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Environmental, Campaign & Website News > Environmental News Network Summary (7th-17th May)

Environmental News Network Summary (7th-17th May)

Date : 17th May 2002, Source : ENN

7th May 2002

E.U. COAL, DIESEL SUBSIDIES CLASH WITH GREEN IDEALS

The European Union is committed to reducing the pollution blamed for causing global warming, so why is it pumping vast subsidies into fossil fuels such as coal and diesel, which are the main sources of greenhouse gases? Environmental campaigners are fuming at a deal among E.U. member states last week which ensured Germany will be able to continue its multi-billion-euro annual handouts to coal mining in return for allowing other countries to subsidize truck fuel.

Source: Reuters


EL NINO SEEN HITTING SOUTHERN AFRICA IN LATE 2002

The South African Weather Service said Monday it expects an El Nino to hit southern Africa at the end of the year, bringing yet another dry spell after a disappointing harvest already this year. "Indications are showing that an El Nino is coming, and the data we are getting month after month shows it is underway," said Melton Mugeri, a meteorologist at the South African Weather Service.

Source: Reuters


LAWMAKERS BINGE AT BLUBBER BASH AS JAPAN GOES ON PRO-WHALING OFFENSIVE

Leading Japanese lawmakers savored whale-meat delicacies at a government-backed blubber bash Thursday, and hundreds of supporters rallied in downtown Tokyo for the resumption of commercial whaling. Fishery officials and restaurateurs joined the nearly four dozen politicians for the evening VIP tasting party, meant to bolster Japan's pro-whaling push as it now plays host to the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission.



U.S. PREDICTS WEAKER EL NINO THAN IN 1998

This year's looming El Nino, the weather anomaly blamed for devastating droughts and floods, will be much weaker than it was in 1997-98 when it caused an estimated 24,000 deaths and $34 billion in damage worldwide, government weather experts said Thursday. However, governments from Indonesia to South Africa are preparing for the worst because even a weak El Nino can have a significant impact on developing countries.

Source: Reuters


8th May 2002

OTTAWA CASTS MORE DOUBT ON KYOTO RATIFICATION

More doubt was cast on Canada's wavering commitment to the Kyoto Protocol to tackle global warming with the release Tuesday of a letter from Industry Minister Allan Rock stating that Ottawa should develop its own plan. The Canadian government initially said it aimed to ratify the 1997 protocol this year but watered down its commitment to curbing emissions of greenhouse gases after the United States abandoned the treaty last year and powerful domestic energy producers raised their voices in opposition.

Source: Reuters


NEXT U.S. ENERGY BATTLE CENTERS ON ROCKY MOUNTAIN METHANE

Environmentalists and the U.S. energy industry are pitching their tents over Rocky Mountain gas fields, each camp preparing for the next battle over where to secure the nation's energy supplies. Since the Senate in April extended a ban on drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) the core of the Bush administration's energy policy, the focus has shifted to vast gas resources trapped in coal seams under the Rockies.

Source: Reuters


BUSH'S PICK FOR EPA ENFORCEMENT CALLED UNQUALIFIED

The Bush administration's choice for the top cop to enforce the nation's environmental laws came under attack at a Senate hearing Tuesday for not having enough job experience. Some Democrats said John Suarez was unqualified to serve as head of the Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement office because he has no experience in environmental law.

Source: Reuters


OCCIDENTAL TO WITHDRAW FROM COLOMBIA'S SIRIRI BLOCK

Occidental Petroleum Corp. has stopped looking for oil in the Siriri block in eastern Colombia and plans to withdraw from the zone, a local company spokesman said Tuesday. Occidental's activities in the zone sparked fierce protests from the U'Wa indigenous group, backed by international rights groups. But the spokesman said these didn't influence the decision. "We made an evaluation of the results of the drilling and the investment we've made, and it didn't justify continuing," he said. "The reasons were fundamentally technical and economic."

