." Consultations for the new report are expected to be completed by May 2019 with the publication of the report to follow.
   The UNDP has also just release the 2018 Statistical Update. There has not been a UNDP Human Development Report since 2016. This update provides more recent data and also provides additional analysis.
   All of the UNDP HDR reports from their beginning in 1990 to the present are posted on this webpage under the International Sustainable Development Documents tab.
   Read the UNDP announcement on HDR 2019.
   Read the Press Release on HDR 2019.
   Read the UNDP Blog Post "Human Development Reimagined.
   Read the 2018 UNDP Statistical Update.

World Bank Issues 2019 World Development Report: The Changing Nature of Work
March 31, 2019. The new 2019 World Bank World Development Report entitled The Changing Nature of Work considers how work is changing in the contemporary global context and in particular how it is being affected by technology.
   All of the World Bank World Development reports from their beginning in 1978 to the present are posted on this webpage under the International Sustainable Development Documents tab.
   Read the World Development Report 2019.

UN Women Publishes Important New Report on Gender and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals
March 31, 2019. UN Women, the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, has published a new report entitled Turning Promises into Action: Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The connection of the findings to the 2030 goals is an important step in the UN effort to ensure that various programs and units are connecting their work to that set of goals.
   Read Turning Promises into Action: Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Full Report).
   Read the Report Summary.
   Access the UN Women Website.

New Zealand Prime Minister Announces Post-Attack Gun Policy Changes
March 21, 2019. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced major change in firearms regulation using an Order in Council pending full consideration of legislation in Parliament. The policy bans military style assault weapons or any kind of parts that will allow conversion of other weapons into that kind of weapon. The policy also will include a firearms buy-back program. In order to avoid a rush to buy these weapons before a change could take effect, the Order in Council made the ban immediate upon announcement.
    Orders in Council are one of a number of policy instruments sometimes referred to as statutory regulations. Statutory Regulations can include Orders in Council, rules, notices, determinations, proclamations, or warrants. In New Zealand, the term statutory regulations has been replaced by the term legislative instruments. These documents are available on the New Zealand Legislation website.
   Read the Order in Council on Arms(Military Style Semi-automatic Firearms) Order 2019.
   Access the Department of the Prime Minister webpage on the Orders in Council.
   Access the Department of the Prime Minister webpage on the Executive Council.
   Access the New Zealand Legislation website.

UN Issues Global Environmental Outlook 6
March 13, 2019. UN Environment today issued the long-awaited Global Environmental Outlook 6 report. In its press release on issuing the report, UN Environment said: "The report, which was produced by 250 scientists and experts from more than 70 countries, says that either we drastically scale up environmental protections, or cities and regions in Asia, the Middle East and Africa could see millions of premature deaths by mid-century. It also warns that pollutants in our freshwater systems will see anti-microbial resistance become a major cause of death by 2050 and endocrine disruptors impact male and female fertility, as well as child neurodevelopment."
   Read the full report.
   Read the Summary for Policymakers.
   Read the UN Environment Press Release on the GEO-6 Report.
   Access the GEO-6 Website.

GAO Issues Report on Climate Change Actions in Federal Agencies that Relate to Global Migration
January 18, 2019. The Government Accountability Officer has issued a new report entitled, "Climate Change Activities of Selected Agencies to Address Potential Impact on Global Migration." The report focuses specifically on the Department of State (State), the U.S. Agency for International Development(USAID), and the Department of Defense (DOD). The report addresses actions that had been launched following presidential executive orders and memoranda in 2014 and 2016, but considers changes in course after these directives were rescinded.
   Read the GAO Report.

COP24 Conference Concludes with Agreement on Katowice Climate Package
December 16, 2018. The COP24 conference in Poland concluded yesterday with the countries involved agreeing to what they are referring to as the Katowice Climate Package intended to take next steps in implementing the Paris Climate Accords by specifying emission level targets, reporting on emissions, and financial support from developed countries for implementation. Despite the U.S. president's declaration of intent to withdraw from the Paris Accords, the U.S. representatives supported the Katowice document.
   Read COP24 Press Release on the Katowice Climate Package.
   Read the UN Climate Change Press Release on the Katowice Climate Package.
   Access the UN Climate Change Website.

United Nations Environmental Programme Issues 2018 Emissions Gap Report Finding Countries Far Behind Targets
November 27, 2018. The United Nations Environment Programme has issued its 2018 Emissions Gap report on progress toward achieving commitments made by countries following on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, finding that: "Current national commitments on emission reduction are not sufficient to bridge the emissions gap in 2030. Technically, it is still possible to ensure global warming stays well below 2°C and 1.5°C, but if countries do not scale up their ambitions before 2030, exceeding the 1.5°C goal can no longer be avoided. Now more than ever, unprecedented and urgent action is required by all nations. The assessment of actions by the G20 countries indicates that this kind of action is yet to happen; in fact, global CO2 emissions increased in 2017 after three years of stagnation." "Key Message" The report is issued annually but in this case it is also considered to be one of the preparatory documents for the 2019 Climate Summit.
   Read the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2018.
   Read 2018 Report Executive Summary.
   Read the UNEP 2018 Report "Key Messages."
   Read the UNEP Press Release on the 2018 Report.
   Access the UNEP Climate Change Website.

Fourth National Climate Assessment Stress Adverse Impacts of Climate Change
November 23, 2018. "The Global Change Research Act of 1990 mandates that the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) deliver a report to Congress and the President no less than every four years." Last year, the USGCRP released Vol. I of the 4th Assessment. It has just released Vol. II. It's summary findings are very direct. "Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth. Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century. Climate change affects the natural, built, and social systems we rely on individually and through their connections to one another. These interconnected systems are increasingly vulnerable to cascading impacts that are often difficult to predict, threatening essential services within and beyond the Nation’s borders. While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades. . . ."
   Read Climate Science Special Report: NCA4 Volume I (2017).
   Read Vol. II Report in Brief.
   Read Vol. II Summary Findings.
   Read Vol. II Overview.
   Read Vol. II Download Full Report Chapter by Chapter.

Federal District Court Issues Injunction Against Keystone XL Pipeline
November 9, 2018. Federal Disrict Judge of the Dictrict of Montana has issued an injunction against the Keystone pipeline, finding that the decisions to proceed did not meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. First, the decision did not meet the "hard look" requirement of NEPA. He also found that: "The Department failed to comply with NEPA and the APA when it disregarded prior factual findings related to climate change and reversed course." Indigensous Environmental Network v. U.S. Department of State, Order, at 52. He also "remanded to the Department with instructions to consider potential adverse impacts to endangered species from oil spills associated with Keystone in light of the updated data on oil spills and leaks." Id., at 53. He concluded: "The Court enjoins Federal Defendants and TransCanada from engaging in any activity in furtherance of the construction or operation of Keystone and associated facilities until the Department has completed a supplement to the 2014 SEIS that complies with the requirements of NEPA and the APA." Id., at 54.
   Read the Order.

New York Attorney General Sues Exxon Mobil Alleging It Misled Investors on Matters Related to Claimate Change
October 24, 2018. The New York State Attorney General has filed suite against Exxon Mobil in a New York trial court, claiming that the company defrauded investors. Her press release claims that: "alleging that the company misled investors regarding the risk that climate change regulations posed to its business. As alleged in the complaint, Exxon for years assured investors that it was accounting for the likelihood of increasingly stringent regulation of greenhouse gas emissions – which are driving climate change and which Exxon emits in large quantity – by rigorously and consistently applying an escalating cost of those emissions to its business planning, investment decisions, calculations of the amount and value of company reserves and resources, impairment assessments, and projections of future demand for oil and gas. However, Exxon did not abide by these representations, and instead did much less than it claimed, deceiving investors as to the company’s true financial exposure to increasing regulations and policies adopted to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change."
   Read the Complaint.
   Read the New York Attorney General's Press Release on the Suit.

Supreme Court Stays Further Action in Oregon Climate Change Case
October 22, 2018. Chief Justice Roberts issued a stay on Friday in the case that began as Juliana v. United States, a suit originally brought by 21 children at the time, as well as an environmental advocacy group and a former NASA scientist seeking to mandate action by the courts against the federal government to ensure that took serious steps to deal with climate change that will particularly affect future generations. They asserted that the failure to do so violates the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. The Obama administration sought dismissal of the suit, but that was denied by the district court on recommendations from a magistrate and that action was upheld by the Ninth Circuit. The Trump administration has again sought a mandamus to compel the district court to dimiss the case. The Ninth Circuit panel refused to do that in its July 2018 ruling and the Supreme Court refused at that time to grant a stay of the trial in the case, scheduled for next week in Oregon. Roberts has now issued a stay.
   Access Chief Justice Roberts Stay Order pending consideration of the Mandamus petition.
   Read the U.S. Motion for a Stay in the Supreme Court Pending a Ruling on the Mandamus Motion.
   District Judge Aiken's October 15 on the Government's Motion for Summary Judgment and Judgment on the Pleadings, Clearing the Way for the Trial to Begin.
   Read the U.S. Petition for Mandamus in the Supreme Court.
   Read the Original Complaint in Juliana v. U.S. (2015).
   Access Magistrate's Recommendation to Deny U.S. motion to dismiss.
   Read the 2016 District Court for the District of Oregon Opinion and Order Denying Motion to Dismiss.
   March 7, 2018 Ninth Circuit Opinion Denying the Government's Petition for Mandamus.
   July 20 9th Circuit Opinion Denying the Second Government Mandamus Request.
   July 30 Supreme Court Order Denying the Government's Motion for a Stay.
   Access Our Childrens' Trust Website on the Case

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Issues Latest Report With Dire Warnings
October 8, 2018. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued the latest in its series of reports. In releasing the "Special Report" today, the IPCC said in its press release that: "Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society."
   Access the IPCC Press Release.
   Read the Summary for Policymakers
   Read the Report "Headline Statements."
   Access the Special Report
   Access the IPCC Home Page.

U.S. Department of Transportation Issues Final Rule Rolling Back Oil Train Brake Safety Requirements
September 26, 2018. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a final rule entitled: "Hazardous Materials: Removal of Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brake System Requirements for High Hazard Flammable Unit Trains." It rolls back rules issued in 2015 by the same agency during the Obama administration in response to train accidents and related impacts. The Trump administration indicated in eliminating those requirements for train safety that: "This final action is based on the Department of Transportation’s determination that the requirements are not economically justified." 83 Fed. Reg. 48393 (September 25, 2018.
   Although announcements of the administration's intentions were made some time ago, now that the final rule has been issued it is highly likely that legal challenges will follow. Those challenges are likely to come not only from environmental groups but from states as well. For example, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington immediately issued a press release criticizing the action and promising to do everything possible to push for more safety protections with respect to the oil trains and other trains carrying hazardous substances. Oregon and Washington, states through which the lower Columbia River flows and in which there was a major spill with significant consequences in Mosier, Oregon in 2014, have been pressing for increased safety protections. No state Attorneys General have as yet indicated their intentions.
   Read the Trump Administration DOT Final Rule.
   Read the Obama Administration DOT Final Rule .
   Read the Washington Governor's Press Release in Response to the Rollback.

Federal District Judge Overturns Delisting of Grizzly Bears
September 25, 2018. Chief Judge Dana L. Christensen of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana has issued an order in a case that consolidated several suits that had challenged the delisting of grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act. He began his order by stating clearly that: "In this Order, the Court vacates the June 30, 2017 Final Rule of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service delisting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population of grizzly bears, and restores Endangered Species Act status to the Greater Yellowstone grizzly." Crow Indian Tribe v. United States, Order, at 1.
    The judge explained the ruling in brief. "Fully briefed and at issue here, the Plaintiffs challenge the delisting decision under the Endangered Species Act ("ESA") and Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") on two primary grounds: (1) the Service erred in delisting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear without further consideration of the impact on other members of the lower-48 grizzly designation; and (2) the Service acted arbitrarily and capriciously in its application of the five-factor threats analysis demanded by the ESA.
   The Court finds for the Plaintiffs on both grounds. By delisting the Greater Yellowstone grizzly without analyzing how delisting would affect the remaining members of the lower-48 grizzly designation, the Service failed to consider how reduced protections in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem would impact the other grizzly populations. Thus, the Service "entirely failed to consider an important aspect of the problem." Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass 'n v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins Co., 463 U.S. 29, 43 (1983).
   Further, the Service's application of the ESA threats analysis is arbitrary and capricious for at least two reasons. First, by dropping a key commitment-the commitment to ensure that any population estimator adopted in the future is calibrated to the estimator used to justify delisting-the Service illegally negotiated away its obligation to apply the best available science in order to reach an accommodation with the states of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. Second, the Service relied on two studies to support its determination that the Greater Yellowstone grizzly can remain independent and genetically self-sufficient. However, the Service's reliance is illogical, as both studies conclude that the longterm health of the Greater Yellowstone grizzly depends on the introduction of new genetic material." Id., at 2-3.
   Read the Order.

EPA Issues Replacement for Obama Era Clean Power Plan
August 21, 2018. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released what it calls the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule which the administration indicates is the replacement for the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.
   Read the EPA Press Release on the Change.
   Read the Proposed Rule as Transmitted to the Federal Register for Publication.
   Read the EPA's Regulatory Impact Analysis on the Proposed Rule.
   Access the EPA Webpage on the Proposal with other Relevant Documents.

Union of Concerned Scientists Publishes Results of Survey of Government Scientists
August 15, 2018. The Union of Concerned Scientists has issued a report of a study done by that organization and the Iowa State University Center for Survey Statistics and Methology on attitudes of science professionals in the federal agencies. The report, entitled Science under Trump: Voices of Scientists across 16 Federal Agencies explained that the survey involved "63,000 science professionals from 16 science-based US government agencies" with date collection ending March 26, 2018.
   Caution. The Union of Concerned Scientists reports a very low response rate to the survey. The organization explained that "while we received enough responses for the results to be valid, the final overall response rate on this years’ federal scientists survey sits at 6.9%. Compared to response rates on prior surveys conducted by UCS over the past 13 years, which have typically ranged from 15-20%, this year’s rate is lower." They have a blog post which provides the organization's explanation of this situation.
   Read the Report.
   Read the UCCSA Press Release on the Study.
   Read the UCCSA Discussion of Low Sample Size.
   Read Iowa State University Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology statement on the Study.
   Read Iowa State University Center "FAQ" on the Study.

Administration Announces Proposed Changes in Rules for the Endangered Species Act
July 20, 2018. The Trump Administration's Department of Fish and Wildlife and NOAA Fisheries have announced proposed changes to the rules governing implementation of the Endangered Species Act. In its press release announcing the changes, Fish & Wildlife said: "While the agencies recognize the value of critical habitat as a conservation tool, in some cases, designation of critical habitat is not prudent. Accordingly, they are proposing a non-exhaustive list of circumstances where they may find that designation for a particular species would not be prudent. The agencies anticipate that such not-prudent determinations will continue to be rare and expect to designate critical habitat in most cases.
   The ESA defines a threatened species as one that is likely to become in danger of extinction within the “foreseeable future.” For the first time, the agencies are proposing an interpretation of “foreseeable future” to make it clear that it extends only as far as they can reasonably determine that both the future threats and the species’ responses to those threats are probable.
   The agencies are also clarifying that decisions to delist a species are made using the same standard as decisions to list species. In both cases, that standard is whether a species meets the established ESA definition of an endangered species or threatened species.
   The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is separately proposing to rescind its blanket rule under section 4(d) of the ESA, which automatically conveyed the same protections for threatened species as for endangered species unless otherwise specified. This brings its regulatory approach to threatened species protections in line with NOAA Fisheries, which has not employed such a blanket rule. The proposed changes would impact only future listings or downlistings and would not apply to those species already listed as threatened. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will craft species-specific 4(d) rules for each future threatened species determination that are necessary and advisable for the conservation of the species, as has been standard practice for most species listed as threatened in recent years." See press release below.
The administration has indicated that there will be a 60 day comment period for the new rules.
   Read the Fish and Wildlife Service Press Release
   Read the Proposed Changes to the Listing and Habitat Rule
   Read the Proposed Changes to the Protective Regulations Rule.
   Read the Proposed Changes to the Interagency Cooperation Rule.

Administration Moves for Expedited Decision on Drilling in the Alaska
July 20, 2018. The Department of Interior has issued a contract for an Environmental Impact Statement to support sale of drilling leases in the Alaskan Native Wilderness Area to be completed on an expedited schedule with all work done by March 2019. In the contract, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)announced that: "The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program for the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) as directed by Title II, Section 20001 of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (Tax Act)." The contract also explains that it is operating under the Trump administration's mandates for expedited approval of permits, including Within the laws and regulations governing the NEPA process are a number of timing requirements. "In addition, the EIS should be completed in accordance with Secretarial Order 3355, Streamlining National Environmental Policy Act Reviews and Implementation of Executive Order 13807 'Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructures Projects.'” Contract at p. 10.
   Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson explained in the a piece in the Washington Post entitled "Drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to get fast reviewthat the contract was obtained by the Center for American Progress under the Freedom of Information Act."
   Read the contract
   Access P.L. 115-97.
   Read Secretarial Order 3355 Streamlining National Environmental Policy Act Reviews and Implementation of Executive Order 13807 'Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructures Projects.'
   Read E.O. 13807 Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructures Projects.
   Read the Eilperin and Mufson article.

District Court Issues Injunction Against Trump Administration Effort to Repeal Obama Era Rule on Gas and Oil Leaks and Waste
February 23, 2018. Judge William H. Orrick of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has issued an injunction against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) which has announced its repeal of parts and revisions of other portions of the Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation Rule aimed at stopping flaring of natural gas and dealing with oil leaks, along with other practices that resulted in waste of resources and pollution. While that matter was pending, BLM announced a suspension of portions of the Waste Prevention rule. Judge Orrick issued his injunction against that suspension rule. "BLM has failed to provide the requisite reasoned analysis in support of the Suspension Rule, and it is therefore arbitrary and capricious within the meaning of the APA. . . . Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim that BLM failed to consider the scope of commentary that it should have in promulgating the Suspension Rule and relied on opinions untethered to evidence, which is required to give a reasoned explanation to suspend the Waste Prevention Rule (that had an evidentiary basis). The ruling consolidated a case brought by California and New Mexico with a challenge brought by a coalition of 17 different tribal groups and environmental organizations." California v. BLM, Slip op. at 24.
   Read the Order and Injunction.
   Read BLM Notice of Proposed Rule of February 22, 2018 Rescinding some Parts of the Waste Rule and Modifying Others.
   Read BLM Suspension Rule of December 2017.
   Read the Waste Prevention Final Rule issued in 2016.

Groups Sue Demanding More Transparency and Records Availability for EPA Actions
February 23, 2018. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington ("CREW") and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility ("PEER") have filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the Environmental Protection Agency and Administrator Scott Pruitt with failing "to adequately document EPA policies, decisions, and essential transactions as the FRA requires, and their failure to maintain a program that adequately documents EPA decisions and activities." They also named the Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero and the National Archives and Records Administration ("NARA") in the suit, claiming that he failed to take action to inform EPA about the lack of compliance with federal requirements.
   Read the Complaint.

Mayors Submit Letter Opposing Repeal of the Clean Power Plan
February 21, 2018. Some 236 mayors from 47 states have submitted a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency opposing the EPA plan to rescind the Obama administration's Clear Power Plan. The EPA published its proposed rule entitled "Repeal of Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units" in October, 82 Fed. Reg. 48035 (October 16, 1917). The Clean Power Plan was originally issued in 2015, 80 Fed. Reg. 64662 (October 23, 2015). The current action by EPA to repeal the plan is being done pursuant to President Trump's Executive Order 13783, 82 Fed. Reg. 16093 (March 31, 2017). The mayors' letter is a comment in response to the EPA rulemaking and argues that the proposed repeal would undermine the efforts of local governments to take their own actions in concert with the national government to address climate change.
   Read the Letter.
   Read the EPA Proposed Rule.
   Read the 2015 Clean Power Plan.
   Read the Trump E.O. 13783.

