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Environmental, Campaign & Website News > Environmental News Network News Summary (27th-30th August)

Environmental News Network News Summary (27th-30th August)

Date : 30th August 2002, Source : ENN



27th August 2002

CAMPAIGNERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD DETERMINED TO MAKE VOICES HEARD AT WORLD

Activists campaigning for everything from access to clean water to world peace vowed Monday to make their voices heard while those in power attend a U.N. environmental summit. As representatives of government, businesses and international organizations met in the exclusive Sandton suburb for the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development, campaigners from around the world began their own talks on poverty eradication, environmental protection, globalization, health and education at the Global Peoples' Forum on the outskirts of the sprawling township of Soweto.

Source: Associated Press


WHITE HOUSE ASKED TO REJECT DRILLING IN UTAH CANYONS

The Bush administration's energy policies came under attack Monday by a coalition of small businesses urging the White House not to allow oil drilling in southern Utah's tourist-popular canyon areas. The Bush administration wants to open more public lands in Western states to drilling to help boost domestic oil supplies and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign imports.

Source: Reuters


TOKYO SWELTERS AS ALL THOSE PEOPLE PRODUCE CLIMATE-CHANGING HEAT

Tokyo has become so crowded that scientists say the accumulated heat from all the human activity is changing local weather patterns -- a sort of global warming but on the scale of a single city. In Japan's capital, morning fog has become a thing of the past. Evening thunderstorms, once a symbol of summer, are now more likely to come well after dark, or before dawn.

Source: Associated Press


WORLD'S CORAL REEFS IN SERIOUS DECLINE; OVERFISHING WORSENS SITUATION

Scientists say the first global survey of the health of the world's coral reefs shows they are in serious decline, with overfishing worsening a crisis situation. Scientists and volunteers found that overfishing has affected 95 percent of the more than 1,000 coral reefs monitored since 1997. At least four species of reef fish, hunted as food or to adorn aquariums, face extinction, further threatening the biodiversity of the marine ecosystems.

Source: Associated Press


CAMBODIA HOPES WORST OF FLOODS ARE OVER -- FOR NOW

Floodwater levels on the lower stretches of the Mekong river eased over the weekend, officials said on Monday, raising hope that Cambodia might not suffer a repeat of disastrous floods two years ago in which hundreds died. The death toll in a week of seasonal floods on the Mekong, which flows through the heart of Cambodia, now stands at eight. Over 2,000 families in central provinces have had to be evacuated to higher ground.

Source: Reuters


28th August 2002

YOUNGSTERS CHALLENGE EARTH SUMMIT SCEPTICS

Celebrating his 14th birthday during the Earth Summit, Will Coulby is among the youngest delegates to the United Nations meeting in Johannesburg hoping to ensure the future of the world for his generation. But despite the age gap between his colleagues in the summit's "Youth Caucus" and the graying government delegations whose negotiations dominate the headlines, he says young people's very presence will make others sit up and take notice.

Source: Reuters


EARTH SUMMIT DELEGATES CLASH OVER RENEWABLE ENERGY

Negotiators at the Johannesburg Earth Summit have clashed over the future of green energy, an issue at the heart of sustainable development, delegates said Tuesday. Renewable energies like wind and solar are being touted at the summit as possible ways of getting electricity to the 2.5 billion people who do not have it today, without adding to the pollution caused by fossil fuels or nuclear power. But the issue has divided the nearly 200 nations attending the World Summit on Sustainable Development, with some countries resisting calls for a global target for increasing the use of renewable fuels.

Source: Reuters


GOODALL URGES LOGGERS TO SAVE AFRICAN FORESTS

Africa's ravaged rainforests and their wealth of species are doomed unless greens help persuade logging firms to change their ways, renowned primates expert Jane Goodall said Tuesday. "We must engage the logging firms as well as governments to preserve the forests," Goodall said. The 68-year-old Briton and United Nations "Messenger of Peace" famed for her studies of chimpanzees in Tanzania is in Johannesburg for the 10-day U.N. Earth Summit that started Monday.

