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					                          THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                             Thursday 6 November 2008



                       UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

   Namibian - Windhoek, Namibia: More chemicals added to trade 'watch list'
   Walta Information Center, Ethiopia: UN gathering takes on causes, impacts of land
     degradation
   Gulf Daily News, Bahrain - Go Green drive given the off!
   Associated Press of Pakistan: Govt. to reinstate 1996‘s sacked employees with all benefits:
     Sherry
   Merinews: Asbestos in hazardous list In India - no way!



                                Other Environment News

   AFP: Climate talks: Obama victory offers hope, but Congress is key
   AFP: UN climate chief seeks Obama input in December talks
   BBC: Growing slums 'face water crisis'
   Reuters: Great Apes Debate leads to EU testing ban proposal
   AFP: Species protection group tusked over ivory sales
   Reuters: Environmentalists, Nigerians plan to sue Shell

                     Environmental News from the UNEP Regions

   ROA
   ROAP
   ROLAC
   RONA
                                     Other UN News

   Environment News from the UN Daily News of 5 November 2008
   Environment News from the S.G.‘s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 5 November 2008
    (None)




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       UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

Namibian - Windhoek, Namibia: More chemicals added to trade 'watch list'

Rome - Over 120 countries party to the Rotterdam Convention agreed to add the pesticide
tributyltin to a global trade "watch list", but were unable to reach consensus on the
inclusion of chrysotile asbestos and the pesticide endosulfan during negotiations here last
week.

The conference reaffirmed that governments have an obligation to use the Convention's
information-sharing mechanism to inform others about their national decisions on the
import and management of hazardous chemicals.

"Trade comes with rights and responsibilities, and the discussions this week have shown
the strong commitment of many countries to this spirit of reciprocity," said Bakary Kante,
Director of the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions at the United Nations
Environment Programme, which, along with Food and Agriculture Organisation, jointly
manages the Convention secretariat.

The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for certain
Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade promotes transparency and
information sharing about potential risks to human health and the environment.

Its so-called PIC list currently contains 39 hazardous substances, including all other forms
of asbestos.

"International instruments such as the Rotterdam Convention are tools to assist countries
in sound chemicals management," said James Butler, FAO Deputy Director-General at the
opening of the high-level segment of the meeting.

Under the Convention, exports of chemicals and pesticides on the PIC list require the prior
informed consent of the importing country.

This gives developing countries in particular the power to decide which potentially
hazardous chemicals they want to receive and to exclude those they cannot manage
safely.

Exporting countries are responsible for ensuring that no exports leave their territory when
an importing country has made the decision not to accept the chemical in question.

"Clearly the chemical footprint is expanding exponentially today," said UNEP Executive
Director Achim Steiner.

"The transition towards a greener economy touches upon the responsibilities that we have
as societies."


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Walta Information Center, Ethiopia: UN gathering takes on causes, impacts of land
degradation
Wednesday, 05 November 2008

Addis Ababa, November 5 (WIC) - With some 12 million hectares of land lost every year to
degradation and other environmental causes, a United Nations gathering kicks off yesterday in
Istanbul, Turkey, to tackle a problem which risks being forgotten due to the current global financial
crisis, according to UN News Center.

Nearly half the African continent – where 60 per cent of the population depends on agriculture – is
affected by land degradation, with sub-Saharan Africa facing threats to its food production
capacity.

The seventh session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention
(CRIC7) to tackle desertification will take place from 3-14 November.

"The impact of natural resource degradation is potentially even more devastating in financial terms
than the current global meltdown," said Christian Mersmann, Managing Director of the Global
Mechanism of the UNCCD, which provides advisory services on sustainable land management.
"The socio-economic cost of inaction on people‘s livelihoods is colossal."

The UN Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that desertification has an annual price tag of $9
billion in Africa alone.

"The triple scourge of poverty, climate change and high food prices constitutes a set of global
challenges which require a fully coordinated global response to deal with today‘s short-term needs
and meet the medium to longer term imperative of higher and sustainable agricultural productivity
and production," said Kanayo Nwanze, Vice-President of the UN International Fund for
Agricultural Development (IFAD).

According to that agency, one quarter of the world‘s topsoil, one-fifth of the agricultural land and
one-third of forests have been degraded or lost in the past five decades.

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Gulf Daily News, Bahrain - Go Green drive given the off!
By Rebecca Torr
6 November 2008

AN environmental project targeting schools will be launched in conjunction with the
Australian V8 race at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir today. The Project in
a Box initiative, part of BIC's Go Green programme, will focus on the local community and
schools.

It will be launched at 8.30am by V8 drivers, who will present school students with boxes
containing plants, seeds and ideas for environment projects.

"At the V8 we will raise and heighten awareness of our Go Green project," BIC chief
executive officer Martin Whitaker told the GDN.



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"Each school will get a box which contains seeds, plants and literature for school
environment projects such as how to care for the environment, how to consider waste
management - simple projects.

"Last year we invited schools to take part in the V8 Racing Green project and this year we
are taking it a stage further and identifying our link with United Nations Development
Programme.

"We will continue developing the project and another initiative which we will launch at the
F1."

The school project links in with the V8 Racing Green programme, which was launched to
offset carbon emissions of the race by planting native trees in Australia, New Zealand and
Bahrain.

It is also in line with BIC's memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Unep - the only
racing circuit in the world to have such an agreement to work on developing environmental
initiatives.

Mr Whitaker revealed at the next Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix in April, the BIC, in
collaboration with horticulturalists and farmers, would launch an environmental project that
aims to encourage the use of local shrubs and trees.

It will be carried out in conjunction with the FIA Foundation and its carbon sequestration
and forestation programme based in the Chiapas region of Mexico.

Mr Whitaker said the BIC had already planted desert plants at the BIC's Oasis and more
would be featured at its Karting Circuit, which will open by the end of next year.

The mini-track will also feature a nature trail through trees and plants.

"We want to heighten awareness about what BIC and Formula One are doing," said Mr
Whitaker.

"Environment issues are very dear to all of us and if we don't address them then there will
be a problem."

Mr Whitaker said there were many opportunities to create a sustainable environment at
the BIC and future initiatives could include recycling tyres and waste.

"We will use BIC as a catalyst for environment projects," he said.

"We are looking at local companies that are dealing with waste because now you can turn
rubber tyres into packaging for example."

Mr Whitaker said as a national facility with a high profile, BIC had an opportunity to take
the lead in raising awareness about environment issues.

"I'm conscious that Bahrain is increasingly doing more in terms of environment issues," he
said.



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"A lot of activities we are having are community driven and we have a responsibility to the
community and this is something we can give back to them."

Mr Whitaker said through its environment initiatives, the BIC hoped to encourage all
schools to use the BIC as a venue for geography and science field trips.

In 2007 more than 100 schools had field trips at the circuit and in the last 18 months 8,000
people passed through the Welcome Centre, which will soon include a demonstration of
the Go Green project.

"People once saw the BIC as elitist and untouchable but through projects such as this we
are opening doors," added Mr Whitaker.

Schools and others interested in visiting the BIC should contact community relations
officer Mohammed Al Awadi on 17450000.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the BIC will congratulate racing car driver Lewis Hamilton and his
McLaren team on their win at the F1 World Championship.

Officials, V8 drivers and fans will take part in an aerial photo shoot where they will hold a
large poster saying congratulations from Bahrain.

It will be framed and sent to Lewis and the McLaren team.


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Associated Press of Pakistan: Govt. to reinstate 1996’s sacked employees with all
benefits: Sherry

ISLAMABAD, Nov 5 (APP): Federal Cabinet Wednesday decided in principle to reinstate
all government employees sacked after dismissal of Pakistan Peoples Party‘s government
in 1996. All those employees who were provided employment by PPP during 1993‑ 96
and removed from service later, would be reinstated with seniority and back financial
benefits, said Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Sherry Rehman.
Briefing the media on the decisions of federal cabinet meeting held here with Prime
Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani in the chair, she said the sacked employees of Sui
Southern Gas Company were also included in the package.

Sherry Rehman said the Prime Minister has constituted a special committee to assess the
financial implication, oversee the decision and ensure its implementation.

The Minister of State for Information Samsam S. Bukhari was also present on the
occasion.


Minister for Information, Sherry Rehman said the committee would be headed by Minister
for Provincial Coordination, Raza Rabbani while Advisor to Prime Minister for Finance,
Shaukat Tareen, Minister for Housing, Rehmatullah Kakar, Minister for Railways, Ghulam
Ahmad Bilore, Minister for Industries and Production, Manzoor Wattoo, Minister for
Privatization, Naveed Qamar, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development,


                                                                                                5
Abdur Razak Thahim and she herself would be the members of the committee to work out
financial implications of the decision.

Welcoming the new Ministers, she said the Prime Minister said there is a need to be more
responsible in our working and directed the Ministers to arrange briefing for him in their
respective ministries.

Sherry Rehman said the Prime Minister also directed the Ministers to adopt austerity
measures and prepare proposals in this regard as Prime Minister House has already cut
its expenditure by 40 per cent.

She said the Cabinet also approved, in principle, starting negotiations between Pakistan
and Bulgaria for an agreement in economic cooperation. The agreement envisages
establishment of a joint commission between the two countries for enhancing greater
bilateral economic cooperation.

The commission will provide a platform to promote cooperation between the two countries
in the fields of commerce, industry, food and agriculture, higher education, science and
technology and other fields of mutual interests.

She said the other approval of the Cabinet was starting of negotiations for an agreement
on economic, scientific and technical cooperation between Pakistan and Romania.

The agreement will provide for establishment of a joint economic commission for
enhancing greater bilateral economic cooperation in the fields of commerce, industry, food
and agriculture, higher education, science and technology etc, she added.
Sherry Rehman said the Cabinet also approved measures to provide relief in the interest
rate for loan to spinning sector and research and development support to textile and
clothing industry.