Trump Administration Relaxes Ban on Importation of Trophy Elephant
November 17, 2017. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a notice allowing import permits for Zimbabwe Elephan Trophies, a shift from the previous ban on importation of these and other trophies from endangered animals. They begin the statement by stating: "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has made a finding that the killing of African elephant trophy animals in Zimbabwe, on or after January 21, 2016, and on or before December 31, 2018, will enhance the survival of the African elephant." 82 Fed. Reg. 54405 (November 17, 2017) The claim is that this kind of hunting will provide funds to support conservation efforts.
   Read the Fish & Wildlife Notice

13 Federal Agencies Issue Climate Change Report
November 5, 2017. The Subcommittee on Global Change Research of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources within the National Science and Technology Council has issued its Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume 1 which comes from a consortium of 13 federal agencies. In releasing the report, the Acting Chair Virginia Burkettand and Executive Director Michael Kuperberg explained: "The first of these is the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR), which represents Volume I of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4). The final version of CSSR is released today as a step toward completing the quadrennial assessment mandated in the Global Change Research Act of 1990. As an authoritative report of the physical science of climate change with a focus on the United States, the CSSR represents the scientific consensus on climate science in America. The assessment was written by a team of America’s top experts in climate change science, including representatives from the Federal government, national laboratories, universities, and the private sector. It underwent six rounds of expert, technical review and is intended to serve as the foundation for an assessment of climate-related impacts, risks and adaptation, as reflected in NCA4 Vol. II. The Climate Science Special Report can be viewed on its interactive website at" Press release
   Read .the Report
   Read the Press Release on the Report.

EPA Cancels Government and Contractor Presentations at Narragansett Bay Estuary Program Conference
October 23, 2017. The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program has released its 500 page report on the state of the bay and will be holding a workshop on October 23. Press reports indicate that two EPA people and one EPA consultant who had been scheduled to present at the conference have been instructed to cancel their presentations. The Washington Post piece by By Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis entitled "EPA Yanks Scientists’ Conference Presentations, Including on Climate Change" cited NBEP program director Tom Borden, as saying that EPA informed him that Autumn Oczkowski, originally scheduled as the keynote speaker, and Rose Martin would not make their presentations. He was also told that Emily Shumchenia, an EPA contractor, would also not make her planned presentation.
   Read the Full Report.
   Read the Summary of the Report.
   Read the program and information on the State of Narragansett Bay and Its Watershed Workshop, October 23, 2017.
   Read the Washington Post article.
   Access the NBWP website.

EPA Administrator Announces Action to Repeal the Obama Administration Clean Power Plan
October 9, 2017. Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced in a speech in Kentucky today that the agency would publish in the Federal Register a proposed rule designed to repeal the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.
   Read the Proposed Rule by the EPA to Repeal the Clean Power Plan.

Farmers Sue Over Allegations of Herbicide Damage to Crops
August 30, 2017. A recent article by Caitlin Dewey in the Washington Post highlighted a controversy concerning the use of the herbicide dicamba and related genetically engineered seeds in which farmers argue that the herbicide is spreading to other areas from where it was sprayed causing major damage to other plants, trees, and crops. Further research reveals a number of different legal actions brought against the manufacturers of the product which has been in wide use on soybean crops following its approval by U.S. EPA is November 2016. Most of the complaints and the origins of the lawsuits began in Arkansas and Missouri. Originally that led to a suit filed in a state court in November 2016. Since then there is a ten state class action pending in federal court and other suits have been filed as well.
   Monsanto has issued news releases and a "Letter to Our Farmer Customers" speaking to its view of the product and indicating steps it is taking in response to complaints.
   Read the July 20, 2017 Arkansas Court Complaint in B and L Farms v. Monsanto .
   Read the January 2017 Class Action Complaint in Landers v. Monsanto in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Missouri.
   Read the November 2016 Complaint in the Bader Farms v. Monsanto.
   Read the Press Interview with Randles & Splittgerber firm on the dicamba cases.
   Read the Randles & Splittberger Press Release on Filing the Class Action.
   Read the EPA November 9, 2016 Approval (Registration) of Dicamba.
   Read the EPA Announcement of the Approval of Dicamba.
   Read the August 23, 2017 Monsanto Press Release on the product and testing.
   Read the August 2, 2017 Monsanto "Open Letter to Our Farmer Customers."
   Read the July 21, 2017 Monsanto Press Release on dicamba.
   Read the story by Caitlin Dewey in the Washington Post.

U.S. Global Change Climate Science Special Report Awaits Final Clearance for Publication
August 8, 2017. The federal agencies and others responsible for the U.S. Global Change Research Program Climate Science Special Report (CSSR), now in its fifth and final draft (June 28, 2017), and previously reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences are waiting for the Trump Administration’s final clearance for the document. The Executive Summary explains that: “This report concludes that 'it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.' The last few years have also seen record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, the three warmest years on record for the globe, and continued decline in arctic sea ice. These trends are expected to continue in the future over climate (multidecadal) timescales. Significant advances have also been made in our understanding of extreme weather events and how they relate to increasing global temperatures and associated climate changes. Since 1980, the cost of extreme events for the United States has exceeded $1.1 trillion, therefore better understanding of the frequency and severity of these events in the context of a changing climate is warranted.” Draft Report, at 12. It explains that the term “extremely likely” is defined as 95-100 % certain. The report is a product of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Global Change Research Program, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, NOAA Ocean Acidification Program, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Naval Postgraduate School, Remote Sensing Systems, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, NOAA National Ocean Service, NASA Langley Research Center, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, DOE Office of Science, and researchers from the University of Washington, Texas Tech University, Columbia University, Northern Arizona University, Rutgers University, North Carolina State University, Columbia University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
   Read the Draft Climate Change Report.

State Department Files formal Statement of Intent to Withdraw from Paris Accord
August 7, 2017. The State Department has announced that it has filed with the United Nations the formal statement by the United States of its intent to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement as soon as that is permitted consistent with the agreement's terms. In doing so, the State Department notes: "The United States will continue to participate in international climate change negotiations and meetings, including the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP-23) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to protect U.S. interests and ensure all future policy options remain open to the administration. Such participation will include ongoing negotiations related toguidance for implementing the Paris Agreement."
   Read the Announcement by the State Department of the Filing of Intent to Withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Sixteen States Seek to Overturn EPA Decision to Delay Implementation of Ozone Rules
August 2, 2017. Sixteen state attorneys general have filed a petition for review of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's decision to delay for a year implementation of the Ozone rules previously issued by the agency. The petition contains a copy of a letter to the governor of New York explaining concerning the delay, one of many sent to governors on June 6. (See the posted copy of the letter to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey below.)
   Read the Petition for Review in the D.C. Circuit.
   Read the EPA Extension of Deadline for Promulgating Designations for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards .
   Read the Pruitt Letter to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.

D.C. Circuit Rules Against EPA Effort to Block Implementation of Methane and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule
July 3, 2017. A panel of the D.C. Circuit has issued a per curiam opinion that vacates a stay placed by the Environmental Protection Ageny on the implementation of rules under the Clearn Air Act. The opinion in Clear Air Council v. Pruitt, begins: "Petitioners, a group of environmental organizations, challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to stay implementation of portions of a final rule concerning methane and other greenhouse gas emissions. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we conclude that EPA lacked authority under the Clean Air Act to stay the rule, and we therefore grant petitioners’ motion to vacate the stay." Slip op. at 2.
   Read the opinion.

UNICEF Issues State of the World's Children Report for 2016
June 15, 2017. The United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF has issued its 2016 State of the World's Children Report subtitled . As that theme indicated, the report starts from reporting about data on inequality and what it means for the world's children. "Before they draw their first breath, the life chances of poor and excluded children are often being shaped by inequities. Disadvantage and discrimination against their communities and families will help determine whether they live or die, whether they have a chance to learn and later earn a decent living. Conflicts, crises and climate-related disasters deepen their deprivation and diminish their potential. (Report at vi) It goes on to summarize the challenges ahead. "The time to act is now. For unless we accelerate our progress, by 2030: Almost 70 million children may die before reaching their fifth birthdays – 3.6 million in 2030 alone, the deadline year for the Sustainable Development Goals; Children in sub-Saharan Africa will be 10 times more likely to die before their fifth birthdays than children in high-income countries. Nine out of 10 children living in extreme poverty will live in sub-Saharan Africa; More than 60 million primary school-aged children will be out of school–roughly the same number as are out of school today. More than half will be from sub-Saharan Africa; Some 750 million women will have been married as children – three quarters of a billion child brides." (Report at vi-vii).
   Read the UNICEF Report.
   Access the UNICEF website.

Federal Judge Finds NEPA Violation on Dakota Access Pipeline
June 15, 2017. Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued a memorandum opinion in Standing Rock Sioux v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a case challenging the Dakota Access Pipeline project approval on grounds that the Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act. The district court did not issue an injunction halting construction, but wrote: "[T]he Although the Corps substantially complied with NEPA in many areas, the Court agrees that it did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial. To remedy those violations, the Corps will have to reconsider those sections of its environmental analysis upon remand by the Court. Whether Dakota Access must cease pipeline operations during that remand presents a separate question of the appropriate remedy, which will be the subject of further briefing." Memorandum opinion at 2. The Standing Rock Sioux are represented in the case by Earthjustice.
   Read the Memorandum Opinion.
   Read the Earthjustice Press Release.

President Issues Executive Order Repealing Obama "Clean Power Plan" Order
March 29, 2017. President Trump has signed an executive order entitled "Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth" intended to repeal what the Obama administration called its Clean Power Plan. In the process, the Trump rescinded Executive Order 13652 and a number of presidential memoranda issued in conjunction with it. It also called for executive agencies to rescind any and all guidance issued as part of the Clean Power Plan.
    The materials rescinded include the following:
   Sec. 3. Rescission of Certain Energy and Climate-Related Presidential and Regulatory Actions. (a) The following Presidential actions are hereby revoked:
   (i) Executive Order 13653 of November 1, 2013 (Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change);
   (ii) The Presidential Memorandum of June 25, 2013 (Power Sector Carbon Pollution Standards);
   (iii) The Presidential Memorandum of November 3, 2015 (Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment); and
   (iv) The Presidential Memorandum of September 21, 2016 (Climate Change and National Security).
   (b) The following reports shall be rescinded:
   (i) The Report of the Executive Office of the President of June 2013 (The President's Climate Action Plan); and
   (ii) The Report of the Executive Office of the President of March 2014 (Climate Action Plan Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions).
   (c) The Council on Environmental Quality shall rescind its final guidance entitled "Final Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in National Environmental Policy Act Reviews," which is referred to in "Notice of Availability," 81 Fed. Reg. 51866 (August 5, 2016).
   (d) The heads of all agencies shall identify existing agency actions related to or arising from the Presidential actions listed in subsection (a) of this section, the reports listed in subsection (b) of this section, or the final guidance listed in subsection (c) of this section. Each agency shall, as soon as practicable, suspend, revise, or rescind, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules suspending, revising, or rescinding any such actions, as appropriate and consistent with law and with the policies set forth in section 1 of this order.
   Sec. 4. Review of the Environmental Protection Agency's "Clean Power Plan" and Related Rules and Agency Actions. (a) The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (Administrator) shall immediately take all steps necessary to review the final rules set forth in subsections (b)(i) and (b)(ii) of this section, and any rules and guidance issued pursuant to them, for consistency with the policy set forth in section 1 of this order and, if appropriate, shall, as soon as practicable, suspend, revise, or rescind the guidance, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules suspending, revising, or rescinding those rules. In addition, the Administrator shall immediately take all steps necessary to review the proposed rule set forth in subsection (b)(iii) of this section, and, if appropriate, shall, as soon as practicable, determine whether to revise or withdraw the proposed rule.
   (b) This section applies to the following final or proposed rules:
   (i) The final rule entitled "Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units," 80 Fed. Reg. 64661 (October 23, 2015) (Clean Power Plan);
   (ii) The final rule entitled "Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units," 80 Fed. Reg. 64509 (October 23, 2015); and
   (iii) The proposed rule entitled "Federal Plan Requirements for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Electric Utility Generating Units Constructed on or Before January 8, 2014; Model Trading Rules; Amendments to Framework Regulations; Proposed Rule," 80 Fed. Reg. 64966 (October 23, 2015).
   (c) The Administrator shall review and, if appropriate, as soon as practicable, take lawful action to suspend, revise, or rescind, as appropriate and consistent with law, the "Legal Memorandum Accompanying Clean Power Plan for Certain Issues," which was published in conjunction with the Clean Power Plan.
   Read Trump Order
   Read the Obama Order 13652
   Read the Obama Memorandum of June 25, 2013
   Read the Obama Memorandum November 3, 2015.
   Read the Obama Memorandum of September 21, 2016.

UNDP Issues 2016 Human Development Report
March 21, 2017. The United Nations Development Program has issued its 2016 Human Development Report. Helen Clark, UNDP Director, She said in part, "This report, “Human Development for Everyone”, has a particular focus on those who have been left behind by development progress over the past 25 years, and how that exclusion can be overcome. Ensuring that development progress is broadly shared is not just the right thing to do; it is essential to building and sustaining the foundations for the peaceful, just, and inclusive societies envisaged in the 2030 Agenda."
   Read the Report .
   Access the UNDP Director's Message on the Release of the Report .

Australian Scientists Find Dramatic Destruction of Great Barrier Reef Coral Related to Gloabl Warming
February 14, 2017. Scientists from the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at Thomas Cook University in Australia have authored an article that is being published as the cover article in the journal Nature today entitled: "Global Warming and Recurrent mass Bleaching of Corals." In an interview the New York Times, the director of the study, Terry P. Hughes said: “We didn’t expect to see this level of destruction to the Great Barrier Reef for another 30 years. . . . In the north, I saw hundreds of reefs — literally two-thirds of the reefs were dying and are now dead.” The authors found that "During 2015–2016, record temperatures triggered a pan-tropical episode of coral bleaching, the third global-scale event since mass bleaching was first documented in the 1980s: and concluded the abstract to the article by warning, "Consequently, immediate global action to curb future warming is essential to secure a future for coral reefs." Abstract. The article may be found in NatureVol. 543 March 2017): 373–377.
   Citing the report, the journal Nature issued an editorial entitled: No time to chop funding for a pivotal climate programme, arguing against likely cuts in funding for the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). As the organization explains, "The WCRP was established in 1980 under the joint sponsorship of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). In 1993 the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO also became a sponsor." WCRP website,
   Read the Abstract of the Article in Nature.
   Read the Nature Editorial.
   Access the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.
   Read the New York Times article by Damien Cave and Justin Gillismarch in the March 15 New York times entitled "Large Sections of Australia’s Great Reef Are Now Dead, Scientists Find."
   Access the World Climate Research Programme website.

World Bank issues Report on Resilience of the Poor in the Face of Natural Disasters
February 14, 2017. The World Bank has released a report by Stephane Hallegatte, Adrien Vogt-Schilb, Mook Bangalore, Julie Rozenberg, entitled Unbreakable : Building the Resilience of the Poor in the Face of Natural Disasters. The Bank also issued an overview of the report and a policy note along with the full report.
   Read the Report .
   Read the Overview.
   Read the "Policy Note."

President Trump Reinstates and Expands "Mexico City" Policy Regarding Funding of Family Planning Services
January 24, 2017. President Trump has issued a presidential memorandum which reinstated and expanded the so-called Mexico City policy which bars U.S. foreign assistance funds to any organization which provides information on abortion as part of family planning services. For more information and the document, see the Healthcare, Disability, and Development page of this website.

Trump Issues Memorandum Pulling Out of TransPacific Partnership
January 24, 2017. President Trump has issued a memorandum withdrawing the U.S. agreement to the TransPacific Partnership (TPP). In the memorandum to the U.S. Trade Representative, the president wrote: "I hereby direct you to withdraw the United States as a signatory to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), to permanently withdraw the United States from TPP negotiations, and to begin pursuing, wherever possible, bilateral trade negotiations to promote American industry, protect American workers, and raise American wages."
   Read the Memorandum.

NOAA Releases New Sea Level Rise Report
January 23, 2017. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued a new report entitled Global and Regional Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States. In its release of the report, NOAA indicated: "In the report, the researchers relied on the latest published and peer reviewed science to refine six global sea level rise scenarios (Low, Intermediate Low, Intermediate, Intermediate High, High, and Extreme) decade by decade for this century." Press Release.
   Read the Report.
   Read the NOAA Press Release to Accompany the Report.
   Access the NOAA website.

World Bank World Development Indicators 2016 Report Available
January 18, 2017. The World Bank World Development Indicator 2016 documents and data are available. In introducing the 2016 edition and the fact that this year's work includes the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the World Bank notes that: "On September 25, 2015, the United Nations General Assembly formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which guides global action over the next 15 years. Consisting of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 associated targets, this new agenda builds on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals, but is far wider in scope and ambition. 2016 Highlights, p. 1.
   Read the World Bank Word Development Indicators 2016 Highlights.
   Read the full World Development Indicators 2016 report.
   Read the World Development Indicators Website.

Davos Economic Forum Places Spotlight on the Problem of Growing Inequality
January 16, 2017. The Davos Economic Forum taking place presently in Switzerland has at the outset issued a report focusing on the problem of the widening income and wealth gap. In addition to an assessment of the problems with existing growth pattersn, the report develops and applies a new "Inclusive Development Index." In the press release announcing the new report, the World Economic Forum asserted: "The report ranks countries based on 12 Key Performance Indicators of inclusive development. Providing a more complete measure of economic development than GDP growth alone, the Index has three pillars: Growth and Development, including GDP growth, labour force participation and productivity, and healthy life expectancy; Inclusion, including median household income, poverty and two inequality measures; and Intergenerational Equity and Sustainability, including adjusted net saving (including natural capital depletion and human capital investment), demographic dependency ratio, public debt and carbon intensity. 51% of the 103 countries for which these data are available saw their IDI scores decline over the past five years, attesting to the legitimacy of public concern and challenge facing policymakers regarding the difficulty of translating economic growth into broad social progress. In 42% of countries, IDI decreased even as GDP per capita increased. A chief culprit was wealth inequality, which rose in 77% of economies by an average of 6.3%."
   Read the Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2017.
   Access the Inclusive Development Index page explains the index and presents data.
   Read the Press Release on the Inclusive Growth and Development Report.
   Access the World Economic Forum Website.

UN Report Warns that More Progress Needed if Global Warming Targets are to be Met
November 3, 2016.The UNEP has issued its 2016 Emission Gap Report finding that: "The predicted 2030 emissions will, even if the Paris pledges are fully implemented, place the world on track for a temperature rise of 2.9 to 3.4 degrees this century." That is, of course, far above the international targets. This report comes in the same week that the Paris Agreement went into force. It also comes less than a month after the Kigali Amendments to the Montreal Protocol. The release accompanying the emissions report notes that: "The Kigali Amendment to the UN Environment-hosted Montreal Protocol, agreed last month, aims to slash the use of hydrofluorocarbons. Early studies indicate this could cut another 0.5 degrees if fully implemented, although emissions won’t begin to be reduced at any significant rate until 2025."
   Read the UN Press Release on the Emissions Report.
   Access the Emissions Gap Report 2016.

New Report on Regulation of Charitable Institutions
September 27, 2016. NGOs are critically important organizations in much of the work of sustainable development, whether domestic or international, and the subject of accountability of those organizations or of charitable institutions that provide financial support is an ongoing topic of interest. The Urban Institute Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy has recently issued a report entitled "State Regulation and Enforcement in the Charitable Sector."
   Access the report.

