Last year the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - declared glyphosate – the main ingredient in the herbicide RoundUp – a probable carcinogen. We hoped that the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) – would intervene to protect our health. It hasn’t. The APVMA has decided not to review its current approval for glyphosate because it claims to know better than the specialised cancer agency of the World Health Organisation. Why so? Because it has access to unpublished industry data that has never been subject to peer review and that regulators refuse to make public!
Australia’s gene technology regulator is proposing changes to its gene technology regulations that would allow products derived from genetically modified (GM) plants, animals and microbes untested and unlabelled into our food. If the OGTR deregulates these new GM techniques there will be no monitoring or surveillance. Anyone from amateur biohackers - to industry - to terror groups would be free to use them to genetically modify plants, animals and microbes. Entirely new diseases and poisons could be made. And they could enter our food chain and our environment with no safety testing and no labelling. The results could be catastrophic.
Documents released by Friends of the Earth today reveal that: Taiwan will not pay SA to accept high-level nuclear waste if that requires investing in waste storage and disposal infrastructure. Taiwan would not send nuclear waste to Australia unless and until a repository is built and operating. Taiwan would not send nuclear waste to Australia in the face of widespread public opposition.
Jakarta, December 8th The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is being negotiated in Jakarta, Indonesia this week (December 2-10 [i]. If signed, RCEP would grant corporations the exclusive right to bypass domestic legal systems and sue governments at international tribunals whenever they feel government regulation can limit their profits[ii]. New research reveals that investors have launched 50 lawsuits at secret international arbitration tribunals against governments negotiating the RCEP agreement for a total of at least $31 billion US dollars.
Cancun, Mexico – This week, international conservation and environmental leaders are calling on governments at the 2016 UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) to establish a moratorium on the controversial genetic extinction technology called gene drives. Gene drives, developed through new gene-editing techniques- are designed to force a particular genetically engineered trait to spread through an entire wild population – potentially changing entire species or even causing deliberate extinctions. The statement urges governments to put in place an urgent, global moratorium on the development and release of the new technology, which poses serious and potentially irreversible threats to biodiversity, as well as national sovereignty, peace and food security.
The Western Australian State Government is under intense community fire for allowing preparatory work to begin on the controversial Roe 8 Highway extension which would irrevocably damage the Beeliar Wetlands between North and Bibra Lakes before a High Court hearing on the issue takes place on December 16. In a shocking provocation to the community, just weeks before this hearing and only months before a state election, the Barnett government has sent in contractors under the “supervision” of a strong police contingent to begin the destruction of bushland near the Beeliar Wetlands.
This year is an important one for climate action in Victoria. We now have a state renewable energy target (a VRET) and will soon have a legislated ban on all onshore unconventional gas drilling. A range of government policies will be announced soon which will shape the future of our state: these include the re-build of the Climate Change Act and a draft coal policy, both of which will be released by late 2016. Putting a ban on all new mining of coal and setting a timeframe for a rapid phase-out of all coal-fired power stations would mean that Victoria plays its part in responding to the threat of climate change.
SA Premier Jay Weatherill's announcement that he plans to continue pursuing his nuclear waste dump plan is a great disappointment to many South Australians and especially to Indigenous people from across the state who said a clear 'no' to the proposal at the recent Citizens' Jury. The Community Views Report released on Sunday, reflecting a statewide consultation process, found that 53 percent of respondents opposed the plan to import high-level nuclear waste while just 31 percent supported the plan. Over three-quarters of Aboriginal respondents opposed the plan.
In September 2016 Friends of the Earth produced the report: Pesticides in Australian Waterways Overview. The results were shocking with 89% of the almost 200 pesticides detected having no ecological guidelines under the current system. Many of the unregulated pesticides detected are known to be harmful to animals like the iconic platypus, affect their food supply and cause havoc and destruction for fragile ecosystems in Australian waterways.
As emergency workers assist South Australians with the fallout from a historic storm that knocked down multiple power lines, causing a blackout across the state, national environment organisation Friends of the Earth say the storm is a wake up call to act on climate change and disaster preparedness. “Playing politics while South Australians deal with an unprecedented natural disaster is dangerous and the community expects better. The facts are that climate change is set to increase the number of extreme weather events, yet ideologues have wasted no time in blaming renewables for the state-wide blackout" said Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth's campaigns coordinator.