Ottawa talks aim to forge a global treaty on plastic pollution

International discussions continue in Canada, aiming to finalize a global treaty to combat plastic pollution by year's end.

Valerie Volcovici reports for Reuters.


In short:

  • A potential global treaty on plastic pollution is being negotiated, with the aim to regulate the entire lifecycle of plastics, from production to disposal.
  • Contentious debates focus on production limits and transparency requirements among nations and industry.
  • The negotiations involve a wide range of participants, including nations, industry representatives, scientists and environmental groups, with final talks scheduled for December in South Korea.

Key quote:

"The plastic industry now accounts for 5% of global carbon emissions, which could grow to 20% by 2050 if current trends continue."

— U.S. federal Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report

Why this matters:

This treaty represents a major global effort to address not only the rapidly accelerating environmental impact of plastics, which pollute landscapes and waterways, but also their significant contribution to global carbon emissions. A growing number of scientists and advocates, however, say the treaty negotiations have not put a strong enough priority on protecting human health. For more on that, read: “Plastic will overwhelm us:” Scientists say health should be the core of global plastic treaty.

permafrost melt orange rivers
Credit: catolla/BigStock Photo ID: 40811500

Alaskan rivers turning orange due to climate change

Climate change is causing Alaska’s rivers to turn orange, posing serious risks to the state's ecosystems and rural communities.

Anumita Kaur reports for The Washington Post.

Keep reading...Show less
Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way
Coast Guard inspects Cameron LNG Facility in preparation for first LNG export in 2019. (Credit: Coast Guard News)

Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way

This 2-part series was co-produced by Environmental Health News and the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. See part 1 here.Este ensayo también está disponible en español
Keep reading...Show less
Big Oil bankrolling Trump
Credit: maxxyustas/BigStock Photo ID: 138475457

Democrats investigate oil execs' support for Trump campaign funds

Congressional Democrats are probing oil industry executives about their potential contributions to Donald Trump's campaign in exchange for favorable policies.

Ben Lefebvre reports for Politico.

Keep reading...Show less

Heat waves threaten power grid stability with potential blackouts

Prolonged heat waves could increasingly cause blackouts by overheating power transformers, particularly in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas, new research indicates.

Harry Stevens reports for The Washington Post.

Keep reading...Show less

Young Alaskans file lawsuit to halt massive gas export project

Eight Alaskan youths are suing the state over a $38.7 billion gas export project, arguing it violates their constitutional rights by exacerbating climate change.

Dharna Noor reports for The Guardian.

Keep reading...Show less

Data gaps in US territories threaten climate resilience

Federal agencies often neglect to collect data in U.S. territories as comprehensively as they do for states, jeopardizing climate adaptation and mitigation efforts, a new GAO report reveals.

Anita Hofschneider reports for Grist.

Keep reading...Show less

Health risks increase as Brazil’s floodwaters recede

The first two deaths from leptospirosis have been reported in southern Brazil as floodwaters recede, with experts predicting a surge in fatalities.

Gabriela Sá Pessoa reports for The Associated Press

Keep reading...Show less
From our Newsroom
environmental justice pittsburgh

Environmental justice advocates find hope, healing and community in Pittsburgh

Advocates and researchers gathered to not only discuss ongoing fights but victories, self-care and cautious optimism about the path ahead.

air pollution pittsburgh

Amidst a controversial international sale, U.S. Steel falls behind in cleaner steelmaking

U.S. Steel’s proposed sale to Nippon Steel stokes concerns over labor rights and national security, all while the company continues to break clean air laws in Western Pennsylvania.

exxon houston petrochemicals

Spanish-speaking residents feel left out of permitting process at massive Exxon petrochemical plant in Houston-area

“It is important to ensure meaningful engagement efforts are inclusive and accessible to all diverse members of our communities.”

youth climate change

"Our lives might be on the line"

Eighth graders reflect on the state of the planet.

sargassum

After 13 years, no end in sight for Caribbean sargassum invasion

Thousands of people were hurt by sargassum blooms last year in the Caribbean.

youth climate change

“We should take care of what is precious to us"

Eighth graders reflect on the state of the planet.

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.