United Nations Offers Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform
March 29, 2016. The United Nations has launched a sustainable development knowledge platform which is supposed to assist in connecting different pieces and elements of sustainable development information.
   Access the UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.

The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States Pathway Documents Available
March 29, 2016. The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States Pathway Documents Available convened in Apia Samoa in 2014. It produced a number of documents including the Samoa Pathway to guide action going forward. The documents also fed into the 2015 efforts at the UN that produced the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
   Access Report of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States.
   Access UN Resolution A/RES/69/15 on SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway.
   Access Third Annual SIDS Conference Website.
   Access the Small Island Development States Action Platform (Website).

World Humanitarian Summit Planned for May in Istabul
March 27, 2016. Plans are ongoing for the 1st International World Humanitarian Summit to be held in Istanbul on May 23-24, 2016. This event was initiated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and administratered through the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The key documents in preparation for the event are posted below as are the the websites for the summit and UN OCHA.
   Restoring Humanity, Synthesis of the Consultation Process, Executive Summary
   Restoring Humanity, Synthesis of the Consultation Process (full report).
   "One Humanity: Shared Responsibility, Report of the Secretary-General for the World Humanitarian Summit.
   UN Press Release Announcing Summit, February 9, 2016.
   Access the World Humanitarian Summit Website.
   UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs website.

The Addis Abba Action Agenda for Financing Sustainable Development<
March 25, 2016. At the conclusion of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Sustainable Development held in Addis Ababa in July 2015, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Financing for Development Office has published the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
   Access the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
   Read Resolution A /RES/69/313
   Third Internation Conference on Financing for Sustainable Development Website.
   UN Financing for Development Website

COP 21 Climate Conference Approves Agreement
December 12, 2015. The COP 21 agreement has been approved by the 195 nations present. The UN Climate Change Newsroom release put it as follows: "An historic agreement to combat climate change and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future was agreed by 195 nations in Paris today. The Paris Agreement for the first time brings all nations into a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities. The universal agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The 1.5 degree Celsius limit is a significantly safer defense line against the worst impacts of a changing climate. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability to deal with the impacts of climate change. To reach these ambitious and important goals, appropriate financial flows will be put in place, thus making stronger action by developing countries and the most vulnerable possible, in line with their own national objectives.
   Substantive, the release explains: “The Paris Agreement and the outcomes of the UN climate conference (COP21) cover all the crucial areas identified as essential for a landmark conclusion: Mitigation – reducing emissions fast enough to achieve the temperature goal; A transparency system and global stock-take – accounting for climate action; Adaptation – strengthening ability of countries to deal with climate impacts; Loss and damage – strengthening ability to recover from climate impacts; Support – including finance, for nations to build clean, resilient futures.
   As well as setting a long-term direction, countries will peak their emissions as soon as possible and continue to submit national climate action plans that detail their future objectives to address climate change. This builds on the momentum of the unprecedented effort which has so far seen 188 countries contribute climate action plans to the new agreement, which will dramatically slow the pace of global greenhouse gas emissions. The new agreement also establishes the principle that future national plans will be no less ambitious than existing ones, which means these 188 climate action plans provide a firm floor and foundation for higher ambition. Countries will submit updated climate plans – called nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – every five years, thereby steadily increasing their ambition in the long-term. Climate action will also be taken forward in the period before 2020. Countries will continue to engage in a process on mitigation opportunities and will put added focus on adaptation opportunities. Additionally, they will work to define a clear roadmap on ratcheting up climate finance to USD 100 billion by 2020.
   This is further underlined by the agreement’s robust transparency and accounting system, which will provide clarity on countries’ implementation efforts, with flexibility for countries’ differing capabilities.”
   Paris Agreement December 12, 2015.
   Decisions of the Parties on Adoption of the Paris Agreement.
   Access the Paris Climate Change Conference 2015 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Press Release on the Approval of the Agreement.
   Access the Paris Climate Change Conference 2015 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change website.

COP 21 Climate Conference Releases Draft Agreement
December 7, 2015. The COP 21 reached published a draft agreement on December 5. There is a process for making changes and reviewing the document for final submission to COP on December 11. The draft and the explanation of the process are posted below. There is a committee to do consultations for the final draft report and decision documents as well as a legal and linguistic review committee. In addition the following groups were established to prepare next steps for implementation. They were described as follows: "First group: Support: means of implementation (finance, technology, capacity building). Second Group: Differentiation, in particular with regard to mitigation, finance, transparency. Third Group: Ambition, including long-term goals and periodic review. Fourth group: Acceleration of pre-2020 Action, Workstream 2 excluding pre-2020 finance." COP 21 News Posting
   Read the COP 21 Draft Agreement.
   Access the Process Going Forward for Consideration of the Agreement.
   Access the Paris Climate Change Conference 2015 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change website.
   Access the Paris Conference of Parties (COP 21) Website.

New Information on Climate Change and Global Warming Released Ahead of Paris Climate Summit
November 10, 2015. The World Meteorological Society (WMS) has issued new findings ahead of the upcoming Paris Climate Change summit that show that "Greenhouse Gas Concentrations Hit Yet Another Record." Three days earlier the WMS released a new report on climate change entitled
   These announcements come on the heels of an announcement by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, that: " “Climate change poses severe and distinct threats to food security, and could subject an additional 600 million people to malnutrition by 2080." Press Release. This statement came following her delivery to the UN General Assembly on October 23 of a new "Interim report on the Right to Food."
   These items are among a number of announcements by various institutions and groups ahead of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP 21) meeting in Paris from November 30 to December 11 which is expected to produce new targets and a program of action to address climate change.
   Access the November 9 Press Release on Greenhouse Gas Concentrations.
   WMS Report on Climate Change Released November 6, 2015.
   Read the WMS Press Release on the new report.
   Read the Press Release "Climate Change Poses Major Threat to Food Security."
   Read the Interim report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food reported to the General Assembly on October 23, 2015.
   Access the Paris Climate Change Conference 2015 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change website.
   Access the Paris Conference of Parties (COP 21) Website.

UN Issues Agenda 2030 to Replace Millennium Development Goals<
October 4, 2015. The United Nations General Assembly has adopted Agenda 2030 which replaces the Millennium Development Goals. As the press release explains, "Titled 'Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' and contained in document A/70/L.1, the agreement on a set of 17 goals and 169 targets would come into effect on 1 January 2016, replacing the Millennium Development Goals set in 2000." I've also provided the draft document that was the starting point for the summit discussion for comparison with the final Agenda 2030 document.
   Agenda 2030 UN Resolution A/Res/70/1.
   Press Release on Adoption of Agenda 2030.
   Draft Outcome Document.
   Access the UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.

Second UN Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries Informs UN Agenda 2030 Efforts
March 29, 2016. The Second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries convened in Vienna in November 2014 and produce documents, including a programme of action approved by the General Assembly. These materials fed into the development of the new Agenda 2030 goals.
   Read the Report of the second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries .
   Read UN Resolution A/RES/69/137 the Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014–2024 .
   Access the Second International Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries Website.

White House Issues New Climate Plan
August 3, 2015. President Obama today releases the new White House "Clean Power Plan" aimed at making a sinificant impact on U.S. policy on global climate change. In releasing the plan, the administration says: " The Clean Power Plan establishes the first-ever national standards to limit carbon pollution from power plants. We already set limits that protect public health by reducing soot and other toxic emissions, but until now, existing power plants, the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States, could release as much carbon pollution as they wanted. The final Clean Power Plan sets flexible and achievable standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. . . ." Fact Sheet. The White House also indicated that this plan is intended to build on the administration's Climate Action Plan released in June.
   U.S. EPA has created a webpage on the new policy and its implementation. Since the plan relies heavily on the creation of state plans, the EPA has provided what it terms a "Clean Power Plan Toolbox for States."
   The new announcement comes just over a month after EPA suffered a defeat in a 5-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court with respect to the last round of rules on the subject. That case was brought by some 23 states.
   Read the "Fact Sheet" Released by the White House.
   Access the Environmental Protection Agency on the Plan.
   Access the EPA Clean Power Plan Toolbox for the States.
   Read Obama Administration Climate Action Plan of June 2015.
   Read the Supreme Court's opinion in Michigan v. EPA.

Pope Francis Issues Encyclical on Global Warming and Calls for Action
June 18, 2015. Pope Francis has issued an encyclical letter entitled "On Care for Our Common Home" (Laudato Si') addressing the challenge of global warming. The Pope begins his more than 80 page encyclical with a call for sustainable development that operates at many levels. He wrote;"[St.] Francis helps us to see that an integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human. . . . His response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and every creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection. . . . Such a conviction cannot be written off as naive romanticism, for it affects the choices which determine our behaviour. If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously. The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled." He continued: "The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. . . . I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. . . . Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. . . . All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents." Id. at 4-5.
   True to the fundamental premises of sustainable development, the Pope calls for integration of the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of the challenge. "The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation. In fact, the deterioration of the environment and of society affects the most vulnerable people on the planet: “Both everyday experience and scientific research show that the gravest effects of all attacks on the environment are suffered by the poorest”. For example, the depletion of fishing reserves especially hurts small fishing communities without the means to replace those resources; water pollution particularly affects the poor who cannot buy bottled water; and rises in the sea level mainly affect impoverished coastal populations who have nowhere else to go. The impact of present imbalances is also seen in the premature death of many of the poor, in conflicts sparked by the shortage of resources, and in any number of other problems which are insufficiently represented on global agendas. . . . Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor." Id. at 14.
   After making clear that attention to environment alone cannot address the challenge, he turns to the contemporary dominance of the economic view of development. He writes, “In the meantime, economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to speculation and the pursuit of financial gain, which fail to take the context into account, let alone the effects on human dignity and the natural environment. Here we see how environmental deterioration and human and ethical degradation are closely linked. Many people will deny doing anything wrong because distractions constantly dull our consciousness of just how limited and finite our world really is. As a result, “whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule”. Id. at 17.
   A panel presented the encylical to the media. Some of those presentations were from religious spokesmen, but there were three other presentations on the environmental, economic, and social dimensions which provided supplemental information. (Two were in Italian, but they are translated in the press document posted below along with the other presentations which were in English.)
   Access the Encyclical.
   Access the Presentations Made in Conjunction with the Release of the Encylical..

Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Issues Summary Report
June 2, 2015. The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission has issued its Summary Report entitled Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future that begins by finding that: "For over a century, the central goals of Canada’s Aboriginal policy were to eliminate Aboriginal governments; ignore Aboriginal rights; terminate the Treaties; and, through a process of assimilation, cause Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious, and racial entities in Canada. The establishment and operation of residential schools were a central element of this policy, which can best be described as “cultural genocide." Id. at 1. For more information and the key documents, see the Civil Rights page of this website.

Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Issues Summary Report
June 2, 2015. The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission has issued its Summary Report entitled Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future that begins by finding that: For over a century, the central goals of Canada’s Aboriginal policy were to eliminate Aboriginal governments; ignore Aboriginal rights; terminate the Treaties; and, through a process of assimilation, cause Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious, and racial entities in Canada. The establishment and operation of residential schools were a central element of this policy, which can best be described as “cultural genocide." Id. at 1. For more information and the documents, see the Civil Rights page of this website.

Social Progress Index 2015 Available
April 17, 2015. The 2015 version of the Social Progress Index is available online. For those unfamiliar with the index or the project, it is useful to visit the about page of the site.
   Access the Social Progress Index 2015 Website.
   About the Social Progress Index.

D.C. Circuit Hears Arguments in EPA Carbon Emissions Rulemaking
April 16, 2015. The United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today hears oral arguments in State of West Virginia v. EPA and In re Murray Energy that seek to stop efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward with its rulemaking efforts announced as a proposed rule on June 18, 2014 by the Obama administration as a key effort to address global warming. The proposed rule, entitled "Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating" was announced as part of EPA's Clean Power Plan on June 2, 2014.
   The case is particularly unusual because does not seek review of a final rule issued by the EPA, but of the proposed rule.
   Read the Brief for West Virginia.
   Read the EPA Brief.
   Read Murray Energy's Brief.
   Read EPA's Brief.
   Read the EPA Proposed Rule June 18, 2014.
   Access the EPA Annoucement and related materials from June 2014.

California Governor Issues Sweeping Executive Order to Address California Water Crisis
April 6, 2015. California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. has issued Executive order B-29-15 which declares a statewide water emergency and invoked sweeping emergency powers to address it. In addition to claiming broad powers under Section 8567 of the California Government Code, Brown also involved Section 8571 which authorizes the Governor to "suspend any regulatory statute, or statute prescribing the procedure for conduct of state business, or the orders, rules, or regulations of any state agency, including subdivision (d) of Section 1253 of the Unemployment Insurance Code, where the Governor determines and declares that strict compliance with any statute, order, rule, or regulation would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the emergency." The Executive Order addresses a number of state agencies and local governments.
   Read the Executive Order.
   Read the Governor's Press Release on the Order.
   Access the California Government Code sections 8565-8574 which contain sections 8567 and 8571 which he asserted as his authority for the Executive Order.

New Mexico County Loses Fight to Ban Fracking
March 31, 2015. The U.S. District Court for New Mexico has struck down the Mora County anti-fracking ordinance on grounds of federal and state preemption in a case brought by a Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary. More more information on the ordinance, see the posting for December 23 below. The county commission repealed the ordinance on March 27 following the decision of the federal court.
   Read the Memorandum Opinion and Order.

Interior Department Issues Fracking Rule
March 20, 2015. The Bureau of Land Management of the U.S. Department of Interior has issued its final rule on hydraulic fracking on federal and tribal lands. The DOI explains in its press release announcing the new rule that: "Key components of the rule, which will take effect in 90 days include: Provisions for ensuring the protection of groundwater supplies by requiring a validation of well integrity and strong cement barriers between the wellbore and water zones through which the wellbore passes; Increased transparency by requiring companies to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing to the Bureau of Land Management through the website FracFocus, within 30 days of completing fracturing operations; Higher standards for interim storage of recovered waste fluids from hydraulic fracturing to mitigate risks to air, water and wildlife; Measures to lower the risk of cross-well contamination with chemicals and fluids used in the fracturing operation, by requiring companies to submit more detailed information on the geology, depth, and location of preexisting wells to afford the BLM an opportunity to better evaluate and manage unique site characteristics." The final rule is schedule for publication in the Federal Register next week, but is available as of today in .pdf form. The new rule took some four years to develop and the department indicates that it involved more than 1.5 million comments on draft rules as well as stakeholder forums.
   Read DOI Press Release on the New Rule.
   Access the Rule.
   Access the BLM website.

Lawrence Berkeley National Labs Issues Report on 50 Breakthroughs Needed for Sustainable Development.
February 11, 2015. The Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has issued a new report entitled 50 Breakthroughs: Critical Scientific and Technological Advances Needed for Global Sustainable Development. The report labels the changes from sinple to feasible to complex to challenging to extremely challenging.
   Read the full report.
   Access the list of proposed breakthroughs .
   Read the Berkeley Lab Press Release.
   Access the report website.

New Mexico County Continues Fight to Sustain Ordinance Banning Fracking
December 23, 2014. The U.S. District Court for New Mexico has recently issued a ruling allowing intervention in a case brought by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell and others to strike down a first in the nation anbti-fracking ordinance adopted by Mora County, a community of some 5,000 residents in northeast New Mexico. This is the second of two cases, with the first brought by residents of the county who want to sell rights for drilling and a state petroleum association. The ordinance was originally support by the Community Action Law Center of Pennsylvania. The county is now being assisted in the litigation by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center which is, in turn, working with a consortium of four other groups.
   Read the U.S. District Court Opinion.

Lima Climate Change Conference Ends with Elements for Agreement in Paris Conference
December 15, 2014. The UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru has ended with new commitments intended to lay the groundwork for a new claimate change at the Paris conference in 2015.
   Read the press release.

EPA Proposes New Ozone Rules to Fight Smog
November 27, 2014. Followed its review of ground level ozone (smog) levels, required by the Clear Air Act to be carried out every five years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone. The agency stated in released the proposed rules that: "[S]trengthening the standard to a range of 65 to 70 ppb will provide significantly better protection for children, preventing from 320,000 to 960,000 asthma attacks and from 330,000 to 1 million missed school days. Strengthening the standard to a range of 70 to 65 ppb would better protect both children and adults by preventing more than 750 to 4,300 premature deaths; 1,400 to 4,300 asthma-related emergency room visits; and 65,000 to 180,000 missed workdays." EPA Press Release. [The proposed rules have not yet been published in the Federal Register, but are available below. The Federal Register reference will be posted as soon as it is available.]
   Aware that these new rules would be challenged immediately by regulated industries, EPA simultaneously released its regulatory impact analysis showing the costs and benefits of the proposed rules. Summarizing the cost/benefit calculation, EPA asserts: " If the standards are finalized, every dollar we invest to meet them will return up to three dollars in health benefits. These large health benefits will be gained from avoiding asthma attacks, heart attacks, missed school days and premature deaths, among other health effects valued at $6.4 to $13 billion annually in 2025 for a standard of 70 ppb, and $19 to $38 billion annually in 2025 for a standard of 65 ppb. Annual costs are estimated at $3.9 billion in 2025 for a standard of 70 ppb, and $15 billion for a standard at 65 ppb." Press release.
   .Read the proposed rule
   .Read the EPA press release.
   Read the Regulatory Impact Analysis.
   Access the EPA Fact Sheets and other documents on the new rules.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Issues Latest Report
November 14, 2014. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued the latest in its series of reports. It warns that: “Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems. . . . Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions which, together with adaptation, can limit climate change risk.” Headlines Statements document.
   Access the IPCC Press Release.
   Read the Synthesis Report
   Read the Summary for Policymakers 2014.
   Read the Headline Statements Document.
   Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, Summary for Policymakers. Report issued in April 2104.
   Access the IPCC Home Page.

GAO Issues Report on the "Social Costs of Carbon Estimates"
August 25, 2014. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report to Congress on the interagency process used to calculate the "Social Cost of Carbon" for purposes of cost/benefit analyses required when agencies promulgate regulations. In 2010 that interagency process produced a report entitled the Interagency Technical Support Document that provided the social cost estimate. GAO defines that as: "The social cost of carbon (measured in dollars per metric ton of carbon dioxide) is the monetized net effects (damages and benefits) associated with an incremental increase in carbon emissions in a given year. Estimates of the social cost of carbon depend on the data and the models used to calculate them and can include a wide range of damage categories, such as projected changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, and property damages from increased flood risk due to increased carbon emissions." GAO Report, at 1, n. 1. The GAO report does not provide recommendations, but it explains the manner in which the cost of carbon estimates were developed.
   Read the report.
   Read the Interagency Technical Suppot Document "Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis."

Supreme Court Scolds the EPA but Upholds Most of It Rules Aimed at Global Warming
June 24, 2014. Justice Scalia wrote for a 7-2 majority upholding most of a set of findings and rules issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clearn Ait Act to deal with greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming in No. 12-1146 Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA. However, Scalia rejected portions of the EPA action and scolded the agency for overreaching in attempting to ignore requirements in the statute in a portion of the opinion in which the justice split 5-4. Scalia asserted that overall the opinion gave EPA 83% of what it wanted.
   Read the opinion.

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction and World Bank Report on the Financial Situation.
April 2, 2014. The Afghanistan Special Inspector General issued a report to Congress which details issues important to the transition year in Afghanistan with U.S. and other forces and programs drawing down. It also looked to a World Bank study entitled the Afghanistan Public Financial Management and Accountability Assessment issued in 2013. Together, the reports provide a picture of the fiscal feasibility issues of importance in the country during this critical period.
   Read the World Bank Report.
   Read SIGAR Jan 30, 2014 Report.
   Access SIGAR Website.

