ARAB TIMES, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2010
World News Roundup
‘Waste pickers’ heard
on UN stage
CANCUN, Mexico, Dec 3, (AP):
Clambering over garbage heaps, rum-
maging through trash cans, 13-year-
old Supriya Bhadakwad didn’t set
out to save the planet, just her family.
But two decades later, in the global
arena of climate negotiations, the lit-
tle sari-clad Indian
and other scav-
engers are making
their voices heard,
tilting with big cor-
porate players in a
tug-of-war over the
they’re taking on are
Bhadakwad companies building
wide to burn waste from landfills,
material generations of “waste pickers”
have survived on. Many of the projects
are supported by private funds raised
under the UN climate treaty.
Bhadakwad had come 11,000 miles
(18,000 kms) to the annual UN cli-
mate conference in Cancun on behalf
of 6,000 organized landfill recyclers
in her native Pune, India, to demand
access to the waste now trucked
instead to a new incinerator. Without
their dump, they’re trying to survive
by going door to door for trash in a
community 12 miles (20 kms) away.
“We have a right to the waste that
can be recycled,” Bhadakwad told a
reporter. “We want to continue mak-
ing a living without interference from
such big private companies.”
Their environmentalist allies say
some 50 million people worldwide
depend on scavenging for a meager
livelihood. And these advocates and
poor recyclers have an environmental Mono Lake tufa towers are seen in this Nov 15, 2004, file photo near Lee Vining, Calif. The discovery of a strange bacteria that can use arsenic as one of its nutrients widens the scope for finding new forms of life on
Earth and possibly beyond. But the researchers found that the bacteria, discovered in Mono Lake, is able to continue to grow after substituting arsenic for phosphorous. (Inset): (Left to right), Felisa Wolfe-Simon, NASA
argument to make: astrology research fellow, speaks while flanked by Mary Voytek, NASA director, Astrobiology Program, Steven Benner, distinguished fellow Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution and Pamela Conrad, astrobiologist,
Incinerators not only produce toxic NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, during a news conference at NASA Headquarters to announce a finding of a potential new form of life. (Agencies)
pollution, but “by burning waste they
increase carbon dioxide emissions,”
the biggest global warming gas, said Microbe discovery opens new horizons
Mariel Vilella, a campaigner with the
international group GAIA, the Global The discovery of a strange bacteria that sidered essential. the journal Science. after substituting arsenic for phospho- what life looks like, Anbar said.
Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. can use arsenic as one of its nutrients “This organism has dual capability. It can Six major elements have long been rous. The study focuses on a microbe found
widens the scope for finding new forms of grow with either phosphorous or arsenic. considered essential for life — carbon, “It makes you wonder what else is pos- on Earth. However, the announcement of
Recycling life on Earth and possibly beyond. That makes it very peculiar, though it falls hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus sible,” said Ariel D. Anbar of Arizona State a news conference to discuss it, which
By collecting and recycling plastic While researchers discovered the short of being some form of truly ‘alien’ life,” and sulfur. University, a co-author of the report. did not disclose details of the find, gener-
bags and bottles, glass, aluminum and unusual bacteria here on Earth, they say commented Paul C. W. Davies of Arizona But the researchers found that the bac- The find is important in the search for ated widespread speculation on the
other material, those 50 million scav- it shows that life has possibilities beyond State University, a co-author of the report teria, discovered in Mono Lake, life beyond Earth because researchers Internet that the report would disclose the
engers “represent a huge opportunity to the major elements that have been con- appearing in Thursday’s online edition of California, is able to continue to grow need to be able to recognize life, to know discovery of extraterrestrial life. (AP)
reduce greenhouse gas emissions,”
Vilella told reporters, since what’s
destroyed must be replaced by items Climate
newly manufactured and transported in
a process using up natural resources
and producing more greenhouse gases.
“For decades we’ve been part of
the solution for solid waste manage-
ment on this planet,” said Exequiel
Ocean acidification could harm fisheries
Estay, head of a Chilean scavenger
India hopes to break logjam
association. “We demand that our
jobs become sustainable.”
