The Stream, December 8: Record Humanitarian Aid Needs In 2017

The Global Rundown

The fallout from droughts, floods, and conflicts around the world will require a record amount of humanitarian aid funding next year, according to the United Nations. Barrick Gold’s Pascua Lama mine project, stalled in part due to concerns over water, may get a new lease on life following a recent government decision in Chile. Signature laws that protect wildlife and habitat across the European Union are no longer slated for a major overhaul. The attorney general of Oklahoma, who previously opposed the Clean Water Rule, could be the new head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Researchers in Pennsylvania will take a closer look at the relationship between oil and gas development and water pollution incidents.

“We will appeal with the environmental court, but it won’t be the only action we take. We will do everything in our power to defend our lives, those of our neighbors and children and our territory.” –Statement from the Huasco Valley community in Chile in response to a government decision this week that could revive the stalled Pascua Lama mining project. Opponents of the gold and silver mine worry it would use too much water and pollute existing supplies. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

$22.2 billion Funding required to meet the humanitarian needs of 93 million people around the world next year, according to the United Nations’ annual appeal. That’s a record amount, with much of the money needed to help people displaced by conflicts and to respond to droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events. UN News Centre

In context: Learn how the effects of the 2015 El Nino are still being felt in Africa.

200 wetlands Number protected under the European Union’s Birds and Habitats directives, which the European Commission declared “fit for purpose” this week after a 2-year attempt to enact major changes to the laws. Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University are analyzing “big data” to search for patterns of water pollution across the state. The study will focus on methane concentrations, looking for correlations between methane levels, oil and gas development, and geological characteristics.

On The Radar

Scott Pruitt, the current attorney general of Oklahoma, will likely be the new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Donald Trump’s administration. Pruitt has been skeptical of global climate change and helped his state block implementation of the ‘Clean Water Rule’. Bloomberg

In context: Read about the battle over the ‘Clean Water Rule’, which seeks to clarify the federal government’s jurisdiction over small streams and wetlands.