The threatened U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ended 2011 on a high note by unveiling new rules that limit the mercury and other toxic pollutants in the air, water and food. Congratulations!
The EPA issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), the first national standards to protect American families from power plant emissions of mercury and toxic air pollution like arsenic, acid gas, nickel, and cyanide. The standards will slash emissions of these dangerous pollutants through the application of widely available, proven pollution controls that are already in use at more than half of the nation’s coal-fired power plants.
Power plants are the largest remaining source of several toxic air pollutants and are responsible for half of the mercury and over 75 percent of the acid gas emissions in the United States. Mercury has been shown to harm the nervous systems of children exposed in the womb, impairing learning and early development; other pollutants that will be reduced by these standards can cause cancer, premature death, heart disease, and asthma.
Benefits that far outweigh the costs
EPA estimates that the new safeguards will prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year.
The EPA also estimates that manufacturing, engineering, installing and maintaining the pollution controls to meet these standards will provide employment for thousands, potentially including 46,000 short-term construction jobs and 8,000 long-term utility jobs.
The standards also ensure that public health and economic benefits far outweigh costs of implementation: for every dollar spent to reduce pollution from power plants, it is estimated that the American public will see up to $9 in health benefits.
For more information on the standards consult EPA´s site
The International Labour Organization (ILO) organizes the International Labour Conference (ILC) annually. Among other agenda items, general discussion at the 102nd session will take place on "Sustainable development, decent work and green jobs
The Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food called for the post-2015 development agenda to be urgently refocused on equality, social protection and accountability, as the efforts of the UN Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals to draft post-2015 targets to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) entered a crucial phase.
Many of the major companies file their sustainability reports without conscience. And their approach to the workers whose labour fuels their profits is criminal.Ask any CEO if they would like their sons or daughters to work in the textile factories in Pakistan, the mines in the Congo, manufacturing plants in Central America, or as beer women in Cambodia, and they shudder.
The decision was adopted in response to EU Commission consultation on unconventional fossil fuels in Europe