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2011Sep07.doc - UNEP


									                        THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                          Wednesday, 7 September 2011

                       UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

        Standard (Kenya): Residents benefit from Rhino Ark fence
        Nairobi Star (Kenya): Aberdares Benefits Equal Health Budget
        Botswana Gazette (Botswana): Botswana to be advised on sustainable development and
         poverty reduction approaches
        Sudan Vision (Sudan): Child Poverty and Deprivation in Africa (2-3)
        Kuwait News Agency (Kuwait): Kuwaiti Ambassador to Kenya meets local Foreign
        Inter Press Service: Rainforest Road Will Have Environmental and Cultural Impacts
        National Business Review (New Zealand): Government grant to recycle old TV parts
        Sun Star (Philippines): Editorial: Ecosystems and food security
        Himalayan Times (Nepal): Three-day meet aims at 'green economy'
        Ghana Business News (Ghana): World Tourism Organisation introduces e-tool to check
         energy consumptions, boost profits of hotels
        ISRIA (France): UN - Press Conference by Under-Secretary-General following Opening
         Session of Sixty-fourth Annual DPI/NGO Conference
        Afrique en Ligne: Nigeria Sustainable Finance Week

                             Other Environment News

       Eurasia Review: Highway Through Rainforest To Have Both Environmental And
        Cultural Impacts
       Scoop (New Zealand): Proposals sought for new TV recycling programme
       Boston Globe (USA): Troubled Solyndra files Chapter 11
       New York Times (USA): Boats Banned From Dumping Sewage in Long Island
       Guardian (UK): Glencore reveals record of fatalities and environmental fines
       IOL (South Africa): Countdown to climate conference
       Perth Now (Australia): Bid to import and breed silver foxes in Australia sparks
        environmental concerns
       Angola Press Society (Angola): Urban centres expansion leads to environmental
        imbalance – Minister
 62% of deforested Amazon land ends up as cattle pasture
 Germany proves the promise of renewable energy: hits 20
        percent renewables

                  Environmental News from the UNEP Regions

      ROLAC
      RONA

                                   Other UN News

      Environment News from the UN Daily News of 7 September 2011 (None)
      Environment News from the S.G.’s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 6
       September 2011

                   UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

Standard (Kenya): Residents benefit from Rhino Ark fence

6 September 2011

The completion of a 400km long electrified fence in the Aberdare Forest has drastically
reduced the rampant cases of human-wildlife conflict, a new study has revealed.

The study, The Environmental, Social and Economic Assessment of the Fencing of the
Aberdare Conservation Area, revealed that communities neighbouring the Aberdare
National Park have enjoyed safer living conditions since the completion of the fence in

According to the findings, there has been remarkable improvement in the security of local
people, including school-going children who now face fewer risks from animal attacks.
Over the years, residents have suffered numerous elephant and baboon invasions that
have resulted in crop and livestock loss.

Speaking during the launch of the report at the UN offices in Nairobi, chairman of the
Rhino Ark Management Committee, Colin Church said the completion of the fence marked
a milestone in conserving the Aberdare and noted that it had brought socio-economic

“Food security and household incomes have improved since wildlife are no longer a
problem to crops and livestock,” said Church.

He pointed out that land value in the region had also improved, going up by as much as
300 per cent in some cases. He attributed this to the separation of humans and wildlife.
Consequently, residents’ confidence in lands adjacent to the park has been restored.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner who was also present at the launch observed that
instances where cattle rustlers used the forest as an escape route had ceased, and that
disease transmission between wildlife and livestock was greatly reduced.

Forest cover

On water resources, the report showed that the volume of water in rivers emanating from
the Aberdare was more stable than in rivers flowing from Mount Kenya, a fact it attributed
to better land cover in the ecosystem. Forest cover in the Aberdare had increased by 20.6
per cent between 2005 and last year.

The installation of the fence took 20 years and cost an estimated Sh800 million.

The study was co-funded by UNEP, Rhino Ark and Kenya Forest Working Group, and
supported by the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Greenbelt Movement.

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Nairobi Star (Kenya): Aberdares Benefits Equal Health Budget

6 September 2011

A study released by the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi yesterday
reveals that the Aberdares provides benefits equal to Kenya's annual health budget.

The study shows that Kenyans enjoy annual benefits worth Sh59.3 billion from the
extensive forest. This is close to the Sh64 billion the government spends in running the
twin ministries of health in a year.

The benefits counted include water supply to Nairobi, Central and parts of Rift Valley
provinces, increased wild animals, and protection of farms of neighbouring communities
among others. The year-long study found out that forest cover has increased by 20.6 per
cent since 2006 while cultivated areas within the forest decreased by half.

It says the forest, now fully secured with an electric fence, has dramatically improved
lives of millions of people in Nairobi, Central Kenya and parts of the Rift Valley. "It is a
true success story that will be shared at the Earth Summit next year," said Unep
executive director Achim Steiner while launching the report yesterday."Cattle rustlers
who have used the forest as an escape route has ceased and disease transmission
between wildlife and livestock has greatly reduced," said Colin Church, head of the
Rhino Ark Charitable Trust who fenced the forest. Colin yesterday said the rivers of
Aberdares are now more stable than the Mount Kenya rivers.

He called for a fund to maintain the fence which is also partly funded by the government.
Kenya Forest Service officer Emilio Mugo revealed that water boards across the country
may soon levy users to contribute to this fund. "It will be a small fee because we do not
want to increase the cost of water," he said.

Colin also asked the government to control access to the Aberdares to fully eliminate
logging, poaching and other illegal activities. "Whilst the fence protects farmers' land, it is
not, nor was it designed to be human-proof," he said. The fence took about 20 years to
complete at a cost of Sh1 billion, mostly donated by the public and foreign donors. The
main fundraising event has been the rhino charge.

Colin said they will now encircle Mt Kenya Forest with an electric fence in the next four
years. "It will need Sh1 billion to build," he said. Mau Eburru Forest in Rift Valley will also
be fenced at a cost of Sh100 million. The Aberdares is a series of mountain ranges in
central Kenya and is the main source of water for Nairobi.

It has long been defiled by ruthless poaching of black rhino and logging of indigenous
trees. This was however stopped by the 400-km fence. The study released yesterday
was requested by The Rhino Ark Trust, and co-funded by UNEP and the Kenya Forests
Working Group. The Kenya Wildlife Service, the Kenya Forest Service and the
Greenbelt Movement also supported the project.

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Botswana Gazette (Botswana): Botswana to be advised on sustainable
development and poverty reduction approaches

6 September 2011

The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the UNDP/UNEP Poverty -
Environment Initiative (PEI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment Wildlife and
Tourism and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) will hold
a two-day workshop to raise awareness and build capacity on Green Economy.

The workshop will also discuss different ways in which green economy is understood, its
relevance, opportunities and its shortfalls within the context of Botswana’s economy,
poverty eradication and pro-poor economic growth.

The workshop which will assist in preparing Botswana for the upcoming Green Economy
conference is expected to bring together government officials, civil society organisations,
private sector representatives and key resource persons who are stakeholders in
pursuing and promoting poverty eradication, pro-poor inclusive economic growth,
environmental management and sustainable development pathway. The workshop
begins tomorrow and the Grand Palm Hotel.

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Sudan Vision (Sudan): Child Poverty and Deprivation in Africa (2-3)

7 September 2011

Children account for a large percentage of the income-poor and the severely deprived
worldwide. At least 600 million children under the age of 18 around the world are
surviving on less than $1 a day; 40 per cent of these children live in developing
countries. Every second child in developing countries is deprived of even the minimum
opportunities in life.

Deprivation in water and sanitation

A child’s level of access to safe drinking water is a function of her/his poverty status. A
study in South Africa showed that in 2006, only 47.1 per cent of poor and 41 per cent of
ultra-poor children had access to “running water indoor or on site”, compared with 82 per
cent of the non-poor who had such access.
Children without access to adequate water are exposed to substantial health risks,
including diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. Lack of access to adequate water is
also closely related to poor sanitation and hygiene. In 2004, only 58 per cent of the
population in sub-Saharan Africa had access to safe water, the lowest rate in the world.
In this region, a baby’s chance of dying from diarrhoea is almost 520 times the chance of
a baby in Europe or the United States. According to UNICEF, in countries such as
Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda, four out of five children either use surface water or have
to walk more than 15 minutes to find a protected water source, oft en at the expense of
school time.

Studies across different countries show that sanitation is one of the major determinants
of child survival: the transition from unimproved to improved sanitation combined with
hygiene awareness and behaviour change reduces overall child mortality by about a
third. Improved sanitation also brings advantages for public health, livelihoods and
dignity – advantages that extend beyond households to the general population.
Despite the benefits of access to sanitation services, Africa’s sanitation coverage is
lamentably low, with only about 36 per cent of the population having access to adequate
facilities. A third of sub-Saharan African countries have coverage rates of 33 per cent or
less.74 In 2004, Eritrea had sanitation coverage of only 9 per cent, and only 13 per cent
of Ethiopia’s population accessed adequate sanitation facilities.

In some areas, especially in urban slums where basic sanitation is lacking, people have
to rise before dawn, making their way in the darkness to fields, railroad tracks and
roadsides, where, due to the lack of access to toilets, they defecate in the open, or in
plastic bags that are then thrown onto the streets. These bags – so-called “flying toilets”,
commonly used in Kibera, a slum in Nairobi, Kenya, and in some parts of Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia – highlight what it means to be without sanitary services.
Considering present trends, unless appropriate steps are taken to increase the coverage
of water and sanitation services, an additional 133 million African children will have died
from diarrhoea by 2015. Universal access to even the most basic water and sanitation
facilities would reduce the financial burden on health systems in developing countries by
about US$1.6 billion annually – and by US$610 million in sub-Saharan Africa, a saving
that represents about 7 per cent of the region’s health budget.

Deprivation in shelter

It is universally recognised that the house is the place where the child should be able to
eat, laugh, play and live in security and dignity. Despite this, however, more than 198
million sub-Saharan African children are said to be living in one or more forms of severe
shelter deprivation.
In Egypt alone, because of a dire urban housing problem, more than 5 million poor
Egyptian families – equivalent to the entire population of Eritrea – are living in
cemeteries in the populous city of Cairo.
The number of Africa’s homeless is increasing due to rampant forced evictions.
Evictions, oft en accompanied by disproportionate use of force and other abuses, are
currently known to have taken place in Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria and

Sudan. The impact of eviction on family stability and on children’s emotional wellbeing
can be devastating; the experience has been described as comparable to war for
children in terms of the developmental consequences. Even when evictions are followed
by immediate relocation, the effects on children can be destructive and unsettling.
Conflicts have become an important cause of massive displacements of people across
the continent. Millions of people across Africa live in makeshift camps and tents because
of war-driven internal displacements, without access even to rudimentary forms of water
and sanitation services. In Darfur alone, at least 2.5 million people were internally
displaced by the end of 2006, and about 1.5 million people were displaced from their
homes in Somalia because of ongoing conflict. Some have transformed themselves into
permanent settlements. The famous Ngara refugee camp in Tanzania, set up for people
who escaped the terrible atrocities in the Rwandan genocide in the early 1990s, has
become the second biggest city in the country (after Dar-es-Salaam).
Regular moves from one emergency accommodation unit to another threaten familial,
social and educational stability. Temporary accommodation can be totally unsuitable for
a child’s wellbeing; children living in such arrangements have histories of incomplete
vaccinations, poor nutrition, retarded weight and height growth, and emotional and
mental distress. These problems are not only the direct result of poverty, but are also
factors that in turn reinforce that poverty.

Rapid urbanisation and the accompanying proliferation of slum areas is the other major
settlement challenge facing Africa today. Currently, 37 per cent of Africans live in cities,
but by 2030 this proportion is expected to reach 53 per cent. Rapidly expanding cities
are often characterised by slum-dwelling, inadequate water and sanitation services, and
wastewater problems; as always, children are on the frontline of the danger. Currently,
72 per cent of city-dwellers in sub-Saharan Africa live in slums.

People living in Africa’s urban slums inhabit actual dump-sites, where they expose
themselves to a range of toxic risks, burns from explosions of built-up gases, and
infections as a result of the mixing of medical waste with other types of waste.

Children are among the worst affected. Quoting WHO figures, UNEP has said that about
4.7 million children under five die each year from environmentally related illnesses, and
25 per cent of deaths in developing countries are linked to environmental factors. For
instance, a study commissioned by UNEP found that half of 328 children tested near the
notorious Dandora dumpsite in Nairobi, Kenya, had amounts of lead in their blood
exceeding internationally accepted levels. Half of the children tested were also suffering
respiratory diseases, including chronic bronchitis and asthma as a result of exposure to
pollutants. Located near slums in east Nairobi, the Dandora dumpsite – 75 acres of
fuming waste – receives about 2,000 tonnes of rubbish daily from a city of 4.5 million
people, including plastic bags, used medical supplies, car batteries, dismantled printers
and computers.

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Kuwait News Agency (Kuwait): Kuwaiti Ambassador to Kenya meets local
Foreign Minister

6 September 2011

Kuwaiti Ambassador to Kenya Yaqoob Al-Sanad met here Tuesday with Foreign
Minister Moses Wetangula discussing means of boosting the bilateral relations between
the State of Kuwait and the African nation.

A statement released by the Kuwaiti Embassy said that the Ambassador conveyed to
the Kenyan official greetings from Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, adding that both officials also
touched on measures to bolster bilateral relations.

The diplomat conveyed an invitation from the foreign minister to the Kenyan official to
visit Kuwait, the statement said, adding that Wetangula pledged to respond to the
invitation as soon as possible.
On another issue, the statement indicated that Al-Sanad, also representative of Kuwait
to the United Nations Programs for the Environment and Human Settlement (UNEP) and
(UN-Habitat), would represent the State of Kuwait at a conference, to be held in Nairobi,
on Friday, to discuss the recent drought and hunger waves that swept the Horn of Africa.
The broad convention, to be held at the UN offices in the Kenyan capital, will be
sponsored by the president of Kenya and attended by the heads of state of Somalia,
Ethiopia, Djibouti, South Sudan, Burundi, and the UN Undersecretary for Political Affairs,
Lynn Pascoe.

Al-Sanad has affirmed significance of Kuwait's participation in this crucial conference,
noting that Kenya, nations of East Africa and the African Horn pin high hopes on further
Kuwaiti support for the African nations that have been threatened with famine.

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Inter Press Service: Rainforest Road Will Have Environmental and Cultural

6 September 2011

A richly biodiverse rainforest the size of 3,000 soccer fields in central Bolivia will be the
first victim of the road planned to run through the Isiboro Sécure Indigenous Territory
and National Park (TIPNIS), say environmental activists.

Opponents of the proposed road also fear that it will open up the pristine rainforest
nestled between the Isiboro and Sécure Rivers to the expansion of coca cultivation.

The national park, created in 1965, was demarcated in 1990 to cover a total of 12,362
square km, while the 10,910 sq km indigenous territory was officially established in

The forests and savannahs of TIPNIS extend from the Moxos plains in the northeastern
department (province) of Beni to the sub-Andean mountain ranges of Cochabamba,
ranging across different environmental strata from lowlands to altitudes of 2,700 metres
above sea level.

In September of 2008, the Bolivian Highway Administration (ABC) estimated a total
budget of 3.8 million dollars for the clearing of trees and clean-up of irrigation channels
and land in a 1,530-hectare area of forest.

The road will stretch 306 km between Villa Tunari in the central department of
Cochabamba and San Ignacio de Moxos in Beni, with a width of 7.3 meters, two-metre
shoulders on each side, and a double-layer asphalt surface. The 177-km section that
would run through TIPNIS requires an environmental permit that has yet to be issued.

At a total cost of 415 million dollars, 80 percent of it financed by Brazil, the Bolivian
government’s main argument for the road is that it will integrate the 1.7 million
inhabitants of Cochabamba and Beni while forming part of an international corridor for
the transport of goods from Brazil to the Pacific Ocean.

For environmental analyst Teresa Flores, this high cost implies "the use of huge
amounts of materials like cement and iron and the operation of heavy machinery to clear
the forests, which will have enormous impacts," she told Tierramérica.

The risks to the area, home to 714 different species of fauna and 3,400 species of flora,
are enormous, according to Gastón Cornejo, a former senator from the governing
Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement to Socialism) party. The road will pave the way for
the entry of projects to develop biofuels and transgenic crops, as well as herbicides and
chemical products for the processing of marijuana and cocaine, which will also lead to
increased crime and insecurity, he told Tierramérica.

An analysis conducted by the Bolivian Forum on the Environment and Development,
made available to Tierramérica, compared the impact of the road with "the passage of a
tornado that would destroy everything in its path, with the expected disappearance of the
64 communities who live in TIPNIS," comprising some 15,000 people from the Moxeño,
Yuracaré and Chimane indigenous ethnic groups.

Bolivia is among the countries with the highest deforestation rates in the world. Every
year, around 320 square metres of forest per capita are cleared, which is 20 times more
than the estimated global average of 16 square metres per capita annually, according to
Andrea Urioste, coordinator of the sustainable biotrade programme at the Fundación
Amigos de la Naturaleza (Friends of Nature Foundation).

The world loses around 130,000 sq km of forests - an area the size of Nicaragua - every
year, added Urioste.

Bolivia "does not recognise the position it occupies as one of the countries with the
highest rates of deforestation per capita" and lacks any kind of real proposal to "move
towards a genuine plan of sustainable development," Urioste states in the report
"Deforestación en Bolivia: Una amenaza mayor al cambio climático" (Deforestation in
Bolivia: A major threat to climate change), published in September 2010.

In May, the United Nations resident representative in Bolivia, Yoriko Yasukawa, said that
"while Bolivia is not one of the countries mainly responsible for global warming, we do
not believe that it has sufficiently contributed to reducing emissions, when we consider
that 300,000 hectares of forest are destroyed in the country every year."

For Flores, the road represents "opening up the area to settlement and coca cultivation."
The government has allocated land to coca growers in the northern department of
Pando, but according to Flores, the concentration of alkaloids in coca plants grown there
is lower, which is why the growers have their sights set on TIPNIS.

In Bolivia, it is legal to grow coca for traditional use of the leaves as food, medicine and
in religious ceremonies, but there are large areas where it is illegally grown for the
production of cocaine.

On Sep. 28, 2009, officials from the National Service for Protected Areas and indigenous
leaders reported the presence in TIPNIS of armed men, presumably linked to illegal drug
trafficking, who were blamed for acts of violence that left one person dead and two

A day later, then vice minister of land Alejandro Almaraz voiced his suspicion that new
settlements and coca plantations were associated with drug trafficking and that there
were between 4,000 and 5,000 hectares of illegal coca crops on the reserve. On Feb. 2,
2010 he resigned from his post and is now one of the activists opposed to the road.

The coca growers believe it is "legitimate" to dispossess the indigenous peoples of the
lowlands of their territory because they view them as "savages" who are incapable of
producing food, said Flores.

In fact, the expansion of coca growing in the tropical region of Cochabamba, particularly
in the area of Chapare, forced the Yuracaré to abandon lands that are now covered in
coca crops and take refuge in TIPNIS, added Flores. "The impact is not only
environmental, it is also cultural," she stressed.

The government believes that the road will make it possible to combat illegal activities
and reach a consensus among all parties for the preservation of the territory, ABC
general secretary Antonio Mullisaca told Tierramérica.

But there has still been no prior consultation with indigenous communities regarding the
construction of the road. The right to prior consultation is guaranteed by the constitution
and numerous laws, but the regulations for this mechanism are not yet in place.

In the opinion of Juan Ramón Quintana, former minister of the presidency and current
director of the governmental Agency for the Development of Macro Regions and Border
Areas, the protest march to La Paz being carried out by around 1,000 Amazon
indigenous people has been spurred on by non-governmental organisations who
espouse the environmental policies of the developed world.

Quintana, a retired army major and close aide to President Evo Morales, went so far as
to accuse the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) of promoting
the 600-kilometer march to create a climate of destabilisation, and called for the
agency’s expulsion. The government has not followed up on his recommendation.

      The writer is an IPS correspondent. This story was originally published by Latin
       American newspapers that are part of the Tierramérica network. Tierramérica is
       a specialised news service produced by IPS with the backing of the United

       Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme and
       the World Bank.

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National Business Review (New Zealand): Government grant to recycle old
TV parts

7 September 2011

The government has granted $110,000 to Abilities Incorporated to install technology never
used in New Zealand before to separate Cathode Ray Tubes from TVs.

The funding comes from the Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund and Minister for the
Environment Dr Nick Smith was on hand for the announcement today.

He said there were about 2.2 million Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) televisions and computers
in New Zealand, which would all be gone in about five years with the switch over to digital
television in 2013. The Minister said each CRT TV contained about 2.2kg of lead, adding
to a total of 2000 tonnes of lead.

