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Environmental, Campaign & Website News > Environmental News Network News Summary (15th-23rd August)

Environmental News Network News Summary (15th-23rd August)

Date : 23rd August 2002, Source : ENN



15th August 2002

VINES SPREAD, CHOKE TREES IN DEEPEST AMAZON JUNGLE

Jungle vines are spreading faster in South America's Amazon rainforest than before, choking trees and potentially slowing the forests' ability to soak up damaging greenhouse gases, scientists say. The spread of woody vines like the ones Tarzan swings from in the movies is the first change in plant composition that scientists have recorded in the deepest virgin jungle and suggests humankind is having more impact on delicate ecosystems than previously shown.

Source: Reuters


EPA ACCUSES TWO BIOTECH COMPANIES OF FAILING TO PROPERLY ISOLATE GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS

Biotechnology companies have failed to take proper precautions to prevent genetically modified corn from contaminating other crops growing nearby, federal regulators alleged for the first time. The allegations, lodged against two companies with experimental plots in Hawaii, came amid growing criticism concerning how genetically modified crops are grown and regulated in the United States.

Source: Associated Press


CHINA LANDSLIDE TOLL RISES, NO HOPE OF SURVIVORS

Rescue workers have dug 10 bodies from the landslide which ploughed through a remote village in southwest China, and there is little hope for 19 people still missing, state television and experts said on Wednesday. "There is little hope of finding any survivors," said Ding Jianbo, a retired engineer who used to work in the area in Yunnan province. Rescue workers would find only bodies, he said.

Source: Reuters


16th August 2002

TEN YEARS ON, THE RIO "CIRCUS" HEADS FOR SOUTH AFRICA

Jane Fonda, the actress, was there. So was Pele, the footballer. A relatively obscure U.S. senator called Al Gore swung into town and looked impressed at a symbolic "Tree of Life." John Denver sang for a spiritual parliament. Hollywood star Shirley MacLaine meditated with the Dalai Lama. Amazon Indians, Greenpeace activists, and the Beach Boys rubbed shoulders near the legendary Copacabana Beach.

Source: Reuters


MILLIONS BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL, UPROOTED BY MONSOON FLOODS IN INDIA'S REMOTE NORTHEAST

The flooded Brahmaputra River has cut a vicious swath through India's remote northeast, killing hundreds of people, leveling homes, washing away schools, and leaving millions homeless. Arun Kalita's village, Sootea in Assam state, was swept away, and he now lives with his wife and four children in a tarpaulin-roofed riverbank shelter in this rain-drenched town, depending on government handouts to stave off hunger for himself, his wife, and his children.

Source: Associated Press


EARTH SUMMIT TO BOOST ACTION ON UKRAINE'S BLIGHT

Chernobyl, rusting industrial relics of the Soviet era, heavy pollution, and mountains of waste: Ukraine has one of the world's bleakest environmental landscapes. But Environment Minister Serhiy Kurykin said on Thursday he hoped the Johannesburg Earth Summit later this month would bring changes to the ex-Soviet state by helping Ukraine fight widespread public indifference towards environmental issues.

Source: Reuters


OCEANS MAY CREATE RAIN THAT RINSES OUT POLLUTION

That refreshing breath of sea air may do more than raise the spirits. The world's oceans could be helping to clean the atmosphere, according to a study that says the salty sea spray encourages rain that washes out dust and other pollutants.

Source: Associated Press


MILD WINTERS, DUST, AND FLOODS IN NEW PLACES: CHINA GETS A YEAR OF EXTREME WEATHER

The rains came to China this year as they do almost every summer, starting their destruction in the south and spreading northward as the season heated up. Lakes swelled. Deadly torrents were unleashed. Hundreds died. But something different was happening: The places being flooded were part of China's arid belt, regions unaccustomed to dealing with so much water at once. Residents, many of them deeply poor, were blindsided.

Source: Associated Press


SINKING PACIFIC STATES SLAM U.S. OVER SEA LEVELS

Pacific island nations, those most at risk of sinking beneath rising sea levels, chided the United States on Thursday for not signing the Kyoto Protocol and urged big aid donor Australia to do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Six island states met at the start of the annual Pacific Islands Forum and expressed their grave concern about climate change. The former leader of one of the islands, Tuvalu, predicted the Pacific would submerge his country in 50 years.

Source: Reuters


20th August 2002

AS THE WORLD GROWS THIRSTY, A VITAL QUESTION: WHO OWNS WATER?

In a world fast running short of fresh water, a new debate rages: Private companies are free to exploit oil, "black gold," but what about the infinitely more valuable resource of "blue gold"? Two French companies alone Suez and Vivendi Environnement supply water to 230 million people around the globe, from U.S. cities like Atlanta to urban centers across the Third World.

