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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Iraq Pays 'Environmental Reparations'
27 June 2001 7:00 pm
Five Middle Eastern countries will soon get unprecedented payments to conduct studies of the environmental damage caused by the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War, when Iraqi troops set fire to hundreds of Kuwaiti oil wells, shrouding the region in smoke for months. The money is part of reparations being drawn from the Iraq "oil for food" fund run by the United Nations (U.N.).
On 21 June, the U.N. Compensation Commission (UNCC) governing council approved distributing $243 million from the fund for environmental assessment and monitoring research, with the lion's share going to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and smaller amounts to Iran, Jordan, and Syria. The nations have UNCC approval for 107 studies, including surveying coastlines for spilled oil, studying smoke damage to archaeological sites, and following health effects in people who inhaled the smoke. Once the damage has been assessed, countries will file claims against Iraq for remediation and restoration projects.
Julia Klee of UNCC says, "as far as we're aware, this is the first time" a country has paid environmental damages after a war. The money should be disbursed within a month. "From a legal perspective, it's wonderful to have an international tribunal recognize that environmental damage is a significant component of armed conflict," says Carl Bruch of the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C.