An overview of the international political scenario.
Recently, several renowned politicians have come forward with radical initiatives aimed at improving environmental conditions in their respective countries and worldwide. This movement illustrates the importance given to environmental issues and climate change on the international scene. More and more politicians, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and also international organisms like the UN, are taking actions to counter these phenomenons throughout the world.
Here are some of the world’s top environmental news for the past week.
Obama’s Speech to be the strongest ever climate action by the US
This week’s news was the speech of President Obama concerning the new measures that will be implemented to counter climate change, that took place last Sunday. These measures are far more ambitious than the ones firstly set in June 2014, fixing a 32% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to figures from 2005. This reduction will mainly impact the electricity generation plants that use coal as their principal fuel combustion.
The plan, named the America’s Clean Power Plan (ACPP) focuses on renewable energies such as wind mills and solar panels rather than on sustaining the shift from coal plants to shale gas extraction. Indeed, the plan set the goal to produce 28% of the total electricity from wind mills plants. Moreover, the Federal Government explained that it will guide the states through this difficult transition, aware that a lot of states are still using primarily coal to operate their plants.
Hillary Clinton’s reaction to Obama’s government proposal
Reacting to this new plan, Hillary Clinton engaged herself towards a greener path for the country in the upcoming years. Notably, she wants to implement a large network of solar panel farms throughout the country, and by the end of her first hypothetical mandate as president, plant to have installed over 500 million solar panels.
This plan was well welcomed by environmental NGOs, but less warmly by her direct opponents and fellow democrats in the run for the 2016 election.
The United Nation’s stand against climate change and poverty
Also, on the international stage, the UN adopted a new action plan to eradicate poverty by 2030 without impacting negatively the environment. Seventeen sustainable objectives were adopted on Sunday 2nd of August by the 193 countries that seat at the UN. The plan shall be finally adopted by the heads of UN member states on the 26th and 27th of September in New York. The Pope is also supposed to deliver a speech concerning this topic at the United Nations the upcoming weekend.
If we take a look at the European context, several states are taking actions towards a more responsible way of considering their impact on the environment. In France, for example, the minister of ecology Segolène Royal is currently working on limiting the maximum speed level allowed on motorways close to main cities, and in so doing she aims to control the air pollution in these areas. The current 130 km/h speed limit, will be reduced to 110 km/h and even to 90 km/h in some specific sections of the motorways. This measure follows the letter addressed by the mayor of Valence, a city on the way to Marseille, stressing out the negative consequences of the air pollution caused by motorways CO2 emissions, urging the minister to take swift actions to improve the current situation.
In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, the impression is that the politics are going backwards in terms of environmental issues, notably because of the last measures adopted by Tory’s government which are considered as the worst environmental policies in 30 years. Indeed, the government, following the goal of cutting expenses and saving money, decided to stop major investments in the environmental field such as wind mills farms, the Green Deal grants or awarded subsidies for installing solar panels.