Source: Associated Press


CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR UNVEILS ENERGY CONSERVATION PLAN

fearing a repeat of the rolling blackouts that crippled California last year, Gov. Gray Davis unveiled a conservation plan Tuesday aimed at keeping the lights on in the nation's most populous state this summer. Davis said the state would renew a popular advertising campaign aimed at encouraging conservation and expand a program of consumer rebates on energy-efficient appliances to help save electricity in months when demand for power typically soars as residents crank up their air conditioners.

Source: Reuters


STUDY SAYS DISCARDED CELL PHONES POSE NEW SOURCE OF POLLUTION

There's a new kind of cell phone pollution and this one is silent. Within three years, Americans will discard about 130 million cellular telephones a year, and that means 65,000 tons of trash, including toxic metals and other health hazards, a study says.

Source: Associated Press


ONE-QUARTER OF ORGANIC PRODUCE CONTAINS PESTICIDES, STUDY FINDS

Think organic fruits and vegetables are free of pesticides? Think again. Almost one-fourth of the organic produce in grocery stores could contain traces of pesticides, including long-banned chemicals like DDT, scientists say.

Source: Associated Press


AMERICAN RETAILERS COULD IMPROVE ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP OF FEEDLOTS

Retail powerhouses in the food service industry, including fast food, grocery, and restaurant chains, should require large livestock feedlots and processing facilities that supply retailers with meat, eggs, and dairy products to meet strict environmental standards, according to a new report issued by the Izaak Walton League. "American consumers care about how their food is produced," said Rachel Hopper, an agriculture associate at the league's Midwest office. "And consumers tend to associate their food with the retailers who sell it rather than the livestock feedlots and processing facilities that produce and process it. Grocery stores and fast food restaurants can't afford to avoid this issue any longer."

Source: GreenBiz.com


9th May 2002

TINY PORTIONS OF PESTICIDE CAN CAUSE BIG PROBLEMS

Two years ago this spring I wrote a column about the cosmetic use of pesticides on our lawns and gardens. Since then, many communities in Canada have adopted strict guidelines on the use of these poisons, and the Supreme Court of Canada has even upheld their right to do so.

Source: David Suzuki Foundation


13th May 2002

GIANT GLACIER FALLS INTO OCEAN NEAR NEW ZEALAND

A huge ice shelf 10 times bigger than Manhattan has plummeted into the sea near New Zealand, U.S. government scientists said Thursday, adding urgency to warnings that global temperatures are rising for the worse. The news follows the March collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica in the Weddell Sea near Chile which was the size of a small European country.

Source: Reuters


14th May 2002

ASIA-PACIFIC COUNTRIES AT RISK FROM MISMANAGED OCEANS, EXPERTS SAY

Poor management of the world's seas is destroying ecosystems and threatening the sustainability of fisheries, international marine experts said Monday. "The degradation of the environment is worsening, so many of our marine ecosystems are not functioning very well," said Chua Thia Eng, regional program director of the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia, which comprises scientists from 11 nations.

Source: Associated Press


WHITE HOUSE TRIED TO AVOID CALIFORNIA ENERGY PROBLEMS, SAYS WAXMAN

A White House email indicating its energy task force was "desperately" trying to downplay California's power crisis highlighted the need for more disclosure about how the Bush Administration energy plan was formed, Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman said Monday. Waxman said the email and recent disclosures about now-bankrupt Enron Corp's California trading strategies invited questions about why the administration failed to act earlier to cap the state's electricity prices. "It is long past time for the administration to disclose fully the operations of its energy task force," said Waxman in a letter to task force leader, Vice President Dick Cheney.