Ratification of Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity
was also approved which deals with safe
transfer, handling and use of Living or Genetically Modified Organisms such as genetically
engineered plants, animals and microbes that can cross international borders.

Ratification of this Protocol will place Pakistan in a better position to have access to the
international market to sell its genetically modified products like Bt.cotton, bio‑ fertilizer,
virus free seeds, potato, etc that have been field tested in Pakistan. Pakistan will also be
now qualified for receiving grant assistance from United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP)/Global Environment Facility (GEF), Sherry Rehman added.

Replying to a question, the Minister said the government has reduced the prices of various
items as a step towards economic recovery and to provide relief to the people. Petroleum
prices have been reduced recently following decrease in the prices of petroleum items in
the international markets.
The retail prices on essential edible items are also being reduced, she said and added the
government has scaled down the retail price of ghee by an average Rs. 12 per kg in the
wake of decrease in palm oil prices in the international market.




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She said the sugar and wheat prices are also being monitored, adding that the
government has decided to release 50,000 tons of sugar in the market to balance to bring
about balance in the sugar prices.

At present, the government possesses 3.4 million tons of wheat stocks that could
adequately meet local demand.

She said from July to November the total wheat arrivals would be around 1.75 million tons
and prices in international markets had also begun to come down.

She said the tariff on electricity has also been reduced.

The government has decided to drop the hike in electricity tariff.

The consumers would now be required to deposit only 60 per cent of the electricity bills
issued to the consumers on new rates.

Information Minister Sherry Rehman said Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) has once
again crossed the revenue collection target with Rs 87.689 billion tax (inclusive of direct
and indirect taxes) against the target Rs 78.2 billion for the month of October 2008.

The FBR has so far collected Rs. 349.8 billion as against the Rs 329.3 billion target set for
the period July‑ October 2008 in the current fiscal year, showing an increase of over Rs
20 billion.

Answering a question, she said the government has fast tracked resolution of the power
shortage issue, adding that the shortage would be brought down to the minimum.

The Minister said the government is also working to boost investment in the power sector
for the generation of 3,000 MW electricity for which World Bank, IFC and Exim Bank have
agreed to support development of coal and hydel resources to enhance the country‘s
power generation capacity.

She said Smart Electricity Meters would be introduced to eliminate complaints of inflated
and manipulated billing.

Sherry Rehman said the Cabinet also reviewed relief measures for the victims of
Balochistan Earthquake. In pursuance of the President and the Prime Minister‘s directives,
Cabinet Division Emergency Relief Cell continued relief assistance to earthquake victims
of Balochistan and adequate relief goods have already been supplied.

Provision of cash compensation amounting to Rs.25,000 per house and 15 CGI sheets
per house for 1000 damaged houses have been approved to enable the affectees to carry
out the construction work on self‑ help basis. An amount of Rs.31.436 million has already
been released for this purpose, the Minister added.

She said the government would be despatching another 30,000 tents and 100,000
blankets to Balochistan.

About assistance from abroad, she said a number of countries have sent earthquake
assistance for the Balochistan calamity.


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The US government is sending an assistance of $ 2.5 million, Saudi Arabia has pledged
$100 million while the Chinese and the Malaysian governments have also committed
support for earthquake victims.

She said the government is also presenting a set of Legislation on Sexual Harassment at
Workplace. The legislation titled ‗Protection from Harassment at Workplace Act‘ (PHWA),
also includes amendments in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Code of Criminal
Procedure (CCP).

The PHWA Act incorporates three elements. which proposes a Code of Conduct for
Sexual Harassment, it calls for establishing
an Inquiry Committee within an organisational set up to deal with complaints regarding
sexual harassment, and it also provides for Appellate Authority to address appeals related
to harassment.

The amendments outline definition of sexual harassment and also increase the maximum
punishment for such acts from one year to three years.

She said in the past, any woman who complained against harassment was further
intimidated by the perpetrator to take the case back. The fear of reaction and further
harassment kept women from coming forth with complaints. The changes in the PPC and
the CCP make the offence non‑ compoundable, minimising any possibility of a forced deal
to allow the perpetrator to escape the course of justice.

Answering another question, she said President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani have congratulated Senator Barack Obama on his election as the 44th
President of United States.

She said Barack Obama‘s election marks a new chapter in US history and expressed the
hope that under his dynamic leadership, US would continue to be a source of global
peace.

When asked about Benazir income Support Programme, the Minister said each and every
form would be checked by NADRA to ensure transparency and asked the MNAs to send
their forms to the Authority so that the process could be expedited.

Regarding induction of new ministers in the cabinet, she said 14 ministers were holding
the charge of around 50 portfolios, adding that it was necessary for good governance and
to run the government affairs effectively.


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Merinews: Asbestos in hazardous list In India - no way!

BANI has condemned the Indian position on asbestos saying "It clearly illustrates that the
ruling Congress politicians are either owners of asbestos companies or are hand in glove
with companies in the naked lust for profit at the cost human health.".



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REACTING TO the anti-worker and anti-science position of a few reckless governments
that has created a stalemate for the UN hazardous chemicals treaty, Ban Asbestos
Network of India (BANI) statement says, "Canadian, Russian and Indian governments
have turned a blind eye towards how the atmosphere around asbestos factory and
asbestos products becomes poisonous and imperils the health and life of their citizens just
to pander to industrial "barbaric hunger for immoral and inhuman desire for profit at any
human cost."

"India‘s position is disgraceful. Not only does it not protect its own people from harm, India
also denies other countries, especially poorer countries to protect its people from harm by
depriving them of information, said Madhumita Dutta of Corporate Accountability Desk of
The Other Media, a Chennai based NGO attending the COP 4 in Rome.

As a consequence, UN hazardous chemicals treaty faces a deadlock in negotiations in its
Rome meeting. A very important proposal was placed to wriggle out the situation where
chemicals that meet the Convention"s criteria but on which the COP fails to reach a
consensus about listing in Annex III as has happened in the case of Chrysotile Asbestos
and Endosulphan. Chemical and Chrysotile Asbestos industry and countries like India,
Russia and Canada are opposed to inclusion of the list of these chemicals although they
meet the criteria to be listed as hazardous chemical. Fearing certain defeat, Canada
stated that introducing voting for Annex III would create a dual system that could weaken
the convention.

Even the UN‘s Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), an
international policy framework to foster the sound management of chemicals is concerned
with safe substitutes such as p-aramid fibres for brake products, and polyvinyl alcohol
(PVA) fibres and cellulose fibres for Chrysotile Asbestos products. SAICM meeting
concluded on October 24, in Rome.

The Indian government took an internationally untenable position on October 28, at a UN
meeting in Rome by opposing the inclusion of Chrysotile Asbestos in the UN‘s hazardous
chemical list under the manifest influence of asbestos industry and Canadian and Russian
governments.

Bakary Kante, a UNEP official, speaking on behalf of Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive
Director, said the convention is not about banning chemicals, but rather informed
chemicals management.

Chrysotile asbestos, which is widely used in building materials, accounts for some 94 per
cent of global asbestos production. The UN World Health Organisation (WHO) has
identified it as a human carcinogen, and reports that at least 90,000 people die each year
of asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. And International
Labour Organisation has called for the elimination of its use.

A number of countries, including some that continue to mine and export chrysotile
asbestos, blocked its addition to the PIC list when the parties to the convention last met in
2006 and further opposition is expected at next week‘s meeting, according to FAO. India is
the largest importers and consumers of Canadian and Russian asbestos to the detriment
of its citizens and workers.




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When the matter came for discussion on October 28, head of the Indian delegation R H
Khawaja, additional secretary, Ministry of Environment opposed the listing of Chrysotile
asbestos and endosulphan in the PIC list for hazardous chemicals and pesticides. Indian
government‘s delegation acted under tremendous pressure from the representatives of
Indian chemical industry and chrysotile asbestos industry who dictated government‘s
official position.

BANI has condemned the Indian position adding, "It clearly illustrates that the ruling Indian
National Congress Party politicians are either themselves owners of asbestos companies
or are in hand in glove with these companies in their naked lust for profit at the cost human
health."

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=============================================================

Other Environment News


AFP: Climate talks: Obama victory offers hope, but Congress is key
by Richard Ingham – Wed Nov 5, 12:08 pm ET

PARIS (AFP) – One of Barack Obama's first tasks will be to lead the United States back
into the heart of the global debate on climate change, ending the country's years of
isolation and skepticism.

His victory will spark intense relief among negotiators in Europe and Asia.

Obama has pledged nothing less than a demolition of the policies that since March 2001
have left America friendless and at times a pariah on the issue of global warming.

But analysts caution those who believe Obama's win will now smash the deadlock
gripping a new UN deal on greenhouse gases.

One one side, Obama has to swiftly persuade the world that his country is now keen on
tackling its colossal emissions of heat-trapping carbon.

But he also has to deal with the lengthy post-inauguration processes in Washington --
and secure support for emissions curbs when millions of Americans are worried by their
country's sick economy.

"There is an idea in some parts of the world that the US will get re-engaged and that will
solve everything, but it will still be a difficult process," said Reid Detchon, executive
director of climate and energy at the UN Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that
supports the role of the United Nations.

When President George W. Bush walked out of the Kyoto Protocol, the cornerstone UN
accord on cutting carbon pollution, he dealt a nearly lethal blow to efforts to resolve the
world's most urgent environmental problem through global negotiation.




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Progress to craft a more ambitious successor to Kyoto beyond 2012 has been stymied
by a standoff between the United States and the developing giants.

Bush loathes Kyoto-style caps on emissions, saying these measures are too costly for
the US economy and unfair if fast-growing polluters escape similar constraints.

The emerging economies, though, argue that the historical blame for today's warming
lies with countries that powered their rise to prosperity by burning oil, gas and coal. In a
world still driven by fossil fuels, tough obligations on emissions would threaten their rise
from poverty, they argue.

Obama -- in his election manifesto, at least -- would sweep away the pillars of Bush's
climate legacy.