They’re also demanding that
organized waste pickers and civic
groups around the world have access
to a global fund within the UN cli-
mate treaty structure to support local CANCUN, Mexico, Dec 3, (RTRS): record. “India is clearly trying to be construc- was expected to set up a carbon market
recycling programs. Such a fund is An Indian proposal could break a India recently released a plan that tive,” Michael Levi, a fellow on climate that would help raise money for the
one item under discussion at the deadlock between rich and poor coun- countries — rich or rapidly developing at the Council on Foreign Relations. financing.
Cancun conference. tries over how to share the burdens of — that contribute more than 1 percent of For the United States, an agreement with Pressure on climate negotiators was
Under the UN’s Clean tackling global warming, India’s envi- global greenhouse gases should report India could put pressure on China to come also growing as evidence mounted that
Development Mechanism (CDM), UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres ronment minister said on Thursday their actions and their emissions to the on board or risk looking like it is not doing 2010 would be one of three hottest
international support already flows to poses with a T-shirt from the before heading to UN climate talks in United Nations every three years. enough to fight global warming. recorded and that human actions like
some incinerator projects that burn International Youth Climate Organization Mexico. Jonathan Pershing, the deputy US cli- India’s Ramesh said an agreement on burning fossil fuels and cutting down
waste to produce energy — instead of during the United Nations Climate India’s environment minister Jairam mate negotiator, was not immediately so-called transparency could lead to big- forests was to blame.
burning fossil fuels that produce even Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, Ramesh said a proposal that would available to comment on Ramesh’s ger agreements on climate, like protect- Michael Jarraud, the head of the UN’s
more carbon dioxide — and to proj- Dec 2. A scorching summer that killed require countries to report what actions assessment. ing forests and financing. World Meteorological Organization, said
thousands in Russia and exceptionally they are taking to fight global warming But there was also risk for the United at a news conference that 2010 could be
ects that capture methane gas emitted mild winters in the Arctic were among Hope
by landfills. could win critical support from the States. If it agrees on one of the key the warmest year since 1850, the first
extreme weather events that have put United States and increase chances that But on Wednesday he told reporters aspects of the talks in Cancun, it could year such records were kept. It also caps
Because they reduce greenhouse 2010 on track to be one of the three there was hope the United States and
gas emissions, those projects are hottest years on record, UN experts said
representatives at the UN climate talks put pressure on Washington to work out a record-warm decade.
could reach a broader agreement. India could move forward on the issue of another one: long-term financing for poor “The trend is of very significant warm-
awarded CDM credits that can be Thursday. (AP)
of measuring, reporting and verifying
sold on the booming global carbon “It is basically meant to break the log- countries to help them mitigate climate ing,” Jarraud said. “If nothing is done ...
jam and it is basically meant to bring the emissions. change and adapt to more storms, floods (temperatures) will go up and up,” he
market, to help coal-fired power “Coming in, it was quite clear that we
plants elsewhere, for example, meet US in because without some progress in and heatwaves. said.
(transparency) the US is not going to were converging,” Pershing said. “But “It also puts the US on the hot seat for And emissions of carbon dioxide, the
their emissions reduction quotas. we’ve not yet reached agreement.”
come on board,” Ramesh said before the money,” Levi said. The United States, main greenhouse gas, threaten fish sup-
The GAIA group proposes alterna- traveling to the summit. The Indian proposal would not penal- Norway and other rich countries agreed plies. Acidification of the seas caused by
tive approaches: Don’t burn anything, Ramesh’s hopeful assessment came on ize poor countries if they did not meet at last year’s climate talks in Copenhagen carbon dioxide could threaten fisheries
but deliver decomposing organic a day that the UN released more pes- pledges on emissions reductions. to financing of $100 billion per year by production and is causing the fastest shift
waste to facilities that will capture and simistic climate news. It said 2010 would Analysts said the Indian proposal pro- 2020. in ocean chemistry in 65 million years, a
use methane gas for electricity produc- be one of the top three hottest years on vided a good foundation. Since then the US climate bill failed. It UN study showed.
tion, and leave solid waste to the land-
fills for waste-picker collection.
