The United Kingdom, Canada, and the Marshall Islands have launched a new global initiative to phase out the use of coal in energy production by 2030.
The Powering Past Coal Alliance has at least 19 countries on board so far, according to delegates at the United Nations climate conference in Germany. But the announcement comes just days after Trump administration officials led a panel discussion at the talks to promote “fossil fuels and nuclear power in climate mitigation.”
The event — at which David Banks, Trump’s special adviser on energy and environment, said that while reducing emissions was important “energy security, economic prosperity are higher priorities” — was met with lively protests.
Along with the U.S., other major coal consumers like China have not signed on to the alliance. Nevertheless, the group hopes to have 50 countries signed up before the next major U.N. conference in Poland in 2018.
Also in the news:
• Scientists in the U.S. have attempted to edit the genes inside a person’s body for the first time. On Monday, 44-year-old Brian Madeux spent three hours hooked up to an IV, through which he received billions of copies of a corrective gene that is hoped to insert itself into his DNA. Madeux was born with Hunter syndrome, a genetic disorder that can cause stunted growth, joint stiffness, and bone irregularities. (The Atlantic)
• Supervised injection sites, where drug users can mainline black-market narcotics, are controversial in and of themselves. But a doctor in Australia, along with many other public health officials, asserts that pregnant women should be given equal access to such facilities, as they may help open the door for treatment. (Undark)
• On Wednesday, the Trump administration reversed a ban on the import of elephant hunting trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia. Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the two countries could not show that their management practices enhanced local populations of African elephants, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The FWS said in a notice Thursday that Zimbabwe’s government, NGOs, and other organizations had provided additional information that led to the change. The agency said it would start issuing permits for trophies from Zimbabwe on Friday. (Washington Post)
• Scientists in Europe have concluded that radioactive pollution detected over the continent in September originated in Russia or Kazakhstan. Rosatom, Russia’s state-run nuclear corporation, denied that it had detected anything above normal levels. (New York Times)
• The FDA approved a pill for schizophrenia that contains an edible sensor to confirm that the medication has been taken. While the information cannot be shared with health care providers and others without patient consent, experts raised concerns that the technology might be given to people with delusions of being spied on. (Ars Technica)
• And finally: A Puerto Rican journalist, Omaya Sosa Pascual, writes about how life on the island has changed since Hurricane Maria. (InsideClimate News)