He would set a goal of reducing US emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80 percent
by 2050, using a cap-and-trade system and a 10-year programme worth 150 billion
dollars in renewable energy research and deployment.

He would not wait for China and India to act, but insist they must not be far behind
making their own binding commitments, Obama aides told Nature, the British science
journal, last month.

Obama will soon have the chance to show how keen he is turn this rhetoric into action.

He is likely to send members of his transition team to Poznan, Poland, for the December
1-12 UN climate talks. They will be negotiators-in-waiting alongside the official US
delegation, now in the sunset of the Bush presidency.

Obama's big problem is time.

Only a year will remain before the UN negotiations climax in Copenhagen.

Traditionally, it takes a US president months to appoint a cabinet and gain
Congressional approval for it.

Then there is the mammoth challenge of a carbon emissions bill, which powerful utilities
and oil corporations may well fight every inch of the way.

It could take until 2010 before such a bill becomes law, says Steve Sawyer, a former
Greenpeace activist who now heads the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), an
interest group in Brussels.

"The room to manoeuvre on the CO2 cap and international negotiations issue will be
determined more by attitudes in Congress than the general public," he said.

Detchon said other countries will be demanding "some indication" that Congress will go
along with Obama's climate policies. In 1997, the US Senate -- whose approval is
needed to ratify a treaty -- voted 98-0 against the Clinton administration's approval of the
Kyoto format.



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To marshall support, Obama could argue that investment in renewables will create jobs
and channel some of the revenues from the carbon market to the public's benefit, said
some analysts.

He could also argue that energy efficiency is linked to to national security, weaning the
US away from imported fossil fuels from volatile regions.

"The same issues that you have to address if you want to reduce dependence on
imported oil and create a higher degree of energy security are the same issues that you
must address from a climate perspective," said Bjorn Stigson, president of the Geneva-
based World Business Council for Sustainable Development.


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AFP: UN climate chief seeks Obama input in December talks

PARIS (AFP) – The UN climate chief said Wednesday he was "very encouraged" by
Barack Obama's stance on global warming, and said he hoped the US president-elect
would join in key talks in December before taking office.

"It is impossible to advance on this important topic without the full engagement of the
United States," Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on
Climate Change, told AFP by phone.

"I am very encouraged by the stated commitment of Senator Obama to the issue of
climate change, and I really hope that he or his representatives can come to the climate
change conference in Poznan (in western Poland) and speak to his vision of the way
forward," he said.

Within months of taking office in 2001, George W. Bush walked out on the Kyoto
Protocol, dealing a near-lethal blow to UN efforts to reach a follow-on agreement on how
best to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama has vowed to jettison much of Bush's climate policy, a move that could help
smooth the way for an expanded accord including commitments from giants such as
China and India exempted from Kyoto, which runs out in 2012.

The world's nations have set a deadline of December 2009 for striking a new deal, and
will gather in Poznan next month hammer out a draft agreement.

De Boer said that members of the Obama team told him before Tuesday's election that
the Illinois senator was under "an awful lot of pressure with many priorities," and might
not be able to attend himself.

"But they said what might be feasible is to have a bi-partisan delegation," he said.




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"It would be interesting to hear from them as to whether they think this is still relevant."

The Bush administration's chief climate change negotiator, Paula Dobriansky, had said
before the presidential vote that she "will be liaising very closely with the team of the
incoming president," de Boer added.

Obama has set a goal of reducing US emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80
percent by 2050, using a cap-and-trade system and a 10-year programme worth 150
billion dollars in renewable energy research and deployment.

He has said he would not wait for China and India to act, but insist they must not be far
behind making their own binding commitments.

The UN climate change negotiations in Poznan will run from December 1 to 12.

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BBC: Growing slums 'face water crisis'

Rapid urbanisation in developing nations threatens to trigger a water and
sanitation crisis in quickly expanding slums, a report has warned.

Charity WaterAid said chronic water shortages in many of the world's slums were being
exacerbated by the arrival of millions of people each week.

Populations in developing nations are set to triple over the next 30 years.

The authors called on the international community to take urgent action to tackle the
problem.

"Sanitation and water are integral to urban development and yet there is no coherent
commitment by governments and donors to address this crisis," said Timeyin
Uwejamomere, the report's author.

"It needs to be given the highest priority and recognition that water and sanitation brings
massive health, education and economic benefits."

Turning the tide

WaterAid estimates that 5,000 children around the world die each day as a result of
diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation.

It also says that 0.8 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, while a
further 2.5 billion live in conditions lacking adequate sanitation.

"Without the aid system responding to the challenges of rapid urbanisation, the struggle
against poverty is not going to be well-targeted," Mr Uwejamomere warned.


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The report - Turning Slums Around - has been presented at the UN World Urban Forum,
which is being held in Nanjing, China.

The gathering, the fourth of its kind, is held once every two years and brings together
experts from all over the globe to discuss the challenges facing a rapidly urbanising
world.

Swelling slums

According to UN estimates, more than half of the world's population now live in urban
areas and many cities in developing countries, especially African nations, are struggling
to cope with the influx.

In its latest assessment, the UN-Habitat agency calculated that urban areas in these
regions have grown by an average of three million people each week for the past 20
years.

The WaterAid report said that these statistics meant that it was critical for city planners
to give water and sanitation services a much higher priority.

It called on national governments and urban authorities to put the issue at the centre of
all urban reform strategies.

"Aid spending in the water and sanitation sector is not going to the poorest regions or
countries," it stated.

"Since the mid-1990s, aid spending going to health and education has doubled; yet over
the same period, the share of aid going to water and sanitation has contracted.

"Even within the aid spending that is reaching housing and urban development, it is
estimated that only 1% of the budget gets to slums."

The report also quoted UN data that showed that every dollar invested in sanitation
offered an equivalent return of nine dollars.

"There is no single development intervention that brings greater public health returns…
to national economies in increased productivity and a reduced burden of healthcare."

The report warned delegates at the UN conference, which continues until 6 November,
that the "creation of harmonious and liveable cities" was not possible with the issue
being put at the heart of urban reform policies.


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Reuters: Great Apes Debate leads to EU testing ban proposal
Wed Nov 5, 2008 10:34am EST




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By Pete Harrison

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe's environment chief plans to ban laboratory tests on
mankind's closest relatives -- chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans -- in a
clampdown on animal testing by the drugs industry and other laboratories.

But some animal welfare groups and researchers accused the European Union of
masking weak regulation with empty gestures, as no great apes have been used in EU
research for six years.

"Today's draft legislation does include a great ape test ban, but as no apes are used in
EU research at the moment, this is considered by many animal advocates as something
of a token gesture," said the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research, a British-based
charity which opposes using animals in experiments.

Monkeys would not be spared experimentation by the EU after some European
Commission departments intervened on behalf of industry in the EU's "Great Ape
Debate," animal welfare campaigners said.

"It is absolutely important to steer away from testing on animals," said Environment
Commissioner Stavros Dimas. "Scientific research must focus on finding alternative
methods to animal testing, but where alternatives are not available the situation of
animals still used in experiments must be improved."

Some 12 million vertebrate animals are used each year in experiments throughout the
27-nation bloc -- half for drug development and testing, a third for biology studies and
the rest for cosmetics tests, toxicology and disease diagnosis.

Around 80 percent are mice and rats and primates account for around a tenth of 1
percent or about 12,000 animals.

LAST RESORT

If the EU's proposal is approved, member states would have to enforce standards of
care for animals, which would only be used as a last resort and in reduced numbers.

Great apes could only be used in experiments if the survival of the species itself was at
stake, or in the case of an unexpected outbreak of a life-threatening or debilitating
disease in human beings.

Researchers argue that while they already try to avoid using primates, they are
indispensable for work to find cures for diseases including HIV, Alzheimer's Disease,
SARS, cancer, hepatitis, malaria, multiple sclerosis and tuberculosis.

"The UK academic sector is concerned to ensure that any further restrictions on UK
research resulting from the revised directive are based on firm evidence that better
welfare will result," said Professor Max Headley, of Bristol university's pharmacology
unit.




                                                                                           15
"Overly restrictive or expensive regulation will not achieve that, since it will cause
research to be moved from the EU to other countries, as is entirely possible in a global
economy," he added.

Pressure group Eurogroup for Animals said the EU would have to act quickly to enact
the proposals or risk them being stalled by European Parliament elections in June.

Other groups gave the regulations a tepid welcome.

"Animals used for basic medical research, education and training, have been left
unregulated, and hundreds of thousands of sentient, fetal and invertebrate animals are
experimented on each year without any legal protection at all," said the Dr Hadwen
Trust.

(Additional reporting by Michael Kahn in London; Editing by David Holmes)


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______________________________________________________________________

AFP: Species protection group tusked over ivory sales
Wed Nov 5, 12:55 pm ET

NAIROBI (AFP) – Leading conservationist Richard Leakey on Wednesday lambasted an
endangered species protection group for sanctioning one-off sales of ivory stockpiles in
several African countries.

In a statement issued by his WildlifeDirect conservation organisation, Leakey argued
that such sales would only encourage illegal trade and paoching.

"I believe that auctioning the ivory stockpiles would cause poaching to increase
particularly in the central, eastern and western African elephant range states where
poaching is not yet properly controlled," he said.

Then director of the Kenya Wildlife Service, Leakey was behind the widely publicised
1989 event in which former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi set alight 12 tonnes of
elephant tusks in a symbolic protest against the ivory trade.

Under the supervision of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
(CITES), a number of legal ivory auctions are being organised in what the organisation
claims will help some countries fund conservation efforts.

Auctions have already been held on October 28 in Namibia, in Botswana on October 31
and on Monday in Zimbabwe, while a final sale is scheduled in South Africa on
Thursday.

"I am skeptical and wonder if there is a way of knowing whether these funds will actually
help conservation," Leakey said.




                                                                                           16
"Although CITES secretary-general Willem Wijnstekers says that southern African states
have everything under control, it cannot be true for Zimbabwe," he said, citing reports of
the country's wildlife being decimated.

