Earlier this month, an environmental disaster caused by a train derailment in a west Ohio town has resulted in close scrutiny from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On February 3, 2023, a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, resulting in a chemical spill of millions of liters of toxic liquids. Among the spill’s immediate effects were chemical leakage into local water supplies and air pollution originating from a controlled burn. The EPA has since stepped in to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for the clean-up, but unanswered compliance questions still remain.
Beverage corporation Diageo has recently been fined £1.2 million for violating environmental regulations. Diageo is a multinational corporation that owns a variety of liquor brands, including Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Don Julio, Crown Royal, and several others. Headquartered in England, it operates all over the world, with its North American subsidiary being one of its most profitable. In violation of UK regulations, the beverage company has failed to report the environmental impacts of some of its sites for the past six years and has failed to secure permits for the relevant operations. The corporation alleges that these omissions were the result of an administrative error.
For the past few weeks, world leaders have been discussing climate action and how to tackle the growing problem at COP26. They recently reached an agreement that pushes countries to strengthen climate targets that can be achieved in the near future and limit fossil fuel use, but they are still facing criticism from scientists who say it is not enough. While they did come up with language urging countries to move away from fossil fuels, there are few concrete goals written leaving it largely up to the countries themselves to decide how to meet those goals.