Source: Reuters


BANGLADESH, INDIA TO WORK TO SAVE SUNDARBAN FOREST

Bangladesh and India will work together under a United Nations plan to protect the ecosystem and biodiversity of Sundarban, the world's biggest mangrove forest shared by the two countries, environment officials said. "Bangladesh and India currently use different approaches to protect the same ecosystem, but we are trying to unite it under one project," Professor Ansarul Karim, chairman of Bangladesh's Environmental Conservation Management Center said at seminar in Dhaka. Karim is also his country's coordinator for the Sundarban Biodiversity Management Project.

Source: Reuters


AMERICAN, FOUR THAIS MURDERED AT GIBBON SANCTUARY

An American conservationist trying to help gibbons in Thailand for more than 10 years has been found murdered along with four other people at his animal refuge in northwest Thailand, police said recently. Police said the body of William Deters, 63, was found in the kitchen of his Highland Farm and Wildlife Refuge in Tak province. He had a bullet wound near his left temple.

Source: Reuters


U.S. SCIENTISTS FIND NEW ANTARCTIC ICE SHELF BREAK

Another massive iceberg has broken off the Ross Ice Shelf, reducing the Antarctic formation to about the size it was in 1911 when explorer Robert Scott's team first mapped it, scientists said Monday. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin said the breakage is part of the normal iceberg formation or calving that comes as thick layers of ice gradually slide down from the high Antarctic plateau and is not related to climate changes or global warming.

Source: Reuters


15th May 2002

ANTARCTIC ICE MELT POSES WORLDWIDE THREAT

The Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves are cracking up, and on the face of things, it is the most serious thaw since the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago. The breakup of the ice shelves in itself is a natural process of renewal, but the size and rate of production of icebergs some the size of major cities is alarming scientists, who blame global warming.

Source: Reuters


SANDSTORM-SWEPT CHINA TO SPEND BILLIONS ON TREES

China will spend several hundred billion yuan in the next 10 years to protect forests and plant green belts as it combats blinding sandstorms, illegal logging, and rapid soil erosion, a top forestry official said on Tuesday. Lei Jiafu, deputy chief of the State Forestry Administration, brushed aside concerns that millions of the country's struggling farmers would be forced to sacrifice their cropland and receive little in return as part of the massive forestation scheme.

Source: Reuters


LANDMARK CALIFORNIA AUTO EMISSIONS BILL MAY STALL

A landmark bill that would make California the first state in the nation to regulate vehicle greenhouse gas emissions may run out of gas this week as a number of lawmakers drop support for the measure, officials said Tuesday. The bill, which would set new emissions standards that auto industry representatives say could drive sport utility vehicles, pick-up trucks, and minivans off the road, is expected to go to the state Assembly for a final vote Thursday its last stop before heading to Gov. Gray Davis, who has not taken a position on it.

Source: Reuters


POACHERS KILL RWANDAN ENDANGERED MOUNTAIN GORILLAS

Poachers in Rwanda have killed two of the world's last remaining mountain gorillas, a highly endangered species, in an attempt to capture and sell their young, Rwandan wildlife conservation officials said. "With just some 350 of them remaining, the population is so fragile that every individual lost is significant in terms of the viability of the mountain gorilla," said Katie Fawcett, director of the Karisoke Research Centre in the northwestern town of Ruhengeri.

Source: Reuters


OYSTER FARMER WANTS SPOT OFF NATIONAL PARK, BUT GOVERNMENT OBJECTS

A businessman wants to launch a commercial oyster farm in Alaska's scenic Kenai fjords, but he is running into plenty of opposition. Robert Hardy applied for a lease to run the oyster operation on the waters of Kenai Fjords National Park, leading to angry responses from the federal government and environmental organizations.

Source: Associated Press


HOT-SELLING HONDA CIVIC MAY STIR INTEREST IN HYBRIDS

Tom and Fiorella Williams put in an order for a new Honda Civic Hybrid sight unseen. They bought the car, which runs on both gasoline and electricity, because it guzzles less gas and spews less pollution than conventional cars that run solely on gas. But they wouldn't have bought it if it didn't handle and look like the Civic they previously owned.