"As the hammer falls for the last time in South Africa on Thursday, we cannot in any way
say that this is a victory for conservation. It is indeed a great disservice to conservation."

Leakey also said that China had become the main destination for ivory and pointed out
that the authorities had admitted to losing track of 120 tonnes of ivory from the
government's stockpiles in the past 12 years.


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______________________________________________________________________
Reuters: Environmentalists, Nigerians plan to sue Shell
Wed Nov 5, 2008 2:48pm EST

 AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The environment group Friends of the Earth Netherlands and
four Nigerians said they plan to sue Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell in a Dutch
court on charges of negligence related to oil spills in Nigeria.

"New investigation shows that the villages of the Nigerian plaintiffs have been heavily
polluted and that Shell has not adhered to international standards for 'good oil field
practice' in Nigeria," the group said in a statement on Wednesday.

The group said Shell had the authority and the control to ensure oil spills are prevented
and are cleaned up.

A Shell spokesman said the company was not in a position to respond as it had not
received any summons.

Friends of the Earth Nigeria said it hoped the intended lawsuit would get some results.

"Shell hardly notices Nigerian court orders. We want a Dutch court to ensure that justice
is done against Royal Dutch Shell," said Nnimmo Bassey, director of Environmental
Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria.

The environmentalists said the Nigerian plaintiffs were fishermen and farmers from the
oil-rich Niger Delta area who had suffered from the effects of oil spills related to Shell's
oil operations.

They will file the lawsuit on Friday.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Richard Hubbard and John Wallace)

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=============================================================




                                                                                               17
                                    ROA MEDIA UPDATE
                               THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                      6 November 2008

General Environment News

Nigeria: Experts, Stakeholders Brain Storm Over Lake Chad

Daily Trust (Abuja): Scientific revelations that Lake Chad is bound to dry up completely
in 40 years time has created panic in the minds of some Nigerian administrators and
academicians, who last year at Maiduguri, decided to set up a study group comprising
professors from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, United States of America, policy
makers, legislators, chief executives as well as staff of 35 organisations in Nigeria. The
idea of the study group, first mooted by Engr. Sule Yakubu Bassi of the Directorate of
Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA), was taken seriously due to the fact that over 30
million people derive their livelihood from the Lake Chad Basin carrying out fishing, live
stock and farming.

The Lake Chad Basin Commission covers only the hydro graphic basin area of about
1,035,955 square kilometres of which about 90,000 square kilometres of the area falls in
Nigeria and has a population of 15 million people who earn their living from the area.
Farmers, who depend on the basin, have been experiencing severe problems that have
led to poverty and low productivity in the area of agriculture. Policy makers, legislators
and relevant stakeholders who expressed concern over the lake and the consequences
to the lives of millions of people and communities in the riparian states (Nigeria,
Cameroun, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic and Libya), lack practical experience
about the seriousness of the issues and when the study tour was proposed for all
stakeholders to visit communities in the north that depend on the basin, it was
immediately accepted by chief executives of basin authorities in Nigeria.
http://allafrica.com/stories/200811050575.html

Nigeria: Delta Accuses Oil Firms of Concealing Oil Spill

Daily Independent (Lagos): Delta State Government has accused oil companies
operating in the state of delay in reporting cases of oil spill to the relevant authorities and
has decided to set up a committee that would help in monitoring the environment.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Environment, Fred Majemite, in a chat with
journalists in Asaba on Tuesday frowned at what he called serious environmental
pollution and degradation by the oil companies and individuals alike.

"When there is spill, usually the onus is on the company to alert the state government or
the agencies involved, but again too, once there are such cases, for reasons I do not
understand, they dilly dally before letting us know. So, most times we get the information
through the communities that are involved. "In the time past, we've told them that they
should maintain high standards in their operations. When there is spill it takes longer
time before they are able to clean up.

When you meet them they tell you that the communities involved don't allow them or
they want them to carry out proper survey may be with regards to compensation. "But
again too, I'm sure that they can curtail it. Maybe before you carry out your clean, you



                                                                                            18
can curtail it. There is what we call bumps, you can use them to curtail it so that it does
not flow to other communities," he said. http://allafrica.com/stories/200811050731.html


Back to Menu
______________________________________________________________________

                                ROAP MEDIA UPDATE
                           THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                  6 November 2008


                                 UNEP or UN in the news

      Asbestos in hazardous list In India - no way! - Merinews
      Economic co-operation: Cabinet approves negotiations with Bulgaria and
       Romania – Daily Times
      Govt to reinstate sacked employees – The Nation
      Govt. to reinstate 1996‘s sacked employees with all benefits: Sherry - APP
      UN Takes On Causes And Impact Of Land Degradation - Scoop
      Destroying the environment is also a war crime - The Canberra Times


General environment news

      ‘Melting of Siachen causing sea level rise‘ - International News Network
      The danger of trade agreements – Phnom Penh Post


                                 UNEP or UN in the news


Asbestos in hazardous list In India - no way!

BANI has condemned the Indian position on asbestos saying "It clearly illustrates that
the ruling Congress politicians are either owners of asbestos companies or are hand in
glove with companies in the naked lust for profit at the cost human health.".

REACTING TO the anti-worker and anti-science position of a few reckless governments
that has created a stalemate for the UN hazardous chemicals treaty, Ban Asbestos
Network of India (BANI) statement says, "Canadian, Russian and Indian governments
have turned a blind eye towards how the atmosphere around asbestos factory and
asbestos products becomes poisonous and imperils the health and life of their citizens
just to pander to industrial "barbaric hunger for immoral and inhuman desire for profit at
any human cost."
"India‘s position is disgraceful. Not only does it not protect its own people from harm,
India also denies other countries, especially poorer countries to protect its people from
harm by depriving them of information, said Madhumita Dutta of Corporate
Accountability Desk of The Other Media, a Chennai based NGO attending the COP 4 in
Rome.


                                                                                          19
As a consequence, UN hazardous chemicals treaty faces a deadlock in negotiations in
its Rome meeting. A very important proposal was placed to wriggle out the situation
where chemicals that meet the Convention"s criteria but on which the COP fails to reach
a consensus about listing in Annex III as has happened in the case of Chrysotile
Asbestos and Endosulphan. Chemical and Chrysotile Asbestos industry and countries
like India, Russia and Canada are opposed to inclusion of the list of these chemicals
although they meet the criteria to be listed as hazardous chemical. Fearing certain
defeat, Canada stated that introducing voting for Annex III would create a dual system
that could weaken the convention.

Even the UN‘s Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), an
international policy framework to foster the sound management of chemicals is
concerned with safe substitutes such as p-aramid fibres for brake products, and
polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) fibres and cellulose fibres for Chrysotile Asbestos products.
SAICM meeting concluded on October 24, in Rome.

The Indian government took an internationally untenable position on October 28, at a UN
meeting in Rome by opposing the inclusion of Chrysotile Asbestos in the UN‘s
hazardous chemical list under the manifest influence of asbestos industry and Canadian
and Russian governments.

Bakary Kante, a UNEP official, speaking on behalf of Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive
Director, said the convention is not about banning chemicals, but rather informed
chemicals management.

Chrysotile asbestos, which is widely used in building materials, accounts for some 94
per cent of global asbestos production. The UN World Health Organisation (WHO) has
identified it as a human carcinogen, and reports that at least 90,000 people die each
year of asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. And
International Labour Organisation has called for the elimination of its use.

A number of countries, including some that continue to mine and export chrysotile
asbestos, blocked its addition to the PIC list when the parties to the convention last met
in 2006 and further opposition is expected at next week‘s meeting, according to FAO.
India is the largest importers and consumers of Canadian and Russian asbestos to the
detriment of its citizens and workers.

When the matter came for discussion on October 28, head of the Indian delegation R H
Khawaja, additional secretary, Ministry of Environment opposed the listing of Chrysotile
asbestos and endosulphan in the PIC list for hazardous chemicals and pesticides. Indian
government‘s delegation acted under tremendous pressure from the representatives of
Indian chemical industry and chrysotile asbestos industry who dictated government‘s
official position.

BANI has condemned the Indian position adding, "It clearly illustrates that the ruling
Indian National Congress Party politicians are either themselves owners of asbestos
companies or are in hand in glove with these companies in their naked lust for profit at
the cost human health."
http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=146906
……………………………………………


                                                                                           20
Economic co-operation: Cabinet approves negotiations with Bulgaria and
Romania

ISLAMABAD: The cabinet approved, in principle, starting negotiations between Pakistan
and Bulgaria for an agreement in economic cooperation.

This decision was taken during a meeting of the federal cabinet on Wednesday, which
was chaired by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani. The agreement envisages
establishment of a joint commission between the two countries for enhancing greater
bilateral economic co-operation. The commission will provide a platform to promote co-
operation between the two countries in the fields of commerce, industry, food and
agriculture, higher education, science and technology and other fields of mutual
interests.

The cabinet also approved the starting of negotiations for an agreement on economic,
scientific and technical co-operation between Pakistan and Romania. The agreement will
provide for establishment of a joint economic commission for enhancing greater bilateral
economic co-operation in the fields of commerce, industry, food and agriculture, higher
education, science and technology etc.

The cabinet also approved ratification of Cartagena protocol on Biosafety to the
Convention on Biological Diversity. The protocol deals with safe transfer, handling and
use of Living or Genetically Modified Organisms (LMOS, GMOS) such as genetically
engineered plants, animals and microbes that can cross international borders.
Ratification of this protocol will place Pakistan in a better position to have access to the
international market to sell its genetically modified products like Bt cotton, bio-fertiliser,
virus free seeds, potato, etc that have been field tested in Pakistan. Pakistan will also be
now qualified for receiving grant assistance from United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP)/Global Environment Facility (GEF).

It was revealed during the meeting that the government has reduced the prices of
various items as a step towards economic recovery. Petroleum prices have been
reduced recently following decrease in the prices of petroleum items in the international
markets.