He said it was an economically and socially smart move to recycle such devices, which
contained harmful and also useful materials, and was environmentally responsible. It was
something that Auckland could take pride in, he said, since electronic waste management
was not one of the areas where New Zealand lived up to its clean green image.

Abilites, which provides employment for people with disabilities at its processing and
recycling plant and was established in 1959, will install Hot Band Technology from
Sweden’s MRT Systems in what managing director Peter Fraher said was a kitset plant.

The technology was recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme, and
was a New Zealand first, Abilities said.

Mr Fraher said the plant would be installed in February 2012, with launch in June 2012.
The technology would harvest CRTs into their component parts, he said, including
separating glass split off the front, which was recycled locally, from the back glass which
contained about 20% lead and was shipped to Holland to be processed.

He said recycling CRTs was estimated to generate about $220,000 per year, as Abilities
could charge people $25 to recycle their old TVs. He said in Australia, it cost about $45 to
recycle TVs but that ideally, a deal could be reached with electronics retailers, who would
absorb the costs of recycling old models.

This kind of deal was endorsed by Dr Smith, who said the government would release
Requests For Proposals (RFPs) on Sunday, from television retailers regarding schemes to
receive old TVs back from customers.

He said he was more worried about good quality applications for recycling initiatives than
the money to fund them.

Mr Fraher said the project was budgeted to initially process 30,000 TVs per year which, if
sent off shore for processing, would require 30 forty foot containers to ship them.

“Instead we will divert 750 tonnes of glass from landfill, recycle 70% of it locally and safely
process lead from the CRTs. This reduces the shipping requirement by 80% to six

He said Abilities had 145 staff, 120 of whom had disabilities.

The new plant would hire up to five people dismantling the devices, more on the
processing line and with the possibility of further staff downstream of the process, he said.
The manual process was chosen because of its flexibility and lower cost, he said.

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Sun Star (Philippines): Editorial: Ecosystems and food security

7 September 2011

YESTERDAY we tackled the often unacknowledged fact that protecting water resources is
not just about securing drinking water for tomorrow but also ensuring food security
considering that 70 percent of global freshwater is used for agriculture. To abuse
freshwater resources will not only mean slow death by thirst and water-borne diseases but
also slow death by starvation.

Thus, the need for rational use of water and a well-thought of resource utilization plan that
studies the whole life-cycle of water “to see a holistic picture of the inter-relationships of all
the resource needs – power, drinking and other domestic use, and agriculture – while
taking into account the whole of watershed and its present state.”

Which brings us to the health of our environment, which in the end will sustain the health
of our water sources, and ultimately our children’s health. All these involve ecosystems
and how we make ecosystems the center by which every approach for a sustainable
future revolves.

Lessons from history underline the fact that corporate farming characterized by single
crops over vast tracts of land has made soil infertile and prone to erosion such that the
topsoil has long been eroded. Consequently, production is only assured with expensive
farm inputs.

In many parts of the world, intensive farming methods just to make sure food production
remains high has sacrificed other ecosystem services, such as biodiversity, pollination or
soil erosion protection, caused by pollution from agricultural run-off or the diversion of
water from rivers to farmland.

The same practice enslaves the poor rural residents, tied down by very low wages and
debilitating diseases from exposure to chemicals.

Downstream, rivers are browned with silt killing not just the resources that thrive in the
waters but the water itself. All these are brought down where urban areas thrive, further
polluting the waters as it pours into the sea.

From the ridges to the reefs is spoliation. Along the course of the river on its way out to the
sea, the most vulnerable poor – farmers and fishers and squatters – suffer the most.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, we were told in our high school
physics. We reap what we have sown, we were told in our catechism. Everything in the
universe is connected, the new age philosophers say.

We say, this is but the symbiosis in ecosystems when put in words for different audiences:
action and reaction for physics, retribution for catechism, and universal connectedness for
spirituality. As defined, ecosystems are functional units consisting of living things in a given
area, non-living chemical and physical factors of their environment, linked together through
nutrient cycle and energy flow.

In the report from the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Water
Management Institute released last month, it discusses how “managing and investing in
the connections between ecosystems, water and food, through diversifying crops, planting
trees on farmland and improving rainwater collection and other practical steps, could help
avoid water scarcity and meet the growing food demands of a global population set to
reach 9 billion by 2050.”

For Davao City, with an annual population growth rate of 2.83 percent and present
population of 1.4-million, the question is how our city will meet the growing food demands
of 3-million by 2050.

How do we ensure that there will still be enough for everyone mere 39 years from now,
when our children are already rearing our grandchildren while are already on the road to
retirement or have long retired and can no longer provide for nor defend ourselves?

“By 2050 the world will need to produce approximately 70 percent more food than at
present to cope with growing population and dietary changes. This is going to put
agricultural production systems and the environment under ever increasing pressure,”
Colin Chartres, Director General International Water Management Institute, wrote in the
foreword of the report.

By 2050, Davao City will have to provide for double of its present population.

“Accounting for the benefits and costs of the full range of ecosystem services in policy-
making and greater emphasis on natural resources and water use efficiency in food
production will promote better decision making towards more sustainable farming,” the
report reads.

“Integrated water resources management can contribute to long-term food security by
providing water for agro-ecosystems and for non-agricultural ecosystems,” the report
further reads.

This is no longer just about infrastructures and laying down pipes, this is about ensuring
that nature, which in the end is what determines whether our plants will still grow and bear
fruit or our headwaters will still continue to provide water, is rehabilitated to its nurturing

The difficult part here is that we, the present generation, have to set the right direction right
here, right now. This means being able to see beyond our electric consumption today and
whether we will have power to watch television with later tonight or drinking water from our

Are we really up to the challenge? The way our officials are reacting or are not reacting,
we say, we are not.

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Himalayan Times (Nepal): Three-day meet aims at 'green economy'

3 September 2011

A three-day international conference on green economy kicked off today in the Capital.

“As traditional economic approaches failed to reduce poverty and inequality, conserve
resources and protect environment, a new concept of ‘green economy’ has become key
priority globally,” said International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

The conference is being organised by ICIMOD and United Nations Environment
Programme. The objective of the green economy is to improve human well-being and
reduce environmental risks and ecological problems.

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Ghana Business News (Ghana): World Tourism Organisation introduces e-
tool to check energy consumptions, boost profits of hotels

6 September 2011

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has out-doored an online
product known as Hotel Energy Solutions (HES) that can be used to determine the cost of
energy consumptions of hotels.

The project is in response to the challenge of climate change and in helping hotels
increase business profits.

The e-toolkit provides hoteliers with a report which shows their current energy use and
recommends appropriate renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and

According to the UNWTO, the tool sets out what kind of savings on operational expenses
hotels can expect from their green investments through a return on investment calculator.

The organisation says “tourism is responsible for 5% of the world’s carbon-dioxide (CO2)
emissions, out of which hotels and other types of accommodation account for 2% – a
comparatively small, yet important, footprint that the tourism sector has assumed as a
priority to be addressed.”

HES is currently running in Europe but UNTWO says “the project is expected to be rolled
out globally over the coming years.

It is being implemented in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP), the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA), the European
Renewable Energy Council (EREC) as well as the French Environment and Energy
Management Agency.

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ISRIA (France): UN - Press Conference by Under-Secretary-General following
Opening Session of Sixty-fourth Annual DPI/NGO Conference

6 September 2011

At a press conference following the opening session of the sixty-fourth annual Department
of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organization (DPI/NGO) Conference, Kiyo
Akasaka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public
Information, as well as keynote speakers and other major spokespersons, made remarks
and answered questions about the three-day Conference.

Participants included Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP); Flavia Pansieri, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations
Volunteers Programme; Vandana Shiva of Navdanya International; Grace Aguiling-Dalisay
of VSO Bahaginan in the Philippines; and Felix Dodds, Chair of the DPI/NGO Conference.

Under-Secretary-General Akasaka said that more than 2,200 non-governmental
organization representatives from about 100 countries and one territory had registered to
take part in the Conference, a record registration with the potential to make the Bonn
event one of the biggest yet. There were also a large number of young people and
students involved.

He said that in addition to four round-table discussions with prominent experts and civil
society leaders, the Conference would have close to 40 workshops organized by NGOs
and more than 25 exhibits and a number of public events. The Department of Public
Information felt that the high level of interest and participation was due to the sense of
urgency felt by NGOs and civil society to move towards more sustainable, just and
equitable societies where the planet was protected and every man, woman and child had
a chance for a better life.

Specifically, the Conference would examine best practices and discuss how to change
consumption and production patterns, he continued. It would also discuss links between
the green economy and poverty eradication, and the role of civic engagement and
voluntary action in realizing sustainable development. One of the Department’s main goals
in taking the Conference outside its traditional home in New York was to expand its
network of NGOs and volunteers to new partners in the region where the Conference was
being held, he said. That would also offer the opportunity to work together in informing and
explaining to communities around the world the links between climate change, water,
energy and food — key sustainable development and green economy issues.

Mr. Akasaka stressed that a better understanding of the linkages between those issues,
and the power of informed and engaged citizens, would be essential if NGOS expected to
succeed at next June’s “Rio+20” United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
“We cannot leave decisions about our future to Governments alone,” he emphasized.
“This Conference is an important opportunity for NGOs and civil society to meet and
contribute their expertise and proposals for Rio+20 and beyond.” He encouraged
journalists to meet with and talk to the rich diversity of NGO representatives and
volunteers available at the Conference, and to cover the many different discussions and
events, including special presentations during lunch breaks.

UNEP Executive Director Steiner said it was wonderful to see Germany being proactive in
the preparatory process for Rio. Noting that the 1992 Rio “Earth Summit” had became
what it was because society had driven the agenda and Governments had responded, he
said there was still a long way to go to achieving the same kind of energy and commitment
in 2012.

The United Nations was not the place to be naïve about differences between countries
and different agendas, he said, adding, however, that Rio could still be viewed as an
opportunity for countries to discuss how to address some of the issues. The United
Nations was often seen as an international bureaucracy, but throughout the Organization
there was the extraordinary spirit of the United Nations Volunteers, who went to places
where other people were not willing to go and stayed when others had left in order to help
people. Those actions sometime made the difference between life and death, he stressed.

Ms. Shiva of Navdanya International, an organization focused on cultural and biological
diversity, said the Conference was “a moment to review, reassess and create strategic
direction for the future”. There was a need for new rules for living on the planet, some of
which should come from NGOs themselves. Regulations were often portrayed negatively,
but sometimes it was necessary to create regulatory frameworks to protect important gains
and even go further, she said, recalling that the last five years had shown the havoc
wrought by deregulation in the financial, mining, and farming sectors, to name a few. The
deepening inequality that the world was now witnessing could not be sustained without a
collapse of the social order, she warned. As NGOs went to Rio they needed to ensure that
the perspectives of women, indigenous peoples and young people were included.

Ms. AGUILING-DALISAY of VSO Bahaginan said she hoped to bring the view of
volunteers and her years of experience in volunteerism to bear at the Conference. It was
important to put people first, children in particular, in the approach to development, she
emphasized, adding that her message to the Conference was that there was always a
pathway to volunteering no matter what one’s interests or passions.

Executive Director Pansieri said the engagement of people was what had created the
buzz around Rio in 1992. What had been learned from that experience was that big
changes did not come about because there was a summit somewhere or because
Governments got together and decided things, but because civil society was active and
could exercise pressure through words and deeds. It was therefore important for the NGO
community to engage in actions that could make a difference, such as taking public
transportation instead of driving and generally changing the way they lived, making a
contribution by leading through example, she said.

Conference Chair Dodds proposed a “conversation” about values as part of Rio+20,
saying it was important to recognize the importance of Brazil calling for a revisiting of the
topic of sustainable development and applauding that country for doing so. The only way
to deliver sustainable development was through a strong United Nations, he said, adding
that a strong development framework was also important. He suggested that German
NGOS encourage Chancellor [Angela] Merkel to announce immediately that she would
attend the Rio Conference as a sign of Germany’s commitment to that important meeting
at the highest level.

Asked how productive they thought past panels and conferences had been in terms of
advancing sustainable development, Mr. Steiner said that some conferences came and
went, and Rio 1992 had been one of the most meaningful summits that the United Nations
had ever convened in terms of starting conversations and advancing the involvement of
civil society. The level of discussion had increased significantly both among corporations
and in civil society, so conferences did have a meaningful impact, he said. It would be up
to Brazil, as the host country of Rio+20, to persuade and convince that the Summit should
be taken seriously. The climate change conferences over the years had also given NGOs
a remarkable proposal upon which to persuade the world to act, thereby showing that
conferences had a huge impact and offered the opportunity for longer term awareness-
building and empowerment.

Mr. Dodds said the Copenhagen Conference had had a huge impact, adding that
conventions such as those on migratory species and biodiversity, which had not enjoyed
media attention, were successes nonetheless.

Asked how the public, particularly the German public, should perceive the Bonn
Conference, Ms. Shiva said efforts had been made to engage the public more. Because of
the economic crisis, there would be further calls for people to sacrifice their rights and
compromise the environment in favour of the economy, she said, adding that her message
to the German public would be to stay strong.

Mr. Steiner added that the principle of solidarity was important and Germany should view
their hosting of the Conference as part of its contribution to making multilateralism work by
giving civil society a platform. There was also a rational self-interest in helping to gather
momentum for the green economy in the lead up to Rio+20 because countries and
economies would benefit.

Mr. Dodds said the Conference was also a great opportunity for non-governmental
organizations to work together and prepare for Rio.

Asked what the organizers and panellists wished to accomplish with the Declaration to be
issued at the end of the Conference, he said its aim was to provide a way for civil society

organizations to have their viewpoints included in the General Assembly plenary meeting
on volunteerism and the Rio+20 Conference.

In response to a question about the role of genetically modified crops in sustainable
development, Ms. Shiva said they crops were made to protect patents and had led to a
loss of biodiversity. They had also led to super pests and resistant weeds, which worked
“brilliantly” for companies that collected fees from farmers, but it did not work for social,
ecological or economic sustainability. They were not creating an agriculture that was
sustainable at every level, she maintained.

Mr. Akasaka added that the United Nations knew there were differing views and opinions
on genetically modified crops. There were producers and consumers of such products all
over the world, and policies therefore differed by country. The Organization did not have a
particular view on that, he said.

Ms. Shiva underscored that the United Nations did have a biosafety framework that States
were required to follow and the United Nations had a responsibility to enforce it.

Asked whether the process that the organizers envisioned was a bottom-up or top-down
one,Ms. Pansieri said it was clear that everything began with a sense of ethical
responsibility that moved individuals to use their skills and time for the common good, so
the process had started as a bottom-up movement, but that alone was not sufficient. In a
policy vacuum it became difficult to obtain long-term sustainable results, so NGOs needed
to ensure both bottom-up and top-down action to achieve their goals.

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Afrique en Ligne: Nigeria Sustainable Finance Week
7 September 2011

Nigeria bank partners UN agency on sustainable financing - The first edition of the Nigeria
Sustainable Finance Week put together by one of country’s leading financial institutions,
Access Bank Plc in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance
Initiative (UNEP FI) and Finance For Development (FMO), would be held in Lagos from 7-
9 September, according to a statement from the organizers.

“In the aftermath of a historical financial crisis, there is a deepening understanding that low
carbon, energy security, resource efficiency and secure global supply chains for strategic
materials are the market and financing drivers of the coming decades,” the statement said.

It added that sustainability was emerging as an increasingly critical but, at times, elusive
factor to consider for sound business.

Some of the speakers for the conference include Sustainability Thought Leader, Herman
Mulder, the Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of FMO, Nanno Kleitern, Head of United Nations
Environment Programme Financial Institutions, Paul Clement-Hunt and the Governor of
the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

With the theme 'Moving Frontiers - Sustainable Finance', the Nigeria Sustainable Finance
Week aims to explore and offer a unique opportunity to get a wide-angle perspective on
global trends and local opportunities in the fledgling sector of sustainable finance.

It also seeks to invigorate the interest of the African finance sector into the potential of
sustainable markets.

The week will culminate with a CEO roundtable during which heads of selected Nigerian
banks will spell out their visions and hopes for the growth of the sustainable finance sector
in Nigeria.

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                               Other Environment News

Eurasia Review: Highway Through Rainforest To Have Both Environmental
And Cultural Impacts

7 September 2011

A richly biodiverse rainforest the size of 3,000 soccer fields in central Bolivia will be the
first victim of the highway planned to run through the Isiboro Sécure Indigenous Territory
and National Park (TIPNIS), say environmental activists.

Opponents of the proposed highway also fear that it will open up the pristine rainforest
nestled between the Isiboro and Sécure Rivers to the expansion of coca cultivation.

The national park, created in 1965, was demarcated in 1990 to cover a total of 12,362
square kilometers, while the 10,910-square-kilometer indigenous territory was officially
established in 2009.

The forests and savannahs of TIPNIS extend from the Moxos plains in the northeastern
department (province) of Beni to the sub-Andean mountain ranges of Cochabamba,
ranging across different environmental strata from lowlands to altitudes of 2,700 meters
above sea level.

In September of 2008, the Bolivian Highway Administration (ABC) estimated a total
budget of 3.8 million dollars for the clearing of trees and clean-up of irrigation channels
and land in a 1,530-hectare area of forest.

The highway will stretch 306 kilometers between Villa Tunari in the central department of
Cochabamba and San Ignacio de Moxos in Beni, with a width of 7.3 meters, two-meter
shoulders on each side, and a double-layer asphalt surface. The 177-kilometer section
that would run through TIPNIS requires an environmental permit that has yet to be

At a total cost of 415 million dollars, 80 percent of it financed by Brazil, the Bolivian
government’s main argument for the highway is that it will integrate the 1.7 million

inhabitants of Cochabamba and Beni while forming part of an international corridor for
the transport of goods from Brazil to the Pacific Ocean.

For environmental analyst Teresa Flores, this high cost implies “the use of huge
amounts of materials like cement and iron and the operation of heavy machinery to clear
the forests, which will have enormous impacts,” she told Tierramérica.

The risks to the area, home to 714 different species of fauna and 3,400 species of flora,
are enormous, according to Gastón Cornejo, a former senator from the governing
Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement to Socialism) party. The highway will pave the way
for the entry of projects to develop biofuels and transgenic crops, as well as herbicides
and chemical products for the processing of marijuana and cocaine, which will also lead
to increased crime and insecurity, he told Tierramérica.

An analysis conducted by the Bolivian Forum on the Environment and Development,
made available to Tierramérica, compared the impact of the highway with “the passage
of a tornado that would destroy everything in its path, with the expected disappearance
of the 64 communities who live in TIPNIS,” comprising some 15,000 people from the
Moxeño, Yuracaré and Chimane indigenous ethnic groups.

Bolivia is among the countries with the highest deforestation rates in the world. Every
year, around 320 square meters of forest per capita are cleared, which is 20 times more
than the estimated global average of 16 square meters per capita annually, according to
Andrea Urioste, coordinator of the sustainable biotrade program at the Fundación
Amigos de la Naturaleza (Friends of Nature Foundation).

The world loses around 130,000 square kilometers of forests – an area the size of
Nicaragua – every year, added Urioste.

Bolivia “does not recognize the position it occupies as one of the countries with the
highest rates of deforestation per capita” and lacks any kind of real proposal to “move
towards a genuine plan of sustainable development,” Urioste states in the report
“Deforestación en Bolivia: Una amenaza mayor al cambio climático” (Deforestation in
Bolivia: A major threat to climate change), published in September 2010.

In May, the United Nations resident representative in Bolivia, Yoriko Yasukawa, said that
“while Bolivia is not one of the countries mainly responsible for global warming, we do
not believe that it has sufficiently contributed to reducing emissions, when we consider
that 300,000 hectares of forest are destroyed in the country every year.”

For Flores, the highway represents “opening up the area to settlement and coca
cultivation.” The government has allocated land to coca growers in the northern
department of Pando, but according to Flores, the concentration of alkaloids in coca
plants grown there is lower, which is why the growers have their sights set on TIPNIS.

In Bolivia, it is legal to grow coca for traditional use of the leaves as food, medicine and
in religious ceremonies, but there are large areas where it is illegally grown for the
production of cocaine.

On Sep. 28, 2009, officials from the National Service for Protected Areas and indigenous
leaders reported the presence in TIPNIS of armed men, presumably linked to illegal drug

trafficking, who were blamed for acts of violence that left one person dead and two

A day later, then vice minister of land Alejandro Almaraz voiced his suspicion that new
settlements and coca plantations were associated with drug trafficking and that there
were between 4,000 and 5,000 hectares of illegal coca crops on the reserve. On Feb. 2,
2010 he resigned from his post and is now one of the activists opposed to the highway.

The coca growers believe it is “legitimate” to dispossess the indigenous peoples of the
lowlands of their territory because they view them as “savages” who are incapable of
producing food, said Flores.