Climate Change Impacts in the United States
May 6, 2014, 2014. The National Science and Technology Council and the U.S. Global Change Research Program have produced the U.S. National Climate Assessment and released a report entitled Climate Change Impacts in the United States which finds that the effects of human caused global warming are already upon us and threatening to increase rapidly in intensity and scope. The report explains that: "This report is the result of a three-year analytical effort by a team of over 300 experts, overseen by a broadly constituted Federal Advisory Committee of 60 members. It was developed from information and analyses gathered in over 70 workshops and listening sessions held across the country. It was subjected to extensive review by the public and by scientific experts in and out of government, including a special panel of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences. This process of unprecedented rigor and transparency was undertaken so that the findings of the National Climate Assessment would rest on the firmest possible base of expert judgment." Letter of Transmittal, Climate Change Impacts, p. iii. The report is organized by sectors, regions, and response strategies.
   Read the Full Report. (This is a very large file because of the graphics.)
   Read the Overview.
   Read the Regional Assessment for the Northwest.
   Access the National Climate Assessment website.
   Access the

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Issues "Climate Change 2014 Summary for Policymakers"
April 2, 2014. The is scheduled to release its latest report soon, but it has released the Summary for Policymakers of that report Climate Change 2014.
   Access the IPCC Press Release.
   Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, Summary for Policymakers. That summary and the last two reports are provided below.
   Read the Full 2013 Report
   Read the Summary for Policymakers 2013.
   Read the Full 2012 Report .
   Read the Summary for Policymakers.2012 Report.
   Access the IPCC Home Page.

National Academy of Sciences Issues Report on Climate Change
April 2, 2014. The committee on Understanding and Monitoring Abrupt Climate Change and Its Impact of the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate; Division on Earth and Life Studies of the National Research Council, has issued an important report entitled: Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises (Wash., D.C.: National Academy Press, 2013).
   Read the report online.
   Access the full description of the report.

UN Independent Commission on Syria Reports Tragic Situation in Syria Criticizing World Community for Inaction
March 21, 2014. Announcing its most recent report as the conflict in Syria is entering its fourth year, the Commission which began work in September 2011, indicated that nearly 9 million have fled their homes, about 2.6 million refugees and an estimated 6.5 million Internally Displaced Persons.
   Read the Report of the Commission.
   Read the "Oral Update" report delivered March 18.
   View the March 18 News Conference on the Report.

GAO Report on US AID Haiti Efforts Calls Raises Concerns on Sustainable Development Grounds
October 18, 2013. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report that shows dramatic shortfalls from promised development efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake disaster. For example, it found that: "The agency decreased the projected number of houses by more than 80 percent, from 15,000 to 2,649. The estimated number of beneficiaries was reduced from a range of 75,000 to 90,000 to its current estimate of approximately 13,200 to 15,900." Haiti Reconstruction USAID: Infrastructure Projects Have Had Mixed Results and Face Sustainability Challenges, summary. It also found that the agency has undertaken development of a mutually interdependent powerplant and port project, but there are serious problems and delays already in parts of that project that threaten the overall effort. They report points in particular to the need for more attention to the sustainability of AID development efforts.
   Read the report.

Supreme Court to Hear Challenges to EPA Greenhouse Gas Global Warming Rules
October 15, 2013. The Supreme Court has today granted certiorari to review the EPA Tailoring Rules on greenhouse gases issued under the Clean Air Act. The case consolidates six different petitions under the lead case No. 12-1146, Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA. (The other cases are 12-1248, American Chemistry Council v. EPA, 12-1254, Energy-Intensive Manufacturers v. EPA, 12-1268, Southeastern Legal Foundation v. EPA, 12-1269, Texas v. EPA, 12-1272, Chamber of Commerce v. EPA.) In announcing that it would hear the case, the Court ordered that: "'The petitions for writs of certiorari are granted limited to the following question: “Whether EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases.' The cases are consolidated and a total of one hour is allotted for oral argument."
   The petitioners here seek to overturn a 2012 ruling by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that rejected a number of challenges to the EPA rules. Those rules came about in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's Massachusetts v. EPA during the George W. Bush administration that ruled against the EPA refusal to issue rules regulating greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming under the Clean Air Act. The Obama administration later moved to respond to that earlier ruling with a number rules on that subject. The particular rule that is the focus of the lead case before the Supreme Court is known as the Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule, 75 Fed.Reg. 31514 (June 3, 2010). However, there are other rules related to greenhouse gases that are also important in the consolidated cases including "Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards," 75 Fed.Reg. 25324 (May 7, 2010); "Reconsideration of Interpretation of Regulations That Determine Pollutants Covered by Clean Air Act Permitting Programs," 75 Fed. Reg. 17004 (Apr. 2, 2010); and "Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act," 74 Fed. Reg. 66496 (Dec. 15, 2009) (known as the endangerment finding). That said, only the one issue with respect to the one set of rules is the focus of the argument in these cases.
   Access the Supreme Court Order List for October 15, 2013 granting certiorari in the Greenhouse Gase Case.
   Read the D.C. Circuit 2012 Opinion.
   Read the Certiorari Petition in the Lead Case
   Read the U.S. Government Brief in Opposition to the Petition for Certioari.
   Access the EPA Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule.
   Access the EPA Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards.
   Access the EPA Reconsideration of Interpretation of Regulations That Determine Pollutants Covered by Clean Air Act Permitting Programs.
   Access the EPA Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings.for Greenhouse Gases.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Issues Fifth Assessment Report
September 26, 2013. The is scheduled to release its latest report "Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis" at the end of this month. This is the Fifth Assessment Report. The summary for policymakers is now available. The full report will be posted as soon as it is available.
   The previous report was a Special Report released in 2012. In announcing that report, the IPCC explained: "The IPCC released its Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) on 28 March. The report assesses the evidence that climate change has led to changes in climate extremes and the extent to which policies to avoid prepare for, respond to and recover from the risks of disaster can reduce the impact of such events."
   Read the Full 2013 Report [Will be posted when available.]
   Read the Summary for Policymakers..
   Read the Full 2012 Report .
   Read the Summary for Policymakers.2012 Report.
   Access the IPCC Home Page.

New World Bank Report Focuses on Current and Near Term Impact of Global Warming
June 19, 2013. The World Bank has released a follow-on report to its major claimate change initiative entitled "Turn Down the Heat" that began with a major report by that title in 2012. The new report, entitled Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience, is based, according to the Bank, "on scientific analysis by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, uses advanced computer simulations to paint the clearest picture of each region's vulnerabilities. It describes the risks to agriculture and livelihood security in Sub-Saharan Africa; the rise in sea-level, loss of coral reefs and devastation to coastal areas likely in South East Asia; and the fluctuating water resources in South Asia that can lead to flooding in some areas and water scarcity in others, as well as affecting power supply." Press Release. The report focuses on the near and medium term impacts of climate change with a particular focus on Africa and Asia where sea level rise and other factors are not matters of possible impact in the future, but already posing near term impacts that require action not to prevent climate change but to deal with impacts that are near at hand. "This new report outlines an alarming scenario for the days and years ahead-what we could face in our lifetime. The scientists tell us that if the world warms by 2°C-warming which may be reached in 20 to 30 years-that will cause widespread food shortages, unprecedented heat-waves, and more intense cyclones. In the near-term, climate change, which is already unfolding, could batter the slums even more and greatly harm the lives and the hopes of individuals and families who have had little hand in raising the Earth's temperature. Today, our world is 0.8°C above pre-industrial levels of the 18th century. We could see a 2°C world in the space of one generation." Executive Summary, at vii.
   Read Turn Down the Heat Report Executive Summary.
   Read the Full Report.
   Read World Bank Press Release.
   Access the 2012 World Bank "Turn Down the Heat" Report Executive Summary.
   Access the 2012 World Bank "Turn Down the Heat" Full Report.
   Access the World Bank Climate Change website.

New International Energy Agency Report Shows Intensifying Global Warming
June 10, 2013. The independent International Energy Agency has issued a report entitled World Energy Outlook Special Edition: Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map which warns that "Policies that have been implemented, or are now being pursued, suggest that the long-term average temperature increase is more likely to be between 3.6 °C and 5.3 °C (compared with pre-industrial levels), with most of the increase occurring this century. While global action is not yet sufficientcient to limit the global temperature rise to 2 °C, this target still remains technically feasible, though extremely challenging." Id. at 9. The report points out that the dangers are intensifying since failure to implement new agreements prior to 2020 could be reaching a point where the higher than expected temperatures will be difficult to prevent with devastating impacts.
   Read the Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map.
   Read the IEA Press Release on the Report.
   Access the IEA website.

Supreme Court Decides GMO Case
May 17, 2013. The U.S. Supreme has issued a unanimous ruling in a hotly debated GMO case. Justice Kagan wrote for the unanimous Court finding that farmer who purchased soy beans from a grain elevator and planted them, concluding that they were "Roundup Ready" had infringed Monsanto's patent, even though he did not buy seed or any product labelled Roundup Ready .
   Read the opinion.

UNDP Publishes the Human Development Report for 2013
May 1, 2013. The United Nations Development Programme has released its Human Development Report for 2013 entitled "The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World." (There was no 2012 report and this document announced a return to the regular publication schedule.) The report provides updated data tables which address the the poverty adjusted human development index as well as well as a variety of other measures that include economic and environmental measures along with the social measures.
   Read HDR 2013
   Access the Human Development Reports blog.
   Access the Human Development Reports website.

UNOSD to Host Symposium on Sustainable Cities
May 1, 2013. The United Nations Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD) established in 2011 is now in operation and conducting various training programs. It will host a Symposium on "Sustainable Cities: Empowering Local Governments through Capacity Building" in September. As the UNOSD explains, "Its purpose is to support governments in implementing international agreements on sustainable development. The Office is managed by the Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), and supported by the Republic of Korea Ministry of Environment, Yonsei University and the City of Incheon." Website. Its primary foci are information sharing and training as a support for the efforts
   Read more about the Symposium
   Access the UN Office for Sustainable Development website
   Read the Original Press Release on Development of the Institute.

World Bank Focuses on Risk in Its New World Development Report
May 1, 2013. The World Bank's 2014 World Development Report entitled "Managing Risk for Development" focuses on a key theme, not only in general terms but also for post-conflict contexts.
   Read the explanation of the forthcoming report
   Read the 2013 Report (It is a large file).
   Access the World Bank World Development Reports website..

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Issues Final Report on Lessons Learned
March 22, 2013. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has issued what he SIGIR final report and one that is meant to follow up on the Hard Lessons report. The report, entitled Learning from Iraq, contains in addition to results from previous reports and audits a set of lessons learned, including from its efforts to implement the findings of the Hard Lessons report. The seven basic lessons are: "Create an integrated civilian-military office to plan, execute, and be accountable for contingency rebuilding activities during stabilization and reconstruction operations. 2. Begin rebuilding only after establishing sufficient security, and focus first on small programs and projects. 3. Ensure full host- country engagement in program and project selection, securing commitments to share costs (possibly through loans) and agreements to sustain completed projects after their transfer. 4. Establish uniform contracting, personnel, and information management systems that all SRO participants use. 5. Require robust oversight of SRO activities from the operation's inception. 6. Preserve and refine programs developed in Iraq, like the Commander's Emergency Response Program and the Provincial Reconstruction Team program, that produced successes when used judiciously. 7. Plan in advance, plan comprehensively and in an integrated fashion, and have backup plans ready to go." Learning from Iraq, p. xii.
   The report operates from a reconstruction and stabilization perspective and does not address the fundamental difficulties with that approach as compared to a sustainable development approach. Not surprisingly, it uses an auditing and investigation perspective. Still, the report does present in addition to its audit and investigation findings a great deal of material on interviews with various key participants as well as discussion of the attempt to understand and implement lessons learned.
   Read the Learning from Iraq report.
   Read the Hard Lessons Report.
   Access the SIGIR website.

GAO Adds Climate Change Impacts to the High Risk Series Report and Testimony
February 14, 2013. Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro who heads the Government Accountability Office appeared today with his senior staff befor the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to provide the GAO's current assessment of the High Risk list of programs and issues. This year's list adds "Limiting the Federal Government's Fiscal Exposure by Better Managing Climate Change Risks" and "Mitigating Gaps in Weather Satellite Data" to the list. In adding climate change, GAO said: "Climate change poses significant financial risks to the federal government, which owns extensive infrastructure, such as defense installations; insures property through the National Flood Insurance Program; and provides emergency aid in response to natural disasters. GAO added this area because the federal government is not well positioned to address the fiscal exposure presented by climate change and needs a government-wide strategic approach with strong leadership to manage related risks." Press release. FOr more information and the GAO materials, see the Public Law, Policy, and Public Administration page of this website.

NOAA Reports 2012 Hotest on Record With 11 Extreme-Weather/Climate Events
January 8, 2013. In its State of the Climate Report for December, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that: "2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States." THe agency also released preliminary information on "extreme weather/climate events" for 2012 which it defines as events that resulted in at least $1 Billion in lossed. "As of December 20, NOAA estimates that the nation experienced 11 such events, to include seven severe weather/tornado events, two tropical storm/hurricane events, and the yearlong drought and associated wildfires."
   Read the State of the Climate Report.
   Read the NOAA Press Release on Extreme-Weather/Cimate Events.

Supreme Court Allows Possibility of Recovery for Limited Time Intentional Flooding of Timber Lands by U.S. Government
December 7, 2012. A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice Ginsburg, has indicated that intentional temporary flooding of lands by the federal government is not immune under all circumstances from claims for taking of property without just compensation brought pursuant to the Fifth Amendment. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. United States case arose from exceptions to its regular water management policies granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the request of farmers in the 1990s. These deviations from the standard policy led to flooding of some timber lands along the Black River in Arkansas managed by the Commission. For more information and the opinion, see the Public Law, Policy, and Public Administration page of this website.

World Bank Issues Dire Warnings and Call for Action on Global Warming
November 19, 2012. The World Bank has issued a report entitled "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 Degree Warmer World Must Be Avoided." In the foreword to the report President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim: "It is my hope that this report shocks us into action. Even for those of us already committed to fighting climate change, I hope it causes us to work with much more urgency. This report spells out what the world would be like if it warmed by 4 degrees Celsius, which is what scientists are nearly unanimously predicting by the end of the century, without serious policy changes. . . . The lack of action on climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people in the developing world, it threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development. . . . This report is a stark reminder that climate change affects everything. The solutions don't lie only in climate finance or climate projects. The solutions lie in effective risk management and ensuring all our work, all our thinking, is designed with the threat of a 4°C world in mind. The World Bank Group will step up to the challenge."(Id.,v-vi)
   Access the Full Report.
   Read the Executive Summary of the Report.
   Access the World Bank Press Release on the Report.

Court of Appeals Strikes EPA Cross-State Air Pollution Rules
August 21, 2012. A panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has struck down the EPA Cross-State Air Pollution Rules issued in 2011. The rules aimed at regulating the pollution at is its source before it affected states that would feel the impact of the contaminants. Judge Kavanaugh wrote for the two to one majority. He announced that: "Here, EPA's Transport Rule exceeds the agency's statutory authority in two independent respects. First, the statutory text grants EPA authority to require upwind States to reduce only their own significant contributions to a downwind State's nonattainment. But under the Transport Rule, upwind States may be required to reduce emissions by more than their own significant contributions to a downwind State's nonattainment. EPA has used the good neighbor provision to impose massive emissions reduction requirements on upwind States without regard to the limits imposed by the statutory text. Whatever its merits as a policy matter, EPA's Transport Rule violates the statute. Second, the Clean Air Act affords States the initial opportunity to implement reductions required by EPA under the good neighbor provision. But here, when EPA quantified States' good neighbor obligations, it did not allow the States the initial opportunity to implement the required reductions with respect to sources within their borders. Instead, EPA quantified States' good neighbor obligations and simultaneously set forth EPA-designed Federal Implementation Plans, or FIPs, to implement those obligations at the State level. By doing so, EPA departed from its consistent prior approach to implementing the good neighbor provision and violated the Act." EME Homer City Generation v. EPA, Slip op. At 7.
   In a sharply worded dissent, Judge Rogers wrote in part: "To vacate the Transport Rule, the court disregards limits Congress placed on its jurisdiction, the plain text of the Clean Air Act ("CAA"), and this court's settled precedent interpreting the same statutory provisions at issue today. Any one of these obstacles should have given the court pause; none did. The result is an unsettling of the consistent precedent of this court strictly enforcing jurisdictional limits, a redesign of Congress's vision of cooperative federalism between the States and the federal government in implementing the CAA based on the court's own notions of absurdity and logic that are unsupported by a factual record, and a trampling on this court's precedent on which the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") was entitled to rely in developing the Transport Rule rather than be blindsided by arguments raised for the first time in this court." Dissent, Slip. Op. at 1. .
   Read the opinions.

Vietnam and U.S. Launch Cleanup of Agent Orange Hotspot at Danang
August 9, 2012. The United States and the government of Vietnam have announced the beginning of a program of remediation for one of the Agent Orange hotspots, a problem dating back decades. The U.S. has been in lengthy negotiations with the government of Vietnam with respect to the remaining environmental pollution and related health issues that followed from the use and disposal of the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam conflict and the remediation project has now been formally launched. The U.S. Embassy Vietnam and U.S. AID have announced the beginning of a cleanup of one of three agent orange hotspots, this one at Danang airfield, which is expected to be completed in 2016. The other hotspots that have been identified are the former air bases at Bien Hoa and Phu Cat. The current project, however, addresses Danang.
   The cooperative effort between the governments of Vietnam and the U.S. involves a number of elements, including actions to address disabilities and other health issues associated with the pollution. The USAID also announced that in addition to current programs aimed at assisting with health issues in Danang, a new program called "Comprehensive Support for People with Disabilities" is to be implemented this year. The announcements indicate a commitment to help Vietnam build capacity in both the areas of environmental remediation and in environmental health assessment and services.
   Read the press release on the cleanup issued by the U.S. Embassy Vietnam.
   Access the USAID website on the remediation program.

UN Secretary General Issues Report on Children and Armed Conflict
June 14, 2012. The UN Secretary General has issued the annual report on Children and Armed Conflict. This report and other initiatives were mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1998 of 2011 along with previous resolutions of the Security Council that seek to monitor the situation, including resolutions 1261 (1999), 1314 (2000), 1379 (2011), 1460 (2003), 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009) and 1998 (2011). The report addresses not only the dangers to children in conflict situations, but also issues related to child soldiers and other involvement of children in the conflict. These resolutions and other UN actions are efforts to ensure implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (2000). In addition to the report which lays out the threats to children during the 2011, the SG has added Annexes each of which is termed a "List of Shame" and draws attention to groups and countries which pose particular dangers as well as a "List of Persistent Perpetrators."
   The UN has also created a website as a central point of access for materials on Children and Armed Conflict. Among the documents there is a "Working Paper No. 3: Children and Justice During and in the Aftermatch of Armed Conflict" (2011). All previous SG reports are posted on that site as well.
   Read the Secretary General's Report.
   Read Annex I "List of Shame."
   Read Annex II "List of Shame."
   Read the "List of Persistent Perpetrators."
   Read the Press Release to Accompany the Report.
   Read UN Security Council Resolution 1998 (2011).
   Read the "Working Paper No. 3: Children and Justice During and in the Aftermatch of Armed Conflict."
   Access the Children and Armed Conflict Website .
   Read the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).
   Read the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (2000).

