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Hi curious.friends!

We've got a couple of BELTERS for you this week! 

First up, curious.will takes us through this week's HUGE DOUBLE WIN for the legal fight against climate change. Yay.

Next, curious.victoria makes her curious.debut (WOOO!) alongside Mark Ruffalo as we dive into Dark Waters.

Finally, we celebrate St Davids Day in style by heading to The Gower Gin Company and discovering why they are raising the bar.

Lechyd Da! (Cheers!) 

Reading time is 3:57 minutes.
Climate Change

UK climate action triumphs in the courts

by Will Roderick

What's Going On Here?
This week saw a double win for the legal fight against climate change, as plans for Heathrow’s third runway were ruled illegal and the government's block on new onshore wind farm subsidies was lifted!

What Does This Mean?
Complainants against the proposed third runway at Heathrow, which include local residents, the Mayor of London and environmental groups (Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace), have won their cases in the court of appeal and successfully blocked the proposed expansion. 

The claimants successfully argued that the responsible ministers had failed to assess how the third runway could be compatible with the 1.5°C warming target set out by the Paris Agreement, which informs the UK’s climate policy. This ruling is the first of its kind to be based upon the Paris Agreement and could set a global precedent for more legal action against climate damaging projects! The UK government has also stated it will not seek to challenge the court's decision. THIS IS A BIG DEAL - speaking to experts its kinda unsurprising that the expansion was not ruled legal! The fact that the government isn't going to fight it should inspire future legal battles of this nature and means it's unlikely to be overruled anytime soon!

In the same week it was announced that a new UK renewable auction scheme will start in 2021, allowing onshore wind developers to bid for government subsidies alongside solar and offshore wind projects. This was after the government banned subsidising onshore wind farms in 2016! 

Why Should We Care?

Most of us know that the climate crisis is the single biggest threat to our planet. Whilst the Paris Agreement sets out legally binding targets that governments must meet in order to avoid catastrophic climate change (keeping global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius), government’s have been too slow to act and are continuing business as usual. This ruling demonstrates that the ‘legally binding’ nature of the Paris Agreement is, well... ‘legally binding’. Governments will not be able to get away with backwards policies and empty promises. 

In line with the UK’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, advancing the deployment of renewable energy is crucial to achieve this. In the UK onshore wind is the cheapest form of renewable energy, yet has seen a decline in development since the ban in 2016. Allowing onshore wind developers to access government subsidies will help to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy and provide growth in local jobs and investment across the UK. 

Be Curious!

Check out this week’s other climate legal cases!
Want to take your own climate action? Find a Climate Action Group or Event near you
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Climate Change

Is Dark Waters helping to bring about corporate change?

by Victoria Bunney

What's Going On Here?

Dark Waters, the new eco-thriller by Todd Haynes out last week in the UK, shines a light on the murky endeavours of chemical company Dupont and its affiliates. The conglomerate is responsible for polluting the water supply in West Virginia from its plant in Parkersburg with the chemical PFAS. The leak has since been linked to a number of health conditions such as high cholesterol, birth defects, pregnancy induced hypertension and testicular and kidney cancers. 

What Does This Mean?

The film is a sobering reminder of environmental abuses in supply chains and corporate accountability, or lack thereof. As early as 1954 employees from the plant in West Virginia noted that this chemical was likely to be toxic. Dupont continued to dump the waste product into surrounding water supplies over the following years. In 1984 samples from Ohio river demonstrated toxicity levels eight times higher than average and by 1989 many employees were diagnosed with cancer and leukaemia

However, while these events were detailed in documents produced by the corporation, they were withheld from the media and thus the general public until 2001. In 2017 the chemical company finally paid out $671 million in more than 3550 personal injury lawsuits occurring from the leak and reached a $16.5 million settlement with the environmental protection agency in 2005. 

The reality of the scandal means that virtually all of us have been exposed to the chemical that’s found in Teflon products, takeaway food containers, stain resistant carpets and sofas. Contamination has now been detected in all major water supplies in the US and is widespread in rainwater.

Why Should We Care?

Not only did Dupont cover up the information and claimed no wrongdoing, it profited dramatically with shares in the $1billion company increasing by 4%. Immediately ahead of the film’s release in the US last year stocks rose again, with Deutsche Bank claiming the film would “add clarity and remove overhang from the stock”.  

This statistic is frighteningly replicated amongst other chemical corporations, such as Monsanto, who continue to act irresponsibly with limited economic effect. 

Be Curious!
Films have the power to inspire action, shed light on hidden stories and even change the world for the better. Check out the top 14 from Global Witness and let us know your favourite!
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From the curious.archive!

How sustainable are you savings? - curious.earth

Other news we found curious...

Invention sucks 60% of particulates from tyres - Air Quality News 
COP26 climate talks could be derailed by coronavirus - The Guardian 
Drinks company launches gin refill station to help the environment - METRO
Major new survey reveals biggest shift yet in public perceptions of climate risks - ClimateOutreach
Understanding the Wet'suwet'en struggle in Canada - Aljazeera
 
Will Roderick
NEWS WRITER
Victoria Bunney
NEWS WRITER
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