In fact, the expansion of coca growing in the tropical region of Cochabamba, particularly
in the area of Chapare, forced the Yuracaré to abandon lands that are now covered in
coca crops and take refuge in TIPNIS, added Flores. “The impact is not only
environmental, it is also cultural,” she stressed.

The government believes that the highway will make it possible to combat illegal
activities and reach a consensus among all parties for the preservation of the territory,
ABC general secretary Antonio Mullisaca told Tierramérica.

But there has still been no prior consultation with indigenous communities regarding the
construction of the highway. The right to prior consultation is guaranteed by the
constitution and numerous laws, but the regulations for this mechanism are not yet in

In the opinion of Juan Ramón Quintana, former minister of the presidency and current
director of the governmental Agency for the Development of Macro Regions and Border
Areas, the protest march to La Paz being carried out by around 1,000 Amazon
indigenous people has been spurred on by non-governmental organizations who
espouse the environmental policies of the developed world.

Quintana, a retired army major and close aide to President Evo Morales, went so far as
to accuse the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) of promoting
the 600-kilometer march to create a climate of destabilization, and called for the
agency’s expulsion. The government has not followed up on his recommendation.

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Scoop (New Zealand): Proposals sought for new TV recycling programme

7 September 2011

Environment Minister Nick Smith today announced the first step in a new nationwide
programme to encourage the recycling and safe disposal of unwanted televisions.

“The falling price of new TVs, international sporting events and the national switchover to
digital transmission from 2012 are all fuelling a change from older cathode ray tube sets to
flat screen high definition LCD and plasma TVs,” Dr Smith said.

“The challenge is that there is an estimated 4,400 tonnes of lead in the 2.2 million cathode
ray tube TVs that needs to be responsibly recycled or disposed of.

“The Government is asking businesses to come forward with innovative solutions on how
we can expand the infrastructure for TV recycling and raise awareness of how to recycle
and properly dispose of this electronic waste.

“The programme is called "TV Take Back" and will be funded from the Government's
Waste Minimisation Fund. Proposals are being sought from businesses, particularly
retailers, to provide a recycling service in parallel with the sale of new TVs.”

A new TV is not required to receive digital television when the phased digital switchover
starts next year, but some Kiwis may look to replace their cathode ray tube sets and it’s
important they know how and where to dispose of them safely.

“TV Take Back is part of a wider Government plan to put in place a more enduring solution
for e-waste. We have also provided $1.4 million to RCN and the Community Recycling
Network to establish a network of 35 permanent e-waste depots to recycle televisions and
computers. The TV Take Back programme is to complement this work with a focus on
clearing the old stock of TVs.

“Further work is also being done with industry to explore product stewardship for electronic
goods,” Dr Smith said.
Expressions of Interest for the TV Take Back programme are now being received and will
close on 21 October 2011.

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Boston Globe (USA): Troubled Solyndra files Chapter 11

7 September 2011

Solyndra, the solar panel maker whose $535 million federal loan guarantee was criticized
by Republican lawmakers, filed for bankruptcy yesterday to become at least the third solar
company to seek court protection from creditors since August.

The company said it had up to $1 billion of debts and up to $1 billion of assets in a
Chapter 11 petition filed in Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington. More than $783 million of the
debt was senior and secured.

Solyndra said it failed because it couldn’t compete with foreign manufacturers, funded by
their governments, which produced an oversupply of panels at low prices and offered
buyers lengthy payment terms. Demand for its panels also fell as European governments
reduced incentives for buying solar energy, said W.G. Stover, chief financial officer, in a

While in bankruptcy, Solyndra will either try to sell its business or liquidate for the benefit of
creditors, he said.

On Aug. 31, the company shut down, firing 1,100 employees.

Solyndra produces cylindrical panels that convert sunlight into electricity using a thin-film

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New York Times (USA): Boats Banned From Dumping Sewage in Long Island

6 September 2011

Boats will be prohibited from dumping sewage in New York State waters in Long Island
Sound under a ban announced on Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The new ban, covering 760 square miles, makes the entire Sound a no-discharge zone;
Connecticut secured the same designation for its portion of the Sound in 2007.

The ban, which goes into effect on Thursday, will require an estimated 12,200 recreational
and small commercial vessels to dispose of their sewage, mainly human waste, treated or
not, at government-run or privately operated pump-out stations along the coast.

Storm-water runoff and releases from wastewater-treatment plants remain a far larger
source of pollution in Long Island Sound than waste from boats, federal officials noted.
Still, treated sewage from the boats contains chemicals like formaldehyde and chlorine
that harm marine life and pose health risks to swimmers, they said.

“A lot of the sewage is discharged close to where people swim,” the E.P.A.’s regional
administrator, Judith A. Enck, said, adding that the ban was “long overdue.”

Government officials and environmentalists described the move as a meaningful step to
improve water quality in the Sound, a 110-mile-long estuary between densely populated
Long Island and Connecticut. New York officials had already restricted discharges in areas
with high boat traffic, encompassing about 50 square miles, and had been awaiting the
creation of more pump-out stations before petitioning for the federal action.

“It’s an important part of an overall strategy,” said Peter A. Scully, regional director for
Long Island for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The ban coincides with plans for more coordinated actions by Connecticut and New York
to reduce nitrogen pollution in the Sound — mostly from sewage treatment plants and
agricultural runoff — which stimulates the growth of bacteria and algae and robs the water
of oxygen.

Considerable progress has been made since a conservation and management plan for the
Sound was developed in 1994, Mr. Scully said, with nitrogen levels down by more than 40
percent. Dolphins returned to Long Island Sound a few years ago.

The new ban, federal officials said, extends to open waters, harbors, bays and navigable
tributaries of the Sound and a portion of the East River — the area between the Hell Gate
Bridge connecting Queens to Randalls and Wards Islands in Manhattan in the west and
the northern bounds of Block Island Sound in the east.

Chris Squeri, executive director of the New York Marine Trades Association, which
represents marine businesses, said convenient access to pump-out stations had been a
crucial issue for boaters, who face $250 fines for violations. New York State says there are
68 such stations, and the E.P.A. deemed that number adequate before approving the ban.

“If they say they have ample facilities in the area, I assume they do,” Mr. Squeri said. “We
swim and fish in these waters, so we want to keep the water quality good.”

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the environmental group Citizens Campaign for
the Environment, said the boat restrictions would help maintain momentum for efforts to
upgrade antiquated sewage treatment plants and control storm-water runoff.

The ban “means cleaner beaches, more edible seafood and a healthier economy by
keeping this bacteria out of the water,” she said.

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Guardian (UK): Glencore reveals record of fatalities and environmental fines

7 September 2011

Mining and commodities giant Glencore has suffered dozens of fatalities and been subject
to six-figure fines for environmental breaches, the company revealed on Wednesday.

Glencore and its majority-owned operations suffered 56 fatalities in the 2008-10 period
covered by its corporate responsibility report. It is the first such report produced by the
company, even though they are standard in the sector. The company pledged to start
publishing such information as part of its plans to list in April earlier this year, in what was
the biggest listing for some time on the London Stock Exchange.

Although the company is one of the biggest in its sector, and the world – with a market
capitalisation on flotation of $60bn – Glencore paid only $2m in tax last year on European
revenues of more than $1bn.

However, shares in the company, whose interests run from mining and energy to farming,
have performed poorly since their debut, amid turmoil in the markets in the last few
months and a flight to safe havens by investors.

Glencore's health and safety record takes up six pages in its 106-page report. But mining
expert Roger Moody, of the London Mining Network, a group of non-governmental
organisations concerned with the impacts of mining companies, said the company's record
put it well below the sector leaders in safety terms. "These numbers of fatalities are not the
most egregious we've seen – in recent years, that has been from Vedanta, and that is a
significantly smaller company. But that is in no way to minimise these fatalities – what they

show is that Glencore is one of the most dangerous mining companies listed in London,
when you compare it with others in the sector."

Moody pointed to Vedanta, the London-listed mining company with large Indian interests,
whose operations have come under heavy fire from protesters, as among the worst, with
41 workers dying in a single incident in September 2009. Glencore's report does not
contain detailed targets on future performance, but the company said these would be
included next year.

Michael Fahrbach, head of sustainability at Glencore, said: "We are concerned about the
figures because there's nothing more important than achieving no fatalities in your
operations. It is the situation with the mining industry that it has more fatalities than other
industries because it is more dangerous and the challenges are higher."

The company said it also collected statistics on "permanent damage injuries", and had
other figures for health and safety, but that it only publicly disclosed what was required by
the Global Reporting Initiative standards.

Peter Coates, Glencore non-executive director, said: "Obviously, the high fatalities rate is
totally unacceptable. As well as environmental issues, I think the major issue we must
address is the high incidence of fatalities. I know a lot of those fatalities were caused by
ground falls in one of our African operations and I have a very superficial understanding of
what's being done to try and improve that situation. But, from a board point of view, that
will be one of the first things we try to address. Management is responding and the board
has to make a decision if they are responding fast enough. If not, we have to do something
about that, either by providing enough resources for them, or encouragement."

Glencore also said that some of its problems were owing to recent acquisitions, or cases
where the company took over full running of an operation. At its Katanga mines in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, where it took over management control in 2009, it said,
"more than $11m has been spent on reinforcing more than 1,900m of mine shaft roof and
on completing mined-out production chamber support, following a thorough review of rock
mechanics to improve safety".

An investigation by the Observer last year into the then 12 major London-listed mining
companies found 154 work-related deaths revealed in annual reports and other
shareholder filings. Vedanta had the highest toll, with 67, followed by Anglo American with
20 in one year, Kazakhmys with 17 and ENRC with 12.

Although not all companies said where the deaths took place, estimates suggest they
were concentrated in India, Kazakhstan and South Africa. Eight Chilean miners were killed
over the period studied, at mines operated by Xstrata and Antofagasta. However, the
deaths showed a clear divide – although the FTSE100 companies studied had
considerable mining interests in developed countries, they listed no deaths in North
America and only seven in their large mining operations in Australia.

Environmental breaches at Glencore also became a focus of attention in advance of the
company's flotation, and the company's report contains 25 pages on the subject, including
details of four "significant" environmental fines totalling about $780,000 in 2010.

Glencore said: "We consider any environmental fine over $10,000 to be 'significant', which
is an indicator of how seriously we take our environmental responsibility. As we detail in
the report, these fines related to encroachment (infringement on protected land) and a
three-day interruption in the licence to operate at one of our production sites in
Kazakhstan. We've reached agreements with the relevant authorities on these matters.
We are not complacent about this at all, but clearly these fines are minor within the context
of our global business."

Glencore's tax records are also likely to be pored over. Its tax liabilities show the company
paid only $2m last year in tax and royalties on European revenues of more than $1bn.
Glencore told the Guardian: "We see our payment of taxes and royalties as a core part of
our contribution to our host countries, alongside providing employment and our broader
voluntary contributions to local communities.

"In Europe the majority of revenues are earned by processing units – they are not subject
to production royalties and have much higher cost bases and therefore lower taxable net
margins than our mining interests elsewhere. Glencore is a involved in commodities
production and marketing. Although our profits come roughly half from production and half
from marketing, most of our revenues come from the marketing side. When we were a
private company, taxation on our Swiss marketing business was paid by individual
shareholders when they received their proceeds and therefore did not appear in our
corporate accounts."

Renowned for disclosing as little as possible about its operations while a private company,
Swiss-based Glencore has been forced to take a more open stance as its financial
operations have come under unprecedented scrutiny in the wake of the listing.

Glencore is expected to produce its first annual full-year financial results next May, and is
likely to hold an annual general meeting next June. The meeting is likely to be a focus of
attention for environmental campaigners and other non-governmental organisations,
according to Moody.

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IOL (South Africa): Countdown to climate conference

7 September 2011

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal is ready to host the upcoming 17th UN Climate Change
Conference, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said in Durban on Tuesday.

She was briefing reporters after talks with the provincial executive and the civil society
secretariat responsible for mobilising civil society in the run-up the meeting, to be held
from November 28 to December 9.

Between 20,000 and 25,000 people were expected to visit Durban during the conference
at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli convention centre.

Representatives of 194 governments were expected at the event, officially called the 17th
Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Talks would centre on finding solutions to global warming.

Molewa said the government believed South Africa and developing countries’ interests
should not be compromised during the conference. The KwaZulu-Natal government had
also assured her it would rally behind the national climate change policy, which was still in
a draft form.

Provincial summits would be held in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Western Cape,
Limpopo and Mpumalanga to allow provinces to contribute to the draft policy.

Molewa said it had been agreed during Tuesday's talks to scale up the greening legacy
projects mooted for COP17. They included small players in areas such as tourism. Bed-
and-breakfast outlets and small and medium-sized enterprises were expected to benefit
from the conference because there were no major restrictions on the country's hosting of
the event, she said.

“This conference is unlike the Soccer World Cup where there were major restrictions. We
need to make sure that people benefit from this.”

Molewa said the national treasury recently allocated R105-million for conference projects
such as greening and cleaning of coastal areas. – Sapa

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Perth Now (Australia): Bid to import and breed silver foxes in Australia
sparks environmental concerns

7 September 2011

FOXES could soon go from farm predator to family pet.

An anonymous application to import and breed the silver fox, a relative of Australia's most
damaging introduced predator the red fox, has sparked furore.

Animals Australia argues there's "virtually no evidence" of damage to the environment
from foxes, but elsewhere the bid's being labelled as "mad" and "insane", The Weekly
Times said.

Environment Minister Tony Burke is firmly against the application, so too Australian
National University environment expert Professor David Lindamayer.

But their resistance to the application won't prevent it from being assessed by the
Department of Environment,.

"The fox, if anything, helps the Australian environment for they kill both fully grown and
baby rabbits more often than any other prey," the application said.

"Its offspring would have immunities to diseases ... red foxes have."

Other authorities though weighed in against the bid, with Victorian National Parks
Association chief Matt Ruchel saying "extensive evidence" shows the damage caused by

He called control of foxes "critical" while Federal Agriculture Minister John Cobb labelled
the import application "absurd", when bounty hunters are already paid to kill foxes.

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Angola Press Society (Angola): Urban centres expansion leads to
environmental imbalance – Minister

6 September 2011

The expansion of urban centres is leading to a “steep fall in the living standards and
aggravation of social grievances and environmental equilibrium.”

This was said Tuesday in central Huambo province by the minister of Urbanisation and
Construction, Fernando da Fonseca.

Fernando Fonseca was speaking at the opening of the 2nd international meeting of the
team of urban settlement experts.

The official said the policies adopted by Angolan Government and local authorities are
focusing on the reinforcement of the territory planning’s institutional capacity.

According to him, the policies focus on the promotion of the efficient management of
infrastructures of supply of water, electricity and basic sanitation, implementation of
services, local financial management and making of decisions on community participation.

He stated that the urban growth is too surprising as the country is seeking to overcome the
30 years of armed conflict that caused the loss of human capital through the displacement
of the populations, thousands of deaths and force migration mostly in the quest for
Government protection in urban centres.

The minister said as well that in order to get access to social housing, the Government has
put in place the Housing Foment Fund whose managing boards were sworn in recently.

To him, the fund will play a relevant role in addressing the housing problem.

He mentioned the construction of new cities as one of Government’s successful options.
Fernando Fonseca said the National Commission on Housing has decided to build 200
new houses in all districts of the country.

To this end, the Government has decided to build about 56 new urban areas with 144,037
social houses, plus 10,000 privately built houses.

Going with the theme "Planning, Upgrading and Regularising”, the meeting sponsored by
the Ministry of Urbanisation and Construction is being attended by about 70 participants
from the provinces of the provinces of Benguela, Bié, Cunene, Huambo, Huíla, Luanda,
Kwanza Norte, Moxico and Namibe, and experts from South Africa, Spain, Portugal,
Mexico, Mozambique and Namibia.

For two days, the meeting will tackle such topics as urban expansion and upgrading of
precarious settlements, land regularisation, financial planning, national urbanisation and
housing programme, atlas proposals on the country’s urban situation as a basis for
information on urban planning.

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_________________________________________________________________ 62% of deforested Amazon land ends up as cattle pasture

4 September 2011

2 percent of the area deforested in the Brazilian Amazon until 2008 is occupied by cattle
pasture, reports a new satellite-based analysis by Brazil's National Institute for Space
Research (INPE) and its Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa).

The research found that of 719,000 square kilometers or 17.5 percent of the Brazil had
been cleared by 2008. 447,000 square kilometers of the area is used for cattle ranching,
with an average density of 1.6 head of cattle per hectare, while 35,000 square kilometers
(less than 5 percent) was occupied by industrial agriculture like soy. The state of Mato
Grosso had the largest percentage of forest forest land converted for large-scale
agriculture, with 15 percent.

The analysis concluded that more than 21 percent of the deforested is in the process of
regenerating forest, either from natural recovery or the establishment of plantations.

Other land use included mining (half of which occurs in the state of Para), settlements and
urban areas, zones flooded by dams, and other development. The full results of the study
have not yet been published.

The findings seem to confirm that cattle ranching remains the predominant driver of
deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. In a region where land prices are appreciating
quickly, cattle ranching is used as a vehicle for land speculation, much of which is illegal.
Forestland has little value—but cleared pastureland can be used to produce cattle or sold
to large-scale farmers. But cattle ranching in the Amazon has increasingly become a
multibillion dollar business, supplying domestic markets with beef and overseas markets
with leather products.

Since 2009 major cattle buyers and the Brazilian government — pushed by environmental
campaigners — have cracked down on deforestation for cattle production. State-run banks

are now mandating landowners register their properties for environmental compliance in
order to gain access to low-interest loans. Meanwhile major slaughterhouses have
pledged stricter controls on their cattle sourcing to ensure they aren't driving deforestation
or the use of slave labor on ranches.

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_________________________________________________________________ Germany proves the promise of renewable energy: hits 20
percent renewables

6 September 2011

As many people in the United States question whether renewable energy is a viable
alternative to fossil fuels, Germany now derives 20.8 percent of its electricity from
renewable sources—a 15 percent increase since 2000, reports Der Spiegel. In contrast,
the United States generates only 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, 6
percent of which comes from hydroelectric power, which some environmentalists see as
unacceptably damaging.

In the last year alone, Germany's share of renewable electricity increased from 18.3 to
20.8 percent, and the country plans for further growth. German Chancellor Angela
Merkel's government aims to derive no less than 35 percent of the country's energy from
renewable sources by 2020. Opposition parties believe 40 or more percent of Germany's
energy could be sustainable by 2020.

Over the past decade, wind and biomass have fueled Germany's growth in clean energy.
In 2011, however, photovoltaic (solar energy) began driving growth in the renewable
energy sector—even though Germany receives roughly the same amount of sunlight as
Alaska. Photovoltaic solar power increased more than 76 percent in the past year and now
accounts for 3.5 percent of electricity production— more than hydropower. Considering
hydroelectricity contributes only 3.3 percent of Germany's power, the share of solar, wind,
and biomass derived energy has grown considerably.

"The renewables are showing their true potential, and that is in spite of numerous attempts
to obstruct their progress," Anike Peters, an energy expert with Greenpeace Germany,
told the Christian Science Monitor.

Good policy incentives are behind Germany's success, says a new report by the German
Association of Energy and Water Industries. The country's Renewable Energy Act has
provided investors and manufacturers of renewable energy an assured market. Merkel's
center-right government recently raised incentives for the production of wind, biomass,
and geothermal fuels. Deutsche Bank ranked the country's feed-in tariffs "best in class,"
and also gave the country's energy and climate policy strong approval.

German consumers pay the costs of feed-in tariffs, currently 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. A
poll by TNS Infratest suggests 79 percent of Germans are willing to pay this premium and
would not be opposed to an even higher tariff.

"Most people seem to understand quite well how much value sustainable energy sources
add to their lives, and so they are prepared to accept new technologies even where they
pop up right in front of their homes," Phillipp Vohrer, director of the German Renewable
Energies Agency, told the Christian Science Monitor.

However, the road to a sustainable future is not without conflict, even in Germany.
Germans are willing to pay higher electric bills, but they resent renewable energy
infrastructure— such as windmills and high-voltage power lines— in their neighborhoods,
even actively campaigning against these projects. Given that Germany will require 3,000
kilometers of new power lines by 2025 to decentralize its power-grid to include green
electricity, such disputes are prime to drive conflict.

Germany's government has been motivated considerably by the recent nuclear
catastrophe in Fukushima, Japan. In October 2010, Chancellor Merkel's government
moved to extend the life of Germany's nuclear power plants 14 years, rejecting her
predecessor's plan to phase out the reactors, despite tens of thousands of protesters in
Berlin. However, The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear incident deeply shook Merkel's
government, which then voted to end the use of nuclear power. If the country sticks to its
legislated goals, Germany should complete a phasing-out of nuclear power by 2022.