Ninth Circuit Rejects Forest Service Handling of River Mining in Klamath National Forest under the Endangered Species Act
June 2, 2012. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled in Karuk Tribe of California v. U.S. Forest Service, No. CV-04-04275-SBA, that the Forest Service violated Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act when it failed to consult with federal wildlife agencies before allowing gold mining in the Klamath National Forest, a critical habitat for the Coho salmon. The opinion concluded: "There is 'agency action' under Section 7 of the ESA whenever an agency makes an affirmative, discretionary decision about whether, or under what conditions, to allow private activity to proceed. In approving the NOIs [Notice of Intent] challenged in this case, the Forest Service made affirmative, discretionary decisions to authorize mining activities under specified protective criteria. By definition, mining activities requiring a NOI are those that 'might cause' disturbance of surface resources, including underwater fisheries habitat. The Forest Service does not dispute that the mining activities it approved in this case 'may affect' critical habitat of coho salmon in the Klamath River system. The Forest Service therefore had a duty under Section 7 of the ESA to consult with the relevant wildlife agencies before approving the NOIs." Slip op. at 6107. The case had been dismissed on summary judgment, but the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded that decision with instructions to enter judgment in favor of the tribe.
   This case was decided by an en banc court of 11 judges, with Judge Fletcher writing for the majority and Judge Smith issuing a dissent joined by three other judges.
   Read the opinion.

UNDP Issues Africa Human Development Report 2012
May 22, 2012. The UNDP has issued its first Human Development Report for Africa, entitled "Towards a Food Secure Future." While UNDP has issued country human developments, this is the first attempt to do so for the entire continent.
   Read the Africa Human Development Report 2012.

World Bank Releases the Global Findex, Measure of Financial Inclusion
April 30, 2012. The World Bank has released a new "measure of financial inclusion" known as the Global Findex. Based on a policy paper by Asli Demirguc-Kunt and Leora Klapper, it "Measure[s] how adults in 148 economies save, borrow, make payments, and manage risk." "Measuring Financial Inclusion: The Global Findex Database," Abstract. The World Bank press release, along with the database itself, and the policy paper are provided below.
   Access the World Bank Press Release on the Findex Database Release.
   Access the Findex Data Portal.
   Read the Policy Paper on "Measuring Financial Inclusion: The Global Findex Database" by Demirguc-Kunt and Klapper.
   Access the World Bank Global Findex Website .

UN Adopts Resolution Based on Follow-up on Financing for Development Commitments
April 28, 2012. The United Nations is reporting the results of work during the fall and winter of 2011 on financing for sustainable development and specifically on follow-up to the Doha conference (2008) and the the Monterrey Consensus process (2002). The key documents are provided by the UN FInancing for Development Office which was created in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs as a result of the Monterrey conference in 2002. The recent reports as well as important previous documents on financing for sustainable development are provided below.
   Read General Assembly Resolution 66/191 Follow-up to the International Conference on FInancing for Development 66/191. .
   Read the Summary of the Fifth High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development (New York, December 7-8, 2011).
   Read the Report of the Secretary General "Innovative Mechanisms of Financing of Development (September 1, 2011).
   Read General Assembly Resolution 66/187 International Financial System and Development.
   Read Report of the Secretary General "Follow-up to and Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration on Financing for Development (August 29, 2011).
   Read Doha Declaration on Financing for Development 2008.
   Read Micro-Finanace and the Millennium Development Goals.
   Read the Report of the International Conference on Financing for Development, Monterrey 2002.
   Read Monterrey Consensus.
   Read "Innovative Financing for Development."
   Access the website for the Financing for Development office of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

UNEP Issues Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment for the Democratic Republic of Congo
April 21, 2012. The United Nations Environmental Programme has issued a Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment for the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is available in English as are some of the other current sustainable development materials for the DRC. They have been posted in the Post-Conflict Sustainable Development part of this web page below. Click on that tab in the menu to jump to that section.

Recent UNDP Reports Use Three Indices for Analyses Sensitive to Inequality
April 17, 2012. Since 2010 the UNDP has been working to publicize and gather data using three new key indices for the annual Human Development Reports. They include the Inequality Adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), the Gender Inequality Index (GII), and the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). All of which see to improve on the previous indices by making them more sensitive to inequality. The 2010 Human Development Report (Chapter 5) explains these new indices and the reasons for their creation. The 2011 report uses these measures.
   The UNDP worked with teh Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative on the MPI and other elements. They have posted their 2011 MPI research briefing on their website.
   Read UNDP Human Development Report 2010 (See Chapter 5 on the Indices).
   Read The OPHI findings and analysis of MPI 2011.
   Access the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative website.
   Access the UNDP IHDI website.
   Access the UNDP GII website.
   Access the UNDP MPI website.
   Access the UNDP Indices and Data Website .

World Bank Announces Selection of New President
April 17, 2012. The directors of the World Bank have announced the selection of Dr. Jim Yong Kim as president. It is a five year term and he will take office on July 1. He is currently President of Dartmouth College.
   Read the World Bank Release Announcing the Appointment.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Issues "Synthesis" Report, Completing Fourth Assessment of Global Climate Change
November 17, 2007. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climiate Change has issued a Synthesis Report, the fourth in a series of reports on global climate change issues in 2007. The first of these reports was issued by working group I and was entitled Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. The second was prepared by working group II Climate Change 2007: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. The third was the product of working group III, Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change, on strategies to address global warming. These reports, as well the previous reports issued by the panel, are available at the links below. (NOTE: Some of the reports are large files and are best downloaded and opened offline. The report links go to the IPCC page for each full report, but the files are then provided chapter by chapter.)

Sixth World Water Forum Meets in Marseille, France
March 18, 2012. The 6th World Water Forum met March 12-17 in Marseille, France. The core of the effort is set forth in the Forum's Priorities for Action and Conditions for Success
   Access the 6th World Water Forum website.
   Read the Priorities for Actions and Conditions for Success.

Rio+ 20 Conference "The Future We Want" in June: Preliminary Documents Now Available
February 25, 2012. The Rio+20 conference will be held in Brazil June 20-22, 2012. It will mark the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Environment and Development and the 10th anniversary of the Johannesburg Conference. The themes for the conference are: "(a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development." Its goals are to secure a renewal of the commitments made by the nations of the world to the agreements from Agenda 21 through Johannesburg and to address implementation gaps with respect to those commitments. The conference was call by the UN General Assembly in General Assembly Resolution 64/236 (A/RES/64/236) (text provided below). The preparatory committee was asked to prepare a "zero draft" report for circulation to stakeholders in January. It is entitled "The Future We Want" and the draft is provided below. The prepcom was also asked to provide a "Synthesis Report of Best Practices and Lessons Learned" report which has been done based upon responses by 108 countries (document below). There is a website with information on variour aspects of the conference the link to which is provided below.
   Access the "Zero Draft" of the Conference Report Document Entitled "The Future We Want."
   Read the UN Resolution Calling for Rio+20 Conference and Implementation Plan
   Access the Synthesis Report on Best Practices and Lessons Learned on Sustainable Development
   Read the Issue Brief on Green Jobs and Social Inclusion.
   Read the Issue Brief on Sustainable Cities.
   Read the Issue Brief on Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture.
   Read the Issue Brief on Regional, National, and Local Governance for Sustainable Development.
   Read the Issue Brief on Water.
   Read the Issue Brief on Disaster Relief and Resilience Building.
   Read the Issue Brief on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development.
   Read the Issue on Sustainable Goals and Indicators.
   Read the Issue Brief on Oceans.
   Read the Issue Brief on an Intergovernmental Body on Sustainable Development.
   .Read the Issue Brief on Peer Review
   Read the Issue Brief on Trade and Green Economy.
   Access the Rio+20 Website.

GAO Issues Report on Humanitarian and Development Assistance
February 9, 2012. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report entitled "Humanitarian and Development Assistance: Project Evaluations and Better Information Sharing Needed to Manage the Military's Efforts." In addition to raising issues about the management and program evaluations of military humanitarian and development assistance programs, the report indicates that "DOD, State, and USAID do not have full visibility over each others' assistance efforts" which the report suggests may mean a "fragmented approach to U.S. assistance." GAO, Highlights page.
   Access the GAO report.
   Access the GAO Highlights page on the report.

EPA Issues National Toxic Release Inventory
January 6, 2012. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the 2010 Toxic Release Inventory. The agency has released an overview document and created a website with a variety of other data and analytic items. This report celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act which was enacted as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorication Act, P.L. 99-499 (1986) and is codified at 42 U.S.C. 11001-11050.
   Access the NTR Overview.
   Access the EPA National Toxic Release Inventory Website.
   Read the Congressional Research Service Summary Report on the Statute from 2010 .
   Read the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act.

The EPA Has Finalized Its Standards for Mercury and Toxic Air Pollutants from Power Plants
December 29, 2011. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued the long-awaited standards for Mercury and Toxic Air Pollutants. The President also issued a memorandum directing flexible implementation of those standards.
   Read the EPA Press Release.
   Access the EPA Mercury and Air Toxic Standards Website.
   EPA Fact Sheet Summary.
   Access the Presidential Memorandum on Flexible Enforcement of the EPA rules.

Durban Climate Change Conference Extends Kyoto and Launches New Process
December 11, 2011. The United Nations Climate Change Conference, Durban 2011, has concluded with an agreement to extend the Kyoto agreement while a process to produce a new agreement is completed. The final documents are not yet available, but the conference materials and the site for documents is provided below.
   Access the UN Durban Conference Website.
   Access the Cancun Agreements 2010.
   Access Bali Action Plan 2007.
   Access the Kyoto Protocol 1998.

UNEP Issues Early Part of GEO-5 Report
November 8, 2011. The United Nations Environment Programme has issued a report entitled Keeping Track of Our Changing Environmnet: From Rio to Rio+20 (1992-2012). As the report explains, this is meant to be an update on a variety of data and key measures since the Rio earth summit, but is also part of the GEO-5 process, the final report for which is due in May 2012.
   Access the Keeping Track of Our Changing Environment report.
   Access the GEO process website.

World Bank 2012 World Development Report Focuses on Gender Equality and Development
November 8, 2011. The World Bank has released it 2012 World Development Report entitled Gender Equality and Development. World Bank President Robert Zoelick explained in the foreword to the report that: "The main message of this year's World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development is that these patterns of progress and persistence in gender equality matter, both for development outcomes and policy making. They matter because gender equality is a core development objective in its own right. But greater gender equality is also smart economics, enhancing productivity and improving development outcomes, including prospects for the next generation and for the quality of societal policies and institutions. Economic development is not enough to shrink all gender disparities -- roeective policies that focus on persisting gender gaps are essential." He explains: "This Report points to four priority areas for policy going forward. First, reducing gender gaps in human cpaital -- specifically those that address demaile mortality and education. Second, closing gender gaps in access to economic oportunities, earnings, and productivity. Third, shrinking gender differences in voice and agency within society. Fourth, limiting the reproduction of gender inequality across generations. These are all areas where higher incomes by themselves do little to reduce gender gaps, but focused policies can have a real impact."
   Read the Full 2012 Report.
   Read 2012 Report "Overview" document.
   Access the report "Main Messages" document.

UN Recognizes 7 Billion Population Mark
November 1, 2011. The United Nations Population Division designated October 31, 2011 as the estimated date when the world population would pass the 7 billion mark. As the Population Division explained in answer to a frequently asked question concerning how officials would know when the 7 billion mark would be reached, "The 31st October is a symbolic date, which is based on interpolated data from the original 5-year period estimates prepared by the Population Division." Population Division FAQ page. The division estimates based on its 2010 data that the population will reach 8 billion on 15 June 2025, 9 Billion on 18 February 2043, and 10 Billion on 18 June 2083.
   Access the UN Population Division FAQ site.
   Access the "World Population Prospects, the 2010 Revision" site and date.

Report on Causes of Deep Water Horizon Oil Platform Blowout Released
September 14, 2011. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement of the U.S. Department of the Interior has issued the report of the investigation conducted by the Bureau and the Coast Guard Joint Investigation Team into the causes both direct and indirect of the Deep Water Horizon oil platform blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. For more information on the findings and the documents themselves, see the Public Law, Policy, and Public Administration page of this website.

Conflict In Obama Administration Over Proposed Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards
September 3, 2011. The White House has announced the action by Case Sunstein, Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget, in calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to pull back its proposed Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards and reconsider them in 2013. In an unusual move, the president announced the administration's action. It is likely that this action will be challenged by environmentalists in further legal action.
   Read Statement by the President on the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
   Read Sunstein OIRA letter to EPA re Proposed Ozone Standards.
   Read the EPA press release in response to the administration action.

Federal District Court Rejects Latest Salmon Plan
August 3, 2011. Judge James A. Redden of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon has submitted the latest federal plan to deal with endangered salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake rivers.
   Access the opinion and order.

U.S. EPA Issues New Cross-State Air Pollution Rule
July 7, 2011. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a new Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. The agency presss release explained that: "Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that protects the health of millions of Americans by helping states reduce air pollution and attain clean air standards.
   Access EPA Powerpoint Presentation on the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.
   Access EPA Press Release.

UN Publishes Economic and Social Survey Results
July 5, 2011. The United Nations has issued its 2011 Economic and Social Survey entitled "World Economic and Social Survey 2011:The Green Technology Transformation."
   Read the overview.
   Access the full report.

Supreme Court Rejects State Pollution Suit Against Power Plants
June 20, 2011. Writing for a unanimous Supreme Court (Justice Sotomayor not participating) in No. 10-174, American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, Justice Ginsburg rejected the efforts by several states, the City of New York, and other parties to bring a federal common law nuisance suit to abate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. "We hold that the Clean Air Act and the EPA actions it authorizes displace any federal common law right to seek abatement of carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel fired power plants." Slip opinion at 10.
   Read the opinion.

Commission on Wartime Contracting Holds Hearing on Post-Conflict Work by NGOs and PRTs in Afghanistan
April 25, 2011. On April 11, the Commission on Wartime Contracting held a hearing entitled NGOs' Lessons for Contingencies which is part of its ongoing investigations into contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Witnesses from NGO's operating in Afghanistan included Matthew McGarry, Country Manager, Catholic Relief Services; Sue Dwyer, Vice President, International Rescue Committee; Michael Bowers, Regional Program Director for South Asia, Mercy Corps; Michael Klosson, Vice President, Save the Children; and Beth Cole, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Institute of Peace. In 2010 a white paper titled "Being Smart about Development in Afghanistan," from several NGOs attending the hearing, stressed development work to include community-driven efforts, accountability, impartiality and local sustainability as keys for successful development initiatives. (NOTE: The reason that the white paper itself is not posted here is that the organizations that produced it have not authorized its release for publication or Internet distribution.)
   Access the press release on the hearing.
   Access the video/audio of the hearing.
   Access the statement of Matt McGarry, Outgoing Afghanistan Country Manager, Catholic Relief Services.
   Access the statement of Anne C. Richard, Vice President, Government Relations and Advocacy.
   Access the statement of Michael Bowers, Regional Program Director for South Asia, Mercy Corps.
   Access the statement of Michael Klosson, Vice President, Save the Children.
   Access the statement of Beth Cole, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Institute of Peace.

Obama Administration Implementing New Development Strategy
February 1, 2011. Starting in the fall of 2010, the Obama administration released two sets of policy documents to guide development policy that included the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development and the State's Department's first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.
   Access the Fact Sheets on the PDD.
   Read the the State Department QDDR full report.
   Read the QDDR Executive Summary.
   Access the State Department News Conference on the Release of the new policies.

EPA Moves Forward on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulation
December 31, 2010. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it is moving forward with implementation of its obligations to regulate greenhouse gases that contribute to globale warming under the Clean Air Act from fuel-fired power plants and refineries through steps laid out in two consent agreements signed by the agency to resolve litigation. The agency explained in its press release on the new regulations that "Under today's agreement, EPA will propose standards for power plants in July 2011 and for refineries in December 2011 and will issue final standards in May 2012 and November 2012, respectively."
   Access the EPA web page on air quality planning and standards.
   Read the EPA consent agreements.
   Access the EPA Press Release on the steps announced.
   Access .

Interior Department Issues a New Drilling Moratorium
July 13, 2010. The Department of the Interior has issued a new deep water drilling moratorium to replace the one that has was blocked by a federal district court injunction. The moratorium comes in the form of a decision memorandum from Secretary Salazar to Michael R. Bromwich who is the Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management , Regulation and Enforcement.
   The federal government had unsuccessfully appealed to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, seeking a stay of the original order issued by U.S. District Judge Martin L. C. Feldman of the Eastern District of Louisiana against the first federally imposed moratorium on deep water drilling in the case of Hornbeck Offshore Services v. Salazar, Civ. No. 10-1663.
   Read Secretary Salazars Decision Memorandum of July 12.
   Access the Federal Government Motion for Stay Pending Appeal.
   Access the District Court's Order and Reasons.
   Access the District Court Order.

Supreme Court Rules in Roundup Ready Alfalfa Case
June 21, 2010. The Supreme Court has issued a ruling written by Justice Alito in Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, reversing a lower court injunction that blocked planting of Roundup Ready Alfalfa pending the resolution of disputes under the National Environmental Policy Act. The plant is genetically modified to allow the use of the herbicide in the field without damage to the crop. This case and the Supreme Court's opinion focused on the remedy, in this case the injunction, issued by the district court in the case. It is not, as some reports have suggested, a broad ruling in support of the decisions of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
   Justice Stevens issued a lone dissent in the case in which began by noting: "The Court does not dispute the District Court's critical findings of fact: First, Roundup Ready Alfalfa (RRA) can contaminate other plants. . . Second, even planting in a controlled setting had led to contamination in some instances. . . . Third, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has limited ability to monitor or enforce liminations on planting. . . And fourth, genetic contamination from RRA could decimate farmers' livelihoods and the American alfalfa market for years to come. . . . Instead, the majority faults the District Court for 'enjoining APHIS from partially deregulating RRA." Stevens dissent, slip op. at 1.
   Access the Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms opinion.

National Research Council Issues Climate Change Reports
May 20, 2010. The National Research Council has issued a series of reports on the climate change as well as a video entitled America's Climate Choices. These reports can be ordered or read online through the National Academies Press. There are downloadable summary reports on the site as well.
   Access Advancing the Science of Climate Change.
   Access Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change.
   Access Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change.
   Access the video America's Climate Choices.

UN Planning in Progress for Rio+20 Summit in 2012
May 1, 2010. The UN General Assembly approved has approved a resolution for a Rio+20 conference to be held in 2012. The summit is now in the early planning stages with the first prepcom meeting to take place this month.
   Access the Earth Summit 2012 website.

Recent Study Addresses Ongoing Impacts on 9/11 Rescue Workers
April 11, 2010. A group of researchers has published a study of over 12,000 New York Fire Department personnel who worked at rescue and recovery efforts at ground zero following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center that has found continuing significant lung function impacts. The study concludes: "Exposure to World Trade Center dust led to large declinges in FEV1 [Forced Expiratory Volume] for FDNY rescue workers during the first year. Overall, these declines were persistent, without recovery over the next 6 years, leaving a substantial proportion of workers with absnormal lung function." Thomas K. Aldrich, et al., "Lung Function in Rescue Workers at the World Trade Center after 7 Years," New England Journal of Medicine, 362 (No. 14, April 8, 2010): 1263.
   Read the New England Journal of Medicine Article.

EPA AND DOTProduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards
April 1, 2010. The Environmental Protection Agency together with the Department of Transportation has issued a final rule controlling greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles under the Clear Air Act. This issue has been pending since the Supreme Court ruling during the George W. Bush administration mandating action by EPA under the Clear Act provisions.
   Read the Prepublication Version of the Final Rule.
   Access the EPA website with documents.
   Read EPA Press Release.

Afghanistan Special Inspector General Issues Report to Congress
January 31, 2010. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has issued the latest report for Congress, highlighting a series of challenges. (NOTE: The report is a large file.)
   Access the SIGAR January 30 report to Congress.
   Access the SIGAR website.