Source: Associated Press


ACTIVISTS ARRESTED IN CANADIAN GAS-PUMP PROTESTS

Canadian police arrested several people Tuesday after activists in three cities chained themselves to gasoline pumps owned by Exxon Mobil Corp.'s affiliate to protest the oil major's opposition to the Kyoto accord on global warming. A total of eight people were arrested on mischief-related charges during Greenpeace demonstrations at Imperial Oil Ltd.'s Esso gas stations in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, police and Greenpeace said.

Source: Reuters


16th May 2002

HERMAN MILLER MAKES STRIDES IN DESIGN FOR ENVIRONMENT INITIATIVE

Herman Miller Inc., a provider of office furniture and workplace consulting services, has announced that it's making measurable progress in its efforts to design and manufacture more environmentally responsible products, primarily through its Design for the Environment (DfE) project launched last year. "We're seeing a growing amount of interest in sustainability both inside and outside of the company," said Scott Charon, commodity manager in new product development at Herman Miller.

Source: GreenBiz.com


OTTAWA UNVEILS KYOTO PLAN, HINTS AT WITHDRAWAL

Canada unveiled proposals Wednesday on how to ratify the Kyoto climate change protocol without crippling the economy and dropped a large hint that it could follow Washington's lead and abandon the treaty. The federal government, already deeply split over Kyoto, is under heavy pressure from energy producers and business groups to ditch what they say would be a ruinously expensive treaty.

Source: Reuters


NORTH DAKOTA SUPREME COURT SAYS WATER BOARD CAN CONDEMN INDIAN LAND

In a case involving property rights and the power of tribal governments, the state Supreme Court ruled that a county water board may force an Indian tribe to sell land for a dam to control flooding. The decision this week sets a national precedent in some circumstances when a state or local government wants to purchase Indian land outside the tribal reservation, attorneys said. The case has drawn attention from state, county, and city officials, who said it presented a threat to their ability to acquire land for public projects.

Source: Associated Press


INDUSTRY STILL FAILING ON ENVIRONMENT, SAYS U.N. REPORT

Despite the best efforts of a minority of firms, world industry as a whole is failing to pull its weight on protecting the environment, a United Nations report concluded on Wednesday. Advances in the recycling of key materials and in car efficiency were still being outweighed by the effects of increased consumption, including a trend toward disposable products, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) found.

Source: Reuters


17th May 2002

ENERGY SECRETARY ADMITS THAT NUCLEAR WASTE WILL PILE UP EVEN AFTER YUCCA MOUNTAIN OPENS

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham acknowledged on Thursday that a proposed Nevada waste dump will be too small to accommodate all the nation's nuclear waste and might have to be expanded. Under intense questioning from Nevada's two senators, Abraham conceded that the Yucca Mountain repository as currently envisioned could handle only a fraction of the waste expected to be generated by commercial power plants and the government in the coming decade.

Source: Associated Press


U.S. HOUSE BILL WOULD TOUGHEN HARD-ROCK MINING RULES

An 1872 mining law criticized by green groups for giving U.S. companies cheap, easy access to federal land would be tightened under a bipartisan proposal offered by House lawmakers Thursday. The bill would hold mining companies more accountable for environmental damage, requiring them to pay an 8 percent royalty to the government for clean-up of harsh chemicals used in removing minerals such as gold, silver, and copper.

Source: Reuters


FOREST SERVICE REJECTS TREATMENT OF ALASKAN NATIONAL FOREST AS PROTECTED WILDERNESS

The Forest Service is rejecting the idea of treating more of Alaska's 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest as protected wilderness. Environmentalists say that recommendation will lead to new logging in the largest single area without roads in the country. The agency will recommend that Congress designate as wilderness an additional 1.4 million acres within Alaska's 5.3-million-acre Chugach National Forest, said Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, who oversees the Forest Service.

Source: Associated Press



Document last updated on Tuesday 30 August 2011

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