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                            ROLAC MEDIA UPDATE
                        THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                         Tuesday, 6 September 2011

       Regional - Hacia la gobernanza ambiental global
       Regional - Latinoamérica, la región más preocupada por el cambio climático
       Regional - Ministros México, Chile, Perú participan en foro ambiental de APEC en Pekín
       República Dominicana - Turismo dominicano inicia Programa Nacional de Gestión
         Sostenible en varias playas
       Chile - Santiago será sede de reunión regional sobre desarrollo sustentable
       México - Mérida y el medio ambiente
       México - Buscan fuentes de biocombustibles
       Ecuador - Ecuador se une a Limpieza del Mundo
       Brasil - Estudian calentamiento en la vida marina
       Honduras - ONG protegerá colibrí esmeralda
       Argentina - Cuestionan ordenamiento territorial
       Argentina - Empresa lanza consulta pública sobre futuro parque eólico en San Julián
       Argentina - Transforman en biodiesel 12.300 litros de aceite
       Panamá - Canal ampliado desplazaría 100 millones de toneladas de CO2
       Costa Rica - Costa Rica Without A Comprehensive Policy On Electronic Waste
       Global - ONU habilitó un mapa que exhibe las consecuencias del cambio climático
       Global - Reducir carbono negro, "la estrategia más rápida contra el calentamiento"
       Global - $40bn a year could halve deforestation worldwide


Regional - Hacia la gobernanza ambiental global


El actual escenario mundial caracterizado por la confluencia de distintas crisis —
financiera, económica, alimentaria y climática— pone de manifiesto la necesidad de
transitar hacia un nuevo paradigma de desarrollo, un “nuevo trato” que permita derrotar
la pobreza y la desigualdad en nuestros países, pero conservando los ecosistemas para
no hipotecar a las generaciones futuras.
En la CEPAL creemos que la Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Desarrollo
Sostenible, conocida como Río+20, que se realizará en junio de 2012 en Río de
Janeiro, Brasil, es una oportunidad histórica para sentar las bases de este nuevo
modelo de desarrollo, donde las demandas, prioridades e intereses de nuestra región
estén ampliamente representados.
Esto dependerá en gran medida de los acuerdos que se logren en la Reunión Regional
Preparatoria para Río+20, que se desarrollará los días 7, 8 y 9 de septiembre en la sede
de la CEPAL, en Santiago de Chile.
Durante tres días, los países de la región definirán la posición conjunta que presentarán
en esta conferencia, que se llevará a cabo dos décadas después de la recordada
Cumbre de la Tierra de 1992 efectuada en la misma ciudad brasileña, la cual consolidó
el concepto de desarrollo sostenible a nivel mundial.
Pese a las turbulencias económicas, estimamos que la región seguirá creciendo en
2012 de la mano de gobiernos democráticos, quienes cuentan con fundamentos

económicos más sólidos que en el pasado y bases sociales en progreso, así como con
instituciones ambientales fortalecidas.
Pero el hecho de ser la región con la distribución de ingresos más desigual del mundo,
obliga a América Latina y el Caribe a trabajar aceleradamente en la definición de este
nuevo “pacto social”, basado en la transformación de los patrones de producción, con
empleo pleno y criterios ambientales. La experiencia regional reciente nos muestra la
necesidad de contar con Estados fuertes y políticas públicas con visión de largo plazo.
El llamado es a construir una gobernanza mundial que promueva una mayor conciencia
colectiva sobre los bienes públicos globales. Están dadas las condiciones para salir de
Río+20 con una institucionalidad mundial, que nos permita caminar hacia un desarrollo
sostenible y economías bajas en carbono.
Además de organizar la Reunión Regional Preparatoria, la CEPAL coordinó la
producción de un documento que evalúa los adelantos y falencias de la región con
respecto a los compromisos globales de desarrollo sostenible asumidos tras la
conferencia de 1992.

El informe, elaborado con aportes de 19 organismos, fondos y programas de las
Naciones Unidas, también incluye lineamientos estratégicos para transitar hacia el
desarrollo sostenible en la región. Esperamos que este sea un insumo útil para el
debate regional.
Finalmente, propongo que el Consejo Económico y Social de las Naciones Unidas
evolucione hacia un Consejo de Desarrollo Sostenible, a la vez que se fortalezca el
Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente como organismo mundial
ambiental y que las comisiones económicas se constituyan en el brazo regional de esta
institucionalidad global. La autora es Secretaria Ejecutiva de la Comisión Económica
para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
El hecho de ser la región con la distribución de ingresos más desigual del mundo obliga
a América Latina y el Caribe a trabajar aceleradamente en la definición de un nuevo
‘pacto social’, basado en la transformación de los patrones de producción, con empleo
pleno y criterios ambientales.

Regional - Latinoamérica, la región más preocupada por el cambio


Al menos el 93% de los encuestados de estos tres países manifestó preocupación por
el tema del cambio climático. En México y Portugal las principales inquietudes son la
escasez de agua y la contaminación
Todo parece indicar que el cambio climático está abandonando las listas de
preocupaciones de los países desarrollados, como Estados Unidos, y se está
convirtiendo en un tema de moda en países en desarrollo como México, Portugal y
Según el estudio Percepción de los Consumidores sobre el Medio ambiente y la
Sustentabilidad, realizado por Nielsen, compañía dedicada al análisis de los
comsumidores, la atención al cambio climático se debe a la cobertura mediática de los
desastres naturales, que son relacionados con este tema y con los que lidian
frecuentemente los países en desarrollo.

Al menos el 93% de los encuestados de estos tres países manifestó preocupación por
el tema del cambio climático. En México y Portugal las principales inquietudes son la
escasez de agua y la contaminación.
“En México, así como en el resto de Latinoamérica, los medios han influido fuertemente
en el incremento de la concientización y protección del medio ambiente, con una
extensa cobertura de desastres naturales”, dijo Paola Fonseca, Vicepresidente de
Estrategia e Innovación para Nielsen Latinoamérica en un comunicado.
Latinoamérica se posicionó este año como la región que más atención le presta al
cambio climático y al calentamiento global, temas que preocupan al 90% de los
encuestados. En seguida se encuentra Medio Oriente y África, con un 80%.
“El clima seco y cálido en la mayoría de los países de Medio Oriente y africanos, así
como la percepción de que las temperaturas están aumentando cada verano, es
probable que haya conducido a una mayor preocupación por el cambio climático y su
variaciones”, añadió Ram Mohan Rao, Director General de Nielsen Egipto.
Pero parece ser que en Estados Unidos el tema del cambio climático no está en la
mente de sus habitantes. Sólo un 48% de los estadounidenses dice considerarlo como
un tema relevante, y un 21% dice no estar preocupado por ello.
“La mayoría de los consumidores estadounidenses se preocupan por la economía, el
aumento de precio de la gasolina y por las deudas”, dijo Todd Hale, SVP Consumer &
Shopper Insights, para Nielsen Estados Unidos en el comunicado. Dentro del grupo que
dijo no estar preocupado por el cambio climático, más de la mitad de los encuestados
consideró que el aumento de la temperatura es tan sólo una variación natural del clima.
En China la inquietud por el tema también está perdiendo fuerza. Desde 2009 la
preocupación por el cambio climático ha caido 17%.
A pesar de que en varias regiones el tema cobra fuerza, cuando se involucran las
prácticas de consumo el asunto del cambio climático se complica.
A nivel mundial, el 83% de los consumidores en línea afirmó que es importante la
participación empresarial en el tema, pero sólo un 22% se dijo dispuesto a pagar los
costos de que el comercio sea más amigable con el medio ambiente.
En Medio Oriente un tercio de los encuestados están dispuestos a adquirir productos
ecológicos. En Estados Unidos y Canadá sólo una décima parte pagaría por estos
Para los consumidores a nivel mundial, el reciclaje de envases y productos que ayudan
al ahorro de energía, son percibidos como los esfuerzos más útiles por parte de las
Sin embargo, el consumo de productos locales, que tienen un menor impacto ambiental
debido a que evitan ser trasladados grandes distancias, es el único rubro en el que los
Estados Unidos va a la cabeza, con el 65% de los encuestados asegurando que es una
práctica que ayuda al medio ambiente.

Regional - Ministros México, Chile, Perú participan en foro ambiental de
APEC en Pekín


Representantes de los ministerios forestales de México, Chile y Perú inauguraron hoy
en Pekín la primera reunión del Foro de Cooperación Económica Asia Pacífico (APEC)
sobre desarrollo forestal sostenible en la región de Asia Pacífico.
El evento, organizado a iniciativa del gobierno chino, fue inaugurado por el presidente
Hu Jintao, quien señaló que para la próxima década su país espera incrementar en 40

millones de hectáreas el área total de sus bosques, en comparación con el aumento que
hubo en 2005.
Hu mencionó también que "China está preparada para hacer nuevas contribuciones al
crecimiento sostenible verde y que la cooperación forestal en APEC cuenta con mucho
Además, subrayó que la región Asia Pacífico cuenta con más de la mitad del área
forestal del mundo y un ecosistema único y rico.
El tema de la primera sesión de la reunión ministerial, a la que acudieron representantes
de 21 países miembros de la APEC y de otras organizaciones internacionales, fue
"reforzar la cooperación regional por un desarrollo forestal de crecimiento verde y
sostenible", según la agencia oficial de noticias Xinhua.
Se espera que al finalizar la reunión ministerial mañana se logre publicar una
"declaración forestal de Pekín", según un portavoz del gobierno chino.
En 2007, los países líderes de la APEC establecieron el objetivo de incrementar para
2020 en 20 millones de hectáreas el área forestal total de la región.
Estos países poseen el 53 por ciento de los bosques del mundo, el 60 por ciento de la
producción de productos forestales y el 80 por ciento del intercambio comercial de estos
China propuso organizar la primera reunión de ministros de países APEC responsables
de la cartera ambiental en la décimo octava reunión informal de líderes APEC celebrada
en Japón en 2010, propuesta que fue recibida con beneplácito por los otros países
El 20 de diciembre de 2006 la Asamblea General de la Organización de las Naciones
Unidas reconoció que los bosques y el manejo forestal sostenible contribuyen
significativamente al desarrollo y la erradicación de la pobreza y declaró 2011 como el
Año Internacional de los Bosques.

República Dominicana - Turismo dominicano inicia Programa Nacional de
Gestión Sostenible en varias playas


El sector turístico dominicano iniciará el Programa Nacional de Gestión Sostenible con
la intervención estatal de cuatro playas de los litorales costeros este y noroeste.
Maribel Villalona, directora de Planificación de Proyectos del Ministerio de Turismo
(Mitur), indicó que la iniciativa tiene por objetivo establecer mecanismos de gestión
adecuados para la sostenibilidad natural de las playas, así como una normativa que
permita establecer parámetros para el desarrollo turístico y el uso recreativo del litoral
"Tenemos ya diseñada y aprobada para empezar a implementarse en las próximas
semanas la inversión en la playa de Macao, Bonita, Ballena y todo el sistema que va
desde Pescadores hasta Punta Popi", en Las Terrenas, Samaná, informó Villalona al
impartir la charla "Análisis comparativo de planes de manejo de la playa a nivel
nacional", en el marco de la XXV Exposición Comercial Asonahores 2011.
Según el diario Hoy destacó que el proyecto será consensuado y compartido con el
sector privado, las comunidades costeras y acompañado de una campaña educativa, a
fin de que todos los sectores se empoderen y contribuyan al desarrollo sostenible "de la
base y el producto principal de nuestra industria turística, que es sol y playa".
Chile - Santiago será sede de reunión regional sobre desarrollo sustentable


Entre este miércoles 7 y el viernes 9 se desarrollará en Santiago la reunión regional
preparatoria para América Latina y el Caribe de la Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas
sobre el Desarrollo Sostenible, con miras a establecer las bases de una posición
regional conjunta a la conferencia que se realizará en Brasil el próximo año.
La cita será inaugurada por la secretaria ejecutiva de la Cepal, Alicia Bárcena; el
representante regional para América Latina y el Caribe y director general electo de la
Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Agricultura y la Alimentación (FAO), José
Graziano da Silva; el ministro de Relaciones Exteriores (s), Fernando Schmidt, y el
subsecretario-General de Medio Ambiente, Energía, Ciencia y Tecnología del Ministerio
de Relaciones Exteriores de Brasil, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo.
También participarán la directora regional adjunta del Programa de las Naciones Unidas
para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA), Mara Murillo; la coordinadora ejecutiva de la próxima
Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Desarrollo Sostenible, Elizabeth
Thompson; y el copresidente de la Mesa del Comité Preparatorio, John Ashe, entre
otros representantes.
Una de las actividades programadas para la cita es la presentación un documento
elaborado por 19 organismos, agencias y programas de las Naciones Unidas y que fue
coordinado por la Cepal.
Este informe presenta un diagnóstico de la situación regional y propone lineamientos
estratégicos para que los países latinoamericanos y caribeños puedan transitar hacia el
desarrollo sostenible.

México - Mérida y el medio ambiente


Con una nutrida asistencia dio inicio en esta ciudad la Muestra Itinerante del Festival
Internacional de Cine y Medio Ambiente (FICMA), en América Latina y el Caribe, en las
instalaciones de las salas de cine del Siglo XXI.

La muestra es promovida por el Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente
(PNUMA) en México, el Gobierno del Estado de Yucatán a través de la Secretaría de
Desarrollo Urbano y Medio Ambiente (SEDUMA), la Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y
Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT) y el Patronato CULTUR.

En el arranque de la muestra se contó con la presencia de la Maestra Dolores
Barrientos Alemán, representante en México del Programa de Naciones Unidas para el
Medio Ambiente, del Dr. Eduardo Batllori Sampedro titular de la SEDUMA y del Biólogo
Herbert Ricalde Flores, subdelegado de gestión de la SEMARNAT en el estado.

Dichos funcionarios le dieron la bienvenida a poco más de 180 alumnos y alumnas de la
escuela secundaria 'Hermilo Abreu Gómez' de esta ciudad, quienes fueron los
afortunados en apadrinar la muestra de Mérida y en disfrutar de siete cortos infantiles,
'Mundo tortuga', 'El bosque del zorrito', 'Vida', 'Desde adentro', 'No penguins land', 'El
cuento más antiguo' y 'Pequeños investigadores'.

La muestra se estará presentando desde ayer y hasta al 9 de septiembre en dos
horarios, 10 de la mañana y siete de la noche; cabe recordar que la entrada será libre.

México - Buscan fuentes de biocombustibles


El mexicano Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias
inició el estudio de variedades vegetales para la producción de biocombustibles.
"Tenemos que evaluar el potencial bioenergético, desarrollar variedades de alto
rendimiento y calidad agroindustrial, eficiencia energética y sustentabilidad", dijo a
Tierramérica Alfredo Zamarripa, de la Red de Investigación e Innovación en
Bioenergéticos del Instituto.
Desde 2007 la institución ha efectuado más de 100 experimentos en 27 campos y
finalmente se ha concentrado en el piñón, la higuerilla, el sorgo dulce, la caña de azúcar
y la remolacha azucarera.

Ecuador - Ecuador se une a Limpieza del Mundo


A Limpiar el Mundo representa una iniciativa ecológica global que anualmente reúne la
participación de unos 35 millones de personas de 130 países.
La Prefectura del Guayas anuncia que se unirá a uno de los eventos ecológicos más
importantes del planeta: A Limpiar el Mundo (Clean Up The World en inglés) que tendrá
lugar en el balneario de Playas el día sábado 17 de septiembre de 2011.
La jornada iniciará a las 09:00 y se extenderá hasta las 14:00, en el lugar se hará una
gran minga para limpiar una zona de 4km de arena que comprenden el malecón de este
cantón, donde además habrá exhibición de arte hecho de materiales reciclados y
presentaciones artísticas.
Empresas privadas también se han unido a esta propuesta que buscan crear conciencia
en la comunidad.
Además, estos esfuerzos locales serán reconocidos internacionalmente como parte de
la campaña global.
Apoyada por el Programa de las Naciones para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA), A Limpiar
el Mundo representa una iniciativa ecológica global que anualmente reúne la
participación de unos 35 millones de personas de 130 países.
Para unirse a la campaña de A limpiar el Mundo, pueden obtener más información
llamndo al 2511677 ext. 242 o al correo

Brasil - Estudian calentamiento en la vida marina


El experimento Mesocosmos Marino, de la organización no gubernamental brasileña
Proyecto Coral Vivo, estudia el impacto del calentamiento global en la vida oceánica.
Tanques con agua y especies marinas, principalmente arrecifes de coral, constituyen
los laboratorios en los que investigadores simulan escenarios de alteración de
temperatura y acidez, para evaluar impactos sobre las especies.
"Estudios de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas prevén un calentamiento de los
océanos de hasta cuatro grados Celsius en este siglo. La elevación de solo un grado
puede hacer que las algas que viven dentro de corales produzcan sustancias tóxicas

para su anfitrión", explicó a Tierramérica el coordinador de la investigación, Clovis
"La acidez también es dañina para los corales, puede disolver el esqueleto calcáreo,
provocando su muerte y la de toda la fauna asociada a los arrecifes. Los experimentos
permitirán estudiar mejor esos impactos", agregó.

Honduras - ONG protegerá colibrí Esmeralda


La no gubernamental Asociación de Investigación para el Desarrollo Ecológico y
Socioeconómico custodiará por encargo del gobierno de Honduras la protección del
colibrí esmeralda (Amazilia luciae), especie única del norte del país.
La protección del hábitat del colibrí es un requisito del Banco Mundial para liberar buena
parte de los 35 millones de dólares asignados a la construcción de un tramo carretero
en la zona de Olanchito, en el norteño departamento de Yoro.
Las alcaldías por donde pasará la nueva carretera y la Asociación diseñarán proyectos
de protección y conservación de la especie, dijo a Tierramérica su directora Pilar Reyes.
Contarán para ello con apoyo del estatal Instituto de Conservación Forestal.

Argentina - Cuestionan ordenamiento territorial


Organizaciones ambientalistas de Argentina reclamaron que se declare inconstitucional
el ordenamiento territorial adoptado por la nororiental provincia de Corrientes, pues
atenta contra los bosques nativos.
El ordenamiento territorial se adoptó por decreto y no por ley, sin la participación social
debida y con "serias incongruencias", alegaron.
Bosques que debieron estar protegidos se propusieron entre las masas forestales
susceptibles de ser desmontadas o transformadas, dijo a Tierramérica la activista María
Eugenia Di Paola, de la Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales.
Argentina tiene desde 2007 una ley de protección del bosque nativo, pero su vigencia
en cada provincia depende de que se apruebe una norma de ordenamiento territorial
mediante un proceso participativo.
Una veintena de provincias ya sancionaron esas leyes. Pero los procesos de
participación de dos de ellas fueron cuestionados ante la justicia: Corrientes y Córdoba.

Argentina - Empresa lanza consulta pública sobre futuro parque eólico en
San Julián


Será el próximo 16 de septiembre a las 10 en el salón auditorio del Hospital Distrital Dr.
Miguel Lombardich de Puerto San Julián, una consulta pública que, sobre el futuro
parque eólico, impulsa la empresa alemana WPD, que tendrá a su cargo la instalación.
Para mayor información:
WPD Argentina SA ha girado invitación a todos lo interesados a participar en una
Stakeholder Consultation, Consulta a las Partes Interesadas, y ha solicitado al municipio
de la ciudad su difusión.

El municipio informó que “relacionada con el desarrollo del Parque Eólico Puerto San
Julián, que la compañía planifica en vistas de una futura interconexión de la red local
con el Sistema Argentino de Interconexión, ésta será otra vez una inestimable
oportunidad que los vecinos, a través de sus instituciones representat
ivas, puedan consultar y debatir un tema central para el desarrollo de la ciudad”.
WPD Argentina SA está relevando hace un tiempo los vientos locales y proyecta
emplazar una central eólica, constituida por un total de 20 aerogeneradores de 18MW.
La energía generada sería suministrada a la red eléctrica nacional una vez que se
conecte la red local con el SADI, contribuyendo de esta manera desde lo local a la
sustentabilidad del suministro eléctrico nacional.

El motivo de la convocatoria es brindar información sobre la sustentabilidad del
proyecto, su impacto socio-económico y ambiental, particularmente la no emisión de
gases de efecto invernadero y la consecuente contribución desde la localidad a la
reducción del calentamiento global. También se abordarán los posibles efectos
negativos y se prevé aclarar las dudas y consultas de los ciudadanos, involucrados,
autoridades, entidades y personas interesadas.

En esta consulta se registrarán comentarios, inquietudes y opiniones de los diferentes
sectores de la sociedad sanjulianense.

Argentina - Transforman en biodiesel 12.300 litros de aceite


La primera etapa de la campaña de recolección de aceites vegetales usados (AVU) y su
transformación en biodiesel, que comenzó hace tres meses, ya tiene resultados visibles,
que hablan del éxito de esta iniciativa.

