Stories written by Carey L. Biron
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Scepticism as “Green Goods” Trade Talks Begin

Formal negotiations began this week around the increasingly significant global trade in “environmental goods”, those technologies seen as environmentally beneficial, including in combating climate change.

U.S. Overseas Coal Financing May Be Restarting

Landmark new policies that have sharply curtailed U.S. financing for international coal projects may be rolled back, the result of a sudden, polarised fight over a little-known government agency here.

Obama Urged to Sanction Mozambique over Elephant, Rhino Poaching

Environmentalists are formally urging President Barack Obama to enact trade sanctions on Mozambique over the country’s alleged chronic facilitation of elephant and rhinoceros poaching through broad swathes of southern Africa.

Obama Proposes “Aggressive Deterrence” for Child Migrants

Facing what some have dubbed a refugee crisis, President Barack Obama is asking for new powers that would significantly speed up the deportation process for tens of thousands of unaccompanied children recently arrived at the southern U.S. border.

IMF Issues “Revolutionary” Warning on Corporate Tax Avoidance

The staff at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued an unusually stark warning over the lack of harmonised global tax policies, pointing out that these gaps are allowing for widespread tax gaming by corporations with particularly negative impacts for developing countries.

Companies Urged to Disclose “Plastic Footprint”

The environmental cost of the plastics used by corporations producing consumer goods likely mounts to more than 75 billion dollars a year, according to a first-time valuation released Monday by the United Nations and others.

Green Groups Offer Broad Vision for Global Paper Sector Reforms

More than 120 environmental groups from across the globe have offered a comprehensive vision document on how to enact, strengthen and implement sustainability reforms across the paper sector.

U.S. Supreme Court “Validates” Vulture Fund Activities

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reject an appeal by the Argentine government will embolden aggressive “holdout” creditors, anti-poverty groups say, and make it far more difficult to arrive at debt-relief agreements for poor countries.

Deadline Looms for Due Diligence Reporting on U.S. Investments in Myanmar

U.S. companies newly operating in Myanmar have until the end of the month to file official reports detailing the actions they’ve taken to ensure that their investments comply with safeguards around land, human rights and other concerns.

Donors to Assist Developing Countries Negotiate Extractives Contracts

Major donor countries will unveil next week a new initiative aimed at strengthening the ability of developing countries’ governments to negotiate complex contracts, particularly around the extractives sector.

U.S. Corporate Conflict Minerals Reports “Historic” But Incomplete

For the first time, nearly 1,300 U.S. companies have filed reports on whether the products they manufacture or sell are made with minerals that have bankrolled conflict in the Great Lakes region of central Africa.

U.S. Proposes “Revolutionary” Carbon Emissions Rule

U.S. power plants would be required to reduce their carbon-dioxide emissions by almost a third in coming decades, under a landmark proposal that constitutes President Barack Obama’s most significant attempt to counter climate change.

U.N. Treaty on Corporate Rights Abuse Sees New Momentum

Some 500 global groups are calling for action by governments next month to jumpstart the process of drafting an international treaty to address rights abuses by multinational corporations, following on a related proposal by Ecuador and others.

U.S. Nearing Approval of Next Generation of Herbicide-Resistant Crops

Two key federal agencies here are in the final stages of approving a new herbicide-resistant crop “system” that would constitute the second phase of genetically engineered agriculture, following an announcement this week.

U.S. Food Aid Reforms May Be Rolled Back

Lawmakers here may roll back recent landmark reforms to how the United States provides international food aid, despite warnings that doing so would reduce assistance for some two million people worldwide.

Post-Rana Plaza, Global Investors Pushing for Systemic Change

A coalition of 134 institutional investors are calling for global corporations to institute new transparency policies throughout their supply chains and to step up assistance to survivors and families still suffering a year after a major fire led to the collapse of a garments factory in Bangladesh, despite repeated warnings from workers.

U.S. Urged to Tackle Lead in Aviation Gasoline

Consumer advocates, public health workers and environmental groups here are calling on the federal government to take a formal step towards regulating the use of lead in aviation gasoline, despite a failure to do so for nearly two decades.

Court Upholds Most of U.S. “Conflict Minerals” Law

The United States’ second-highest court has upheld most of a landmark U.S. law requiring companies to ascertain and publicly disclose whether proceeds from minerals used to manufacture their products may be funding conflict in central Africa.

IPCC Climate Report Calls for “Major Institutional Change”

Greenhouse gas emissions rose more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than anytime during the previous three decades, the world’s top climate scientists say, despite a simultaneous strengthening of national legislation around the world aimed at reducing these emissions.

U.S. Urged to Push World Bank on Human Rights Safeguards

Rights advocates and community leaders, together with some U.S. lawmakers, are urging the United States to take a more robust role in pushing the World Bank to explicitly incorporate human rights into policies that dictate how and when the bank can engage in project lending and technical assistance.

IFC-Negotiated Privately Run Hospital Sapping Lesotho Budget

The world’s first hospital to be built and run in a developing country under a public-private partnership is taking up more than half of the health budget in Lesotho, according to new estimates, diverting resources from populations outside of the capital.

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