The retail prices on essential edible items are also being reduced. The government has
scaled down the retail price of ghee by an average of Rs 12 per kg in the wake of
decrease in palm oil prices in the international market. The sugar and wheat prices are
also being monitored. The government has decided to release 50,000 tonnes of sugar in
the market to balance the sugar prices.

At present, the government possesses 3.4 million tonnes of wheat stocks that could
adequately meet local demand. From July to November the total wheat arrivals would be
around 1.75 million tonnes and prices in international markets have also started to come
down. staff report
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2008%5C11%5C06%5Cstory_6-11-
2008_pg5_7
………………………………………………




                                                                                           21
Govt to reinstate sacked employees

By IRFAN BUKHARI submitted 5 hours 38 minutes ago

ISLAMABAD • The federal cabinet here on Wednesday decided to reinstate all the
sacked/removed employees/workers in the government departments/organizations
during the period from November 1993 to November 1996 and sacked/removed during
the period November 1996 to December 1998.

―All those employees who were provided employment by PPP during 1993-96 and
removed from service later, would be reinstated with seniority and back financial
benefits‖, said Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Sherry Rehman while
briefing the media on the decisions of federal cabinet that met here under the chair of
Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani.

She said the sacked employees of Sui Southern Gas Company were also included in the
package.

―The Prime Minister had constituted a special committee to assess the financial
implications, oversee the decision and ensure its implementation. Mian Raza Rabbani,
Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Manzoor Wattoo, Naveed Qamar, Sherry Rehman, Rehmatullah
Kakar, Shaukat Tarin and Justice (Retd) Abdul Razzak A Thahim are the members of
the committee‖, she stated.

She said that the cabinet had approved measures to provide relief in the interest rate for
loan to spinning sector and R&D support to textile and clothing industry. ―The
Government had provided mark-up rate subsidy @ 3% for one year (2007-08) to the
spinning mills on outstanding running balances of principal amount of floating rates loans
availed by the industry during 01.7.2003 to 30.06.2007 from commercial banks for
financing import of spinning machinery, for which funds under State Bank‘s Long Term
Financing for Export Oriented Project (LTF-EOP) scheme have not been availed‖, she
told the media.

She said that under the scheme, claims were to be filed on six-monthly basis, i.e. for the
period July-December 2007 after 1 January 2008. Due to unavoidable circumstances a
number of subsidy claims for the first six months could not be filed. Claims for the period
January-June 2008 were to be filed after 1st July 2008. It has been indicated that the
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has enforced 30th June 2008 as the cut-off date for
making payments under this scheme, whereas claims were to be filed only after 1st July
2008.

―To resolve the above issue the State Bank of Pakistan shall be asked to condone the
delay in filing claims for the first six months and also allow claims for the reimbursement
of 3% interest to the textiles (Spinning) sector beneficiaries by extending the date
beyond 30th June 2008. This proposal would involve an approximate expenditure of
Rs.750 million. In order to offset the interest rate hike and to facilitate the industry, the
mark-up reimbursement facility has been extended till 30th June 2009 and the spinning
sector will be allowed reimbursement @ 3% for which approx Rs.1,220 million will be
required‖, she said.




                                                                                           22
She said that the cabinet had approved, in principle, starting negotiations between
Pakistan and Bulgaria for an agreement in economic cooperation. ―The agreement
envisages establishment of a joint commission between the two countries for enhancing
greater bilateral economic cooperation. The commission will provide a platform to
promote cooperation between the two countries in the fields of commerce, industry, food
and agriculture, higher education, science and technology and other fields of mutual
interests‖, she stated.

Sherry Rehman said that the cabinet had also approved the starting of negotiations for
an agreement on economic, scientific and technical cooperation between Pakistan and
Romania. ―The agreement will provide for establishment of a joint economic commission
for enhancing greater bilateral economic cooperation in the fields of commerce, industry,
food and agriculture, higher education, science and technology etc‖, she held.

―The cabinet has also approved ratification of Cartagena protocol on Biosafety to the
Convention on Biological Diversity. The Protocol deals with safe transfer, handling and
use of Living or Genetically Modified Organisms (LMOS, GMOS) such as genetically
engineered plants, animals and microbes that can cross international borders.
Ratification of this Protocol will place Pakistan in a better position to have access to the
international market to sell its genetically modified products like Bt.cotton, bio-fertilizer,
virus free seeds, potato, etc that have been field tested in Pakistan. Pakistan will also be
now qualified for receiving grant assistance from United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP)/Global Environment Facility (GEF)‖, she said.
http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/06-Nov-
2008/Govt-to-reinstate-sacked-employees
......................................................................

Govt. to reinstate 1996’s sacked employees with all benefits: Sherry

ISLAMABAD, Nov 5 (APP): Federal Cabinet Wednesday decided in principle to reinstate
all government employees sacked after dismissal of Pakistan Peoples Party‘s
government in 1996. All those employees who were provided employment by PPP
during 1993‑96 and removed from service later, would be reinstated with seniority and
back financial benefits, said Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Sherry Rehman.
Briefing the media on the decisions of federal cabinet meeting held here with Prime
Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani in the chair, she said the sacked employees of Sui
Southern Gas Company were also included in the package.

Sherry Rehman said the Prime Minister has constituted a special committee to assess
the financial implication, oversee the decision and ensure its implementation.

The Minister of State for Information Samsam S. Bukhari was also present on the
occasion.

Minister for Information, Sherry Rehman said the committee would be headed by
Minister for Provincial Coordination, Raza Rabbani while Advisor to Prime Minister for
Finance, Shaukat Tareen, Minister for Housing, Rehmatullah Kakar, Minister for
Railways, Ghulam Ahmad Bilore, Minister for Industries and Production, Manzoor
Wattoo, Minister for Privatization, Naveed Qamar, Minister for Local Government and




                                                                                           23
Rural Development, Abdur Razak Thahim and she herself would be the members of the
committee to work out financial implications of the decision.

Welcoming the new Ministers, she said the Prime Minister said there is a need to be
more responsible in our working and directed the Ministers to arrange briefing for him in
their respective ministries.

Sherry Rehman said the Prime Minister also directed the Ministers to adopt austerity
measures and prepare proposals in this regard as Prime Minister House has already cut
its expenditure by 40 per cent.

She said the Cabinet also approved, in principle, starting negotiations between Pakistan
and Bulgaria for an agreement in economic cooperation. The agreement envisages
establishment of a joint commission between the two countries for enhancing greater
bilateral economic cooperation.

The commission will provide a platform to promote cooperation between the two
countries in the fields of commerce, industry, food and agriculture, higher education,
science and technology and other fields of mutual interests.

She said the other approval of the Cabinet was starting of negotiations for an agreement
on economic, scientific and technical cooperation between Pakistan and Romania.

The agreement will provide for establishment of a joint economic commission for
enhancing greater bilateral economic cooperation in the fields of commerce, industry,
food and agriculture, higher education, science and technology etc, she added.
Sherry Rehman said the Cabinet also approved measures to provide relief in the interest
rate for loan to spinning sector and research and development support to textile and
clothing industry.

Ratification of Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity
was also approved which deals with safe
transfer, handling and use of Living or Genetically Modified Organisms such as
genetically engineered plants, animals and microbes that can cross international
borders.

Ratification of this Protocol will place Pakistan in a better position to have access to the
international market to sell its genetically modified products like Bt.cotton, bio‑fertilizer,
virus free seeds, potato, etc that have been field tested in Pakistan. Pakistan will also be
now qualified for receiving grant assistance from United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP)/Global Environment Facility (GEF), Sherry Rehman added.

Replying to a question, the Minister said the government has reduced the prices of
various items as a step towards economic recovery and to provide relief to the people.
Petroleum prices have been reduced recently following decrease in the prices of
petroleum items in the international markets.
The retail prices on essential edible items are also being reduced, she said and added
the government has scaled down the retail price of ghee by an average Rs. 12 per kg in
the wake of decrease in palm oil prices in the international market.




                                                                                            24
She said the sugar and wheat prices are also being monitored, adding that the
government has decided to release 50,000 tons of sugar in the market to balance to
bring about balance in the sugar prices.

At present, the government possesses 3.4 million tons of wheat stocks that could
adequately meet local demand.

She said from July to November the total wheat arrivals would be around 1.75 million
tons and prices in international markets had also begun to come down.

She said the tariff on electricity has also been reduced.

The government has decided to drop the hike in electricity tariff.

The consumers would now be required to deposit only 60 per cent of the electricity bills
issued to the consumers on new rates.

Information Minister Sherry Rehman said Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) has once
again crossed the revenue collection target with Rs 87.689 billion tax (inclusive of direct
and indirect taxes) against the target Rs 78.2 billion for the month of October 2008.

The FBR has so far collected Rs. 349.8 billion as against the Rs 329.3 billion target set
for the period July‑October 2008 in the current fiscal year, showing an increase of over
Rs 20 billion.

Answering a question, she said the government has fast tracked resolution of the power
shortage issue, adding that the shortage would be brought down to the minimum.

The Minister said the government is also working to boost investment in the power
sector for the generation of 3,000 MW electricity for which World Bank, IFC and Exim
Bank have agreed to support development of coal and hydel resources to enhance the
country‘s power generation capacity.

She said Smart Electricity Meters would be introduced to eliminate complaints of inflated
and manipulated billing.

Sherry Rehman said the Cabinet also reviewed relief measures for the victims of
Balochistan Earthquake. In pursuance of the President and the Prime Minister‘s
directives, Cabinet Division Emergency Relief Cell continued relief assistance to
earthquake victims of Balochistan and adequate relief goods have already been
supplied.

Provision of cash compensation amounting to Rs.25,000 per house and 15 CGI sheets
per house for 1000 damaged houses have been approved to enable the affectees to
carry out the construction work on self‑help basis. An amount of Rs.31.436 million has
already been released for this purpose, the Minister added.

She said the government would be despatching another 30,000 tents and 100,000
blankets to Balochistan.