Por ello, en el último trimestre del año, con la segunda etapa, se profundizará la
implementación de este sistema, llevado adelante por el Programa Rafaela +
Sustentable y la Secretaría de Espacio, Servicios Públicos y Medio Ambiente.
En la primera etapa, orientada a darle un tratamiento adecuado al AVU producido por
los grandes generadores, se adhirieron 85 locales gastronómicos, hoteles y
supermercados. Así, se han recogido en la ciudad 14.300 litros de aceite vegetal usado
entre los meses de mayo, junio y julio, lo que implica la valorización de este residuo
para su reutilización.

De hecho, ya se han transformado en biodiesel 12.300 litros de AVU, en una planta del
Parque Industrial Roldán (Bioenergy Rosario) que fue seleccionada por cumplir con
todos los requisitos normativos aplicables y habilitaciones necesarias para su
funcionamiento. Es importante destacar que las plantas productoras de biocombustibles
tienen que estar habilitadas por la autoridad competente, que en la Argentina se trata
del Ministerio de Planificación Federal, Inversión Pública y Servicios a través de la
Secretaría de Energía (Ley Nacional 26093/06 de Biocombustibles).
Transformar el AVU en biodiesel en una planta autorizada permite disponer del
certificado de calidad del producto obtenido y del certificado de disposición final del AVU

La campaña de generación de biodiesel a partir de AVU que se realiza en Rafaela tiene
una importancia estratégica: en primer lugar, ayuda a los locales gastronómicos,
hoteleros y supermercados a disponer un residuo contaminante de forma adecuada,
conforme a lo establecido en las ordenanza Nº 4.404/2010 de Gestión Integral de
Residuos Sólidos Urbano y la Ordenanza N° 4439/2011 de Gestión de Aceites
Vegetales Usados.

Cuando disponemos los AVU de forma incorrecta afectamos al medio ambiente, ya que
un litro de aceite contamina 1000 litros de agua, en el caso que termine en contacto con
aguas subterráneas, lagunas, arroyos o ríos. Cuando el AVU termina en desagües
cloacales y pluviales complicamos el funcionamiento de la planta depuradora de aguas
residuales, produciendo averías y obstrucciones muy costosas, y disminuyendo la vida
de estas instalaciones. Cuando el AVU es entregado a un operador informal estos
aceites vuelven al consumo humano, en mezclas con aceites nuevos y/o en la
elaboración de margarinas. Esta actividad está prohibida por la legislación vigente en el
Código Alimentario Argentino, dado que los AVUs tienen componentes cancerígenos
(acrilamidas y radicales libres), y su mal uso o reutilización es una amenaza para la
salud del consumidor.

En segundo lugar, el Plan de Bioenergía que transforma los AVU en biocombustibles
supone diversificar nuestra matriz energética con un combustible renovable, que en el
proceso de combustión genera menos gases de efecto invernadero y contaminantes
peligrosos en el aire, mejorando así la calidad ambiental de nuestro entorno.

Para el último trimestre del año, se prevé el despliegue de la segunda etapa de
implementación, que prevé la profundización de los controles establecidos en la
ordenanza de Gestión de Aceites Vegetales Usados, en particular de los grandes
generadores, la finalización de la construcción de un Centro de Acopio de AVU en el
Parque Tecnológico del Reciclado de la ciudad y el desarrollo de una capacitación en
Buenas Prácticas de Fritura. En el futuro, además, se buscará transformar el aceite en
biodiesel en Rafaela: ya se está realizando el estudio de factibilidad para la instalación
de una planta de biocombustible local.

Al sistema actual de recolección se sumará personal calificado para atender las
sugerencias de los locales. Y, además, habrá un nuevo canal de comunicación para
solicitar el retiro del aceite usado almacenado, a través del teléfono de la oficina del
Programa, 502016. De todas maneras, los locales deberán estar atentos a la visita del
personal del Plan de Bioenergía, ya que se iniciará el proceso de Registro de
Generadores y la entrega del Certificado de Disposición Adecuada del AVU, que será
entregado de acuerdo a lo establecido en la ordenanza N° 4439/2011 vigente.

En relación a los pequeños generadores, los usuarios domésticos ya pueden desechar
correctamente el aceite vegetal que usen en las casas en la Estación de Residuos
Clasificados. También podrán depositarlo en el Punto Verde Móvil que comenzará a
recorrer los barrios este mes, y que, además de recolectar el AVU, también se llevará
otros residuos potencialmente peligrosos para el ambiente.

El Plan de Bioenergía cuenta con el apoyo de las siguientes instituciones, Municipalidad
de Rafaela, INTI- Rafaela, Centro Comercial e Industrial de Rafaela y la Región,

Cámaras de Supermercados, Gastronómicos, Hoteleros, Fundación para la
Investigación de la Energía y el Medio Ambiente (FIEM), Programa de Reciclado de
Aceites Vegetales Usados PROGRECO, Programa de Competitividad ACDICAR BID
FOMIN, Agencia de Cooperación Japonesa (JICCA) y Universidad Tecnológica

Panamá - Canal ampliado desplazaría 100 millones de toneladas de CO2


La ampliación evitará desviar el tráfico de buques por rutas más largas, como el Canal
de Suez y el cabo de Hornos, para transportar mercancías.
Desplazar dióxido de carbono (CO2) es uno de los beneficios ambientales que ofrece el
Canal de Panamá al transporte de mercancías por vía marítima.
El CO2, uno de los principales causantes del cambio climático del planeta, se produce
por la combustión de combustibles fósiles, como el bunker, en la navegación marítima y
en la generación de electricidad. Y cuando comience a funcionar el tercer juego de
esclusas en 2014, se calcula que en 10 años de operación se desplazarán unos 100
millones de toneladas de emisiones de CO2.

Ello obedece a que la ruta “toda agua” del Canal de Panamá, más corta que otras
alternativas, abre el campo para que transiten buques postpanamax con un mayor
volumen de carga.

“La ampliación del Canal evitará desviar el tráfico de buques por otras rutas más largas,
como el Canal de Suez y el cabo de Hornos, con lo cual se reduce el gasto de
combustible en el transporte de mercancías”, afirma Esteban Sáenz, vicepresidente
Ejecutivo del Departamento de Ambiente, Agua y Energía de la Autoridad del Canal de
Panamá (ACP).

En comparación con el Canal de Suez, el Canal de Panamá es la distancia más corta
entre el noreste de Asia y la costa este de Estados Unidos.
También son significativos los ahorros en combustible gastado en transporte, si se
compara la ruta panameña con el sistema intermodal de Estados Unidos que utiliza
ferrocarriles para llevar la carga desde el lado oeste hasta el este.
La reducción de 100 millones de toneladas de CO2 no resolverá el problema del
calentamiento global, pero será de gran ayuda para bajar el grado de contaminación a
causa de los gases de invernadero, reconocen los expertos.
Los países que más emisiones de CO2 producen son los industrializados, como China,
que genera un alto porcentaje de energía con carbón.

Aunque la ruta a través del Canal de Panamá desde las islas Fiji toma casi tres veces
más tiempo para llegar a Nueva York, por este camino se produce 55% menos
emisiones de gases de invernadero. Este ejemplo lo cita una marca de agua para
vender el producto, utilizando el Canal como ruta menos contaminante si se compara
con la del ferrocarril de Los Ángeles a Nueva York.
“El buque es una manera más eficiente de mover carga”, afirma Sáenz.
Dinero verde
La ACP analiza mecanismos para convertir estas reducciones en “bonos de carbono”
que se negociarían en el mercado internacional y traerían recursos económicos
adicionales al país.

Hay varias iniciativas en las cuales se puede aplicar los bonos de carbono, una de ellas
son los certificados de reducción de emisiones.
“Nosotros, un país pequeño, estamos haciendo esto y creemos que se nos debe
reconocer como crédito”, dijo Sáenz.
Ya hay gente interesada en comprar los bonos de carbono del Canal, pero hay que ver
cuánto vale eso en el mercado.
Hace dos años una tonelada de carbono en el mercado se compraba a cinco o seis
euros. Se trata de bastante dinero si se multiplica por los 100 millones de toneladas.
“Habrá que ser muy juicioso a la hora de colocarlos, porque esos bonos pueden subir
en los próximos años y no sería rentable venderlos todos de un solo viaje”, precisó

La idea de medir el impacto del proyecto de ampliación en la emisión global de CO2
surgió en 2006, cuando la ACP presentó la propuesta de construir un tercer juego de
esclusas para buques postpanamax.
Un equipo de especialistas de la institución inició un estudio para determinar cuál sería
el impacto en términos de reducción de la contaminación atmosférica.
Se determinó que en el primer año se reducirán unos 9 millones de toneladas de CO2 y
cada año un promedio de 10 millones de toneladas.
Estas mejoras de alternativas de utilización de las embarcaciones resultarán en la
reducción de los tránsitos de buques pequeños, siendo sustituidos por otros más
grandes y eficientes.
Con base en estos argumentos, las hipótesis presentadas apoyaban que la
construcción de un tercer juego de esclusas tendría un efecto positivo en la reducción
del calentamiento global.

Industria se prepara

La industria naviera está desarrollando varias alternativas para disminuir las emisiones
de gases contaminantes, las cuales van desde la modificación de los motores hasta el
diseño de buques más eficientes en el consumo de combustible.
También se analiza el uso de combustibles alternativos para sustituir combustibles
pesados por otros, como el gas natural. Las navieras que se dedican a transportar
mercancías han adoptado esta iniciativa para disminuir costos y bajar la contaminación.
El Canal también desarrolla otros planes, como la reforestación de la cuenca
hidrográfica a través de plantaciones de árboles.
En tres años se han plantado árboles en 4 mil hectáreas de unas 20 mil que incluye el
programa. Esta iniciativa es aparte de la reforestación que se desarrolla en el país,
como parte de la ampliación de la vía. La cuenca del Canal tiene 339 mil hectáreas,
incluyendo los lagos, y en ellas residen unas 150 mil personas.
A los campesinos que se dedican a la ganadería se les enseña a instalar cercas vivas,
siembra de árboles frutales y siembra de árboles en las cuencas de los ríos y

Las 20 mil hectáreas que se reforestarán en 10 años también capturarán unos 6
millones de toneladas de CO2.

Costa Rica - Costa Rica Without A Comprehensive Policy On Electronic
Waste Management


Waste from discarded electronics is generated in abundance in Costa Rica but it is
unusual to have a proper process of disposal collection and management.
The waste comes from cellular phones, computers, monitors, television screens and the
like, that even at times end up in the ditches along sides of the road in even in the rivers.
The director of the Jornada Nacional de Limpieza 2011 (National Cleaning Day 2011),
Geovana Longhi, said that at present only some isolated efforts have been developed.
Longhi said that waste from computers and cellular phones makes up most of the
collection of electronic waste.
Environmental experts say that e-waste is highly toxic when it dumped in rivers or seas
or not properly deposited and processed.

"Electronic waste" may be defined as discarded computers, office electronic equipment,
entertainment device electronics, mobile phones, television sets and refrigerators. This
definition includes used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage,
recycling, or disposal.

Others define the re-usables (working and repairable electronics) and secondary scrap
(copper, steel, plastic, etc.) to be "commodities", and reserve the term "waste" for
residue or material which is dumped by the buyer rather than recycled, including residue
from reuse and recycling operations.

Because loads of surplus electronics are frequently commingled (good, recyclable, and
non-recyclable), several public policy advocates apply the term "e-waste" broadly to all
surplus electronics. Cathode ray tubes (CRT) are considered one of the hardest types to
recycle. CRTs have relatively high concentration of lead and phosphors (not
phosphorus), both of which are necessary for the display. The United States
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) includes discarded CRT monitors in its category
of "hazardous household waste"[2] but considers CRTs that have been set aside for
testing to be commodities if they are not discarded, speculatively accumulated, or left
unprotected from weather and other damage.

Rapid changes in technology, changes in media (tapes, software, MP3), falling prices,
and planned obsolescence have resulted in a fast-growing surplus of electronic waste
around the globe.

According to a report by UNEP titled, "Recycling - from E-Waste to Resources," the
amount of e-waste being produced - including mobile phones and computers - could rise
by as much as 500 percent over the next decade in some countries, such as India.
The United States is the world leader in producing electronic waste, tossing away about
3 million tons each year. China already produces about 2.3 million tons (2010 estimate)
domestically, second only to the United States. And, despite having banned e-waste
imports, China remains a major e-waste dumping ground for developed countries.
Electrical waste contains hazardous but also valuable and scarce materials. Up to 60
elements can be found in complex electronics.

Global - ONU habilitó un mapa que exhibe las consecuencias del cambio


El Programa de Medioambiente del organismo registra diversos puntos que se han visto
afectados por la expansión del hombre y el alza en las temperaturas.
El Programa de Medioambiente de la Organización de Naciones Unidas (UNEP, por su
sigla en inglés) habilitó un sitio con un mapa interactivo que ofrece un panorama con los
efectos del cambio climático en el mundo.
Basado en la tecnología de Google Maps, UNEP habilitó una instancia en la que se
pueden ver imágenes comparativas, un antes y un después, de diversos puntos de la
Tierra, afectados por la desertificación, la escasez de vegetación y los deshielos, entre
otros inconvenientes.
Estos registros grafican ejemplos de cómo la naturaleza se ha ido deteriorando al seguir
su propio curso o, por otro lado, en consecuencia del avance demográfico del hombre,
tanto para establecerse como para explotar recursos.
La mayoría de los archivos que consigna el UNEP examinan las consecuencias de la
intervención del medio ambiente en los últimos 25 años del siglo XX y principios de la
década de 2000.

Global - Reducir carbono negro, "la estrategia más rápida contra el


Existe una forma rápida y eficiente de combatir el derretimiento del Ártico y es en esta
estrategia que deben enfocarse sin demora los esfuerzos a nivel internacional, según un
experto en Estados Unidos
Mientras no hay un acuerdo global para reducir las emisiones de dióxido de carbono,
CO2, el principal gas de efecto invernadero, no debe descuidarse a otro gran
responsable, el carbono negro, dijo Mark Z. Jacobson, de la Universidad de Stanford.
El carbono negro es el resultado de la combustión incompleta de diesel,
biocombustibles y biomasa y es lo que da el color negro al hollín. Calienta al planeta
mediante la absorción de radiación solar. En los glaciares, atrapa además la radiación
reflejada por las superficies de hielo.
Diferencia crucial
Mientras el CO2 tiene una vida atmosférica de décadas, el carbono negro se mantiene
en la atmósfera apenas semanas
La diferencia crucial con el dióxido de carbono es que mientras el CO2 tiene una vida
atmosférica de décadas, el carbono negro se mantiene en la atmósfera apenas
En algunas regiones como el Himalaya, el impacto del carbono negro sobre las capas
de nieve es particularmente serio y responsable del descongelamiento acelerado de los
glaciares, que alimentan a su vez ríos vitales para China e India, entre otros países.
Punto sin retorno
Jacobson presentó nuevas estimaciones sobre el carbono negro en el encuentro de la
Asociación Estadounidense de Química, ACS por sus siglas en inglés, en Denver.

"Ninguna otra medida tendría un efecto tan inmediato. Las emisiones de carbono negro
son el segundo factor causante del calentamiento global, pero su impacto ha sido
descuidado en modelos climáticos anteriores", señaló Jacobson.
Para el experto, tomar medidas de rápido impacto es esencial para evitar que se llegue
al temido umbral en el derretimiento del Ártico, en el que el hielo -que refleja luz- está
transformándose en agua, que absorbe luz, realimentando el proceso de calentamiento.
"Las emisiones de carbono negro son responsables del 17% del calentamiento global,
un porcentaje superior al del metano, por ejemplo. El impacto del carbono negro podría
ser reducida en un 90% en un período de entre cinco y diez años si se adoptan políticas
efectivas", aseguró Jacobson.
Mundo en desarrollo
Las fuentes principales de carbono negro son los vehículos, autobuses, camiones,
tractores y aviones a diesel, además de la combustión de madera y estiércol de la que
dependen para calentarse y cocinar millones de personas en el mundo en desarrollo.
La quema de madera y estiércol para cocinar es una fuente importante en el mundo en
Desde 1950 muchos países han reducido de manera considerable sus emisiones de
carbono negro por razones de salud pública. La tecnología para reducir esas emisiones,
como el uso de filtros en los tubos de escape de vehículos, ya está disponible y a bajo
costo, asegura Jacobson.
"Convertir autos y camiones a diesel en vehículos eléctricos o a hidrógeno podría tener
un efecto inmediato en el calentamiento global", señaló el científico de Stanford.
Los países desarrollados fueron en el pasado la fuente principal de emisiones de
carbono negro, pero esto cambió a partir de la década del 50 con la introducción de
tecnologías para el control de la contaminación.
Mientras que Estados Unidos emite aproximadamente el 21% del CO2 del mundo,
emite el 6,1% del hollín global, de acuerdo a Jacobson.
Actualmente la mayor parte de las emisiones de carbono negro viene de países en vías
de desarrollo. Las principales fuentes son Asia, América Latina y África y se estima que
las emisiones de carbono negro de China se duplicaron entre 2000 y 2006.
Las emisiones de carbono negro "tienen su pico cerca de regiones de mayor origen y
dan lugar a puntos calientes", según un estudio publicado en 2008. (V. Ramanathan and
G. Carmichael, Global and regional climate changes due to black carbon, 1 NATURE
GEOSCIENCE 221-22, 23 March 2008).
De acuerdo a la misma fuente, esos puntos calientes incluyen "las planicies indo-
Ganges en el sureste de Asia, el este de China, gran parte del sudeste de Asia
incluyendo Indonesia, regiones de África entre el África subsahariana y Sudáfrica, así
como México y Centroamérica y la mayor parte de Brasil y Perú en Sudamérica.

Global - $40bn a year could halve deforestation worldwide


Investing just 0.034 per cent of global GDP could transform the world's forestry sector,
halving deforestation rates, slashing carbon emissions and creating up to five million
new jobs by the middle of the century.That is the conclusion of a major new report from
the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which argues that investing an average of
$40bn a year in forest protection would allow forests to absorb 28 per cent more carbon
from the atmosphere than they do now.
The report says extra finance can be raised from the public and private sectors using
mechanisms that pay landowners for maintaining ecosystems such as Reducing

Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Payment for Ecosystem
The report says that starting with $15 billion of investment in 2011 and increasing to
about $57 billion by 2050 could cut in half the speed at which the planet's forest are
being felled over the next 20 years.The investment would also encourage a 140 per cent
rise in the number of new trees being planted and swell employment in the forest sector
from 25 million currently to 30 million by the middle of the century.
Annual net forest loss since 1990 has fallen from about eight million hectares – around
four times the size of Wales – to about five million hectares, the report says, noting that
international efforts mean that in some regions of Asia, the Caribbean and Europe the
amount of forested area has actually increased over those 20 years.
The Republic of Congo has announced plans to plant one million hectares of trees by
2020 to restore degraded forest and provide wood for paper and fuel.Participants in a
recent Three Forest Basins Summit in Brazzaville, which hosted 32 countries from the
Amazon, Congo and Borneo-Mekong regions that make up 80 per cent of the world's
equatorial forests, also said they would work together on scripting a forest protection
agreement in time for next year's Rio+20 UN Conference in Brazil.
But despite recent successes, governments still need to support forest-based
investments through policies such as credit, microfinance, leases and certification
schemes, the UNEP report said.
"Supportive social, legal and institutional settings are key to the sustainable
management of natural resources," said Eduardo Rojas-Briales, chairman of the
Collaborative Partnership on Forests. "Optimal land use, further life cycle analysis,
ecosystem landscape management, and governance are all key themes that will help
unlock the full potential of forests in creating green economies."
The report, entitled Forests in a Green Economy, also references the work of the
Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity report, which sought to calculate the value of
the natural world to nations' economies and was followed by a UK equivalent.
It found that natural capital such as forests can represent up to 90 per cent of the GDP
generated by the rural poor, citing schemes that seek to put a value on natural capital,
such as a project to restore natural mangrove forests in Vietnam, which cost $1.1 million
but resulted in the avoidance of sea dyke maintenance costs worth $7.3 million.
A related report published in the online journal PLoS One identified that UN efforts to put
a price on forests and issue tradable credits for slowing the rate of deforestation should
take into account the size of trees in a forest and not just the area covered. The survey
of 68 countries found the amount of carbon stored by forests in Europe and North
America has increased from 2000 to 2010 despite no real change in forest area, while
African and South American forests saw the total amount of carbon stored fall at a
slower rate than deforestation. However, the study said there was not enough data to
estimate an overall trend.
An analysis from an Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study has
shown that the economic value of the services provided by the natural world, such as
water purification, pollination of crops and climate regulation, currently amounts to
between $2 trillion and $5 trillion a year.
The report, entitled Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature, focuses on potential
solutions to the rapid rate of global biodiversity loss, which some scientists have
characterised as equivalent to an extinction event.
It sets out a series of top tips for policymakers and businesses detailing how to better
measure the true value of ecosystems to the economy; a value it claims is currently

That "invisibility" needs to change, Pavan Sukhdev, said TEEB study leader recently.
"Unfortunately, the lack of an economic lens to reflect these realities, has meant we have
treated these matters lightly that they are not centre-stage when it comes to policy
discussions nor centre-stage when it comes to business discussions."
The report drew on the example of the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, urging
businesses to take steps to avoid similar disasters happening to them.Brazil and India
have already endorsed the report's conclusions, stating that they would use the TEEB
findings as a guide, while the European Union, which part funded TEEB, also agreed to
incorporate recommendations in its policy decisions.

