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DGI Brief - Dec 6, 2016

Happy Tuesday to all. Today's top 3 global issues #news are about #USA, #Indonesia and #WestAfrica

- USA: New study by National Center for Atmospheric Research warns that as global temperatures rise, the US will see a drastic increase – up 400% - in rainstorms & flash flooding by the end of the century. Storms that happen once a season could happen 5x a season, producing 70% more rain. Why it matters: The increase in rainstorms will put unsustainable strain on our infrastructure that is already ill equipped to deal with heavy rainfall (i.e. LA, WV). Agriculture will face even more serious consequences – frequent heavy rains are damaging to crops. Only moderate storms are a good course of water, intense storms are a source of destruction. BUT scientists say that if we act on climate change, reduce our carbon emissions to reduce global warming, we can limit the rainfall increase as well. It’s up to us.

- INDONESIA’s government issued amendments to their regulations on the management of peat swamps & tropical forests. These expand definitions & order companies to restore areas they’ve degraded & forbid expansion of peatlands’ use even if companies are well within their concessions. Why it matters: Palm oil & pulp wood companies drain peat swamps & convert large swaths of natural tropical forests for production, which hugely contributes to Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions & worsens annual fires that are often started to clear land & also release huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. The fires not only contribute to global warming but have also hastened the deaths of 100,000 people annually by smoke & air pollution. The new regulations could reduce 7.8 gigatons of carbon emissions over 15 years, a significant decrease. Couple that with obligating companies to restore the land they’ve used (& destroyed), we may see some trends reversing.

- WEST AFRICA: The governments of Benin, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria & Togo agreed to ban imports of dirty fuel after an earlier report exposed some European trading companies sell fuels with sulphur levels 300x higher than normally permitted to West African countries with weak regulations. Why it matters: The nations now limit sulphur in fuels to 50 parts per million, from pervious 3,000 ppm. This will significantly improve air quality & advance vehicle emissions as well as environmental standards. The group also committed to invest in upgrading their own public & private refineries to meet the same standards by 2020. Well done! You may be skeptical, but I believe governments are realizing the human costs …and thus economic costs of neglecting public health.

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