                                                                                         25
About assistance from abroad, she said a number of countries have sent earthquake
assistance for the Balochistan calamity.

The US government is sending an assistance of $ 2.5 million, Saudi Arabia has pledged
$100 million while the Chinese and the Malaysian governments have also committed
support for earthquake victims.

She said the government is also presenting a set of Legislation on Sexual Harassment
at Workplace. The legislation titled ‗Protection from Harassment at Workplace Act‘
(PHWA), also includes amendments in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Code of
Criminal Procedure (CCP).

The PHWA Act incorporates three elements. which proposes a Code of Conduct for
Sexual Harassment, it calls for establishing
an Inquiry Committee within an organisational set up to deal with complaints regarding
sexual harassment, and it also provides for Appellate Authority to address appeals
related to harassment.

The amendments outline definition of sexual harassment and also increase the
maximum punishment for such acts from one year to three years.

She said in the past, any woman who complained against harassment was further
intimidated by the perpetrator to take the case back. The fear of reaction and further
harassment kept women from coming forth with complaints. The changes in the PPC
and the CCP make the offence non‑compoundable, minimising any possibility of a
forced deal to allow the perpetrator to escape the course of justice.

Answering another question, she said President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister
Yousuf Raza Gilani have congratulated Senator Barack Obama on his election as the
44th President of United States.

She said Barack Obama‘s election marks a new chapter in US history and expressed
the hope that under his dynamic leadership, US would continue to be a source of global
peace.

When asked about Benazir income Support Programme, the Minister said each and
every form would be checked by NADRA to ensure transparency and asked the MNAs
to send their forms to the Authority so that the process could be expedited.

Regarding induction of new ministers in the cabinet, she said 14 ministers were holding
the charge of around 50 portfolios, adding that it was necessary for good governance
and to run the government affairs effectively.
http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=58213
…………………………………………..

UN Takes On Causes And Impact Of Land Degradation
Thursday, 6 November 2008, 9:30 am
Press Release: United Nations

UN Gathering Takes On Causes And Impact Of Land Degradation



                                                                                         26
New York, Nov 4 2008 3:10PM

With some 12 million hectares of land lost every year to degradation and other
environmental causes, a United Nations gathering kicks off today in Istanbul, Turkey, to
tackle a problem which risks being forgotten due to the current global financial crisis.

Nearly half the African continent – where 60 per cent of the population depends on
agriculture – is affected by land degradation, with sub-Saharan Africa facing threats to its
food production capacity.

The seventh session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the
Convention (CRIC7) to tackle desertification will take place from 3-14 November.

The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) entered into force in December
1996 and currently has nearly 200 States Parties. Along with the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity
(CBD), it is one of the outcomes of the historic environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro
in 1992.

―The impact of natural resource degradation is potentially even more devastating in
financial terms than the current global meltdown,‖ said Christian Mersmann, Managing
Director of the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, which provides advisory services on
sustainable land management. ―The socio-economic cost of inaction on people's
livelihoods is colossal."

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that desertification has an annual
price tag of $9 billion in Africa alone.

―The triple scourge of poverty, climate change and high food prices constitutes a set of
global challenges which require a fully coordinated global response to deal with today‘s
short-term needs and meet the medium to longer term imperative of higher and
sustainable agricultural productivity and production,‖ said Kanayo Nwanze, Vice-
President of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

According to that agency, one quarter of the world‘s topsoil, one-fifth of the agricultural
land and one-third of forests have been degraded or lost in the past five decades.
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0811/S00083.htm
..............................................................

Destroying the environment is also a war crime
STEVEN FREELAND, 6/11/2008 9:11:00 AM

On November 5, 2001, the United Nations declared November 6 of each year as the
International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed
Conflict.

History has been witness to many deliberate acts to destroy or exploit the natural
environment to achieve military goals. In the 5th century BC the retreating Scythians
poisoned the water wells in an effort to slow the advancing Persian army. Roman troops
razed the city of Carthage in 146 BC and poisoned the surrounding soil with salt to


                                                                                              27
prevent its future cultivation. The American Civil War saw the widespread
implementation of ''scorched earth'' policies.

In August 1945 the United States detonated atomic bombs over Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, resulting in massive loss of life and environmental destruction. During the
Vietnam War, the US implemented Operation Ranch Hand, to devastating effect, to
destroy vegetation used by its enemy for cover and sustenance, using chemicals such
as Agent Orange.

More recently still, who can forget the haunting images of more than 700 burning Kuwaiti
oil well-heads which had been deliberately ignited by retreating Iraqi forces during the
Gulf War in 1991 a scene that was likened to Dante's Inferno. Over the following 10
years the Saddam regime built barriers and levees to drain the al-Hawizeh and al-
Hammar marshes in southern Iraq, an area some believe is the site of the biblical
Garden of Eden. This effectively destroyed the livelihood of the 500,000 Marsh Arabs
who had inhabited this unique ecosystem.

Acts of significant and deliberate environmental destruction, exploitation and
contamination during armed conflict have continued in more recent times, including the
use of cluster bombs and weapons containing depleted uranium by US and British
forces in Iraq.

At this moment the world is witnessing a continuing humanitarian and environmental
catastrophe in the western region of Darfur in Sudan, which has seen the poisoning of
water wells and drinking water installations as part of a deliberate government-supported
strategy by the Janjaweed militia to eliminate or displace the ethnic black Africans living
in that region.

Actions such as these demonstrate how the deliberate despoliation of the environment
can have catastrophic effects, not only on human populations, but also in ecological
terms. For example, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, as well as having the
potential to kill many thousands of people in a single attack, have effects that may
persist in the environment, in some cases indefinitely. The devastating effects of
environmental warfare can continue long after the conflict is resolved, jeopardising or
destroying the lives and livelihoods of those reliant on the natural environment and
increasing numbers of refugees. There are currently 37.4 million refugees from conflicts,
according to a 2008 report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, an increase of
about three million over the previous year.

Moreover, access to natural resources or the lack of access can itself be the trigger for
conflict. In both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti, the United Nations
Environment Program has reported that environmental damage has been a major cause
of conflict. Some five million people were killed during the 1990s in armed conflicts
relating to the exploitation of natural resources, and a quarter of the 50 active armed
conflicts in 2001 were largely ''motivated'' by resources. One of the underlying tensions
between Israel and Syria is access to water. A water expert has recently predicted that,
in regions initially experiencing low-level conflict, the risk of escalation to full-scale civil
war approximately doubled immediately after a year of abnormally low rainfall.

All of these examples illustrate how armed conflict that is at least partially driven by
disputes over natural resources can result in very significant destruction to the natural


                                                                                              28
environment. Not only have recent conflicts in Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of
Congo and Liberia been fought over natural resources, but the exploitation of those
resources for example, timber and diamonds in turn funded the combatants to acquire
weapons.

This has given rise to the concept of ''asset wars'', where economic interests in relation
to natural resources commercialise and prolong conflict. The misuse of natural
resources, such as diamonds, or the scarcity of resources, such as water, serves to fuel
the conflict, which often becomes a self-perpetuating process.

Environmental degradation and exploitation can thus be both a cause and a
consequence of armed conflict. Internal disputes over scarce resources can give rise to
social upheaval and tensions within a country, which may motivate combatants in a
conflict to consider ''targeting'' the environment.

Many States now view their environmental concerns, including resource conservation
and sustainable development, in ''strategic'' terms. This thinking will only increase as the
world quite rightly becomes concerned with the broader state of the global environment,
including the disastrous effects of climate change.

Despite all of this evidence, however, environmental damage and exploitation is still
largely regarded, as rape once was, as an ''unfortunate but inevitable'' consequence of
war. It is, of course, true that war and armed conflict are inherently destructive of the
environment, but that is no reason to allow leaders to deliberately or recklessly target the
environment in order to achieve their military goals. Just as international law has made
great strides forward by classifying rape during armed conflict as a war crime (or even
genocide in certain circumstances), a body of standards is developing in relation to the
environmental effects of proposed military actions.

But much more needs to be done. The issue is highly politicised but of crucial
importance. There is an ongoing need to ''upgrade''' these standards to the level of an
international war crime, in the light of the destructive capability of weapons technology. It
is increasingly clear that ''crimes against the environment'' need to be enshrined as a
part of the mechanisms of international criminal justice, in order to better protect our
most cherished assets for future generations.

Steven Freeland is Associate Professor of International Law, University of Western
Sydney and a Visiting Professional at the International Criminal Court, The Hague.
These are his personal views.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/general/destroying-the-
environment-is-also-a-war-crime/1353434.aspx
....................................................................


                               General environment news


’Melting of Siachen causing sea level rise’




                                                                                          29
ISLAMABAD: The Siachen glacier –known as third pole of earth is melting with
unprecedented rate due to already over burdened by militaries of arch rivals. i.e. India
and Pakistan.

According to Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change of Untied Nation (IPCC)
Report, Melting of Siachen or any other glacier is not a regional issue as it causes sea
level rise. Sea level rise has the fundamental case of triggering cyclone and hurricanes,
the greatest threat two-third of civilization living along costal areas of globe.

After the Recent devastating hurricanes in Atlantic Ocean that hit USA, Mexico, Haiti etc,
scientist categorically urged their governments to check the glaciers melt henceforth.

Sea level has risen about 130 meters (400 ft) since the peak of the last ice age about
18,000 years ago. Most of the rise occurred before 6,000 years ago. From 3,000 years
ago to the start of the 19th century sea level was almost constant, rising at 0.1 to 0.2
mm/yr, Since 1993 studies indicates a rate of rise of 3.1 ฑ 0.7 mm yr–1.

According to Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change of Untied Nation (IPCC)
Report Sea-level rise estimates from satellite altimetry since 1992 (about 2.8 mm/yr)
exceed those from tide gauges.

Almost 28 year long presence military in the most fragile zone is not only causing
melting of Siachen but health of other Himalayan glaciers is being badly affected.