Back to Menu


                                RONA MEDIA UPDATE
                           THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                              Tuesday, 6 September 2011

                                  UNEP or UN in the News

            SF Chronicle (USA): Carbon Cap Revival Led by Gillard Called Stupid by

                                 General Environment News
             Reuters (USA): In The World's Breadbasket, Climate Change Feeds Some
             Reuters (USA): Obama Backtracks On Smog Plan, Bows To Big Business
             Reuters (USA): The Mighty Missouri River: The Flooding And The Damage
             Reuters (USA): Exclusive: Perry Sought To Sideline Nuclear Waste Site
             Reuters (USA): Analysis: Damages Ruling May Be Pivotal In BP Case
             NYTimes (USA): Fears in Miami That Port Expansion Will Destroy Reefs
             NYTimes (USA): Stung by the President on Air Quality, Environmentalists
              Weigh Their Options
             CBS (USA): "No containment" of Texas wildfire
             SF Chronicle (USA): Climate, evolution thorny issues for GOP hopefuls
             NYTimes (USA): A Debate Arises on Job Creation and Environment

             Reuters (Canada): Ontario "Mega-Quarry" Faces Environmental Review
             Vancouver Sun (Canada): Minister denies political interference in
              Environment Canada cuts

                                UNEP or UN in the News

SF Chronicle (USA): Carbon Cap Revival Led by Gillard Called Stupid by

6 September 2011

Julia Gillard, determined to join efforts to reduce global warming, intends to revive cap
and trade as Europe puts curbs on the United Nations-run emissions credit market and
the U.S. opts out entirely.

The Australian prime minister's plan to make factories and utilities either cut the nation's
greenhouse gases or pay for pollution-curbing programs abroad may force companies to
buy an average 66 million metric tons of credits a year starting in 2015, sending prices
up 29 percent, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That's about two-thirds of
Europe's annual demand since 2008.

By pushing Australia into carbon trading, Gillard is seeking to satisfy Greens party
members of her Labor-led coalition while breathing new life into a market that's
floundering elsewhere. The European Union is setting limits on UN credits to draw in
less-developed nations. The U.S. rejected a federal cap-and-trade program for
emissions last year.

"If the Australian program passes, it's going to provide the UN carbon market with a
much-needed shot in the arm," Abyd Karmali, the London-based global head of carbon
markets at Bank of America Corp., said in a Sept. 2 telephone interview.

Prices have tumbled in the past two years as nations such as China and India flooded
the market with credits awarded for setting up their own clean projects. UN Certified
Emission Reductions, or CERs, for December delivery, fell to 7.40 euros ($10.48) a ton
on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London on Aug. 5, the lowest level since
February 2009. Global demand for credits will fall behind supply as targets set in Japan
under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol expire next year, according to New Energy Finance.

Mixed Success

Attempts to establish market-based systems to curb pollution have had mixed success
since the Kyoto agreement, which sought to link regional carbon markets and channel
money from developed to emerging markets.

The U.S. shelved proposals in 2010 to start a program after Congress blocked it
because of costs and doubts about global warming. South Korea plans to cap emissions
for its 500 largest polluters starting in 2013. China says it will set up pilot projects in six
cities starting in 2013 to prepare for a nationwide program.

Average temperatures around the world last year tied with 2005 as the warmest on
record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in
Washington. Emissions from electricity generation climbed to an unprecedented 30.6

billion tons in 2010, the International Energy Agency, the Paris-based adviser to 28
nations, said in a May report.

Cap and Trade

The Australian proposals are "stupid," Mick Davis, chief executive officer of Zug,
Switzerland-based Xstrata Plc, the world's biggest thermal-coal exporter, told analysts
on an Aug. 2 conference call. The company, with 18,986 employees and contractors in
Australasia, would probably lose sales to less- restrictive nations such as Indonesia, he

Australia's system will mirror the one in Europe, which has become the world's biggest
since it began in 2005. The region runs a cap-and-trade program, so-called because it
caps emissions for more than 11,000 polluters while encouraging them to trade spare
permits allocated by governments. Companies from Royal Dutch Shell Plc to Electricite
de France SA may also compensate for, or offset, their emissions by financing clean-up
projects in developing countries under the UN program.

"Australia's decision to put a price on carbon emissions is an important step, both
environmentally and economically," European Commission President Jose Barroso said
today in a speech in Sydney. "We will now continue our joint work for a global climate
regime and discuss how we could gradually link up our emissions trading systems in the

Even so, EU use of UN credits will plunge 63 percent when new restrictions begin in
2013, dropping to 150 million tons from 400 million tons in 2012, Trevor Sikorski, an
analyst at Barclays Plc in London, said in an Aug. 24 note. Regulators in January
decided to curb use of some credits, saying they are too easy to get and faster-growing
nations such as China and India should pay for more of their own pollution.

Compensation, Assistance

The UN market, known as the Clean Development Mechanism, was set up by the 1997
Kyoto Protocol as a way of letting richer nations offset their emissions at home by paying
for cleaner technology in emerging markets. Investors in such projects get CERs, which
can be used in nations with emission limits under the international agreement through
next year.

In the U.S., cap and trade is opposed by Republicans including all the candidates
running against President Barack Obama in 2012. Rick Perry, the governor of Texas,
and Michele Bachmann, a congresswoman from Minnesota, agreed last month that
there is insufficient evidence that emissions are causing global warming. Even Jonathan
Pershing, Obama's chief climate envoy, said at June meeting in Bonn that the U.S. is
reluctant to cap emissions unless China and India agree to limits.

U.S. Outlier

"The U.S. is marching to its own beat," Karmali said. "There is still significant debate on
how much risk climate change actually poses. I don't think any of what's happening in
Australia will impact the U.S. federal program.

After Obama failed last year to win Congressional approval for cap-and-trade, California
voted to start a statewide emissions-trading program in 2013. Even so, the state's latest
rules don't recognize the UN program.

Under Gillard's plan, Australian companies will be allowed to use UN offsets for as much
as half of their greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2015, compared with a maximum
22 percent in Europe. Coal miners will also get A$1.3 billion ($1.4 billion) in
compensation, with the biggest polluters receiving assistance over six years, while as
much as A$9.2 billion will be available in the form of free permits over three years.

Still, the government will fix prices at A$23 a ton on emissions starting in July 2012,
higher than in Europe, before cap and trade begins.

Queensland Disaster

''Australia is seeking to reduce the political risks of carbon trading by allowing its emitters
access to cheaper credits, very much in the way Europe did in the early days," said Mark
Meyrick, the Rotterdam-based head of carbon at Eneco Energy Trade B.V. "It will make
life easier for the nation's mining and energy companies."

With 23 million people, a third fewer than California, Australia is the world's largest
exporter of coal and gets 80 percent of its power from the raw material. When floods this
year in the state of Queensland killed 37 people and disrupted coal production, Gillard
called it the nation's "most expensive natural disaster."

The proposals have yet to convince some of the biggest mining companies. Anglo
American Plc, based in London and the world's third-largest producer of coal for
steelmaking, said in June the government program would throw into doubt the
company's $4 billion plan to expand in Australia. The Minerals Council of Australia says
the initiative would destroy 126,000 jobs and threaten investment.

Internal Opposition

Gillard, 49, Australia's first female prime minister, needs to overcome opposition from
her own party to pass the plan at a time when her support is falling. Her satisfaction
rating in polls is 23 percent, compared with 48 percent last September. Kevin Rudd, who
Gillard replaced last year, lost support amid an earlier debate on climate proposals.

This is "the largest economic and environmental reform for a generation," Anthony
Hobley, global head of carbon finance in Sydney at the law firm Norton Rose LLP, wrote
in a July note.

UN prices will rise to 11 euros a ton ($15.54) by 2016 from yesterday's 8.55 euros
should the plan get approved by the Parliament, according to New Energy Finance.
They will drop 23 percent if Gillard fails, it estimates.

At the same time, Gillard is under pressure to support the measures that the opposition
says will boost household electricity bills by A$700 a year in order to keep together her
coalition with members of the Greens party.

'No Big Impact'

Australia will meet its target for a 5 percent reduction in emissions by 2020 as polluters
purchase offset credits from overseas that year, according to the Australian Treasury
department. The plan allows the nation to increase emissions by 7.4 percent in the next
decade, the department says. The Reserve Bank of Australia said Aug. 5 the carbon tax
will add 0.7 percent to the nation's wholesale and consumer prices.

"It's not going to have a big impact on coal exporters," Ben Westmore, a minerals and
energy economist at National Australia Bank Ltd. in Melbourne, said Aug. 15 in a phone

Gillard is also counting on offsets to lower costs. Australia is one of the most expensive
places in the world to cut emissions, said Seb Henbest, the Sydney-based head of
carbon markets at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Credits from climate projects in
China or India, which are less-dependent on carbon- intensive systems, can be as much
as 8 euros a ton after 2012, according to World Bank estimates from June. That's less
than half the fixed price in Australia.

"It doesn't matter where the emissions are reduced," said Robert Stavins, director of
Harvard University's Environmental Economics Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
one of the architects of a U.S. program started in the 1980s that used cap- and-trade to
control acid rain. "It has the same effect on the planet."

                             General Environment News

Reuters (USA): In The World's Breadbasket, Climate Change Feeds Some

6 September 2011

The United States, the breadbasket and supplier of last resort for a hungry world, has
been such an amazing food producer in the last half-century that most Americans take
for granted annual bounteous harvests of grain, meat, dairy, fruits, vegetables and other

When horrific images of drought or famine in Africa, Asia or other regions land in
American media, America is usually first in line with food aid shipments, air drops, and
other rescue efforts from its seemingly endless stores.

The U.S. alone accounts for half of all world corn exports, 40 percent of soybean exports
and 30 percent of wheat exports.

But climate change fears are sounding some warning bells.

Some scientists and agronomists are becoming increasingly concerned about the real
effects they see now on growing conditions in the Midwest, the vast black-soiled region
long the core region of the U.S. agricultural miracle.

They also say that not only skeptical farmers but also government authorities are trying
to quietly adapt, from equipment to planting to research.

"We don't have a long-term reserve. We have a global food supply of about 2 or 3
weeks," said Eugene Takle, Professor of Agricultural Meteorology and Director of the
Climate Science Program at Iowa State University.

"We've become insensitive to climate -- with air conditioning, irrigation and better
practices," he said. "Well, I think we need to rethink that. Just how vulnerable are we?"

Takle and others say the future is now.

"It's not the long-term climate trends," Takle says, "It's the variability. It's the extreme
events that have brought the vulnerability of agriculture to climate into the forefront. We
think about, and wring our hands for awhile."

Jerry Hatfield, Laboratory Director at the National Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames, Iowa,
has worked with other scientists in research for the United Nations Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change. He says climate change is occurring right now, as is
adaptation to it, in the U.S. farm belt.

"We don't have to think about 2030 or 2050, in the recent memories we've had a lot
more variability in our weather," Hatfield said. "This increasing variability of weather,
which is associated with our changing climate scenarios, is going to continue to increase
the variability in production.

"That's what concerns a lot of us," Hatfield said.


The IPCC, which has been attacked by climate change skeptics, concluded in 2007 that
increased frequency of heat stress, droughts and floods are "creating the possibility for
surprises, with impacts that are larger, and occurring earlier, than predicted using
changes in mean variables alone."

"Climate variability and change also modify the risks of fires, pest and pathogen
outbreak, negatively affecting food, fiber and forestry," the Panel said.

Despite the attacks by skeptics, IPCC's conclusions have been accepted as valid by
institutions like the U.S. National Academies of Sciences.

In June 2009, the science academies of the G8 countries, plus Brazil, China, India,
Mexico, and South Africa, demanded action to address global climate change that "is
happening even faster than previously estimated."

Takle said Midwest farmers are already adapting.

"Farmers say they don't believe in climate change, but you look at how they spend
money and are adapting," he said.

Takle pointed to bigger machinery to allow faster and denser seeding amid rainier
springs in the Midwest. Frosts are trending later so crops are kept in fields longer to dry.

But many of the changes are more subtle and hidden than the weather events that grab
the headlines, like the massive wildfires, flooding and tornadoes that have hit agricultural
areas of the Midwest, Plains and Southwest this year.

Takle said measurable trends of more humidity, for example, has led to higher night-time
summer temperatures in the Corn Belt and likely trimmed corn yields in recent years.
Corn likes hot days but cool nights.

In Iowa, dew point temperatures have risen 3-1/2 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 35-40
years, equating to 13 percent more moisture in the air during the summertime, he said.

"It's very important that we recognize the vulnerability," Takle said. "We have situations
like in Texas. Huge reservoirs have just vanished. You can't do a work around."

The U.S. Agriculture Department this year issued its first grants to study crops and
climate change.

"If you're interested in adapting to changes in climatic norms you need to have access to
diversity," said Randy Wisser of the University of Delaware, who will study the genetics
in exotic tropical maize to see how this might help farmers.

Other grants will address greenhouse gas emissions that affect climate, notably
methane from livestock and carbon dioxide from growing crops.

"We are just trying to find a suitable way to keep these farmers in business. It took
generations to create the problem it will take generations to fix the problem," said William
Horwath of the University in California, who will develop strategy for rice growing in the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

"It's a pretty darn complex problem," Hatfield said. "We poke at it, but we need to get
very serious about how do we think about adapting our crop production goals to the
concepts of variability."

Reuters (USA): Obama Backtracks On Smog Plan, Bows To Big Business

5 September 2011

President Barack Obama put a stop on Friday to new rules that would limit smog
pollution, unexpectedly reversing course on a key policy measure after businesses said
it would kill jobs and cost them billions of dollars.

Obama said the decision to withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality
Standard by the Environmental Protection Agency was part of an effort to reduce
regulatory burdens for business.

The EPA has become a lightning rod for critics of government regulation and a hot-
button issue for Republicans in the runup to the 2012 presidential campaign.

The move will be seen as another slap in the face for Obama's supporters on the left, a
diverse group already concerned the administration has given in too quickly to big
business and Republican pressure on debt-reduction and other issues.

"The Obama administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air
we breathe. This is a huge win for corporate polluters and a huge loss for public health,"
said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters.

Business groups and Republicans said the White House was making the right decision
as the country's economy continued to struggle.

Opponents have argued the tougher regulations would cost thousands of jobs and purge
billions of dollars from the bottom line of corporate America.

"The president took a step today that highlights the devastating impact on jobs that has
been created by this administration's regulatory overreach," said Mitch McConnell, the
Senate's top Republican.

"This action alone will prevent more job losses than any speech the president has

Obama's announcement followed grim data on Friday that showed U.S. employment
growth ground to a halt in August, with the jobless rate stuck at 9.1 percent.


The EPA, under pressure from business and Republican lawmakers, delayed several
times issuing the new rule that would limit smog pollution from power plants and

Democrats in Congress called the White House's decision disappointing, and urged the
administration to move aggressively on other clean-air challenges.

"I am disappointed that the president chose to further delay important clean-air
protections that would have helped to prevent respiratory and cardiac disease in
thousands of Americans," said Ed Markey, the top Democrat on the House Natural
Resources Committee.

Environmental groups worry Obama is backing away from promises to protect the
environment. They are concerned the administration seems poised to approve the
Keystone pipeline to import more oil from the Canadian tar sands, potentially boosting
greenhouse gas emissions.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, supported by a broad range of environmental groups,
has said the ozone rules would save as much as $100 billion in health costs, and help
prevent as many as 12,000 premature deaths from heart and lung complications.

"Many MoveOn members are wondering today how they can ever work for President
Obama's re-election, or make the case for him to their neighbors, when he does
something like this," said Justin Ruben, Executive Director of

Obama acknowledged the EPA plan could be revisted again in the future, noting the
ozone standard would be reconsidered in 2013. "Ultimately, I did not support asking
state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be
reconsidered," Obama said in a statement.

In a call with reporters, White House officials defended the administration's
environmental record, saying it would "vigorously oppose" efforts to weaken the EPA's
authority or regress on progress.

"This is not a product of industry pressure. This is a judgment of the merits," a White
House official said.


The initial standards, proposed near the start of last year, would limit ground-level
ozone, or smog, to between 60 and 70 parts per billion measured over eight hours. The
proposal was stronger than the 75 parts per billion set by the Bush administration in
2008, which environmentalists blasted as less aggressive than government scientists
had recommended.

Under the rule, factories and oil, natural gas and power generators would be forced to
cut emissions of nitrogen oxides and other chemicals called volatile organic compounds.
Smog forms when those chemicals react with sunlight.

Dow Chemical has said the rule could cost as much as $90 billion. Several companies
including Dow have urged the administration to delay the rule until 2013.

Melissa McHenry, a spokeswoman with American Electric Power, said she hoped
Friday's announcement would bode well for other regulations affecting coal power plants
that are under consideration by the EPA.

"It's good to see the administration recognizing the need to balance environmental rules
with the potential impact on consumers and jobs," McHenry said.

"We would hope that same consideration should be given to other rules that the EPA is
moving forward with," she said.

Reuters (USA): The Mighty Missouri River: The Flooding And The Damage

5 September 2011

The cost of America's quiet billion dollar disaster in the Upper Midwest keeps rising as
floodwaters decline.

Shortly before Memorial Day, a summer of unprecedented flooding from Montana to
Missouri along the Missouri River started washing away interstate highway lanes and
swamping rail lines as it routed thousands of people from their homes.

Flooding continues this Labor Day weekend and is expected not to end for several more
weeks. As the water recedes, the extent of damage from three months of flooding is
showing up.

In cities such as Pierre, South Dakota's capital, the receding floodwaters have left
behind sinkholes in roads and parks and begun to reveal widespread damage to storm
sewer systems, public softball fields and a city golf course.

"We are just now, as the river is going back, really seeing what the damage is," Pierre
Mayor Laurie Gill said.

Along the riverbanks, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates the cost of repairing
its levees and patching up its dams from Montana to Nebraska could top $1 billion.

Behind breached levees and across the floodplains, the estimated cost of fixing
damaged roads, rail lines, bridges and other infrastructure is swelling in time and dollars.

States in the Midwest are competing for attention, and for federal dollars, with other
disasters that have struck since the flooding, including Hurricane Irene on the East
Coast at the end of August.

Heavy rains and snow melt in the Northern Plains this spring forced the Corps to release
record volumes of water out of its reservoirs, causing historic and persistent flooding.

Along the Nebraska-Iowa border, the three-mile-long Interstate 680 link between
Omaha, Nebraska, and Interstate 29 north of Council Bluffs in western Iowa was

The south-flowing current reduced the east-west-aligned lanes to rubble. Rebuilding the
highway is expected to take until at least November 2012.

Debris and floodwater still covers most of the 22 miles of I-29 north of Council Bluffs to
Missouri Valley, Iowa. Iowa officials hope to open that stretch of road this fall.

Floodwater is undermining and scouring I-29 near Hamburg in southwest Iowa. The
Interstate -- the main route from Kansas City, Missouri, to Canada -- has been closed in
southwest Iowa most of the summer.


Iowa road officials don't expect floodwater to recede enough to assess damage along all
of I-29 until mid October.

Floodwater flowed across Iowa Highway 2 between I-29 and Nebraska City, Nebraska,
all summer. Engineers expect to find nothing but concrete debris when the water goes

The cost of I-29 repairs alone could be tens of millions of dollars, according to the Iowa
Department of Transportation, but they hope to open the route by the end of the year.

The damage to I-29 extends into northwest Missouri, where some 65 miles of mainly
lower volume roads are water-covered. Many roads have been inundated for more than
two months.

Missouri hopes to have the majority of road repairs completed by the end of the year,
said Rick Bennett, a traffic liaison engineer coordinating Missouri efforts. Shoulder
damage could be repaired by October or November, he said.

Inspections have found holes in roads, at least one up to 30 feet deep, that will take
longer to repair, he said.

This is the worst flood damage to roads in Missouri in the last four to five years, but:
"The flood of '93 was a magnitude worse than this one," Bennett said.

The major river bridges into Missouri from Nebraska and Kansas that are closed were
not damaged on the Missouri side, but there is some significant damage to pavement
leading to bridges on Highways 136 and 159, officials said.

While highways in the region took the brunt of flooding, railroads have poured hundreds
of millions of dollars into raising tracks in an often-futile race with floodwaters.

BNSF Railway, based in Fort Worth, Texas, expects to spend more than $300 million to
restore and harden its rail network, said John P. Lanigan Jr., executive vice president.