Source: Associated Press


'SHOW ME THE MONEY' REPLACES CLIMATE CHANGE ON AGENDA FOR SECOND EARTH SUMMIT

When world leaders gather at the 10-year follow-up to the Earth Summit next week, Pascal van den Noort wants them to think about bicycles. The Dutch campaigner behind Bikes for Africa, which refurbishes used bikes in the West and sells them cheaply to Africa, talked about how cycling can alleviate poverty by enabling people to take jobs outside the communities.

Source: Associated Press


U.K. MINISTER ATTACKS U.S. PRESSURE OVER GM CROPS

Environment Minister Michael Meacher said on Monday Britain was being pressured by the United States to allow commercial planting of genetically modified (GM) crops. In an interview with the Independent newspaper, Meacher said he was skeptical of the benefits of GM and that any decisions to open up commercial planting of GM crops would be based on hard evidence. "We are not going to be bounced into this by the Americans," Meacher told the newspaper.

Source: Reuters


GREEN GROUPS SAY AUSTRALIA HAS DESTROYED ITS GOOD ENVIRONMENTAL REPUTATION

In the past decade Australia has destroyed its reputation as a good custodian of its unique environment and now generates more greenhouses gases per capita than any other wealthy nation, according to a study released Monday. Since the landmark U.N. Earth Summit in 1992, Australia has shifted from being an enthusiastic supporter of environmental reform to an international pariah, according to the study written by Australian academic Peter Christoff.

Source: Associated Press


21st August 2002

FEAR OF DISEASE, CHEMICAL LEAKS AS FLOODS RECEDE

Flood waters were receding across much of central Europe Tuesday, leaving the stench of debris and the fear of disease and chemical leaks from factories damaged in the region's worst natural disaster in decades. At least 97 people have died in storms and flooding in Germany, Russia, Austria, and the Czech Republic in recent weeks, sparked by weeks of heavy rain. Hundreds of thousands more have been driven from their homes, crops have been ruined, and buildings and roads destroyed. The damage in Germany alone is estimated at about $9.84 billion.

Source: Reuters


AMAZON INDIANS LOSE APPEAL OF TEXACO CASE RULING

Rainforest Indians of Ecuador and Peru have lost an appeal aimed at reinstating nine-year-old litigation against Texaco, alleging that toxic dumping devastated their environment and exposed residents to cancer-causing pollutants. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals Friday affirmed a trial court's ruling dismissing two class-action lawsuits on grounds that the United States was not the proper place for the litigation and that Ecuador would be a more convenient location.

Source: Reuters


ENVIRONMENTALISTS SUE ARMY ENGINEERS TO STOP EXPANSION OF MINING IN EVERGLADES

Three environmental groups sued the Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday to overturn a decision that would allow continued limestone mining in 5,409 acres of the Florida Everglades for the next 10 years. Environmentalists say the permits endanger drinking water and harm a $7.8 billion federal effort to revive the expansive wetlands area. The quarries, in the Lake Belt area of central Miami-Dade County bordering Everglades National Park, have been mined since the early 1950s.

Source: Associated Press


IRISH TAX ON SHOPPING BAGS NETS US$3.45 MILLION

A "green" tax on plastic shopping bags raised $3.45 million for Irish state coffers in the three months after it was introduced and slashed the use of the carriers, the government said Tuesday. Ireland's move to introduce a 15-cent surcharge on every plastic bag dispensed by shops is being closely watched by other countries, with authorities in Britain and the United States expressing interest in copying the scheme.

Source: Reuters


BUSH SCORNED FOR SKIPPING EARTH SUMMIT

Environmentalists berated President Bush Tuesday for opting to stay away from the United Nations Earth Summit in Johannesburg, saying it showed a new failure of leadership by the world's most powerful nation. Summit organizers and some U.S. allies brushed aside Bush's decision to stay home, saying the Aug. 26-Sept. 4 gathering would be unaffected in its goal of curbing global poverty while protecting the planet.

Source: Reuters


22nd August 2002

CHINA CALLS FLOOD EMERGENCY AS THOUSANDS TRY TO STEM LAKE THAT THREATENS CITY, VILLAGES

Officials were given emergency powers Wednesday to combat floodwaters in central China's Hunan province, where tens of thousands of workers were trying to hold back the rising waters of a lake that threaten to swamp a city and farming villages. In eastern Nepal on Wednesday, a landslide triggered by heavy monsoon rains swept through a mountain village, leaving at least 65 people feared dead, an official said. Helicopter flights to bring in relief material and rescuers from Nepal's capital Katmandu had to be postponed until Thursday because of bad weather.

