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Archive for September, 2012

At the Crossroads for Global Chemical Safety

September 12, 2012 Leave a comment

By Baskut Tuncak

Baskut Tuncak, Staff Attorney

Next week, negotiators from over 150 countries and other stakeholders will convene in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss the future of global chemicals management.  These critical negotiations come at decisive juncture for the Strategic Approach to Chemicals Management (SAICM), with only eight years left on its ambitious mandate to ensure sound chemicals management—eight years in which developing regions face rapidly increasing risk of exposure to dangerous chemicals.  A recent report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Global Chemicals Outlook (GCO), highlights the global nature of the chemicals industry and chemical safety.  The GCO highlights three factors responsible for increasing the vulnerability of people living in developing economies to chemical exposure. Read more…

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Community Leaders Meet to Discuss Relocation in the Face of Climate Change

September 11, 2012 Leave a comment

By Alyssa Johl and John Crump*

Alaska PNG

Two different parts of the world, one common problem

This week, community leaders from two small villages in very different parts of the world will meet on Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to discuss a common problem:  their need to relocate as a result of climate change.  The communities of Newtok, Alaska, and the Carteret Islands, Papua New Guinea, are among the first in the world to choose relocation as the best means of adapting to the effects of a changing climate and ensuring their cultural survival. Read more…

U.S. Senate Committee Sends a Global Message on Eliminating Toxic Chemicals

September 11, 2012 Leave a comment

By Baskut Tuncak, originally posted on August 1, 2012

Senators Lautenberg and Durbin, pushing to fix a broken chemical law

Senators Lautenberg and Durbin, pushing to fix a broken chemical law

For the first time in 36 years, the U.S. Congress took a significant step towards fixing the ineffective law that primarily governs the use of toxic chemicals in America’s workplaces, homes, schools, and almost every other facet of our everyday lives.  This is a monumental step, not just for the U.S., but for public health around the globe. Read more…

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Rio+20 Outcome: The Anthropocene Challenge

September 10, 2012 Leave a comment

By Marcos Orellana, Rio de Janeiro (originally posted 22 June 2012)

Marcos, Alyssa and Andrea, part of CIEL’s delegation

On June 20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) officially started in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The Conference opened with a documentary, Welcome to the Anthropocene, which was introduced by the UN’s Secretary-General.  The documentary visually portrays the alteration in Earth’s natural cycles induced by human activities.
Welcome to the Anthropocene echoes the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) 5th edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), published on June 6, 2012.  The report concludes that the “scientific evidence shows that Earth systems are being pushed towards their biophysical limits.” Also it “cautions that if humanity does not urgently change its ways, several critical thresholds may be exceeded, beyond which abrupt and generally irreversible changes to the life-support functions of the planet could occur.” Read more…