Three Pacific Island nations, the Marshall Islands, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia, had been administered by the U.S. during World War II. Their maritime area is larger than the continental US, with some 1,000 islands and a population of 200,000.

U.S. nuclear test explosions in the Marshall Islands equalled one Hiroshima-sized bomb every day for 20 years and more than 100 times that of the atmospheric tests at the Nevada Test site. The fallout caused great immediate harm to the Marshallese and increases in longer-term cancers.

A waste disposal site, the Runit Dome in Enewetak atoll, is now leaking and the Enewetak lagoon holds 100 times more plutonium than is under the dome.

In 1986 a nuclear claims tribunal required the US to pay $150 million toward the nuclear-related awards, though it released the US from further liability. Later it decided that the US should pay $2.3 billion.

But in January 2023, negotiators between the U.S. and the Marshall Islands reached an agreement on a new Compact of Free Association to govern their relations for the next twenty years. At about the same time, the US signed agreements with Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia. These new compacts guarantee the U.S. exclusive military rights over large areas of the Pacific. The U.S. will also pay nuclear-affected communities’ health, welfare, and development, including building a new hospital. Separate agreements are to be negotiated with Palau and Micronesia, and must be approved by the U.S. Congress.

Source, Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Association, March 2023.


Site selection for a deep geological repository for Canada’s nuclear waste has been postponed until 2024 to provide more time for in-person consultation with First Nation communities and municipalities. Currently, all nuclear waste is stored on-site at Canada’s four major nuclear power plants, three of which are in Ontario. Those plants supply 56 per cent of the province’s power generation.

Source: Matteo Cimellaro, Canada’s National Observer, Feb.27, 2023.


More than 1,000 “super-emitter” sites gushed methane into the atmosphere in 2022. The worst one was from a major pipeline in Turkmenistan, which spewed at a rate equal to 67 million cars. There has been surge of methane emissions, which are responsible for about 25 percent of the heat trapped by all greenhouse gases. The super-emitter sites were detected by satellite data.

Source: The Guardian. Mar 6, 2023.


Communities in Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Somalia are facing the worst food crisis seen in 40 years. In Somalia alone, 6.5 million people will experience famine in March-April, 2023, following five consecutive failed rainy seasons.

Other factors, such as year-after-year droughts in the horn of Africa, locust storms destroying crops, internal conflict in Ethiopia, and floods and droughts across the Sahel are having devastating impacts on people’s lives, families, health, and livelihoods. A total of 1.84 million children under age five face acute malnutrition. A total of 478,000 of these face severe malnutrition and may be at risk of dying unless they receive immediate treatment. Huge numbers of people have been forced to leave their homes, with over 1.5 million drought-driven displacements since the start of the climate crisis.

The World Food Programme expanded its emergency food and nutrition response to reach a record number of over 4 million people by the end of February. However, the WFP requires additional donations of US$407 million for life-saving programmes to sustain this scale-up.

Source: British Red Cross,


A new United Nations treaty on the sustainable use and protection of the High Seas has finally been drafted as additions to the Convention on the Law of the Sea. The treaty lays down broad commitments to protect 30% of the high seas. It also sets a universal standard for conducting environmental impact assessments for resource extraction and gives parties to the treaty a right to establish conservation zones in international waters, where no country would normally be able to enforce law.

The signatory states hope that diminishing catch rates for prized fish like tuna can be permanently reversed. As with all UN treaties, this one is only legally enforceable if a nation makes itself a legal party to it. Once 60 parties ratify any UN treaty, it is considered international law, and enters into force.

Source: Andy Corbley, Good News Network, Mar.13, 2023.

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