Source: Reuters


FEW LISTEN AS TINY ISLAND OF TUVALU FEARS DESTRUCTION FROM GLOBAL WARMING

The tiny island nation of Tuvalu sees the issue of global warming as a matter of life and death. Few at the U.N. development summit seem to care. The United States does not want the gathering to commit to specific pollution controls. The world's developing nations -- many of them major oil producers -- have little interest in helping a nation of 12,000 people that fears it will be crushed by storms, rising ocean levels and disruptions to marine life.

Source: Associated Press


FLOODS A WAKE-UP CALL ON CLIMATE CHANGE, SCIENTIST SAYS

The devastating floods that have killed scores of people across central Europe are the wake-up call that could push industrial nations to act faster to stop the planet from heating up, a leading scientist said on Tuesday. Robert Watson, now the World Bank's chief scientist since he was ousted from the chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) in April due to U.S. opposition, insists dramatic floods and droughts will become more frequent.

Source: Reuters


ACTIVISTS TO DEFY BAN WITH JOHANNESBURG MARCH

Environmental activists at the Earth Summit vowed Tuesday to press ahead with a banned protest march Saturday, setting them on a collision course with South African police. The protesters, based at the so-called Global Forum in an industrial district of southern Johannesburg, have been barred from staging the demonstration because they refused to agree to stick to a prescribed route, security officials said.

Source: Reuters


JANE GOODALL WORRIES ANTI-TERRORISM FIGHT DISTRACTS FROM ENVIRONMENT

Primate expert Jane Goodall told participants at the U.N. development summit Tuesday the fight against terrorism threatens to overshadow environmental concerns in the United States. Goodall also expressed concern that anti-globalization protesters will divert attention from the summit proceedings.

Source: Associated Press


29th August 2002

MANDELA BRINGS POVERTY SUMMIT BACK DOWN TO EARTH

As rich and poor nations argued bitterly over the finer points of a plan to help the world's poor Wednesday, Nelson Mandela brought their summit down to earth with a humbling plea for his own home village. Mandela, speaking away from the grand and heavily guarded Johannesburg convention center that is hosting the mammoth, 10-day Earth Summit, painted a bleak picture of privation and thirst in South Africa's Eastern Cape. "When I return, as I often do, to the rural village and area of my childhood and youth, the poverty of the people and the devastation of the natural environment painfully strikes me," the 84-year-old former president said of his native Qunu.

Source: Reuters


U.S. FACES LEGAL BATTLES AS CLIMATE BOGEYMAN

The United States faces new challenges in the courts over its climate policies despite its denials that as the world's biggest polluter it is responsible for global warming. Wednesday the government of tiny Pacific island state Tuvalu said it planned to launch lawsuits within a year against the United States and Australia. Both have rejected the Kyoto climate pact. The country, which is only 13 feet above sea level at its highest point, faces oblivion if scientists' gloomy scenarios prove right and global warming causes the sea to rise.

Source: Reuters


INDUSTRY JOINS GREENPEACE TO DEMAND CLIMATE ACTION

An array of big businesses joined forces with an unlikely ally Wednesday to call on governments meeting at the Earth Summit to take clear action to tackle global climate change. A group representing 160 multinationals made a joint statement with the environmental group Greenpeace calling on world leaders for an international system for halting global warming. The statement by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development stopped just short of fully endorsing the Kyoto pact on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: Reuters


FISHING AGREEMENT DISAPPOINTS CONSERVATION GROUPS

Negotiators at the World Summit on Sustainable Development on Wednesday hailed an agreement to protect marine ecosystems from commercial trawlers and to replenish vulnerable fish stocks by 2015. But some conservation groups said the provision appears weak and does not offer real protection to many imperiled fish species. Biologists said the target date might be adequate for fish species that reach maturity in a few years, but it is too far in the future to fully protect shark, tuna, swordfish, orange roughy, and other species that reproduce slowly and take up to 40 years to grow to full-size.