Source: Associated Press


BUSH TO PROPOSE EASING LOGGING RESTRICTIONS TO LESSEN THREAT OF WILDFIRES

Responding to the rash of devastating wildfires that have swept the West this summer, President Bush is planning to ease restrictions on logging in national forests. Bush, who plans to visit a fire site Thursday in Oregon, is expected to propose changes to environmental laws to make it easier for timber companies to get approval to thin out federal forests and remove fire-prone dead trees and undergrowth.

Source: Associated Press


ENVIRONMENT, SOCIAL WOES COULD HURT DEVELOPMENT, SAYS WORLD BANK

Environmental disasters, income inequality, and social upheaval that have arisen from bad economic policies are threatening to derail the battle against poverty around the world, the World Bank warned Wednesday. In an annual report on development, the bank said poverty is falling. But the next 50 years when the world's population could grow by 3 billion and the global economy to $140 trillion will present more challenges to the establishment of sustainable world economic growth.

Source: Reuters


HIGHER FOOD PRICES FORECAST AS DROUGHT BITES

Drought on virtually every continent has slashed worldwide grain production, depleted inventories, and drained underground water tables, making higher food prices a certainty, the Earth Policy Institute said Wednesday. It also raises questions about how well the world will be able to feed itself during the next few decades, said Lester Brown, president of the environmental think tank.

Source: Reuters


GLOBAL FORUM TO PRESS LEADERS TO SAVE PLANET

Thousands of activists have gathered in Johannesburg for an alternative forum to the Earth Summit, which will press world leaders to stick to agreed targets and implement plans to save the planet. The so-called Global Forum will be launched on Friday in a Johannesburg stadium at a ceremony that will include speeches by South African President Thabo Mbeki and performances by African music icons such as Mali's Salif Keita and Nigerian Femi Kuti.

Source: Reuters


EARTH SUMMIT DOCUMENTS LACK BITE, EXPERTS SAY

Impenetrable and nebulous wording makes a draft text for next week's Earth Summit almost unintelligible but clearly exposes the divide between rich countries seeking to avoid solid commitments and poor nations eager for aid, experts say. They say the 77-page draft implementation plan, which will outline the Johannesburg summit's conclusions, is a weak document emasculated by ambiguous wording that will not commit signatory countries to meaningful action.

Source: Reuters


LONG ISLAND UTILITY CONSIDERS WIND FARMS IN OCEAN

Taking another step forward in its effort to harness the wind to generate electricity, New York's Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) issued a request Wednesday for information from potential developers of wind farms in the ocean off Long Island's south shore. "By harnessing the wind to generate electricity, Long Island will be taking a giant step forward in reducing its dependence on fossil-fuel-generated electricity, which in turn will help reduce power plant emissions on Long Island,'' said LIPA Chairman Richard Kessel in a statement.

Source: Reuters


23rd August 2002

CHINA READYING TO ADOPT CLIMATE CHANGE TREATY

China said on Thursday it is close to approving the Kyoto climate pact, a move that would give the protocol the backing of one of the world's top polluters and further isolate the United States in its rejection of the treaty. "We are currently making preparations on this matter, but it has not been finalized," a Foreign Ministry official said when asked if China would ratify the Kyoto treaty.

Source: Reuters


BRAZIL CREATES WORLD'S LARGEST TROPICAL NATIONAL PARK

A northern swath of Amazon rainforest bigger than Maryland and likely containing a treasure trove of undiscovered animal, insect, and plant species became the world's largest tropical national park Thursday. President Fernando Henrique Cardoso signed a decree creating the Tumucumaque (too-moo-koo-MAH-kee) Mountains National Park, covering a virtually uninhabited region of virgin rainforest in Amapa state, along Brazil's northern borders with Surinam and Guyana.

Source: Associated Press


NORWAY SCRAPS EXPERIMENT TO DUMP CO2 AT SEA

Norway bowed to protests by environmentalists on Thursday and denied permission for a controversial experiment to dump tons of liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) into the ocean off its shores. Carbon dioxide, produced by burning fossil fuels, is one of the gases that causes global warming. Researchers believe dumping it in liquid form deep in the ocean will help reduce the carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere.

Source: Reuters


ACTIVISTS PREDICT PEACEFUL PROTESTS DURING UPCOMING U.N. SUMMIT UNLESS POLICE OVERREACT

Activists coming to the World Summit on Sustainable Development say they are planning massive demonstrations that will be organized and peaceful -- unless police provoke them. "We're not seeking violent confrontation at all," said Dale McKinley, a spokesman for Social Movement Indaba, an umbrella organization of activist groups. But "if the security forces react in a heavy-handed manner, we will not be intimidated, and we will not be chased away."

Source: Associated Press





Document last updated on Tuesday 30 August 2011

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