EPA Proposes New Smog Standards
January 10, 2010. The U.S. Environmental Proection Agency had issued a proposed rule setting new standards for smog. Three public hearings have been scheduled with two to be held on February 2, 2010 in Arlington, Virginia and Houston, Texas and the other scheduled for February 4 in Sacramento, California. The EPA announced on its website, (though not in the Federal Register as a notice of proposed rulemaking) on September 16, 2009 that it was reconsidering the 2008 standards for ground level ozone.
   Read the proposed rule as EPA issued it -- now awaiting publication in the Federal Register.
   Read September 16 announcement.

Great Lakes States Battle Over Efforts to Block Invasive Asian Carp
January 3, 2010. The states of Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have filed suit against Illinois and the Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago, seeking to reopen a Supreme Court ruling on Great Lakes protection in order to address the apparent threat from the dramatic spread of the invasive species known as the Asian Carp. The existing decree that the complaining states seek to modify was first issued in Wisconsin v. Illinois, 388 U.S. 426 (1967), later modified in Wisconsin v. Illinois, 449 U.S. 48 (1980). The United States has intervened as a defendant in the case.
   The focus of the case is the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal which was built a century ago to connect the Chicago, the Des Plaines, and the Illinois rivers with Lake Michigan. While the canal was constructed to cause water and waste to flow away from rather than into the lake, the carp have now manged to find their way upstream to near the intake from the lake, threatening their spread into the Great Lakes. Although the Corps of Engineers and Illinois authorities put in electrical barriers and even poisoned the waters, there is evidence that the carp, which displace native species because of their voracious consumption patterns and pose dangers because of their size and behavior, are very near the entry point into the lake.
   The complaining states, led by the Attorney General of Michigan have brought the case on grounds of common law nuisance, alleging that the failure of Illinois and the federal government to take adequate actions to protect against the spread of the fish interferes with the rights of other Great Lakes states. Wisconsin v. Illinois, Nos. 1-3 Original, Complaint, at 22.
   This case comes not long after the Great Lakes states entered into a new interstate compact, known as the "Great Lakes -- St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact," approved by the Congress and President in 2008. In addition, the states entered into a "good faith agreement" entitled the "Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement."
   Read the Motion to Reopen (The Basic Argument for the Petitioners).
   Read the Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.
   Read the Appendix.
   Read P.L. 110-342, the approval of the Great Lakes compact of 2008.
   Read the good faith agreement, Great Lakes--St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement.

EPA Issues Climate Change Endangerment Finding on the Eve of Copenhagen Summit
December 7 15, 2009. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued its long awaited "endangerment" finding with respect to climate change and greenhouse gases. The finding, which will be published in the Federal Register, was issued by the agency today. The EPA announced: "The Administrator finds that six greenhouse gases taken in combination endanger both the public health and the public welfare of current and future generations. The Administrator also finds that the combined emissions of these greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the greenhouse gas air pollution that endangers public health and welfare under CAA section 202(a)." Endangerment and Cause or Contribute FIndings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act," RIN 2060-ZA14. The agency also published a "Technical Support Document" to accompany the findings.
   Read the Finding.
   Read the Technical Support Document Issued with the Finding.
   Access the EPA Climate Change page on the process .
   Read the EPA Press Release on the findings.

UNICEF Issues Report on Maternal and Child Nutrition
November 15, 2009. A report released this week by UNICEF warns of critical problems of malnutrition among children and their mothers The report, entitled Tracking Progress on Child and Maternal Nutrition: A Survival and Development Priority, warns that more than 200 million children under 5 suffer from chronic undernutrition and a third of all dealths of children under 5 result from that cause.
   Read the UNICEF Report.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Sends Kerry-Boxer Energy Bill to the Full Senate
November 5, 2009. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee could not consider amendments to the bill since minority party members boycotted the scheduled markup, but it has sent S. 1733 Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, also known as the Kerry-Boxer Bill to the full Senate with one "no" vote. Senator Baucus (D., MT) voted against the bill, promising to seek changes in the bill going forward that he will support. This follows the passage in the House of the Waxman-Markey bill H.R. 2454.
   There are a number of other bills in other committees dealing with the issue. Senators John Kerry (D, MA), Lindsey Graham (R,SC), and Joe Lieberman (I,CT) held a news conference November 4, indicating that they were working with the leadership and the six committees with jurisdiction on energy legislation and the White House on a final bill for debate on the Senate floor.
   Access the Chairman's Mark of S. 1773.
   Access the 10/23/2009 changes to the Chairman's Mark.
   Access the EPA Analysis of S. 1733.
   Read the Committee Staff Summary of Allowance Allocations under S. 1733.
   Access H.R. 2454 Waxman-Markey.

The Afghanistan Electoral Complaints Commission Issues Audit Reports
October 19, 2009. The Afghanistan Electoral Complaints Commission has issued its audit report on allegations of fraud in the national elections.
   Access the primary press release on the audit in English.
   Access the Commission Formal Decisions on Each Question.
   Access the Afghanistan Electoral Complaints Commission English Language website.
   Access the audit reports and press releases.
   Access the United Nations Development Program Elections Project website.

U.S. EPA Announces Greenhoue Gas Reporting Rule and Proposes Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rules
September 30, 2009. The U.S. EPA has issued a final rule creating a greenhouse gas reporting system that will go into effect in January 2010.
   The agency has also just announced a proposed rule aimed a limiting greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed rules are intended to require new permits and limitations on large greenhouse gas emitters. It comes at a time when legislation on the subject, entitled the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act sponsored by Senators Boxer and Kerry, is facing difficulties in the Senate and the Obama administration is preparing to participate in the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in December.
   Final Rule on Greenhouse Gas Reporting System Rule Preamble.
   EPA page with all rule documents on the Greenhouse Gas Reporting System rule.
   Access the EPA press release on the new program.
   Read the fact sheet on the proposed rule.
   Read the EPA press release on the proposed rule.
   Access the Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rules.
   Read the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act as proposed.

Copenhagen Climate Change Conference Online
September 30, 2009. The Cophenhagen Climate Change Conference website is now available with news and conference information available in the runup to the meeting scheduled for December 7-18, 2009.
   Access the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference Website.

World Bank President Suggests Changed Power Relations as a Result of Economic Crisis
September 29, 2009. World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick explained in a speech yesterday at Johns Hopkins University entitled "After the Crisis" that: "The global economic crisis is contributing to shifts in power relations in the world that will impact currency markets, monetary policy, trade relations and the role of developing countries." World Bank press release. Zoellick suggests what he termed a "multipolarity" in the post-crisis economic order with the U.S. and the U.S. economic, the currency, and the U.S. government not playing the same kind of dominant role as in the past. He also advocated what he termed "responsible globalization." He concluded: "Coming out of this crisis, we have an opportunity to reshape our policies, architecture, and institutions. We have an opportunity to craft a new global system for a 21st Century of 'Responsible Globalization' one that would encourage balanced global growth and financial stability, embrace global efforts to counter climate change, and advance opportunity for the poorest. It means expanding the benefits of open markets and trade, investments, competition, innovation, entrepreneurialism, growth, information -- and debates on ideas. It must be a globalization that is both inclusive and sustainable -- expanding opportunity with care for the environment.
   Read the "After the Crisis" Speech.
   Access the World Bank press release on the speech.
   View the CSPAN Video of the Speech.

Pittsburgh G-20 Conference Reportedly Replaces G-8 as Primary International Conference Body
September 26, 2009. The G-20 leaders have issued what is termed the "Leaders' Statement of the Pittsburgh Summit," announcing the broad policy positions agreed to at the summit, including the decision that the G-20 will replace the G-8 as the primary forum for global discussion of key economic development issues. The statement indicates that: "We designated the G-20 to be the premier forum for our international economic cooperation. We established the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to include major emerging economies and welcome its efforts to coordinate and monitor progress in strengthening financial regulation." Id. at 3. The White House had announced earlier that the G-20 would replace the G-8 as the primary forum for global discussion of key economic development issues.
   The G-8 consists of United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia. That body will continue, but will not be the primary focal point for international economic development planning. The G-20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, and a representative of the European Union. The G-20 will meet next in Canada in 2010.
   Read the "Leaders' Statement" from the G-20 Summit.
   Access the G-20 Website.
   Access the White House Statement on the G-20 Repositioning.

UN Produced Convention on Ship Recycling
July 6, 2009. The UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. The final preparation of the document for ratification is being completed and goes to member states for ratification consideration. Sixty-seven countries signed the document on May 15, 2009. It has been under development since 2005. There are still ongoing debates about the convention and the regulations and guidelines proposed for its implementation. Efforts to adopt an international agreement in this area followed on criticism of the manner in which ship recycling has been done, most often in developing countries both as to the effects of the activity on the workers and also on the environment.
   Read the Lloyd's Register Summary of the Convention.
   Access the convention.

UNESCO Releases Report on Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Learning
May 13, 2009. The UN ESCO has published a volume edited by Peter Bates, Moe Chiba, Sabine Kube, and Doulas Nakashima entitled Learning and Knowing in Indigenous Societies Today (Paris: UNESCO, 2009). It is a product of their work in the Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) Programme.
   This programme is separate from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). The UNPFII published last year a Toolkit for Indigenous Peoples' Issues.
   Access the Report.
   Access the LINKS Website.
   Access the ToolKit on Indigenous Peoples' Issues.
   Access the UNPFII Homepage

Press Releases Industry Group Documents on Global Warming
April 26, 2009. The New York Times and Washington Post have released documents provided by attorneys for environmental groups involved in litigation on global climate change, demonstrating that, like the case of tobacco politics, the groups and the industry they supported, and that provided their resources, knew that the warnings of danger of global warming were correct, but persisted in arguing that there was not a problem, at least not one that was significantly caused by human activity. The memorandum stated: "Can human activites affect climate? The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhose gases such as CO2 is well established and cannot be denited." Gregory J. Dana to AIAM Technical Committee, 1/18/1996 "Global Climate Coalition - (GCC): Primer on Climate Change Science - FInal Draft, " pp. 1-2. The memorandum that made this point clear is provided in the link below. The material that acknowledged the global warming was later removed from the document that then went forward as support for industry resistance to global climate change science. There is an ongoing dispute as to which organization or persons removed the information.
   Access .

EPA Proposes Endangerment Finding on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under Clean Air Act
March 23, 2009. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has submitted a proposed endangerment finding for greenhouse gas emissions associated with global warming to the Office of Management and Budget for regulatory review. This is the first step in adopting the rules under the Clean Air Act that the Bush administration had refused to issue, a decision then overturned by the Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA. The Bush administration did not take further action as required by the Court during its tenure in office. The new EPA appears ready to do so. The RIN number is 2060-ZA14 and the proposed rule was submitted on March 20, 2009. The next step after OMB review would be publication in the Federal Register.
   Access the regulatory review information on

President Calls for Expedited Issuance of Energy Efficiency Standards
February 6, 2009. President Obama has issued a memorandum to the Secretary of Energy with respect to Appliance Efficiency Standards. The Bush administration had delayed issuance of the standards required by statute and ultimately entered into a consent decree, agreeing to a schedule by which it would issue the standards but allowing several years to accomplish the task. The presidential memorandum calls upon the Energy Department to expedite the process and get the standards out ahead of the consent decree requirements.
   Access the memorandum.

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Prepares "Hard Lesson" Report
December 14, 2008. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has now published the final version of its report entitled Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience which details a history of problems with the plans and implementation of those plans after the invasion of Iraq and replacement of its previous regime. The report is scheduled to be completed and formally released in February at hearings to be held by the Commission on Wartime Contracting. (The report is over 500 pages in length and is a large file. Also, there are three separate links for the body of the report, the endnotes, and the cover on the SIGIR Hard Lessons webpage at the link below.)
   The Commission on Wartime Contracting was created at the sponsorship of Senators James Webb (D,VA) and Claire McCaskill (D,MO) as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008. President Bush issued a signing statement at the time of passage of the legislation, suggesting that the administration would not cooperate with some oversight related provisions of the statute such as the commission, but the body has been moving forward with its work.
   Access the Hard Lessons report from the SIGIR website.
   Access the SIGIR website.
   Information on creation of the Commission on Wartime Contracting from Senator Webb's website.
   Read the President's Signing Statement on H.R. 4986.
   Read the National Defense Authorization Act.

U.S. Department of Interior Issues Controversial Changes to Endangered Species Act Decision Process
December 12, 2008. The Secretary of Interior has announced publication of final rules that change the process for decisionmaking on Endangered Species Act determination which currently requires a process of consultation with agency experts. The secretary referred to these as relatively minor changes in the process while environmental groups argue that it is a dramatic weakening of the process and avoid criticisms from key experts. Secretary Kempthorne specifically pointed to the process for determining the status of polar bears as the impetus for the changes, asserting that while listing the polar bear was a correct decision, the administration determined at the time that it was necessary to make "modifications to the existing regulation to provide greater certainty that this listing will not set a backdoor climate change policy outside our normal system of political accountability." The The final rules have not yet appeared in the Federal Register, but the document is available on the Department of Interior website at the link below.
   Access the Department of Interior Final Rule.
   Read the secretary's statement on release of the rule.

GAO Calls for Better Interagency Oversight and Cooperation of GMO Crops
December 8, 2008. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report calling on the Food & Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work together more effectively to ensure oversight and effective policy implementation of matters related to genetically modified crops. The report follows unauthorized releases into the environment of GMO material and a finding that the relevant agencies do not have solid data on the number and types of releases.
   Access the GAO report.

UNEP Issues "Brown Cloud" Report
November 14, 2008. The United Nations Environment Programme has released a report on Atmospheric Brown Clouds: Regional Assessment Report with Focus on Asia which examines the phenomenon of atmospheric brown clouds (ABCs) that have had a range of significant and troublesome impacts. The report highlights particular prevalence and harmful effects of ANCs in Asia. The report finds that: "The absorbtion of solar radiation by the surface and the atmosphere is the fundamental driver for the physical climate system, the biogeochemical cycles, and for all life on the panet. . . . It is certain that ABCs have caused dimming at the surface. It is certain that soot in ABCs has increased solar heating of the atmosphere. It is virtually certain that India and China are dimmer (at the surface) today by at least 6 per cent, compared with the pre-industrial values. Absorbed solar radiation at the surface in China and India are lower today . . . compared with pre-industrial values. It is highly likely that black carbon in ABCs has increased the vertically averaged annual mean solar absorption in the troposphere." Summary for Policymakers, p. 4/
   Access the UNEP Brown Cloud report Summary for Policymakers.

GAO Reports on Status of GSA's Implementation Green Building Requirements of the Energy Independence and Security Act
November 3, 2008. The Government Accountability Office has provided the relevant committees of Congress with a report on Implementation of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). The memorandum explains that: "According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, buildings in the United States account for 68 percent of its total energy consumption. In December 2007, Congress enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) to, among other things, increase energy efficiency and the availability of renewable energy in federal buildings. Specifically, the act established new energy-related requirements and standards for federal buildings and for the agencies that oversee them. For example, it required the General Services Administration (GSA) to establish an Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings to coordinate green building information and activities within GSA and with other federal agencies." p, 1. The link to the first report on implementation is provided below.
   Read the GAO memorandum.

United Nations Development Programme Issues Asia/Pacific Human Development Report
October 20, 2008. The UNDP Human Development Report Unit in Colombo has issued a new Asia/Development Human Development Report entitled Tackling Corruption, Transforming Lives: Accelerating Human Development in Asia and the Pacific. The report takes as a point of departure the fact that 140 countries are now signatories to to UN Convention Against Corruption and, in addition to providing the base line data and information that are expected from a UNDP human development report, focuses on a seven part action agenda to press forward with the commitments from the UNCAC. It includes efforts to "join with international efforts, establish benchmarks of quality, strengthen the civil service, encourage codes of conduct in the private sector, establish the right to information, exploit new technology, and support citizen action." p. 13.
   Read Asia/Pacific Human Development report.

California Adopts SB 375 Aimed at Encouraging Sustainable Communities and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction
October 1, 2008. The California legislature has passed and Governor Schwarzenegger has signed SB 375 concerned with "transportation planning,: travel demand models; sustainable communities strategy; environmental review." This statute is meant to follow and build on AB 32 adopted in which established state greenhouse gas emission standards. The new legislation seeks to encourage land use planning and sustainable community development by linking housing, transportation, and land use planning.
   Access California SB 375.
   Access the governor's press release on signing SB 375.
   Access AB 32 of 2006.

Government Accountability Identifies Barriers to Enhanced Carbon Capture and Storage Efforts
October 1, 2008. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has identified a variety of barriers that stand in the way of plans for enhanced carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a part of the effort to address global warming.
   Read the GAO report.

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Issues Report on Parsons Contract Performance
July 28, 2008. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has issued a report entitled "Outcome, Cost, and Oversight of the Security and Justice Contract with Parsons Deleware, Inc."
   Access the SIGIR report.

U.S. Government Accountability Office Issues Report on Millennium Challenge Corp. Procedures
June 30, 2008. The GAO has issued a report entitled "Millennium Challenge Corporation: Independent Reviews and Consistent Approaches Will Strengthen Projections of Program Impact." The report raises questions about the standards and methodologies used to calculate performance measures for the countries with which the MCC engages in a compact for assistance. The MCC acknowledged the criticisms and has indicated that it would incorporate the recommendations.
   Access the GAO report.

Afghanistan Releases Its Afghanistan Development Strategy Documents
May 28, 2008. Afghanistan has released its new Afghanistan Development Strategy for 2008-2013.
   Access the Website for the Strategy.
   Access the Full Report in English.
   Access the Executive Summary in English.

The GAO Issues Report on Somalia Efforts
March 4, 2008. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has issued a report on efforts to date by the international community and the U.S. to assist Somalia not only with its current crisis but with development for the future.
   Access the GAO report.

U.S. Enacts New Energy Legislation
December 19, 2007. Congress has adopted and the president has signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, H.R. 6. The legislation addresses a wide range of issues from auto fuel economy standards to the use of ethanol and alternative energy research. [NOTE: This is a very large file (over 800 pages in pdf) and may be most accessible by downloading the file and then opening.]
   . Access the Energy Legislation.

United Nations Climate Change Conference Reaches Agreement Joined by U.S. on Bali Roadmap
December 15, 2007. The U.N. Secretariat for the Framework Convention on Climate Change has issued documents laying our the provisions of what is being called the "Bali Roadmap. This roadmap describes set of agreements that are to provide a foundation for negotiations leading to Copenhagen in 2009, where the world's nations are to reach final agreement on a formal replacement for the Kyota Protocol. The anticipated replacement for Kyoto is scheduled to go into effect by 2012. The Decisions and Documents page link below accesses the key decision documents. The UN Framework Convention page is provided since it has the Protocol and related materials.
   Access the Conference Press Release.
   Access the Bali Action Plan.
   Access the Bali Decisions and Documents.
   Access the Bali Conference Website.
   Access the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Website.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Issues "Synthesis" Report, Completing Fourth Assessment of Global Climate Change
November 17, 2007. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climiate Change has issued a Synthesis Report, the fourth in a series of reports on global climate change issues in 2007. The first of these reports was issued by working group I and was entitled Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. The second was prepared by working group II Climate Change 2007: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. The third was the product of working group III, Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change, on strategies to address global warming. These reports, as well the previous reports issued by the panel, are available at the links below. (NOTE: Some of the reports are large files and are best downloaded and opened offline. The report links go to the IPCC page for each full report, but the files are then provided chapter by chapter.)
    Read the Synthesis Report, Summary for Policymakers.
    Read the Mitigation of Climate Change, Summary for Policymakers.
    Read the Mitigation of Climate Change report, Full Report.
    Read the Climate Change 2007: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Summary for Policymakers.
    Read the Climate Change 2007: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Full Report.
    Read The Physical Basis, Summary for Policymakers.
    Read The Physical Basis, Full Report.
    Access the IPCC Home Page.

