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Week in Review: Top Climate News for February 20-26

by Earth.Org Americas Asia Europe Feb 24th 20233 mins
Week in Review: Top Climate News for February 20-26

This weekly round-up brings you key climate news from the past seven days, including Thailand’s plastic imports ban, drought alarms in France and Italy, and deadly floods in Brazil.

1. EU Carbon Price Tops Symbolic €100/Tonne For the First Time

EU carbon price hit an all-time high of €101 a tonne on Tuesday, marking a symbolic moment in the 27 bloc’s efforts to make polluting costlier and slash emissions. It is the first time that allowances traded under the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) have surpassed the symbolic triple-digit mark, a price that, analysts suggest, will incentivise companies to start considering less polluting alternatives or investments in technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

EU carbon price has risen fivefold since 2020 and gains have accelerated significantly with tighter rules agreed upon in December. According to Reuters, EU allowances are expected to average €81.40/tonne in 2023 and €94.14 in 2024, up 4.2% and 1.9% respectively.

Read more here.

2. Thailand Announces Ban on Plastic Waste Imports by 2025

Thailand will ban all plastic waste imports by 2025 in a three-stage plan as part of a greater plastic reduction movement to control pollution and protect people’s health. This year, only 14 manufacturers in Thailand’s free trade zone that use scraps as raw materials are allowed to import plastic waste, which, however, must not exceed their combined production capacity, equivalent to approximately 372,000 tonnes. By next year, inflows will be cut by half before the total ban on shipments enters into force in 2025.

Thailand and other developing countries, especially in Southeast Asia, have acted as the dumping ground for foreign nations’ trash for decades. The ban has been discussed since 2020, as officials seek to stop the flood of plastic from Western nations that has contributed to hazardous levels of air and water pollution in the country.

Read more here.

3. Italy Faces New Round of Severe Drought Conditions Amid Exceptionally Warm and Dry Winter

Italy is facing a new drought alert as weeks of exceptionally warm weather have dried up Venice’s historic canals, stranding water taxis, gondolas, and hampering the city’s emergency boat services. Water levels on Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake, have reached record lows, while River Po, the country’s longest and most important river, currently has 61% less water than normal this time of year.

In a statement, environmental group Legambiente urged the government to develop “a national water strategy that has a circular approach with short-, medium- and long-term interventions that favour adaptation to climate change and the reduction of water withdrawals and waste immediately.”

Read more here.

4. France Announces ‘Unprecedented’ Water Rationing Scheme Amid Driest Winter in 64 Years

An exceptionally dry winter has forced the government to introduce water rationing in parts of the country from March in a bid to avert another drought emergency that could take a heavy toll on agriculture, trade, and energy supplies. Environment minister Christophe Béchu announced new restrictions on water use on Wednesday, a move that he described as “unprecedented” this time of year.

A total of 87 Southern municipalities already have water rationing schemes in place, which the government is now looking at extending. As for new measures, Béchu said they would be “soft” ones and would be rolled out on a case-by-case basis.

Read more here.

5. Flooding in Sao Paulo Kill at Least 24 People as Tourists Flock to Brazil For Carnival Celebrations

Sao Paulo state authorities confirmed 24 deaths and nearly 600 dislodged or homeless people after heavy rains resulted in landslides and flooding in Brazil’s southeast state on Sunday. Sao Sebastiao, one of the hardest hit areas 200km north of Sao Paulo, experienced a record 600 millimetres (23.6 inches) of rain in 24 hours, authorities said. Mayor Felipe Augusto called the situation “extremely critical” and said the priority is to rescue the victims.

The federal government mobilised several ministries to assist those affected by what experts described as an unprecedented extreme weather event. Sao Paulo state governor Tarcisio de Freitas declared a 180-day state of emergency in six cities.

Read more here.

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