The Siachen glacier that is already bleeding due to the Establishment of permanent
cantonments on either side of Saltoro ridge, daily heavy air traffic to advance camps (up
to Indra Col post), cutting and melting of glacial ice through application of chemical, daily
dumping of more than a ton of chemicals, metals, organic and human waste, daily
leakages from 2000 gallons of kerosene oil from 250 km plastic pipeline laid by India
throughout the glacier.

Joined in this process of rapid ice melting, is mountain engineering feat completed in
1986, which laid an all weather road, purely as support-line to the military activities in the
Siachen. With its final destination the Nubra Valley, routed from Delhi-Manali-Leh, it
requires crossing the highest passes in the world, including the 5.300 meters high
Tanglang La Pass. A Death Sentence seems to be hanging over this region.

The constant movement of heavy military vehicles, which in turn are dependent on
ancillary support along its way, are further endangering the ecology of the known 6500
glaciers in this Himalayan regions, particularly Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal
state and Ladakh.

This is further authenticated by a strong correlation between the melting of Siachen and
other Himalayan glaciers like Meola, Gangotri which are already retreating at the rate of
more than 30 meters per year.

Siachen and other Himalayan glacier contributed 24% to sea level rise since last 20
years, as reported by World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) in 2005.

The melting process of Siachen will further aggravate its melting process due to this
recent adventure of Indian Army.


                                                                                           30
It again urged that Siachen and other Himalayan glaciers may be declared as world
heritage and handed over to UNEP/UNESCO for their preservation in order to save
globe from natural calamities.
http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=135728
…………………………………………….

The danger of trade agreements
Written by CHRISTOPHER SHAY
Wednesday, 05 November 2008

Jagdish Bhagwati is one of the world's foremost trade experts. The author and professor
at Columbia University is a free-trade proponent and former advisor to the World Trade
Organisation

What are the dangers of a country not having a systematic framework for free trade
agreement negotiations?

The lack of a systematic framework in negotiating an FTA - or what everyone now calls a
PTA, or preferential trade agreement since FTAs reduce trade barriers preferentially for
their own members only - is particularly dangerous when the FTA is being negotiated by
a developing country like Cambodia with a "hegemonic", powerful country like the US.

The reason is, not so much in regard to the trade provisions as the "trade-unrelated"
provisions, extraneous to trade, which are inserted by the lobbies that dominate the US
scene.

Thus, FTAs with the US extend into WTO+ requirements on intellectual property
protection that go beyond what the WTO agreement on TRIPS [the Agreement on Trade
Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights] requires, labour standards that go
beyond what even the US conforms to - the US has not even signed all the core ILO
[International Labour Organisation] conventions, breaks strikes more easily than
European law requires, has less than 10 percent of its labour force unionised, etc -
environmental standards when in fact the US had not even signed the Kyoto protocol,
has violated human rights standards more drastically in its war on terror and in Iraq than
Colombia has in its fight against narco cartels.

There are appropriate agencies such as the UNHRC [United Nations Human Rights
Council], UNEP [United Nations Environment Programme] and ILO, which deal with
these issues with the necessary symmetry of obligations between rich and poor
countries, and with necessary nuances that take into account the needs and priorities of
the poor countries, rather than in a bilateral FTA framework which winds up with the
hegemonic partners imposing self-serving demands on the weaker partners.

So, my recommendation is that, when Cambodia negotiates an FTA with a hegemonic
power, it must use a template which confines the negotiations to trade matters only.

On the trade-unrelated issues, Cambodia should merely say that they will reaffirm
whatever is negotiated at the WTO on matters like labour standards, intellectual property
rights, dispute settlement, etc, and no more.



                                                                                        31
I would also urge Cambodia to enter into an FTA with Japan - a major power that does
not insist on trade-unrelated issues being mixed up with the trade issues that alone
belong in a trade treaty. That way, Cambodia can also develop a template with a major
rich country that is free from the extraneous, trade-unrelated issues.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CAMBODIA SHOULD MERELY SAY THAT THEY WILL REAFFIRM WHATEVER IS
NEGOTIATED AT THE WTO ON MATTERS LIKE LABOUR STANDARDS.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As for trade issues in the FTAs such as with Korea, the most relevant question is
whether the FTA will lead to diversion of imports into Cambodia from cheaper non-
member countries to more costly producers in South Korea who are within the FTA.

Such diversion implies that imports become costlier and this raises the prospect that
Cambodia would lose from the FTA.

I usually recommend that, if your external tariff - which is called the MFN tariff - is not
low, beware of signing on to FTAs.

Can countries pursue bilateral FTAs without undermining global multilateral
agreements? If so, what would this strategy be?

For small countries like Cambodia, the question of their FTAs undermining the
multilateral trading system is not relevant.

FTAs are as WTO consistent as Article 24 permits them. If an FTA or a partial FTA is
signed by developing countries only, then even Article 24 does not apply and we have
the Enabling Clause which imposes no discipline and the developing countries can
indulge in any preferences in trade among themselves.

What Cambodia does, however, is not important for the world trading system. What the
big powers do, on the other hand, is.

These big powers, by proliferating FTAs, have undermined the world trading system,
drowning it in what I call a "spaghetti bowl" of preferences so that what trade barrier an
imported good faces depends on where arbitrary rules decide a product is produced.

What effect has the economic crisis had on FTA negotiations?

When macroeconomic conditions worsen, politicians find it difficult to move with trade
liberalisation.

The important question is: Will countries move backwards into protectionism? I doubt it.

Policymakers today remember that the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff accentuated the Great
Crash of 1929; they will not repeat that mistake. Besides, the East Asian financial crisis
of 1997 illustrates that policymakers understand that the trade baby does not need to the
thrown out




                                                                                              32
with the financial bathwater. The East Asian economic miracle was based on outward
orientation in trade; the crisis was due to premature financial liberalisation. East Asia
was smart enough to make that distinction.

So, the prospect for trade liberalisation for the next year will be: neither movement
forward nor sliding backward. The proper analogy may be the Cambodian bullock cart
during heavy rains: The cart is stuck in the mud and moves neither forward not
backward.
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2008110522482/Business/The-danger-of-
trade-agreements.html


Back to Menu
______________________________________________________________________

                                ROLAC MEDIA UPDATE
                             THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                    5 November 2008



 OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS:

 I English:

 1- Argentina - More and More Whales
 2- Brazil - Brazil's list of animals in danger nearly triples
 3- Costa Rica at an Environmental Crossroads
 4- Guatemala - Flooded Guatemala Needs World Aid

 II Spanish:

 5- Bolivia - El mosquito de la malaria cambió para vivir en altura
 6- Brasil - Especies amenazadas de extinción triplican en Brasil, advierte Libro
 Rojo
 7- Colombia - 11 muertos en el país por ola invernal de los últimos días. Los
 afectados superan los 441.000
 8- Perú - Lluvias afectan la selva central


1- Argentina - More and More Whales

11 – 03 - 08

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina. - Studies released in Argentina show that the southern
right whale (Eubalaena australis) population is on the rise in the Atlantic, thanks to
greater protection of the species.

According to the annual census by the National Patagonian Center, the number of these
whales has doubled in the past decade in Golfo Nuevo, in the southern Argentine
province of Chubut. These giant marine mammals gather there between May and


                                                                                            33
September to mate and to give birth.

Another study, by the Argentine Wildlife Foundation (FVSA), agreed with the data, and
added that in September there was a "record", with 102 right whales counted in one day.

Alejandro Arias, FVSA expert in marine mammals, told Tierramérica that the right
whales, like their relatives in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, are seeing their
population grow six percent annually because of local conservation policies.


2- Brazil - Brazil's list of animals in danger nearly triples

11 - 04 - 08


BRASILIA, Brazil -- Brazil's new list of endangered animals is nearly three times as long
as its last list from 20 years ago, Environment Minister Carlos Minc said Tuesday,
blaming development and deforestation for the change.

Among the 489 species added to the list are the blue whale, the albatross and the
northeastern uru, a sort of wild chicken.

The new list names 627 creatures in danger of extinction, up from 218 on the last list in
1989.

''Industry is expanding, agriculture is expanding, people are occupying protected areas
and our conservation units do not have the protection needed,'' Minc said.

Officials removed 79 species as no longer imperiled. Those include the guara -- similar
to a coyote -- and the pampas deer.

Animals on the list are legally protected, and the document helps guide land use and
other policies.

Minc said the government is trying to slow deforestation in Amazon that he said is often
caused by soy farmers and ranchers clearing land for crops and cattle. He also blamed
illegal trafficking of exotic animals for helping swell the list.

Source: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/americas/AP/story/756448.html

3- Costa Rica - Costa Rica at an Environmental Crossroads

11 – 03 – 08

The Costa Rican government of Óscar Arias faces a charge of breach of legal duty for
giving the go-ahead to a gold mining operation in the north of the country.

SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica. - The Crucitas open-pit gold mining project in northern Costa
Rica could become an environmental cross to bear for the Óscar Arias government.



                                                                                            34
For more than two decades Costa Rica has cast itself as a pioneer when it comes to
environmental matters.

But the concession for a gold mine granted to the company Industrias Infinito, an affiliate
of the Canada-based Infinito Gold, has stirred up the dust between environmentalists
who are opposed to the project and the government they accuse of double dealing.

Infinito obtained a government permit to cut down 191 hectares in Las Crucitas de
Cutris, a district of the San Carlos canton in the northern province of Alajuela. The zone
is habitat to the almendro tree (Dipteryx panamensis), highly prized for its hardwood and
for its role in the feeding and nesting of the great green macaw (Ara ambigua), a bird
facing extinction in Costa Rica.

In northern Costa Rica deforestation in recent decades has left less than 30 percent of
the original forest standing.

Furthermore, the possible use of toxic substances like cyanide to extract gold from the
ore, and the proximity of the mine to the San Juan River, which Costa Rica shares with
Nicaragua, have awakened opposition in the neighboring country about the gold
extraction project.

