Climate Joy Week #16: Cambodia to Ship Waste Back to US and Canada, Melbourne Declares Climate Emergency

Climate Joy Week #16: Cambodia to Ship Waste Back to US and Canada, Melbourne Declares Climate Emergency

Welcome to this week’s edition of our Climate Joy Series. We’re thrilled you you’re here. If this is your first visit, please check out this post to better understand what our Climate Joy series is all about.

Now as they say, without further ado on the subject, let’s jump right into our joyful collections for this week.

1. Cambodia to Ship Waste Back to US and Canada

Last week, the Cambodian government, announced that it will be shipping over 1,600 tons of plastic waste back to the United States and Canada. These were discovered in various shipping containers at the Cambodian port town of Sihanoukville; 70 containers of which came into the country from the United States of America while 13 others were shipped from Canada.

Neth Pheaktra, a spokesperson from the country’s Ministry of Environment, in her address to the press on the issue declared that, “Cambodia is not a waste bin for out-of-date technology to be dumped in.” It is necessary to point out here that Cambodia is the latest in a growing number of Southeast Asian countries who are pushing back and refusing to take plastic waste from Western countries.  

Environmentalists hope that this latest move by Cambodia will force the defaulting countries, as well as other first world countries, to confront the woefully inadequate plastic management system they have in place. Before now, the easy way out was to ship it to the poorer nations to handle (wage labour is cheaper). In this case though, Cambodia has found 1,600 tons of reason to act and we hope that other nations follow suit.

2. City of Melbourne Declares Climate Emergency

The City of Melbourne has declared a Climate Emergency. The City councillors last week voted unanimously on a motion introduced by Councilor Cathy Oke to declare a climate emergency and finally listen to the striking students in the polity. According to the local government, “Climate change and mass species extinction pose serious risks to the people of Melbourne and Australia and should be taken seriously.”

Part of the resolution was a call for declaring a climate emergency at the national level. In addition, there was also a call for the council to have a sit down with young advocates (from groups like Extinction Rebellion) to better address their concerns for the weakening planet they will inherit. 

3. New European Commission President Commits to Climate Action

Last week the European Parliament voted to elect Ursula Von Derek Leyen, the Commission’s first ever female president on the platform of climate action. Climate change played a decisive role in her election to power because; the liberal, socialist and green blocs all demanded that Von Derek Leyen strengthen her climate platform as the condition for their support. In a public statement, the Socialists and Democrats who had announced they would back her candidacy just hours before the election acknowledged she had met their core demands, particularly with regards to climate action.

The new President has pledged her commitment to climate action, terming the issue one of her priorities. As part of her climate package, Ursula Von Derek Leyen has pledged to present a green deal for Europe in her first 100 days office, and to strengthen the EU’s short-term goals on greenhouse gas emissions from a 40% reduction by 2030 to at least a 50% cut, relative to 1990 levels. 

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In addition, she is committed to unlocking €1 trillion (US$1.1 trillion) over the next decade for climate investment, and to turn parts of the European Investment Bank into dedicated climate banks to better channel private investment to climate and clean-energy projects in every corner of the European Union. Now if this isn’t the very definition of good news for earth lovers, I don’t know what is.

4. New York Reaches Agreement on Offshore Wind Power

New York is fast becoming our favorite climate aware city isn’t it? Following in the heels of adopting many climate change policies such as banning plastics and declaring a climate emergency, the government of this state has gone further to announce that it had reached an agreement for two large offshore wind projects.

One of these projects will be located 14 miles south of Jones Beach, and the other 30 miles north of Montauk, both off the coasts of Long Island. The farms will start operating within the next five years and will have the capacity to produce 1,700 megawatts of electricity, accounting for about 20 percent of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s overall goal for offshore wind. 

Speaking on the projects, Governor Cuomo relayed that with this agreement, New York will lead the way in developing the largest source of offshore wind power in the nation. Today we are true to the New York legacy to lead the way forward, to govern with vision and intelligence, to set a new standard and to match our words with action. Well done New York!

And this brings us to the end of this Climate Joy Series. We’ll see you next week to celebrate more positive climate news!

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