Flooding severed BNSF's busy St. Joseph, Missouri, corridor. It was scheduled to
reopen September 3, but persistent high water was expected to keep nearby lines in the
Omaha area out of service until late September or early October.

BNSF raised miles of track by up to eight feet, built levees and berms to protect rails and
repaired and replaced hundreds of miles of damaged track, bridges and structures.

The railroad also rerouted up to 40 percent of its trains and shifted nearly 500 BNSF
employees temporarily to handle the change.

Union Pacific Railroad, based in Omaha, spent about $14 million on materials and other
flood-related efforts, spokesman Mark Davis said.

The railroad lost about $20 million in coal revenue during the first month of flooding
alone, he said. Crews raised nearly 75 miles of track and nine bridges in northeast
Kansas and northwest Missouri.

Reuters (USA): Exclusive: Perry Sought To Sideline Nuclear Waste Site

5 September 2011

Texas governor Rick Perry tried to sideline a state commissioner who opposed
expanding the scope of a nuclear-waste landfill owned by one of the governor's biggest
political donors, Reuters has learned.

Bobby Gregory, owner of a wildlife ranch and landfill company south of Austin, had
opposed a plan to let 36 states send nuclear waste to a 1,338-acre site in Andrews

On the other side of the issue was billionaire Harold Simmons and his company Waste
Control Specialists LLC, which stood to gain millions of dollars from accepting out-of-
state shipments. Simmons had donated over $1 million to Perry's gubernatorial

A report in the Los Angeles Times in August examined the case of the Texas waste site
and Perry's ties to Simmons, a conservative who funded the Swift Boat campaign that
helped torpedo John Kerry's presidential bid.

Perry maintains his appointments are based on merit, and Simmons is inclined to help
any conservative Republican, spokespeople for the two said.

In any case, the January vote by the eight-member Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste
Disposal Compact Commission was key to the future profitability of the nuclear landfill.

Reuters has learned that late last year, after it became clear that the commission might
block Waste Control's request to truck in waste from around the country, Perry's
appointments chief, Teresa Spears, offered commissioner Gregory an alternative job -- a
prestigious appointment as a regent of a state university.

Under Texas law, Gregory could not hold two state-appointed positions requiring Senate
approval at the same time, and so taking the regent job would have required him to
leave the waste commission.

Gary Newton, a lawyer for Gregory's company, Texas Disposal Systems, told Reuters
his boss declined the offer. "There was a call from Ms. Spears. Bobby said they asked
him if he was interested in this position. It was a Board of Regents position. He said 'No,
I'm not interested in that type of appointment,' and declined," Newton said.

Gregory's term as commissioner ended on August 31 this year, so Perry can now
replace him. The waste commission voted in January to allow imports, though it still has
to examine and approve specific applications to import waste on a case-by-case basis.

Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said: "Governor Perry's decisions are based
solely on what's in the best interests of the people of Texas."

The news of Perry's intervention in the nuclear-waste issue comes as the governor is
climbing the polls in the fight to take on President Barack Obama as the Republican
candidate in the U.S. presidential election next year.

The Texan is running on a pro-jobs, pro-business platform. His political foes allege that
he has granted favors to businesses owned by Perry donors (which wouldn't necessarily
be improper under Texas campaign-finance rules). The governor's camp says he pushes
the interests of all business in Texas.


The WCS-operated site will store 2.3 million cubic feet of low-level nuclear waste, which
is everything from cut up nuclear power plants, to radioactive detritus from hospitals and
research labs -- but not spent nuclear fuel itself.

A key issue for the economics of the nuclear waste site was whether it would be allowed
to handle waste imported from states other than Vermont. Texas already had a
"compact" deal to handle Vermont's low-level waste.

In the latter part of 2010, Gregory was one of two people on the eight-member panel
known to oppose allowing out of state imports. Two other members of the panel were
Republican appointees from Vermont who favored the imports, but they were due to be
replaced, presumably by Democratic appointees who would be in the opposition camp,
early in 2011.

That could have swung the balance of the committee from 6-2 in favor to a 4-4
stalemate. Replacing Gregory would have given importation proponents the vote to carry
the day.

After Gregory declined the job offer, the commission was called to vote on January 4,
before the terms of the Vermont Republicans ended.

At a meeting that day, Gregory pleaded with his fellow commissioners to vote against

"Without question in my mind this is too much, too soon, too fast, and I've added the
caveat -- if at all," Gregory told the meeting. "It is beyond preposterous, it is beyond
absurd," that the commission should vote without reading over 5,000 public comments,
he said.

The panel voted 5-2 in favor of allowing out-of-state imports, and the Texas legislature
sealed the importation allowance into law in May.

The Andrews County dump could begin accepting waste late in 2011 or early in 2012.

Perry's spokeswoman did not dispute the details of the regent offer, but would not
comment on the donor's ties to Perry or the governor's intention to remove a waste
specialist from a waste regulatory board in favor of overseeing a university. She broadly
defended the process.

"Governor Perry makes appointments based on the qualifications of an individual and his
or her ability to serve in Texans' best interests, nothing more," Frazier said. "As you may
know, the project you mention was approved overwhelmingly by the Texas legislature,
and has the support of the local community," she added.

Simmons' support of Perry is not unique and extends to Republican conservative
candidates nationwide, said Chuck McDonald, spokesman for Waste Control Specialists,
who dismissed any suggestion that Simmons' donations had gained him any favors from
Perry or state regulators.

"The record is pretty clear: If you are a conservative Republican seeking office, Mr.
Simmons is going to support you," McDonald said. "Every congressman who comes
dragging through Texas, if he stops in (Simmons') office and he's got an "R" by his
name, he's going to get money."

Reuters (USA): Analysis: Damages Ruling May Be Pivotal In BP Case

5 September 2011

A key court ruling in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill litigation could change the landscape in
the massive case -- encouraging more plaintiffs to sue, or spurring the parties to make a
deal to resolve what could be a long string of trials over damages.

Last week, the judge overseeing a group of spill-related lawsuits against BP Plc and its
business partners ruled that claims for punitive damages -- not just compensatory
damages -- could be brought by fishermen and other plaintiffs alleging harm to physical
property. If a jury ultimately awards these plaintiffs punitive damages, defendants could
be forced to pay out big.

The ruling gives some potential plaintiffs more of an incentive to sue because of the
possibility of higher damage awards, experts say. Some people have been on the fence
about suing or seeking payouts from BP's $20 billion victims' compensation fund, which
offers settlements as an alternative to litigation.

Also, the possibility of massive settlements to resolve the plaintiffs' claims involving BP
and other corporate defendants may now be more likely.

That is because tossing punitive damages into the legal mix tends to scare defendants.
Punitive damages are awards that are often multiples of the amounts that plaintiffs are
reimbursed for their losses. They are intended to punish defendants and prevent others
from engaging in similar conduct.

The prospect of punitive damages of any size is a "potent inducement to settle," said
David Logan, dean of Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Such claims can strengthen plaintiffs' bargaining position in settlement negotiations by
presenting an added risk for defendants, said Howard Erichson, an expert in complex
litigation and a professor of law at Fordham University.

Neither BP nor the plaintiffs' attorneys would comment on the possibility of a settlement
before a liability trial is scheduled to begin in February 2012.


The February trial will decide who is to blame for the largest-ever U.S. offshore oil spill. If
there are claims outstanding by the time that proceeding is done, multiple smaller trials
will be scheduled to determine specific dollar amounts for damages.

The punitive damages ruling was handed down by Judge Carl Barbier of U.S. District
Court in New Orleans, who will preside over the February trial.

In an emailed statement on Thursday, BP representative Daren Beaudo said: "The
court's decision builds on the earlier dismissal of several other types of plaintiffs' claims.
The court agreed with BP on several key issues, including dismissing plaintiffs' state law
claims, limiting availability of attorneys' fees, and significantly narrowing the group of
plaintiffs who are eligible to try to prove punitive damages."

Co-defendants Transocean, Cameron, Anadarko and Halliburton declined to comment.

BP is sparring with its former business partners over the disaster. On Friday, Halliburton
said it had moved to add fraud claims against BP in the federal multi-district litigation
pending in New Orleans, and had also filed defamation and other claims against BP in
Texas court. Halliburton handled cementing services on the blown-out Macondo well.

BP has been hit with unrelated legal woes in Russia, as special forces there raided its
Moscow offices earlier this week in connection with legal action brought by minority
shareholders in its Russian joint venture TNK-BP. BP said on Friday that the lawsuit was


In the U.S. oil spill litigation, the punitive damages ruling had been one of the major
issues pending before Judge Barbier.

While the ruling largely benefits plaintiffs, it is not a straightforward victory for them, legal
experts said. Barbier dismissed all claims brought under state law in the ruling, as well
as general maritime negligence claims against Anadarko and MOEX, a unit of Japan's
Mitsui & Co Ltd.

Supreme Court decisions in the last decade could also serve to limit the size of punitive
damages juries can award, said David Uhlmann, a professor of law at the University of
Michigan. In the long-running Exxon Valdez case, the high court in 2008 ruled that
punitive damages could not exceed the amount of compensatory damages awarded.

Also, it is not clear how much the ruling could translate into in dollar terms for the Gulf
spill plaintiffs. Plaintiffs who say they suffered indirect losses -- as opposed to fishermen
and those with property damage -- are not eligible for punitive damages. It is unknown

how many of the 108,000 private claims before Barbier alleged such indirect losses,
including restaurants and hotels claiming lost revenue as tourism fell.

Still, the prospect of winning punitive damages for clients could help plaintiffs' lawyers
bring more claims from property owners and fishermen, said Byron Stier, a professor at
Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles.

"The punitive damages green light is huge," Stier said. "That's the threat to BP, and
that's what's animating the plaintiffs' lawyers."

Plaintiffs' lawyers are competing with the BP victims' compensation fund, known as the
Gulf Coast Claims Facility.

Lead plaintiffs' lawyers in the litigation criticize the fund's offers to settle with BP and
other defendants in exchange for giving up the right to sue. They say claimants may be
better-served in court. Kenneth Feinberg, who administers the fund, has said litigation
will take years and could prove less generous than the fund.

If punitive damages are not limited by the Exxon precedent, the potential upside for
some plaintiffs who choose to go to court is massive.

But if that is not the case, suing might not be victims' best option, said Uhlmann, of the
University of Michigan. Victims, he said, may do better turning to the settlement fund
rather than "litigating for years and seeing most of the additional money paid to their
attorneys under contingent fee arrangements."

Planet Ark (USA): Ontario "Mega-Quarry" Faces Environmental Review

5 September 2011

Ontario has ordered a full environmental review of a proposed "mega-quarry" backed by
one of Boston's best-known hedge funds, a move that may threaten a project that has
already raised local opposition.

The project, which would supply crushed limestone for Toronto's booming construction
industry, has counted value investor Seth Klarman's Baupost Group as one of its

Highlands Cos, the company behind the quarry, plans to carve out the huge pit on
thousands of acres of potato fields it has bought up about 100 kilometers (62 miles)
north of Toronto.

A review announced late Thursday by the Canadian province's environmental ministry
could complicate those plans.

"After reviewing the company's application for a quarry, it became clear that more work
needs to be done to demonstrate that the project would be fully protective of the
surrounding environment," said a ministry spokeswoman in an email.

The project is already subject to a multi-year review by the Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources. As part of that process, the Environment ministry expressed serious
concerns, especially with the project's impact on groundwater.

Minister of the Environment John Wilkinson said his counterpart in Natural Resources
had agreed that a comprehensive environmental review was needed.

The Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association said the environment review was
politically motivated. Ontario's closely contested provincial election is this October.

"The government has, once again, undermined its own land use approvals process and
sent another message that will hurt business and investment in Ontario," said President
Moreen Miller in a release on Friday.

Highland will now have to submit an environmental assessment, which the ministry,
technical experts and the public will then review.

The quarry would extend below the water table, and its operators would have to pump
600 million liters of water each day to keep the mine, and later rehabilitated farmland,
from becoming a lake.

The development has faced opposition from the area's wealthy retirees, local farmers
and the environmental lobby.

Highland Cos could not immediately be reached for comment.

Baupost, which was reported last year to have $23 billion in assets, does not often
publicize its investments and returns.

Klarman's reported double-digit returns over more than two decades and his celebrated
book on value investing - "Margin of Safety" - mean investors closely track his portfolio

His investment in Highland is in line with recent efforts by hedge funds to seek profits
beyond traditional investments such as stocks and bonds.

NYTimes (USA): Fears in Miami That Port Expansion Will Destroy Reefs

3 September 2011

As Miami prepares to dredge its port to accommodate supersize freighters,
environmentalists are making a last-ditch effort to protect threatened coral reefs and
acres of sea grass that they say would be destroyed by the expansion.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection is on the verge of granting a final
permit to the Army Corps of Engineers, which will be free to conduct 600 days of blasting
to widen and deepen the channel for the port of Miami, across from the southern part of
Miami Beach.

“It won’t fare well for us, the bay, the coral reefs, the fish stocks and the sea grass,” said
Laura Reynolds, the executive director of the Tropical Audubon Society.

“You can bring this all back to the economy,” Ms. Reynolds said. “People come here to
fish, boat, sail, snorkel and dive and go to the beach.”

Florida has seen steep declines in coral in the last 25 years, and last year’s cold snap
devastated the reefs closest to shore. Some of those lost 70 percent to 75 percent of
their coral, said Diego Lirman, a University of Miami scientist who was part of a team
that conducted a survey of the coral last year and published its findings in August.

Environmentalists also question whether the potential harm to Biscayne Bay, with its
pristine waters and sea life, is too high a price for a port expansion that may not bring
the economic windfall that is expected.

Shipping consultants say the port of Miami is in fierce competition with other Eastern
ports — including Port Everglades, just an hour away in Fort Lauderdale — to receive
the superfreighters that will sail through the Panama Canal in 2014 once it has been
widened. South Florida, because of its location, is not likely to become a hub compared
with cities farther north, like Savannah and Charleston, experts say.

“The prospect of Miami becoming a big hub, this is not going to happen,” said Asaf
Ashar, a ports and shipping consultant. “Miami is the end of the peninsula. It’s difficult to
get into it.”

But with ports around the country moving forward with dredging plans, cities do not want
to be left behind. In Miami, the actual dredging is expected to begin next year.

State environmental officials said there were plans to mitigate the damage to coral, sea
grass and the bay, some of which is part of a state preserve. About seven acres of coral
is expected to be directly affected by the blasts, and the Army Corps of Engineers will be
required to transplant much of it to a trough between two reefs.

All stony coral larger than about 4 inches will be chiseled out and moved to the trough.
All soft coral greater than about 10 inches will also be transplanted. Elkhorn and
staghorn coral, which are categorized as threatened under the Endangered Species Act,
may be sent to a coral nursery, according to the plan.

At the same time, nearly eight acres of sea grass will be damaged during the expansion.
To make up for that, the corps will seed 25 acres in a large underwater hole a bit farther

The state also temporarily increased the threshold of just how milky the water can get in
the area of the dredging — another concern for environmentalists — but officials said the
silt and sediment plume would largely be contained, in part by underwater curtains.

“The damage is the minimum amount necessary to do the project,” said Mark
Thomasson, the director for the water resource management division at the Florida
Department of Environmental Protection, which issues the permits. “That’s the directive
we were given to do this project.”

Once abundant and diverse, the coral in Florida and the Caribbean has gradually
declined. Last winter, as ocean temperatures dipped into the 60s, some coral species on
near-shore reefs were killed off altogether.

“One-hundred-year-old corals were wiped out within a week,” said Mr. Lirman of the
University of Miami. “These were the jewels of the Florida reef tract.”

One particular kind of coral, the elkhorn, which helps build and stabilize reefs, has been
almost wiped out over the last 25 years because of storms, disease and warming ocean
temperatures, which end up bleaching coral. A new study by two biologists found that
bacteria from human fecal waste had played a major role in choking elkhorn coral. For
years, human waste from the Florida Keys seeped, or in some cases poured, into the
ocean via septic tanks and pipes. The sewage system is now being upgraded.

“There were a couple of acres of this coral, and now there is enough to cover your desk,”
said Ken Nedimyer, president of the nonprofit Coral Restoration Foundation in the
Florida Keys, which grows and restores coral through an underwater nursery.

In the last five years, scientists and environmentalists have worked to bolster and rebuild
reefs in the area. The University of Miami operates one of a network of four nurseries
that are growing elkhorn and other kinds of coral to transplant to reefs along South
Florida’s coast. The university also runs a coral reef research facility that investigates
what makes coral sick and what makes it healthy.

“We can turn a chunk into a hundred chunks in a year or two,” Mr. Nedimyer said of
elkhorn coral.

Last month, Biscayne National Park managers proposed ambitious plans to further
protect the area’s marine life by creating a 16-square-mile reserve that would put large
tracts of reef off limits to lobster hunters and fishing enthusiasts. The plan would call for
new no-motor zones for boats and areas where speed must be reduced.

For environmentalists, the concern with the corps’ mitigation plans is that some coral will
be missed, that the transplanted coral and sea grass may not survive and that muddied
waters from the dredging and hundreds of blasts will do long-term damage to the bay.

“You will have tremendous stress to the reef system for a project that may not even have
any economic justification,” said Blanca Mesa, a volunteer for the Sierra Club Miami.
“Biscayne Bay is actually a crystal-clear bay. It’s that way because we have acres and
acres of sea grass beds filtering silt and sand out. It’s part of the beauty. It’s a shallow
tropical lagoon that was never contemplated as a deep-dredge port.”

NYTimes (USA): Stung by the President on Air Quality, Environmentalists Weigh
Their Options

3 September 2011

For environmental groups, it was the final hard slap that brought a long-troubled
relationship to the brink.

In late August, the State Department gave a crucial go-ahead on a controversial pipeline
to bring tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Then on Friday, leading into the
holiday weekend, the Obama administration announced without warning that it was
walking away from stricter ozone pollution standards that it had been promising for three
years and instead sticking with Bush-era standards.

John D. Walke, clean air director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an
advocacy group based in New York, likened the ozone decision to a “bomb being

Mr. Walke and representatives of other environmental groups saw the president’s
actions as brazen political sellouts to business interests and the Republican Party, which
regards environmental regulations as job killers and a brick wall to economic recovery.

The question for environmentalists became, what to do next?

“There is shock and chaos here,” Mr. Walke said, “so I do not know. I can’t answer that
question.” But he added that his group would resume a smog lawsuit against the
government that it had dropped because it had been lulled into believing that this
administration would enact tougher regulations without being forced to do so by the

Political analysts watching the Obama administration’s pullback from the environmental
agenda this past month say that in the current climate there is little chance that
environmentalists or their allies will ever side with the Republicans. After all, the
Republican-led House of Representatives has been aggressively moving to curtail
protections for endangered species and regulations for clean air and water, and most of
the Republican presidential candidates have been intensely critical of any government
effort to address climate change.

Still, they say, the president could face political repercussions in subtler but nevertheless
corrosive ways: from losing volunteer enthusiasm to tying up his allies in fights with him
instead of with his enemies.

“Energy from part of the base will now be directed at communicating with the White
House and not with the public about the administration’s record,” said Daniel J. Weiss,
director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal research group
with close ties to the White House.

And Justin Ruben, executive director of, a five-million-member online
progressive political organization that played a significant role in President Obama’s
election in 2008, said he was sure that his members would be deflated.

“How are our members in Ohio and Florida who pounded the pavement in 2008 going to
make the case for why this election matters?” Mr. Ruben said. “Stuff like this is
devastating to the hope and passion that fuels the volunteers that made the president’s
2008 campaign so unique and successful.”

Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication,
who does extensive work on public perception and the environment, said the real threat

to the president’s reputation stemming from the ozone decision went far beyond

“It could play into an emerging narrative in his own party that he is caving too quickly to
Republican pressure,” Dr. Leiserowitz said. “It is a dangerous narrative in your own base
because it cuts down on enthusiasm and it is a narrative that his opponents will pick up

In fact, it is a lesson that some environmental groups have already learned, and they are
preparing to act accordingly.

“I think that two-plus years into Obama’s presidency is more than enough time for him to
have established a clear weak record,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the
Center for Biological Diversity, which has been battling the president on endangered

“The environmental movement needs to keep piling the pressure on and realizing
playing nicey-nice won’t work,” Mr. Suckling said, adding that more public actions and
lawsuits are the way to get Mr. Obama’s attention.

His is not the only group going this way, but so far it is unclear that protests are being

All last week across the street from the White House, Bill McKibben, a founder of, a grass-roots organization that advocates limiting carbon emissions, staged
demonstrations to protest the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring the tar sands oil
from Canada.

As of Friday, Mr. McKibben said, more than a thousand people had been arrested in the
previous days of protest, including Obama campaign staff members from 2008. Yet, he
said of the White House, “we heard not one word from them.”