Source: Associated Press


GREENPEACE WANTS IRISH NAVY IN NUCLEAR PROTEST

Greenpeace called on Ireland Wednesday to use its navy to block two ships carrying nuclear fuel to Britain from entering Irish waters when they reach the Irish Sea next week. The measure would be largely symbolic, since the cargo ships can still reach Britain, but would send a powerful message, the group said. "The Irish government, if it made a loud enough noise, could stop this shipment entering their waters," Greenpeace anti-nuclear coordinator Shaun Burnie said aboard its flagship Rainbow Warrior, docked in Dublin since Tuesday. The group suggested the ban be extended beyond the 12-mile territorial waters to the 25-mile "economic exclusion zone."

Source: Reuters


SUBURBAN SPRAWL BLOCKS WATER, WORSENS U.S. DROUGHT

Suburban strip malls, office buildings, and other paved areas have worsened the drought covering half the United States by blocking billions of gallons of rainwater from seeping through the soil to replenish ground water, environmental groups said Wednesday. A report issued jointly by the Natural Resources Defense Council, American Rivers, and Smart Growth America gives the first estimate of U.S. ground water losses due to suburban sprawl over the past two decades. Atlanta is the nation's most rapidly sprawling metropolitan area, creating an additional 57 billion to 133 billion gallons of polluted water runoff each year, the report said. Atlanta loses enough water to supply the average household needs of up to 3.6 million people a year, the report said.

Source: Reuters


30th August 2002

WORLD BANK PANEL TO REVIEW GM, OTHER TECHNOLOGIES

Genetic modification (GM) and other controversial farming techniques will face an international scientific jury to see if they are safe under an initiative unveiled by the World Bank Thursday. The bank intends to create an international panel to review the science on issues like GM crops, irrigation, and organics, to help governments decide which technologies to use and which to avoid. The project's launch, on the sidelines of the Johannesburg Earth Summit, took place during fierce debate in southern Africa about the safety of GM food. Zambia, where 2.4 million people face starvation, has refused genetically modified food aid from the United States because it fears the food may harm its people or environment.

Source: Reuters


EMBATTLED U.S. GOES ON OFFENSIVE AT EARTH SUMMIT

Hitting back at critics who brand it the uncaring tool of greedy big business, the Bush administration showcased hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid projects at the Earth Summit Thursday. But Third World activists and environmentalists, as well as opposition Congressmen, cried foul, saying the money was not new and involved partnerships with corporations that would profit more than the poor billions in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. "You get this love-hate thing. It's just part of being the most powerful nation in the world," said Andrew Natsios, Administrator of U.S. foreign aid body, USAID, who accused other countries of being big on talk but short on real action.

Source: Reuters


PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS ABOUND AT EARTH SUMMIT

Big business is making a big appearance at the World Summit for Sustainable Development, more than ever at any other U.N. conference, and not just in helping South Africa get the massive event up and running. While non-governmental groups are based at an exhibition center about 20 miles away from the main action, the business lobby is camped out at the Hilton just down the street. Activists have accused Western governments of trying to shift responsibility for helping the world's poor and corporations of trying to hijack the summit's outcome to water-down environmental rules and increase profits.

Source: Associated Press


BUSH ADMINISTRATION REVIEWS NEW ENVIRONMENT LAW

The Bush administration is reviewing a landmark environmental law both reviled and praised because it requires lengthy studies before foresters cut a tree or developers start to dig. White House officials say they want to modernize the 32-year-old law they blame for bureaucratic gridlock, but environmentalists fear it's a move to roll back crucial protections. At issue is the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. Signed by President Nixon in 1970, the law requires developers, loggers, and others to describe in detail the impact a proposed project will have on the environment and come up with measures to minimize them.

Source: Associated Press


GREENPEACE ASKS U.S. TO EXTRADITE BHOPAL FIGURE

Environmental group Greenpeace said Thursday it had located a former head of Union Carbide in New York and called on U.S. authorities to extradite him to India, where he is wanted in connection with the 1984 gas disaster that killed thousands. The leak from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in the central Indian city of Bhopal was one of the world's worst industrial accidents and killed 3,000 people at the time. Thousands of others were left with lifetime illnesses. Greenpeace said in a statement that members accompanied by journalists visited Warren Anderson at his home in Long Island, New York, and served him with what they called a citizens' arrest warrant about 10 days ago.

Source: Reuters





Document last updated on Tuesday 30 August 2011

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