FERC Issues Environmental Impact Statement on Klamath River Dams
November 17, 2007. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a final Environmental Impact Statement on Klamath River dams which requires some mitigation efforts to deal with burdens on fish populations, but concludes that the dams should be relicensed. For more information and links, go to the Oregon page of this website.

United Nations Issues Long-Awaited GEO-4 Report
October 28, 2007. The United Nations Environmental Programme has issued its long-awaited Global Environmental Outlook 4 report. The links to the report and to the report that provides chapter by chapter access and versions in different languages. This page also provides below under International Documents, all of the previous GEO reports and the updates that have been issued since the GEO-3 report.
   . Access the GEO-4 Report website.
   . Access the full GEO-4 Report in English.
   . Access the full GEO-4 Report in Spanish.
   . Access the Media Executive Summary.

National Academy Releases PTSD Report
October 19, 2007. The Committee on Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder of the National Academy, Institute of Medicine's Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice has issued a report entitled Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An Assessment of the Evidence. The report, requested by the Veterans Administration, assesses existing evidence on treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome in the wake of national debate on services available to returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
   . Access the PTSD report.

EU Issues Energy Futures Reports Ahead of Washington Meetings
January 8, 2007. The EU has issued two reports on the energy and climate futures in Europe. The first, known briefly as the "Eurobarometer" (Energy Technology Knowledge Perception Measures) is based on surveys to determine attitudes and behavior preferences. The second, known as the "WETO-H2" for (World Energy Technology Outlook -- 2050) study which looks at Europe's future in a carbon economy versus a hydrogen economy.
    Read the Eurobarometer Report.
    Read the WETO-H2 Report.

World Bank Issues 2006 Development Effectiveness Report
December 8, 2006. The World Banks Independent Evaluation Group has issued its Annual Development Effectiveness Report for 2006. This report concludes that while there has been some poverty reduction in countries with economies that have seen rapid development such as China and India, there is still much to be done. It also finds that "Strategies designed solely to boost overall growth may miss opportunities to reduce proverty more effectively." Executive Summary, p. xii. It also found that the Bank's Country Assistance Strategies did not produce good results where they "either lacked selectivity or they were founded on unrealistic expectations for a reform program that was incommensurate with the country's institutional capacity and political situation." Id.
    Read the Executive Summary.
    Read the Full Report.

Czech Republic Ministry of Finance Maintains Public/Private Partnerships Resource Website
December 8, 2006. The Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic has a useful website that provides a combination of documents and links arranged country by country on the uses and problems of public private partnerships.
    Access the PPP site.

British Government Releases Global Warming Report
October 31, 2006. The British government has published a study on the economic impacts of global climate change that concludes: "Our actions over the coming few decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later in this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first hald of the 20th century. And it will be difficult or impossible to reverse these changes. Tackling climate change is the pro-growth strategy for the longer term, and it can be done in a way that does not cap the aspirations of rich or poor countries." Executive Summary, p. ii. Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change.
    Read the Executive Summary of the Stern Report.
    Read the Stern Report.

Tsunami Evaluation Coalition Issues Synthesis Report on NGO Response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami
September 24, 2006. The Tsunami Evaluation Coalition was formed after the Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 2004 by more than 40 organizations. These nongovernmental organizations and international institutions established a process to ensure accountability for the funds donated and actions taken in response to the Tsunami. The TEC has published a number of thematic reports and a synthesis report as part of that effort. It has also established a website for future studies.
   The TEC was developed with the initiative of organizations that were part of another evaluation body known as ALNAP, the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Act that was itself developed in the wake the humanitarian efforts in response to the genocide in Rwanda.
    Read the TEC Synthesis Report.
    Read the TEC Report Executive Summary.
    Access the TEC website.
    Access the ALNAP website.

UN Assistance Missision Iraq Human Rights Office Issues July-August 2006 Report Highlighting Significant Rise in Sectarian Violence
September 20, 2006. The Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has issued its most recent report on human rights issues in Iraq, covering July and August 2006. The report details a serious increase in sectarian killings, many involving torture during this period, with 6,599 killed during the two month period.
    Read the UNAMI Human Rights report for July-August 2006.

Pollution that Came to Washington State through the Columbia River from Canada Means Canadian Firm Is Liable Under Superfund
August 28. 2006. As long ago as 1999, the Conferated Tribes of the Colville Reservation asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate slag pollution that had come to the area from stream flow in the Columbia river out of Canada where it had allegedly originated at smelter operated by Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd. The EPA later concluded that the pollution qualified for listing as a Superfund site and issued an order to the firm for a remedial investigation and feasibilty study. When the firm did not comply, members of the Colville brought suit. The firm argued both that they could not bring such a suit as individuals, but, more importantly, that the Superfund policy was a domestic law and could not be applied to the firm in Canada. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington rejected the firm's challenge. That ruling was affirmed by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. However, the firm has sought further review. If it is sustained on appeal, this ruling may have important consequences where there are allegations that pollution found domestically was caused by potentially responsible parties operating outside the United States.
    Read the Ninth Circuit Opinion in Pakootas v. Teck Cominco.

New Efforts Made to Track Health Impacts on 9/11 Responders
June 2, 2006. New York City has announced the World Trade Center Health Registry Follow-up Survey which will go to more than 71,000 people in an attempt to track effects of exposure to possible environmental health and safety issues from the 9/11 attacks and rescue and cleanup efforts. To date, the Registry project has produced a series of newsletters on its work and has made available a study published by the Centers for Disease Control based on data taken at the time that enrollees signed up for the registry on initial evidence of health impacts. That study, prepared by Brackbill RM, Thorpe LE, DiGrande L, Perrin M, Sapp JH 2nd, Wu D, Campolucci S, Walker DJ, Cone J, Pulliam P, Thalji L, Farfel MR, is entited "Surveillance for World Trade Center Disaster Health Effects Among Survivors of Collapsed and Damaged Buildings" and was published in the April 7, 2006 issue of CDC's Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report and can be accessed at the link below.
    Visit the World Trade Center Health Registry Site
    Read the Surveillance for WTC Disaster Health Effects Article from CDC

"Toxic Children 2006" Report Issued Causing Concern and Rapid Official Response in Canada
June 2, 2006. A Canadian environmental group issued a report this week entitled "Polluted Children, Toxic Nation: A Report on Pollution in Canadian Families (2006)." It reported the results of a study carried out to determine the current levels of environmental pollutants in children. Although it was a very small study, the number of chemicals found in these otherwise healthy young people caused alarm and prompted Health Canada to promise that a study would be done next year on 5,000 Canadians. The current study indicated an average of 23 toxic chemicals in the children tested, including PCBs that had been banned in Canada three decades ago. The release of the findings prompted the Ministers of Health and Environment to agree to participate as subjects in the study.
    Read the "Polluted Children Report.

D.C. Ciruit Rules on EPA New Source Review process under the Clean Air Act
June 24, 2005. The U.S. Ciruit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has issued its long awaited ruling in the case challenging the so-called New Source Review program under the Clearn Air Act. The Court's ruling provided a divided response to the EPA rules. "Specifically, we find the following elements permissible interpretations of the CAA and not otherwise arbitrary and capricious: the use of past emissions and projected future actual emissions, rather than potential emissions, in measuring emissions increases; the use of a ten year lookback period in selecting the two-year baseline period for measuring past actual emissions; the use of a five-year lookback in certain circumstances; the abandonment of a provision authorizing states to use source-specific allowable emissions in measuring baseline emissions; the exclusion of increases due to unrelated demand growth from the measurement of projected future actual emissionsl and the Plantwide Applicability Limitations ("PAL") program. We also find meritless certain procedural challenges related to lack of notice. We conclude, however, that two aspects of the 2002 rule rest on impermissible interpretations of the Act and a third is arbitrary and capricious. Specifically, EPA erred in promulgating the Clean United Applicability test, which measures emissions increases by looking to whether "emissions limitations" have changed. Congress directed the agency to measure emissions increases in terms of changes in actual emissions. EPA also erred in exempting from NSR certain Pollution Control Projects ("PCPs") that decrease emissions of some pollutants but cause collateral increases of others. The statute authorizes no such exception. EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously in determining that sources making changes need not keep records of their emissions if they see no reasonable possibility that these changes constitute modifications for NSR purposes. The agency failed to provide a reasoned explanation for how, absent such records, it can ensure compliance with NSR.
   Read the Opinion

Oregon Federal District Court Strikes Salmon Plan and Requires Further Action Under the Endangered Species Act -- Now Pending in Ninth Circuit
June 10, 2005. Federal District Judge for the District of Oregon James A. Redden has issued the second of two recent opinions rejecting water flow and other salmon recovery plans in light of the requirements of the Endangered Species Act. The case, National Wildlife Federation v. Oregon, requires further development of plans with more attention to adequate water flows with respect to the operation of key dams. The U.S. Circuit Court of the Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied a request for a stay of Judge Redden's order and set the case for argument in July.
   Read the Opinion
   Read the Ninth Circuit ruling denying the stay and the other key filings in the Ninth Circuit in this case.

UNDP Releases Iraq Living Conditions Survey 2004
May 12, 2005. The UNDP has published the results of an extensive survey on living conditions in Iraq done during 2004.
   Read the Report

RAND Corporation Report Cites Failure of DoD to Plan Seriously for Post War Action in Iraq
April 1, 2005. The contents of a RAND Corporation report to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld that was presented in early February indicated a variety of problems with U.S. planning and performance in Iraq, including a failure to plan seriously and carefully for what would happen after the initial invasion and battle to remove the Saddam Hussein regime. For additional information and a link to the report see Post-Conflict Sustainable Development materials below.

Federal District Judge Jack B. Weinstein Dismisses Product Liability Class Action Suit Stemming from Agent Orange Use in Vietnam
March 10, 2005. A product liability suit brought by the Vietnamese Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin and a number of individual Vietnamese survivors and families against the firms that manufactured defoliants under contract to the federal government for use during the Vietnam War was dismissed today by Judge Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, rejecting both domestic and international law claims. See Post-Conflict Sustainable Development below.

Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development

Our Common Future
   Access the WECD

International Organizations in Sustainable Development

United Nations
   The posting here is for the main UN website, but the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030 materials are posted below with International Documents.
   United Nations Homepage (English)

UNEP United Nations Environmental Programme
   UNEP Homepage
   UNEP Financial Initiative Website
   Grid Arendahl Site (Cooperative Relationship with UNEP)

UNDP  United Nations Development Programme
   UNDP Homepage

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues/UN Division for Social Policy and Development Indigenous Peoples
   UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Indigenous Peoples
   Access the UNPFII Homepage
   Access the UNPFII Handbook for Participants
   Access the UNPFII Indigenous People, Indigenous Voices in English.
   Read the State of the World's Indigenous Peoples Report for 2021: Rights to Lands, Territories, and Resources.
   Access the Resource Kit on Indigenous Peoples' Issues.

UNESCO Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS)
   Access the LINKS Website.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
   IPCC Homepage (English)

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
   The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) was an initiative launched by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2000. The work of the MEA lasted from 2001 to 2005 and involved some 1,360 experts. As the UN explains: "Their findings, contained in five technical volumes and six synthesis reports, provide a state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world's ecosystems and the services they provide (such as clean water, food, forest products, flood control, and natural resources) and the options to restore, conserve or enhance the sustainable use of ecosystems."
   The MEA has ended, but its website is still live and the reports can be accessed in chapter by chapter form through that site.

United Nations Department for Economic and Social Development
   DESA Homepage

UN Division for Inclusive Social Development
   DISD Homepage
   Access the United Nations Social Development Network Website

UN Women: The UN Internet Gateway on the Advancement and Empowerment of Women
   Access the UN Women Homepage

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)
   UN Habitat Homepage

World Bank
   Access the World Bank Homepage

World Health Organization
   WHO Homepage (English)

World Business Council for Sustainable Development
   WBCSD Homepage

Centre for International Sustainable Development Law
   CISDL Homepage

International Sustainable Development Documents

United National Sustainable Development Goals 2030
   Access the UN Resolution 70/1 of 2015 Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
   Access the Goals 2030 Website
   Access the Goal 1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere
   Access the Goal 2 Zero hunger
   Access the Goal 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
   Access the Goal 4 Quality education
   Access the Goal 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
   Access the Goal 6 Ensure access to water and sanitation for all Ensure access to water and sanitation for all
   Access the Goal 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy
   Access the Goal 8 Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
   Access the Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
   Access the Goal 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries
   Access the Goal 11 Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
   Access the Goal 12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
   Access the Goal 13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impactsTake urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
   Access the Goal 14 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources
   Access the Goal 15 Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss
   Access the Goal 16 Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies
   Access the Goal 17 Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
   Access the UN Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform

United Nations Sustainable Goals 2030 Reports
   Read the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022.
   Read the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021.
   Read the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020.
   Read the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019.
   Read the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018
   Read the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017
   Read the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016.

Sustainable Goals 2030 Voluntary National Reviews
   The United Nations Sustainable Development 2030 Goals process calls upon participating countries to submit Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). The United Nations SD Goals 2030 annual reports along with those VNRs offered by individual countries are to be used in the High Level Political Forum's (HLPF)every four year assessment process.
   Access the Voluntary National Reviews that Have Been Submitted on the UN HLPF's Website .
   Access the UN High Level Political Forum's Website..

UNEP Global Environmental Outlook Reports &
   Making Peach with Nature: A Scientific Blueprint to Tackle the Climate, Biodiversity and Pollution Emergencies, Issued in 2021.
   Read the Report.
   GEO 6 Report: Healthy Planet, Healthy People, Issued in 2019.
   Read GEO-6.
   GEO 5 Report: Environment for the Future We Want, Issued in 2012.
   Read GEO 5
   GEO 4 Report: Environment for Development, Issued in 2007
   Read GEO 4
   GEO 3 Report: Past, Present, and Future Perspectives, Issued in 2002
   Read GEO 3
   GEO 2 Report issued in 1999
   Read GEO 2
   GEO 1 Report: Life on Earth, Issued in 1996
   Read GEO 1

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
   The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued 5 Full Assessment Reports since the first report in the early 1990s. The last of which, AR5, was published in 2014. Work is currently underway on AR6, which is scheduled to be published in 2022. Since the 2014 report, IPCC has issued 4 major reports on specific topics in the field. Posted below are first the Assessment Reports followed by the other reports issued since AR5.
   IPCC Assessment Report 6 Climate Change Scheduled for Release in 2022
   IPCC Assessment Report 5 Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report
   IPCC Assessment Report 4 Climate Change 2007 Synthesis Report
   IPCC Assessment Report 3 Climate Change 2001
   IPCC Assessment Report 2 Climate Change 1995
   IPCC Assessment Report 1 The 1990 and 1992 Assessments
   IPCC Special Report Global Warming of 1.5°C
   IPCC 2019 Refinement to IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories
   IPCC Special Report Climate Change and Land
   IPCC Special Report The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate
   IPCC Homepage (English)

UNDP Human Development Reports
   Human Development Report 2021-22: Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World
   Read HDR 2021-22 Report.
   Human Development Report 2020: The Next Frontier--Human Development and the Anthropocene
   Read HDR 2020 Report.
   Human Development Report 2019: Beyond Income, Beyond Averages, Beyond Today: Inequalities in Human Development in the 21st Century. (There was no HDR for either 2017 or 2018).
   Read HDR 2019
   Human Development Report 2016: Human Development for Everyone
   Read HDR 2016
   Human Development Report 2015: Work for Human Development
   Read HDR 2015
   Human Development Report 2014: Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience.
   Read HDR 2014
   Human Development Report 2013: The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. (There was no 2012 report and this document announced a return to the regular publication schedule.)
   Read HDR 2013
   Human Development Report 2011: Sustainability and Equity.
   Read HDR 2011
   Human Development Report 2010: The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development.
   Read HDR 2010
   Human Development Report 2009: Overcoming Barriers -- Human Mobility and Development
   Read HDR 2009
   Human Development Report 2007/2008: Fighting Climate Change -- Human Solidary in a Divided World
   Read HDR 2007/2008
   Human Development Report 2006: Beyond Scarcity- Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis
   Read HDR 2006
   Human Development Report 2005: International Cooperation at a Crossroads -- Aid, Trade and Security in an Unequal World
   Read HDR 2005
   Human Development Report 2004: Cultural Liberty in Today's Diverse World
   Read HDR 2004
   Human Development Report 2003: Millennium Development Goals -- A Compact Among Nations to End Human Poverty
   Read HDR 2003
   Human Development Report 2002: Deepening Democracy in a Fragmented World
   Read HDR 2002
   Human Development Report 2001: Making New Technologies Work for Human Development
   Read HDR 2001
   Human Development Report 2000: Human Rights and Human Development
   Read HDR 2000
   Human Development Report 1999: Globalization with a Human Face
   Read HDR 1999
   Human Development Report 1998: Consumption for Human Development
   Read HDR 1998
   Human Development Report 1997: Human Development to Eradicate Poverty
   Read HDR 1997
   Human Development Report 1996: Economic Growth and Human Development
   Read HDR 1996
   Human Development Report 1995: Gender and Human Development
   Read HDR 1995
   Human Development Report 1994: New Dimensions of Human Security
   Read HDR 1994
   Human Development Report 1993: People's Participation
   Read HDR 1993
   Human Development Report 1992: Global Dimensions of Human Development
   Read HDR 1992
   Human Development Report 1991: Financing Human Development
   Read HDR 1991
   Human Development Report 1990: Concept and Measurement of Human Development
   Read HDR 1990

World Bank World Development Reports
   World Development Report 2023: Migrants, Refugees, and Societies
   Read 2023 Report
   World Development Report 2022: Finance for an Equitable Recovery
   Read 2022 Report
   World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives
   Read 2021 Report
   World Development Report 2020: Trading for Development in the Age of Global Value Chains
   Read 2020 Report
   World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work
   Read 2019 Report
   World Development Report 2018: Learning to Realize Education's Promise
   Read 2018 Report
   World Development Report 2017: Governance and the Law
   Read 2017 Report
   World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends
   Read 2016 Report
   World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior
   Read 2015 Report
   World Development Report 2014: Risk and Opportunity -- Managing Risk for Development
   Read 2014 Report
   World Development Report 2013:Jobs
   Read 2013 Report
   World Development Report 2012:Gender Equality and Development
   Read 2012 Report
   World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development
   Read 2011 Report
   World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change
   Read 2010 Report
   World Development Report 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography
   Read 2009 Report
   World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development
   Read 2008 Report
   World Development Report 2007: Development and the Next Generation
   Read 2007 Report
   World Development Report 2006: Equity and Development
   Read 2006 Report
   World Development Report 2005: A Better Investment Climate for Everyone
   Read 2005 Report
   World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work Better for Poort People
   Read 2004 Report
   World Development Report 2003: Sustainable Development in a Dynamic World
   Read 2003 Report
   World Development Report 2002: Building Institutions for Markets
   Read 2002 Report
   World Development Report 2000/2001: Attacking Poverty
   Read 2000/2001 Report
   World Development Report 1999/2000: Entering the Twentieth Century
   Read 1999/2000 Report
   World Development Report 1998: Knowledge for Development
   Read 1998/1999 Report
   World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World
   Read 1997 Report
   World Development Report 1996: From Plan to Market
   Read 1996 Report
   World Development Report 1995: Workers in an Integrating World
   Read 1995 Report
   World Development Report 1994: Infrastructure for Development
   Read 1994 Report
   World Development Report 1993: Investing in Health
   Read 1993 Report
   World Development Report 1992: Development and the Environment
   Read 1992 Report
   World Development Report 1991: The Challenge of Development
   Read 1991 Report
   World Development Report 1990: Poverty
   Read 1990 Report
   World Development Report 1989: Financial Systems and Development
   Read 1989 Report
   World Development Report 1988: Public Finance in Development
   Read 1988 Report
   World Development Report 1987: Industrialization and Foreign Trade
   Read 1987 Report
   World Development Report 1986: Trade and Pricing Policies in World Agriculture
   Read 1986 Report
   World Development Report 1985: International Capital and Economic Development
   Read 1985 Report
   World Development Report 1984: Population Change and Development
   Read 1984 Report
   World Development Report 1983: Management in Development
   Read 1983 Report
   World Development Report 1982: Agriculture and Economic Development
   Read 1982 Report
   World Development Report 1981: National and International Adjustment
   Read 1981 Report
   World Development Report 1980: Poverty and Human Development
   Read 1980 Report
   World Development Report 1979: Structural Change and Development Policy
   Read 1979 Report
   World Development Report 1978: Prospects for Growth and Alleviation of Poverty
   Read 1978 Report

UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)
   Access World Cities Report 2020: The Value of Sustainable Urbanization.
   Access the "New Urban Agenda" Adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, on 20 October 2016. It was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly at its sixty-eighth plenary meeting of the seventy-first session on 23 December 2016
   Access UN Resolution A/RES/71/256 Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 23 December 2016, 71/256, "New Urban Agenda"
   Access The Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements (Habitat II 1996)
   Access the Habitat Agenda Goals and Principles, Commitments and the Global Plan of Action (Habitat II Istanbul 1996)
   Access the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements( Habitat I 1976)
   Access UNEP UN-Habitat Greener Cities Partnership Report
   Access UNEP UN-Habitat Greener Cities Partnership Website
   Access the UN-Habitat Website.

