The Stream, March 5: U.S. Judge Finds Corruption in Ecuador’s Decision on Chevron Water Pollution Case

A federal judge in the United States ruled that actions by lawyers representing plaintiffs in a decades-long Ecuador water pollution case were corrupt, making it less likely that Chevron—the oil company accused of pollution—will end up paying the $US 9.5 billion fine ordered last year by Ecuador’s highest court, The New York Times reported. Ecuadorean farmers, the plaintiffs in the case, say that the Texaco oil company purchased by Chevron spilled toxic wastewater into rivers in the Amazon basin in the 1970s and 1980s.

China’s government is going to “declare war” on pollution by tackling outdated industries and energy producers, focusing on renewable energy sources, and possibly moving certain industries away from cities, Reuters reported. The plan is aimed at reducing air pollution, but follows recently announced efforts to confront water and soil pollution.

Water Use
An online survey found that the way Americans perceive their water use is out of line with reality, with few responders taking into account the water it takes to create food or flush toilets, according to a paper published about the survey in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Los Angeles Times reported. The survey found that Americans use twice as much water as they think, with the average American using 371 liters (98 gallons) per day.

Much as it has done for electricity and gas, France will begin a program to cut water bills for low-income families this year, Bloomberg News reported. The program, which aims to introduce variable water rates in pilot areas, could cut bills by as much as 20 percent for some families.

Climate Change
Cities in India need to take climate change into account when planning development and rebuilding in the wake of extreme weather events, according to a policy brief from The Energy and Resources Institute, AlertNet reported. The brief says cities need to become proactive rather than reactive in their fight against climate change.

Nearly one-fifth of world heritage sites would be affected by sea level rise caused by an increase in global temperatures of 3 degrees Celsius, the Guardian reported, citing a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The changes were studied over a period of 2,000 years, though researchers say some sites—like Venice—will see the effects of sea level rise much sooner.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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