“In San Francisco, 77 percent of Deformed beaks puzzle scientists: beak deformities that is confounding scientists. in large numbers about a decade ago, and are parts of the Pacific northwest, said Caroline
organic waste is diverted in this way,” Pauly Handel Crows, chickadees and other birds living year- The grossly overgrown, overly-curved and now being widely reported across southern Van Hemert, a wildlife biologist.
said GAIA’s Christie Keith. round in Alaska are suffering an epidemic of sometimes crossed beaks started showing up and interior Alaska, as well as neighboring “It’s really rare to have so many birds in a
Her organization and other sup- geographic area that are affected at one time,”
porters flew representatives of scav- said Van Hemert, who co-authored a pair of
enger associations from eight nations Ecology 7-month trip studies published in the current edition of The
to Cancun to, among other things, Auk, the quarterly journal of the American
raise their concerns with the CDM Ornithologists’ Union.
board of directors at an open discus-
sion Tuesday, when they urged the
‘No new fishing grounds’: The world’s
fishing industry is fast running out of new
X-37B back home The most dramatic problems seem to be in
Northwestern crows, she said.
ocean fishing grounds to exploit as it depletes VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE,
Van Hemert and fellow US Geological
board to reconsider its approval of Survey scientist Colleen Handel found the rate
such incinerator and landfill projects. existing areas through unsustainable harvest- California, Dec 3, (AP): The US Air
ing practices, according to a study published Force’s secrecy-shrouded X-37B of beak deformities among adult crows to be
On Wednesday, a dozen garbage on Thursday. unmanned spaceplane returned to 16.9 percent, the highest rate of gross deformi-
recyclers from Latin America, India Expansion into unexploited fishing grounds Earth early Friday after more than ties ever recorded in a wild bird population.
and South Africa unfurled banners on allowed global catches to increase for decades, seven months in orbit on a classified On some parts of the Kenai Peninsula,
the steps of a conference meeting and disguised the fact that older areas were mission, officials said. south of Anchorage, the beak deformity rate
hall, with slogans reading “Respect being depleted, according researchers at the The winged craft autonomously hit 36 percent, according to the biologists’
for Waste Pickers” and “Zero Waste University of British Columbia and National landed at at Vandenberg Air Force research. (RTRS)
for Climate Justice.” Geographic. Base on the California coast 130 ❑ ❑ ❑
“We knew the expansion was going on, but miles northwest of Los Angeles,
“We Are Climate Fighters,” they Vandenburg spokesman Jeremy Judge denies request: A judge on
declared. this is the first time we have quantified it,” Thursday denied a request by five US states to
said Daniel Pauly, a scientist at the Eggers said.
The appearance on the world stage “It’s very exciting,” Eggers said of close off man-made waterways that connect
Vancouver-based university who co-authored the Great Lakes to inland rivers, ruling there
of people from the dumps of poorer the report published in the online journal the 1:16 a.m. PST landing.
nations, seeking the subsidies of the The X-37B was launched by an was no imminent threat of Asian carp entering
PLoS ONE. (http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/jour- Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral, the lakes.
rich, points up how global warming is nal.pone.0015143) Florida, on April 22, with a maximum Five states bordering the lakes, led by
changing not just the climate but is About 19 million tonnes of fish were landed mission duration of 270 days. Michigan, had sought a preliminary injunction
upending entire sectors of traditional in 1950, and that increased to a peak of 90 Also known as the Orbital Test that would have required the US Army Corps
economies, as more and more billions million tonnes a year in the late 1980s, accord- Vehicle, the Boeing-built spacecraft of Engineers to immediately shut off the
of dollars are mobilized in the new ing to the researchers, who looked at data A Proton-M rocket, carrying three satellites for Russian Glonass navigation system, was originally a Nasa project before waterways, arguing action was necessary to
realm of carbon finance. from 1950 to 2005. (RTRS) was transported to the launch pad in the Kazakhstan’s Baikonur cosmodrome early being taken over by the military. head off a disaster for the lakes’ $7 billion
❑ ❑ ❑ on Dec 2. The launch of the rocket with a trio of satellites is scheduled on Dec 5. (AFP) fishery. (RTRS)