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G20 Environment Ministers Agree to Tackle Marine Plastic Waste

Environment and energy ministers of the Group of 20 major economies met this weekend in Karuizawa

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Ministers and delegates gather for a family photo session at G20 energy and environment ministers meeting in Karuizawa, Japan, June 15, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. VOA

Group of 20 environment ministers agreed on Sunday to adopt a new implementation framework for actions to tackle the issue of marine plastic waste on a global scale, the Japanese government said after hosting the two-day ministerial meeting.

Environment and energy ministers of the Group of 20 major economies met this weekend in Karuizawa, northwest of Tokyo, ahead of the G20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, on June 28-29.

One of the top issues was ocean plastic waste as images of plastic debris-strewn beaches and dead animals with stomachs full of plastic have sparked outrage, with many countries banning plastic bags outright.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he wants his country to lead the world in reducing marine plastic trash, including developing biodegradables and other innovations.

G20, Environment, Ministers
Group of 20 environment ministers agreed on Sunday to adopt a new implementation framework for actions to tackle the issue of marine plastic waste. Pixabay

The new framework is aimed at facilitating further concrete action on marine waste, though on a voluntary basis, after the G20 Hamburg Summit in Germany adopted the “G20 action plan on marine litter” in 2017.

Under the new framework, G20 members will promote a comprehensive life-cycle approach to prevent and reduce plastic litter discharge to the oceans through various measures and international cooperation.

They will also share best practices, promote innovation and boost scientific monitoring and analytical methodologies.

“I’m glad that we, including emerging countries and developing countries, were able to form a broad international framework,” Yoshiaki Harada, Japan’s environment minister, told a news conference.

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Japan plans to host the first meeting under the new framework this autumn when officials of environment ministers in the G20 countries are due to meet for the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue. (VOA)

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Google gets Accused of Funding Groups that Defy Climate Change

According to a report in The Guardian, Google contributes heavily to conservative groups that defys Climate Change

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Google
Google gets accused of making "substantial" donations to Washington-based think tanks that defy climate change. Pixabay

Google has been accused of making “substantial” donations to at least a dozen Washington-based think tanks that deny climate change and are actively campaigning against stricter climate legislation.

This is in stark contrast to Google CEO Sundar Pichai who has taken a public pledge to take urgent action against the climate crisis.

According to a report in The Guardian, Google contributed heavily to conservative groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the American Conservative Union that are in support of regulatory efforts that benefit tech companies.

The CEI is a strong proponent of the idea that climate change is a myth. In the past, the group has taken tough stances in opposition to tech regulation and antitrust enforcement.

According to reports, Google is “trying to appease conservatives so it can retain important protections under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act a” a law that protects Google from being responsible for third-parties”.

A company spokesperson said that it might not endorse every policy position of an organization when it makes a contribution.

Google
Google tries to appease conservatives so it can retain important protections under a law that protects Google from being responsible for third-parties: Report. Pixabay

“We’re hardly alone among companies that contribute to organisations while strongly disagreeing with them on climate policy,” a Google spokesperson told The Verge.

Pichai last month announced the biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history — made up of a 1,600-megawatt (MW) package of agreements that includes 18 new energy deals.

“These deals will increase our worldwide portfolio of wind and solar agreements by more than 40 per cent, to 5,500 MW equivalent to the capacity of a million solar rooftops,” Pichai said in a statement.

“Once all these projects come online, our carbon-free energy portfolio will produce more electricity than places like Washington D.C. or entire countries like Lithuania or Uruguay use each year,” he added.

Google
The issue is in stark contrast to Google CEO Sundar Pichai who has taken a public pledge to take urgent action against the climate crisis. Pixabay

The announcement came as hundreds of Google employees participated in the “Global Climate Strike” during the United Nation’s climate summit on September 23.

In a blog post, the Google Workers for Action on Climate group highlighted some of the funding that the company was involved with that contradicted its public stance on climate change.

ALSO READ: Government Plans Slew of Reforms in Mining Sector

“Google Cloud makes significant revenue licensing infrastructure, machine learning, and engineering talent to fossil fuel companies, promising to help them extract fuel reserves faster,” the group said. (IANS)