One of those former campaign workers who was arrested was Courtney Hight, who was
the youth vote director in Florida in 2008. She offered an explicit warning: “If the
president decides not to permit the pipeline, he will reignite the enthusiasm many of my
friends and I felt in 2008. But if he approves it, it is just human nature that the
disappointment will sap the enthusiasm that drove us to work so hard last time.”

CBS (USA): "No containment" of Texas wildfire

6 September 2011

Firefighters trying to control a wind-fueled wildfire that has destroyed nearly 600 homes
in Central Texas were looking for a few overnight hours of diminished winds as
thousands of evacuees spent the night away from their threatened homes.

There's been no significant rainfall over central Texas for a year, said CBS News
correspondent Dean Reynolds, and today the consequences of that are being seen in
Bastrop and other areas.

Since December, wildfires have consumed 3.6 million acres of Texas - an area the size
of the state of Connecticut.

Unfortunately, there is no rainfall in the forecast for the foreseeable future.

The Texas Forest Service put out statement saying, "This is unprecedented fire
behavior. No one on the face of this Earth has ever fought fires in these extreme

Tom Boggus, director of the Texas Forest Service, told CBS' "The Early Show" that as of
this morning "There's no containment right now."

"We've been in a defensive mode for a couple of days now, and really all you can do is
get people out of the way, protect homes where you can, and make sure our firefighters
are safe," Boggus told anchor Erica Hill. "But today, the winds have died down so we
can probably be much more aggressive, and we hopefully can get some containment on
all these fires in the Austin area."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry left the campaign trail Monday and returned to Texas for the
latest outbreak of blazes. He told "The Early Show" Tuesday that he doesn't know
whether he will participate in the first Republican debate since he entered the raced for
president while his state continues to battle persistent wildfires.

Boggus said 90 percent of wildfires are caused by people - directly, or through the
electricity used by us. Texans are aware of the fire dangers. "People get it, they
understand it," he said. "Especially now it's heightened with the news media ... people
understand to be very, very careful. And with the high winds people understood how
dangerous and how volatile this state is.

"It's historic. We've never seen fire seasons like this. We've never seen drought like this.
This is an historic time that we're living in, and so people know and understand they've
got to be extremely careful," Boggus said.

For Bastrop hotel owner Mona Patel, the wildfire left her no room to maneuver: "They
just gave us the final warning to leave right now," she said. "It's scary. My mind's lost. I
don't know what to do."

It was a sentiment shared by some 5,000 people who've been forced from their homes,
or what's left of them, and a wall of smoke and fire 16 miles long blackened the
croplands of central Texas dotted with parched and highly combustible pine and cedar

"Didn't look like it was going to get to our house," said resident Steve Conti. "But then
the wind changed direction and came through."

"Five minutes is all we had, five minutes," said Josephina Morales, one of the 400
people in emergency shelters right now. "I left with my clothes on my back and that was

"It was scary, when you go back to the driveway, it was just like two blocks, three blocks
down the road," Morales said.

Scary is how many Texans are describing the scene: "We were just all scared, hoping
that we have some kind of mercy if God sees us," said Mona Patel.

The wind came from Tropical Storm Lee, but not the rains - no moisture at all to stem the
wildfire's rapid advance.

Boggus of the Texas Forest Service said he will continue to request resources from out-
of state to supplement the firefighters on the ground, many of whom are volunteers.

"In Texas the number one line of defense are volunteer firemen," he said. "So we're
there to support them. But all the firefighters are fatigued. And that's really our concern
right now is getting replacements in here, making sure our firefighters are safe and get
rested, so we can attack this fire head-on."

Boggus said 12,000 individuals have come from across the United States to help battle
wildfires. But, he added, "We're not the only crisis going on. The tropical storm still
causes issues. Irene causes issues in the northeast, and California and Arizona are
having fires. So we know we're not the only game in town, but we're going to continue to
request resources and we're going to use what we have wisely."

Slack winds were expected after midnight Tuesday, enabling firefighters to make
progress on the massive blaze racing through rain-starved farm and ranchland.

"You have to be optimistic and at the same time prepared for the worst," Texas Forest
Service spokesman John Nichols said Monday night, acknowledging the weather's

The fire was far enough away from Austin that the city was not threatened, but it
consumed land along a line that stretched for about 16 miles, Texas Forest Service
officials said.

The wildfire destroyed at least 476 homes, and about 250 firefighters were working
around the clock using bulldozers and water trucks against the fire, Bastrop County
Judge Ronnie McDonald said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, and officials said they knew of no residents
trapped in their homes.

But the blaze was "nowhere near controlled" on Monday and a separate, smaller blaze
south of the city was growing larger, said Mike Fischer, the county's emergency
management director. It's unclear how the fire began.

Crews have responded to nearly 21,000 wildfires in Texas since the traditional fire
season began early in the year. Outdoor burning, including campfires, is prohibited in all
but three of the state's 254 counties.

The governor's office said at least 40 Texas Forest Service aircraft were involved in the
firefighting Monday along with a half-dozen Texas military aircraft.

Since December, wildfires in Texas have claimed 3.5 million acres — an area the size of
Connecticut — and destroyed more than 1,000 homes, Perry said.

On Sunday, about 200 miles to the northeast in Gladewater, a 20-year-old woman and
her 18-month-old daughter died when a fast-moving wildfire gutted their mobile home.
That fire was out Monday, although several other major blazes continued to burn in at
least four other counties in central and northern Texas.

In Bastrop, a town of about 6,000 people along the Colorado River, huge clouds of
smoke soared into the sky and hung over downtown. When winds picked up, flames
flared over the tops of trees. Helicopters and planes loaded with water flew overhead,
and firefighters along a state highway outside the city converged around homes catching

"Waiting is the most frustrating thing," said Gina Thurman, 47, choking back tears as she
sat by herself in the shade on a curb outside Ascension Catholic Church, one of several
shelters in the area. "You're sitting there and you don't know anything but your house is
probably burning."

Rick Blakely was among about 30 people sleeping on cots at the church. The 54-year-
old said he was in a state of shock and "not expecting anything to be standing" when he
returned to his home.

"I just don't know what I'm going to do," he said.

To the west of Austin in Travis County, at least 20 homes were lost and 30 others were
damaged in another fire. More than 1,000 homes were under mandatory evacuation and
25 lost in a third fire also in the Austin area.

At least two-thirds of the 6,000-acre Bastrop State Park have burned. The park is home
to endangered Houston toads and several historic rock and stone buildings built in the
1930s and 1940s that officials are trying to protect, said Mike Cox of the Texas Parks
and Wildlife Department.

From the park's front gate, Cox said: "All I see is a wall of smoke."

SF Chronicle (USA): Climate, evolution thorny issues for GOP hopefuls

6 September 2011

GOP presidential candidates gathering at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in
Simi Valley on Wednesday will spar over jobs, the economy and foreign policy - but the
televised matchup will become especially tricky if it wanders into two topics related to
science: climate change and evolution.

Both inspire fiery debate, pitting science and research against deeply held personal
beliefs. Discussing them in a debate is politically tricky, as they're a recipe for alienating
either the conservative evangelicals in the Republican base or the independent voters
who must be courted for a 2012 general election victory.

Listening carefully to the answers will be voters and donors with particular financial and
political clout - the executives of Silicon Valley, the innovation capital and a haven for
green technology.

Nearly all the major Republican candidates disagree with - and in some cases outright
mock - the scientific research supporting climate change. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-
Minn., called it "manufactured science."

At the same time, several of the candidates put "intelligent design," a critique that says
Charles Darwin's natural selection theory doesn't explain some features of the natural
world, on par with teaching evolution. Critics say intelligent design is a euphemism for

Texas Gov. Rick Perry told a young boy on the campaign trail last month that "we teach
both creationism and evolution in our public schools - because I figure you're smart
enough to figure out which one is right." While some Texas teachers might discuss
intelligent design, it is not part of the state's official curriculum.

But the Republican candidates' views on climate change are being met with the most
raised eyebrows in Silicon Valley, the mecca of political fundraising, tech innovation and
venture capital dollars.

California's groundbreaking climate change law, known as AB32, was championed by
tech leaders in the region, which attracts one of every two venture capital dollars in
America, studies show. The law says the state must reduce greenhouse gas emissions
25 percent by 2020, returning them to 1990 levels.

"In a valley of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, the science behind climate
change is overwhelmingly accepted," said Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the
nonpartisan Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents more than 325 of the
region's top companies.

"The disagreements over that issue, especially with renewable energy executives, will be
a tougher sell for candidates who disagree with or don't understand the science,"
Guardino said.

Climate survey

There is little doubt about climate change among likely California voters, 61 percent of
whom believe that the effects of global warming have already begun, according to a July
survey by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. Nationally, 55 percent of
Americans believe that global warming is a "serious personal threat," according to a
Gallup survey in August.

The bad news for Republican presidential candidates: The Public Policy Institute survey
found that 62 percent of independent voters, who are the swing voters in the state,
believe that, too. Thirty-two percent of California Republicans believe that the effects of
global warming "will never happen," the poll also found.

"You have a lot of explaining to do to the average Californian if you come into this state
and say, 'I don't believe in climate change, and this isn't something the government
should be involved in,' " said Mark Baldassare, CEO of the Public Policy Institute of

Only one major Republican candidate has dared to challenge his party on these views.
Last month, Jon Huntsman, a former U.S. ambassador to China and Utah governor,
tweeted: "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call
me crazy."

Huntsman also said, "The minute that the Republican Party becomes the ... anti-science
party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise
allow us to win the election in 2012."

In March, none of the 31 GOP members of the House Energy and Commerce
Committee supported an amendment that said "human-caused climate change is a
threat to public health and welfare."

Questioning science

Some candidates couch their disdain for climate change by saying there are questions
about the science behind it. That includes Mitt Romney, who supported regional cap-
and-trade programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2005 when he was
governor of Massachusetts.

But on the campaign trail last month in New Hampshire, Romney said, "Do I think the
world's getting hotter? Yeah, I don't know that, but I think that it is. I don't know if it's
mostly caused by humans."

Romney "is trying to tap dance by the Tea Party graveyard," said Warner Chabot, CEO
of the California League of Conservation Voters, a nonpartisan political arm of the
environmental movement.

Chabot, who worked with many Silicon Valley leaders to overwhelmingly defeat a 2010
ballot measure that would have overturned the state's climate change law, has heard
tech leaders say that "climate deniers are going to have a bit of a harder time getting
their calls returned."

"It's not a black-and-white litmus test," Chabot said. "But I'm sure when they come to
California, they will talk about business incentives and tax breaks and not talk about
climate at all. They want money out of the Silicon Valley ATMs, so they'll probably be

Silicon Valley observers and pollsters say the candidates' views on evolution aren't
widely shared, either. Intelligent design is not a widely held view in California, as only 25

percent of likely California voters consider themselves evangelical Christians, according
to Public Policy Institute of California surveys in recent months.

But Wade Randlett, a former political director of the bipartisan group TechNet and a
major fundraiser for President Obama's re-election campaign, said candidates like Perry
- who will hold a Silicon Valley fundraiser this week - undermine their appeal among
business innovators with their confounding positions on evolution.

"If there's any place in the United States that thinks science is more important than
ideology, it's Silicon Valley," he said.

Vancouver Sun (Canada): Minister denies political interference in
Environment Canada cuts

1 September 2011

Hundreds of job cuts announced over the summer at Environment Canada were not
politically motivated and will not affect core services in the department, Environment
Minister Peter Kent said Thursday.

Speaking at length about the issue for the first time since the cuts — affecting nearly 800
positions — were confirmed in August, Kent also rejected accusations from opposition
parties that the decision was deliberately imposed to muzzle scientists conducting
research that contradicts government policies.

"These decisions are made by the deputy minister and his department managers," Kent
said during a news conference about an archeological expedition in the Arctic. "The
Treasury Board protocol makes it very clear that these manning decisions be free from
political interference."

Kent acknowledged that the cuts would affect as many as 776 positions, but stressed
that many were retiring or choosing to leave the department while others would get help
in finding positions elsewhere in the public service.

Last week, Kent was forced to order his department to reverse cuts to water quality
services in the Northwest Territories following revelations that it had ordered the
shutdown of nearly two dozen monitoring stations. But he dismissed concerns from
critics who say the changes in the department will compromise the government's
capacity to assess science and do its own research.

"I can assure them, and certainly, I've been assured by our deputy minister, by the
heads of our agencies and departments that our core services will not be compromised,"
Kent said.

Liberal environment critic Kirsty Duncan was skeptical about Kent's assurances,
describing the cuts as alarming. She explained that the public servants at Environment
Canada are essential for supporting the government in addressing issues, such as
protecting air and water quality and predicting impacts of climate change.

"If you have less science, that potentially leads to less-informed decision making," said
Duncan, a scientist with degrees in geography and anthropology. "I really feel that 140
years ago, the politicians understood it better. They understood there was a need for a
national weather service because it's about protecting the economy, right through to

NDP environment critic Megan Leslie said she didn't buy Kent's explanation about no
political interference in the cuts.

"We all know that the civil servants answer to the minister," said Leslie.

Leslie, who said she has received letters from constituents in Halifax this summer
expressing concerns about the cuts and the government's attitude toward scientists,
added that the minister's dismissal about potential impacts of eliminating jobs was
"wishful thinking."

"We do have . . . a government that consistently fails on the environment as it is," Leslie
said. "They're failing to meet their own targets that are already inadequate, so if they're
already failing, how can getting rid of staff actually improve that?"

Kent said there was some "misreporting" about the cuts over the summer, including
speculation that the 776 employees would "be on the street," which he said was false.
But when asked why he hadn't personally taken the time to offer a detailed explanation
to address the allegations, Kent said that it had "been a busy summer across the
country, in the South and in the North."

The cuts have been in response to previously announced departmental reviews of
spending and performance and do not reflect potential changes to occur in future years
as the federal government attempts to eliminate its annual deficit and to balance its

NYTimes (USA): A Debate Arises on Job Creation and Environment

4 September 2011
Do environmental regulations kill jobs?

Republicans and business groups say yes, arguing that environmental protection is
simply too expensive for a battered economy. They were quick to claim victory Friday
after the Obama administration abandoned stricter ozone pollution standards.

Many economists agree that regulation comes with undeniable costs that can affect
workers. Factories may close because of the high cost of cleanup, or owners may
relocate to countries with weaker regulations.

But many experts say that the effects should be assessed through a nuanced tally of
costs and benefits that takes into account both economic and societal factors. Some

argue that the costs can be offset as companies develop cheaper ways to clean up
pollutants, and others say that regulation is often blamed for job losses that occur for
different reasons, like a stagnant economy. As companies develop new technologies to
cope with regulatory requirements, some new jobs are created.

What’s more, some economists say, previous regulations, like the various amendments
to the Clean Air Act, have resulted in far lower costs and job losses than industrial
executives initially feared.

For example, when the Environmental Protection Agency first proposed amendments to
the Clean Air Act aimed at reducing acid rain caused by power plant emissions, the
electric utility industry warned that they would cost $7.5 billion and tens of thousands of
jobs. But the cost of the program has been closer to $1 billion, said Dallas Burtraw, an
economist at Resources for the Future, a nonprofit research group on the environment.
And the E.P.A., in a paper published this year, cited studies showing that the law had
been a modest net creator of jobs through industry spending on technology to comply
with it.

The question of just how much environmental regulation hurts jobs is a particularly
delicate one as leaders in Washington debate the best ways to address the nation’s
stubbornly high unemployment rate. As President Obama prepares for an important
speech on Thursday focusing on job creation, Republicans are pushing for a rollback in
environmental regulations that they say saddle companies with onerous costs that curtail
jobs without leading to significant improvement in environmental or public health.

Part of the problem in evaluating the costs of regulation is that there have been few
systematic studies of such costs after regulations are imposed.

“Regulations are put on the books and largely stay there unexamined,” said Michael
Greenstone, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “This is part of
the reason that these debates about regulations have a Groundhog’s Day quality to

Mr. Greenstone has conducted one of the few studies that actually measure job losses
related to environmental rules. In researching the amendments to the Clean Air Act that
affected polluting plants from 1972 and 1987, he found that those companies lost almost
600,000 jobs compared with what would have happened without the regulations.

But Mr. Greenstone has also conducted research showing that clean air regulations
have reduced infant mortality and increased housing prices, and indeed many
economists argue that job losses should not be considered in isolation. They say the
costs of regulations are dwarfed by the gains in lengthened lives, reduced
hospitalizations and other health benefits, and by economic gains like the improvement
to the real estate market.

Business groups also tend to cite regulation even if other factors are involved, critics
say. The cement industry is currently warning that as many as 18 of the 100 cement
plants currently operating in the United States could close down because of proposed
stricter standards for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, resulting in the direct
loss of 13,000 jobs.

An E.P.A. analysis of the proposed rules projects a much smaller effect, ranging from as
few as 600 jobs lost to 1,300 jobs actually added in companies that make cleaner

Some cement plants could be at risk simply because of the economy. With the housing
market on its knees, demand for cement is down by about 40 percent from its
prerecession peak. According to Andy O’Hare, vice president for regulatory affairs at the
Portland Cement Association, a trade group, about a third of the cement plants in the
country are being shut off every other month.

That’s precisely why imposing new regulations right now could be tricky. “Even if these
rules have benefits that justify the costs, there is still a separate question on when is the
right time to impose these regulations,” said John Graham, dean of the Indiana
University School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the head of the White House
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs under President George W. Bush. “These
benefits, which are often quite substantial, tend to be long term before they are incurred.
They don’t necessarily help in this short-term precarious situation that we’re in.”

As much as timing, many companies are seeking clarity, saying they are more
concerned about knowing what the rules are — and when and how much they will
change — than eliminating the rules altogether.

“The environmental regulations are a moving target,” said Spencer Weitman, president
of the National Cement Company of Alabama, a cement maker in Ragland, Ala. The
company has suspended a $350 million project to build a new kiln because, it says, it

cannot figure out which of three proposed standards it must meet. The firm has been
cited by House Republicans as a case study in how environmental rules kill jobs, as
National Cement estimated that it would take about 1,500 construction workers to build
the kiln and then 20 to operate it on a permanent basis.

Mr. Weitman said the company, which has been asking the E.P.A. for clarification,
worried that it would not be able to afford the technology required to comply with new
standards. But, he said, “we agree that we need to protect the environment and we need
regulations in place to make sure that we all do it right. That’s not the argument that
we’re coming up with. We do need regulations that are achievable and that make

For now, the Obama administration is moving ahead with plans for a number of other
environmental rules, including regulations governing industrial emissions that cross state
lines and toxic air pollution from power plants and factory boilers.

In issuing new regulations, the administration says it weighs job creation and economic
growth as carefully as it does health, safety and environmental impacts, a commitment
enshrined in an executive order signed by the president earlier this year.

House Republicans say the administration is engaged in a spasm of rule-making that is
retarding the nation’s economy and exacerbating persistently high unemployment. They
have announced plans to review and repeal a catalog of environmental, labor and health
care rules beginning this week.

Finding a middle ground is difficult, especially in the midst of heated political wrangling
over how to cope with the sputtering economy. Businesses are focusing almost entirely
on the costs. Environmental groups, meanwhile, tally up the benefits without paying
much heed to the costs.

“My view is that the Republican claim that ‘job-killing regulation’ is a redundancy is as
ridiculous as the left-wing view that ‘job-killing regulation’ is an oxymoron,” said Cass
Sunstein, head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. “Both
are silly political claims that have no place in a serious discussion.”

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                            ENVIRONMENT NEWS FROM THE
                       S.G’s SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

6 September 2011

UN News Centre: Secreary General to attend Pacific Island forum in
Auckland on Wednesday

6 September 2011

The Secretary-General will attend the opening of the Pacific Island Forum in Auckland
and hold a group discussion with Pacific Island leaders. He will then fly back to Australia
for the final stage of his visit to the South Pacific.

The Secretary-General started the weekend in Australia, holding talks with Prime
Minister Gillard and Foreign Minister Rudd in Canberra before flying to the Solomon
Islands and Kiribati to see for himself the effects of climate change.

 In Kiribati, the Secretary-General joined President Tong and many young people to
plant mangroves on a beach to help fight coastal erosion. He told reporters he was
urging world leaders to act now. He said the high tide showed it was high time to act.
The Secretary-General met villagers, including children, who spoke of their fears and of
their experiences already with water inundating their homes.

The Secretary-General also discussed women's empowerment with leaders in Kiribati
and the Solomon Islands as well as with other Pacific Island leaders when he got to
Auckland. He said it was crucial to boost the status of women, not least through
increasing the number of women in parliament in Pacific Island countries - five of which
are among the only nine countries in the world with no women members of parliament.

 In Auckland, the Secretary-General gave a speech at Auckland University and also met
with the Prime Minister of New Zealand to discuss climate change and developments in
the Pacific region and beyond, including in Libya and the Horn of Africa.

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