World Bank Country Engagement Documents
   The World Bank has changed what were formerly known as Country Assistance Strategy Documents. As the Bank explained it: "The World Bank Group's Country Partnership Framework (CPF) aims to make our country-driven model more systematic, evidence-based, selective, and focused on the Bank's twin goals of ending extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity in a sustainable manner. The CPF replaces the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS). Used in conjunction with a Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD), the CPF guides the World Bank Group's (WBG) support to a member country." There is now a website to access "All Country Engagement documents, including SCDs, CPFs, Performance and Learning Reviews, Strategy Progress Reports and Completion and Learning Reviews."
   It is still possible to access the older "Country Assistance Strategy" documents via the World Bank Archives. See the directions and posting below.
   Access All of the Country Engagement Documents
   Access the Country Partnership Framework Webpage
   Access the Systematic Country Diagnostics Webpage
   Access the World Bank's Country Engagement Webpage
   Access Archived World Bank Country Assistance Strategies. Once on the Archive Search page enter Country Assistance Strategy in the Search Window.

U.N. Millennium Goals Reports
In 2007 its staff was intergrated into UNDP but the documents are still available up to 2015.
   Access the 2015 Report.
   Access the 2014 Report.
   Access the 2013 Report.
   Access the 2012 Report.
   Access the 2011 Report.
   Access the 2010 Report.
   Access the 2009 Report.
   Access the 2008 Report.
   Access the 2007 Report.
   Access the 2006 Report.
   Access the 2005 Report.
   Read UN Resolution 55/2, The United Nations Millennium Declaration, September 2000
   Access the Millennium Goals Report Website.

World Bank  Poverty Website and Resources
   The World Bank has changed its website for resources on attacking poverty. In addition to the website which provides access to research on the subject and responses, there is now a set of reports entitled the Poverty and Shared Prosperity series.
   Access World Bank Poverty Website with Resources on Poverty and Poverty Reduction.
   Access Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020: Reversals of Fortunes.
   Access Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2018: Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle.
   Access Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2016:Taking on Inequality.

World Bank  -- Voices of the Poor
The World Bank project involved interviews with some 60,000 poor people around the world and is published in three volumes available on the Internet.
   Access the Voices of the Poor, Vol. 1 "Can Anyone Hear Us? Voices from 47 Countries"
   Access the Voices of the Poor, Vol. 2 "Crying Out for Change"
   Access the Voices of the Poor, Vol. 3 "Voices of the Poort from Many Lands"

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
   Access the Declaration

Stockholm Conference 1972 Documents
   The Stockholm Declaration is found on pp. 3-5 of the Report of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment
   Report of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment

Rio Earth Summit 1992 and Follow up Documents
   Rio Declaration
   Agenda 21
   Rio+5 Report

Cairo Population Summit 1994 Report
   Read the Conference Report.

Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action: UN Conference on Women 1995
   Read the Beijing Declaration and Programme of Action.
   Access the 5 Year Review Website.
   Access the 10 Year Review Website.
   Access the 15 Year Website.
   Read the 20 Year Implementation Report.

Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action 1995 with Follow-Up Documents
   Read the Report Report of the World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen, 6-12 March 1995
   Access Copenhagen Declaration (Searchable)
   Programme of Action (Searchable)
   Read the Copenhagen +5 Report of the Secretary General's Report on the Outcome of the Implementation of Copenhagen Accords
   Access the Copenhagen+10 Report

Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements, the Habitat Agenda 1996, Habitat III, and Istanbul+5
   Read the Istanbul Declaration
   Read the Habitat III Report, Quito, Ecuad, 2016.
   Read the Habitat Agenda, Goals and Principles, Commitments and the Global Plan of Action
   Read the Istanbul+5 Declaration "Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium"
   Read the full report Cities in a Globalizing World: Global Report on Human settlements 2001

United National Millennium Declaration
   The UN Millennium Declaration, adopted in September 2000, committed the UN and member states to what became known simply as the Millennium Goals. These goals were replaced in 2015 by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. (See later on this webpage.)
   Read UN Resolution 55/2, The United Nations Millennium Declaration, September 2000

Johannesburg 2002: Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, (2002)
   Access the Johannesburg Report

Rio +20 : Report of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2012) and Follow-on Documents
   Access the Final Report of the Conference
   Access the "Future We Want" document described as a "political outcome document".
   Access the Open Working Group "Sustainable Development Goals" Proposal.
   Access the UN DESA Sustainable Development Division Knowledge Platform.

United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015, New York
   Read the Report of the 2015 Conference: Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
   UN Resolution 70/1 Adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Paris Climate Agreement
    The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 as part of the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change which as adopted in 1992 and is now joined by 198 countries. Since that time, there are regular meetings on the status of implementation known by the title Conference of Parties (COP) with the number of the session, as in COP 27 held in Sharm el-Sheihk, Egypt in 2022. The Paris Agreement was adopted at COP 21 in Paris in 2015 with 196 countries participating. The participating countries commit to providing nationally determined contributions (NDCs) on greenhouse gas emissions every 5 years. The agreement also he Paris Agreement calls for "a framework for financial, technical and capacity building support to those countries who need it." UN Climate Change, Paris Accords webpage.
   Read the Paris Agreement
   Read the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
   Access the Paris Accorded Website from UN Climate Change.
   Access the UN Climate Change website

Global Biodiversity Framework (Kunming-Montreal framework)
The Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), also known as the Kunming-Montreal framework was adopted in December 2022 at the COP 15 Biodiversity Conference as part of the ongoing effort to implement the Biodiversity Convention. The GBF includes commitments to protect 30% of land and 30% of ocean areas as well as to take other actions to address climate change. It also established 4 goals and 23 targets to be achieved by 2030. The U.S. has not ratified the Biodiversity Convention and is therefore not a member of the conference of parties to the convention.
   In addition to the GBF, the parties adopted others documents, including a Monitoring Framework, Mechanisms for planning, monitoring, reporting, and review, Capacity-building and development and technical and scientific cooperation, Resource mobilization, and one on Digital sequence information on genetic resources.
   Read the Kunming-Montreal Global biodiversity framework.
   Read the Monitoring framework for the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework.
   Read the Mechanisms for planning, monitoring, reporting and review.
   Read the Capacity-building and development and technical and scientific cooperation.
   Read Resource mobilization.
   Read Digital sequence information on genetic resources.
   Read the Biodiversity Convention.

Post-Conflict Sustainable Development

UNEP Reorganizes Post-Conflict and Post-Disaster Operations
May 23, 2017 (Update of 2009 post.). The United Nations Environment Program has completed the reorganization of its units tasked with post-conflict and post-disaster action into one organization known as the Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch which has its headquarters in Geneva. That reorganization process began in 2007. The websites for the two units have been merged and redesigned. As the branch explains its responsibilities, "UNEP provides four core services to Member States: Post-crisis environmental assessments, Post-crisis environmental recovery, Environmental cooperation for peacebuilding,Disaster risk reduction."
   The branch, in cooperation with the Expert Advisory Group on Environment, Conflict and Peacebuilding, created in February 2008, and the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission which it supports, have produced a report entitled From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Natural Resources and the Environment which is an analysis and presentation of 13 case studies.
   Access the Branch Homepage.
   Access the Commission Homepage.
   Read From Conflict to Peacebuilding.

UNEP Issues Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment for the Democratic Republic of Congo
April 21, 2012. The United Nations Environmental Programme has issued a Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment for the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is available in English as are some of the other current sustainable development materials for the DRC. These and other documents are provided in a new set of postings on DRC post-conflict sustainable development later on this page.

UNDP Human Development Report Kosovo on Social Inclusion Posted
April 21, 2012. The most recent UNDP Human Development Report for Kosovo on Social Inclusion is posted with the Kosovo post-conflict sustainable documents later on this page. The other documents have been updated as well.

RAND Corporation Report Cites Failure of DoD to Plan Seriously for Post War Action in Iraq
March 31, 2021.The Rand Corporation published a report in 2013 entitled: Ending the U.S. War in Iraq: The Final Transition, Operational Maneuver, and Disestablishment of United States Forces-Iraq. It traces back to the lack of planning for what would happen after the former regime was removed from power to the situation as the U.S. was considering how to withdraw from Iraq. This follows on a series of reports going back to at least 2005.
   The contents of a RAND Corporation report to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld that was presented in early February 2005 and indicated a variety of problems with U.S. planning and performance in Iraq, including a failure to plan seriously and carefully for what would happen after the initial invasion and battle to remove the Saddam Hussein regime. The report, entitled "Iraq: Translating Lessons Into Future DoD policies," noted in part: "Planning for military combat and post-war operations in Iraq lacked the flexibility necessary to enable the U.S. military to respond to the situation that emerged after the defeat of the Saddam Hussein regime. Post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction were addressed only very generally; largely because of the prevailing view that the task would not be difficult. What emerged was a general set of tasks that were not prioritized or resourced. The possibility that these activities might require more resources, or a different mix of resources, than the earlier military operations were not contemplated," p. 6. The report came with a memorandum to Secretary Rumsfeld from RAND president James A. Thomson dated February 7, 2005.
   Read the 2013 Report.
   Read the 2005 Report and Memorandum.

Federal District Judge Jack B. Weinstein Dismisses Product Liability Class Action Suit Stemming from Agent Orange Use in Vietnam
March 10, 2005. A product liability suit brought by the Vietnamese Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin and a number of individual Vietnamese survivors and families against the firms that manufactured defoliants under contract to the federal government for use during the Vietnam War was dismissed today by Judge Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, rejecting both domestic and international law claims. Judge Weinstein was the judge who presided over the controversial settlement in the litigation brought by Vietnam Veterans against these same manufacturers.
   Read the Opinion.

Final Report of the Commission on Human Security
The Commission on Human Security presented its final report in 2003, defining security in terms of a public good and with considerable attention to the concept of human security in a post-conflict environment.
   Read the Report.

UNEP Produces Studies on Post-Conflict Challenges
The UNEP Post-Conflict Assessment Unit, now the Disasters and Conflicts Unit within has produced a variety of reports on the impacts of majors conflicts. Several of these reports are listed below.
   UNEP Disasters and Conflicts Unit
The UNEP Issues Post Conflict Environmental Assessment for Lebanon.
   Read Lebanon Report
The UNEP Issues Post Conflict Environmental Assessment for Albania.
   Read Albania Report
The UNEP Issues Post Conflict Environmental Assessment for Afghanistan 2003.
   Read Afghanistan Report
The UNEP Issues Post Conflict Environmental Assessment for Democratic Republic of Congo.
   Read DRC Report
The UNEP Issues Desk Study on the Environment in Iraq.
   Read Iraq Report
The UNEP Issues Post Conflict Environmental Assessment for Kosovo.
   Read the Kosovo Report
The UNEP Issues Post Conflict Environmental Assessment for Macedonia.
   Read Macedonia Report
The UNEP Issues Post Conflict Environmental Assessment for Serbia-Montenegro.
   Read Serbia-Montenegro Report

Afghanistan Post-Conflict Development Reports
Reports are now emerging on post conflict development in Afghanistan in addition to the UNEP report noted above.
Afghanistan has released its new Afghanistan Development Strategy.
   Read the Report.
UNEP and National Environmental Protection Agency of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Afghanistan's Environment 2008.
   Read the Report.
UNDP Afghanistan and Center for Policy and Human Development, Kabul University, Afghanistan Human Development Report 2007: Bridging Modernity and Tradition -- Rule of Law and the Search for Justice (Islamabad, Pakistan: Army Press, 2007).
   Read the Report.
UNEP, Afghanistan:Post-Conflict Assessment, 2003.
   Read the Report.
UNDP Afghanistan, Afghanistan Human Development Report 2004.
   Read the Report.

Democratic Republic of Congo Reports
There are several reports available on the situation in the DRC. Most of the UNDP reports are in French, but there are other materials available in English. (There is a link on the UNDP site for the 2008 HDRpt in English, but the link is not providing that report in English at present. The problem has been reported to UNDP.)
UNEP, Democratic Republic of Congo Post-Conflict Assessment: Synthesis for Policymakers.
   Read the Report in English.
Human Development Report Democratic Republic of Congo 2008: Restauration de la Paix et Reconstruction (n French).
   Read the Report in French.
UNDP Human Development Report, Rapport National Sur le Development Humain 2002 Republique de Congo.
   Read the Report in French.
World Bank Country Assistance Strategy 2008-11 (Current).
   Read the CAS in English.
World Bank Country Brief DRC.
   Read the Brief.
Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy Paper 2006 (current) in French.
   Read the PRGS in French.
World Bank Summary in English of the DRC Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy
   Read the Summary.

Iraq Post-Conflict Reports
A number of reports have been done addressing development issues in Iraq with a focus on post-conflict issues, in addition to the UNEP Desk Study noted above under UNEP post conflict-assessment reports.
UNEP, UNEP in Iraq: Post-Conflict Assessment, Clean-up and Reconstruction (UNEP: Nairobi, 2007).
   Read the Report.
World Bank, World Bank, Interim Strategy Note for the Republic of Iraq for the Period Mid-FY09-FY11, February 19, 2009.
   Read the Report.
U.S. Government Accountability Office, Rebuilding Iraq: Resource, Security, Governance, Essential Services, and Oversight Issues, 2004.
   Read the Report.
"Environment in Iraq: UNEP Progress Report," October 2003.
   Read the Report.
World Bank/Un, Iraq Joint UN/World Bank Needs Assessment, 2003.
   Read the Base Report.
   Access Sector by Sector Reports.

Reports of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction
The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction provides quarterly reports on audits and investigations of post-conflict efforts in Iraq funded by the U.S..
   Visit the SIGIR Homepage.
   Read SIGIR Quarterly Reports.
   Read SIGIR "Lessons Learned" Reports.

Kosovo Post-Conflict Reports
There are a number of reports available on Kosovo with several UNDP Human Development Reports as well as the UNEP post-conflict study and World Bank documents.
The UNEP Issues Post Conflict Environmental Assessment for Kosovo.
   Read the Kosovo Report
The UNEP Report on Depleted Uranium in Kosovo: Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment.
   Read the Kosovo Depleted Uranium Report
UNDP Human Development Report Kosovo 2012: Private Sector and Employment.
   Read the 2010 Report.
UNDP Human Development Report Kosovo 2010: Social Inclusion.
   Read the 2010 Report.
Human Development Report Kosovo 2008: Civil Society & Development
   Read the 2008 Report.
Human Development Report Kosovo 2007: Energy for Development
   Read the 2007 Report.
Human Development Report Kosovo 2006: Youth -- A New Generation for Kosovo
   Read the 2006 Report.
Human Development Report Kosovo 2004 -- The Rise of the Citizen: Challenges and Choices
   Read the 2004 Report.
Human Development Report Kosovo 2002.
   Read the 2002 Report.
World Bank Country Assistance Strategy Kosovo.
   Read the Kosovo Interim CAS FY10-11 (current)

Rwanda Post-Conflict Reports
UNDP Rwanda, Human Development Report 2007: Turning Vision 2020 Into Reality (New York: UNDP, 2007).
   Read the Report.
World Bank, Country Assistance Strategy Rwanda FY09-FY12 (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2008)
   Read the Report.
UNDP Rwanda, Human Development Report 1999
   Read the Report.
World Bank, Country Assistance Strategy for Rwanda, 2002
   Read the CAS.

World Bank Report: Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy
The World Bank Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Unit has produced variety of reports on aspects of this complex subject. One of the projects examined the impacts of civil war and possible approaches to reducing the likelihood of such conflicts or of the reemergence of future civil wars in countries already suffering the results of previous conflicts.
   Read the Report.
   Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Unit Website.

World Health Organization Report -- World Report on Violence and Health and After
Of course, violence is a health problem as well as an environmental problem, a poverty problem, and an economic development problem, among many other aspects. The World Health Organization has sought to integrate the concept of "collective violence" into its global assessment of violence and health. The base document is still the 2002 World Report on Violence and Health, but the WHO has issued a number of follow-on publications in that series since that report.
   Read the 2002 Report.
   Read Just Ch. 8 of the 2002 report on "Collective Violence."
   Access "Preventing Violence and Reducing Its Impact" 2008.

New York City After 911
The Government Accountability Office produced a useful report entitled "September 11, Overview of Federal Disaster Assistance to the New York City Area. There are a variety of other materials that have been assembled into an online site with appropriate links to key documents by the government documents department of the Columbia University Libraries. The site provides access to U.S. federal materials, international resources, and New York state and city sources. Another site with a great deal of information is operated by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and containe an Annotated Bibliography of Government Documents Related to the Threat of Terrorism and the Attacks of September 11, 2001. There is also the World Trade Center Health Registry site with ongoing studies in that domain.
   Read the GAO Federal Disaster Assistance Report.
   Access the Columbia University Libraries World Trade Center Attachs resources site.
   Access the Annotated Bibliography of Government Documents Related to the Threat of Terrorism and the Attacks of September 11, 2001.
    Visit the World Trade Center Health Registry Site

Best Practices Guides

Financing Infrastructure Projects
Antonio Vives, Angela M. Paris, and Juan Benavides wrote a paper entitled "Financial Structuring of Infrastructure Projects in Public-Private Partnerships: An Application to Water Projects" which is a good and a brief primer on the different types of financial structures for large-scale development projects, quite apart from the application to water related projects that was their particular focus.
   The Harvard Business School also operates a web portal with sources on international project finance.
   The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs operates a site called "Infradev" with a variety of useful sources of information on the subject.
    Access the IDB Paper.
    Access the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs .
    Access the Harvard Project Finance Web Portal.

U.S. Conference of Mayors Energy & Environment Best Pratices Guide
The U.S. Conference of Mayors issued an Energy & Environment Best Practices Guide in January 2007.
    Access the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

UNHCR, Engineering and Environmental Sciences Section, Refugee Operations and Environmental Management
. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Engineering and Environmental Science Section has issued a series of recommendations for countries facing major displacement issues.
    Access the Refugee Ops and Env. Mgmt Report.

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