In an executive decree, President Arias and Environment and Energy Minister Roberto
Dobles declared the mining plan one of national interest. In response, the Public Ministry
(Attorney General) opened an investigation into both for breach of legal duty.

"Prevaricato" (in Spanish legal terminology) is committed when "functionaries dictate
resolutions contrary to Costa Rican and international law," and these accusations are
"very strong", attorney and environmental consultant Mario Peña told Tierramérica.

Costa Rica, which has protected the almendro tree by law, is party to the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).

This Central American country requested the inclusion of the tree in Appendix III of the
Convention, aimed it protecting the species in at least one country, which has asked the
rest of the CITES nations for help in controlling trade. The green macaw is listed in
Appendix I -- species that face extinction and the trade of which can occur legally only in
exceptional circumstances.

But Peña does not believe the lawsuit will go anywhere because "everyone is claiming
ignorance. The president says he trusted the opinion of the minister, and the minister
trusted his legal department. I don't think the criminal case is going to succeed," he said,
because for charges of "prevaricato" to stick, it is necessary to prove knowledge by the
one committing the crime.

Meanwhile, on Oct. 20, the constitutional tribunal of the Supreme Court of Justice
ordered a halt to the logging in response to an appeal for protection against the
Executive decree filed by citizen Edgardo Araya and the local association North for Life
(Norte por la Vida).

The Infinito company estimates that it will extract 700,000 ounces of gold from the mine
over the next decade, with an investment of 66 million dollars.


                                                                                          35
The rural district of Cutris, 873 square kilometers, is home to 8,000 people who live deep
in poverty. Most work in Ciudad Quesada, capital of San Carlos.

A large portion of the population is in favor of the gold mine because it would create
jobs. Also, the company has promised to improve local health centers and schools.

"It's not that I'm in favor of the mine, but I am in favor of development opportunities, and
that's what it represents for us," Luis Guillermo Álvarez, resident of Coopevega, one of
the communities near the mining site.

"The infrastructure that the company leaves are going to serve to develop the zone.
Beyond the 10 years that it is here, the roads, bridges, electricity, telephone -- all of that
will remain," he added.

"Whoever says there won't be environmental problems is lying, but the environmentalists
are some extremists. It is a modern mine and will be regulated by the government. We
have to sacrifice a little environment in order to survive. They should monitor the
mitigation policies," said Álvarez.

"The environmentalists have demonized the issues of the green macaw, but I've lived
here 25 years and I've seen thousands of almendros cut down," he said.

Attorney Peña says he understands the people of Las Crucitas, because "the
government has forgotten certain areas, facilitating projects like this that distribute
crumbs to the community. They are projects that should take time to carry out, and they
prefer to risk their health and their future for those crumbs."

Minister Dobles denied Oct. 27 before the Legislative Assembly that the green macaw
nests in Las Crucitas, noting that the concentration of the almendro tree is not significant
in that area. He also stated that the mining company is required to plant 100 trees for
each one cut down.

Peña responded that that "is an mistaken idea... Probably don Roberto Dobles knows a
lot about energy and telecommunications (the other branches of his ministry), but not
about the environment. A forest takes 40 to 50 years to recover."

The minister assured that the entire mining project is supported by studies from the
national environmental technical secretariat and that if the constitutional court upholds
the decree the project will move forward.

But not even the political bloc of the governing National Liberation Party supported
Dobles. Legislative deputy Maureen Ballestero, who also heads the permanent special
committee on environment, criticized the fissure being created between economic
development and the environment.

Much of the country's growth has come from tourism, which "has provided more wealth
than exports have," she said. And Costa Rica's tourism is based on its exuberant natural
resources," Ballestero added.

Citizen and environmental groups gathered Oct. 27 outside the Environment Ministry


                                                                                            36
and the Legislative Assembly to protest the gold mine project and to demand Dobles's
resignation. But groups in favor of the mine also rallied, which led to some tensions on
the streets.

On Nov. 14, groups opposed to the mine in San Carlos plan to stage a nationwide
protest.

Source: http://www.tierramerica.info/nota.php?lang=eng&idnews=2902

4- Guatemala - Flooded Guatemala Needs World Aid

Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala. The Guatemalan government has asked the
international community to help face the damages caused by rains in the country's north,
amounting to 135 million dollars.

In a meeting with the diplomatic corps accredited in that capital, Vice President Rafael
Espada called for the international community to help finance 50 percent of the losses
reported in the country.

According to a report by the National Coordinating Office for Disaster Reduction
(CONRED), Peten, Izabal, Alta Verapazm and Quiche were the hardest hit departments.

More than 10,000 people were evacuated, 8,500 houses and 38 schools affected, and
over 1,242 miles of roads are in bad condition and need to be urgently repaired, the
report reads.

On Monday, the Guatemalan Congress agreed to extend the state of calamity in that
region for another 30 days, to help facilitate the delivery of aid.

Source: http://www.plenglish.com/article.asp?ID={17FD4A87-3371-46AA-8F3A-
D19E4B0FC926}&language=ENII - Spanish

5- Bolivia - El mosquito de la malaria cambió para vivir en altura

05 – 11 – 08

El transmisor de la enfermedad modificó su organismo para sobrevivir en lugares altos y
fríos. Este invertebrado se benefició con el cambio climático, que calienta y humidifica
algunas regiones del occidente.
Luego de que se informó sobre casos de malaria en La Paz y Oruro, científicos han
determinado que el mosquito transmisor de este mal sufrió modificaciones paulatinas en
su organismo hasta adaptarse para sobrevivir en la altura y a temperaturas bajas.

Este hallazgo, asociado a los efectos del cambio climático, es uno de otros que prueban
que la elevación de la temperatura altera los ecosistemas altiplánicos.

―El vector (insecto transmisor) de la malaria, el mosquito anofeles, presenta cambios
anatómicos que le permiten sobrevivir a la altura a la que está el lago Titicaca‖, explicó




                                                                                           37
ayer Marilyn Aparicio, consultora en Salud del Programa Nacional del Cambios
Climáticos (PNCC).

Según una investigación realizada durante tres años por el PNCC, los mosquitos del
género Anopheles, que propagan la malaria, han adaptado sus organismos para
sobrevivir a más de 2.600 metros sobre el nivel del mar, altura a la que sobrevivía.

No obstante, el año 1998 se detectó el primer caso de malaria o paludismo en el
altiplano, precisamente en inmediaciones del lago Titicaca, a 3.810 metros sobre el nivel
del mar.

El insecto transmisor también logró adaptarse a las temperaturas del altiplano. ―Ahora,
los mosquitos que hemos detectado a 50 kilómetros al este del lago ya pueden
reproducirse en agua fría. Generalmente estos insectos necesitan de charcas más
cálidas para su propagación‖, agregó.

El ministro de Salud, Ramiro Tapia, informó el lunes a La Razón que otros cuatro casos
de malaria se detectaron en Oruro.

Los científicos también determinaron que las temperaturas en la región del altiplano
boliviano experimentaron un incremento de 0,7 grados centígrados, producto de las
alteraciones climáticas, que están ―calentado y humidificando algunas regiones‖.

―Toda la geografía de Bolivia es vulnerable a los efectos del cambio climático, aunque
éste no es el único factor que permite la aparición de una enfermedad en una región‖,
precisó Aparicio.

En todo caso, el calor contribuye a la extensión de áreas endémicas de enfermedades
como el paludismo y el Chagas, de los cuales se registran casos en zonas donde antes
no existían.

Sin embargo, Aparicio señaló que todavía no se puede tener una proyección de la
expansión de dichos males, debido a que el fenómeno es muy reciente y, sobre todo,
cambiante.

―En Bolivia tenemos alrededor de 33 ecosistemas distintos, los cuales son afectados de
varias formas que aún estamos viendo‖.

Si bien en el altiplano preocupan la malaria y, en cierta medida el Chagas, en los valles
secos se detectó la expansión del Chagas y la presencia de hantavirus, mientras que en
la región de los llanos se incrementan los casos de dengue y fiebre amarilla.

Cuando se produce la expansión de una enfermedad también influyen factores como la
inmunidad de sus habitantes, la migración de enfermos y otros.

Al momento, el PNCC desarrolla un nuevo mapeado epidemiológico del país, el cual
será presentado a finales de este año y actualizado de forma anual, según se presenten
los cambios.




                                                                                         38
MALES QUE PREOCUPAN

Altiplano • Enfermedades infecciosas e hidrotransmitidas, como cólera, Chagas y
malaria.

Valles • Chagas, hantavirus y enfermedades hidrotransmisibles (cólera, salmonella).

Llanos • Malaria, fiebre amarilla, dengue, hantavirus e infecciones hidrotransmisibles.

Fuente: http://www.la-razon.com

6- Brasil - Especies amenazadas de extinción triplican en Brasil, advierte Libro
Rojo

05- 11 - 08
BRASILIA, Brasil.- El número de especies amenazadas de extinción triplicó en Brasil en
15 años con un total de 627 animales que podrían desaparecer, advierte una
publicación del Ministerio de Medio Ambiente lanzada este martes.

"Nuestra fauna está amenazada de tal manera que triplicó", alertó el ministro de Medio
Ambiente, Carlos Minc, durante la presentación del "Libro rojo", una publicación que
detalla todas las especies, hábitats y amenazas.

"Lo que amenaza nuestra fauna es la deforestación, los incendios, la transformación de
bosque nativo en cultivos de soja, en pasto, la agresión e invasión de tierras en
nuestros parques, el tráfico de animales silvestres, los agrotóxicos que afectan a toda la
cadena alimentaria, la pesca depredadora", denunció el ministro.

Las 627 especies amenazadas son 69 mamíferos, 160 aves, 20 reptiles, 16 anfibios,
154 peces y 208 invertebrados. El inventario del Libro Rojo fue terminado en 2004 y el
anterior era de 1989, cuando las especies amenazadas eran 218.

Entre 1989 y 2004, 79 especies dejaron de estar amenazadas, como el gavilán real,
pero otras 418 entraron en esa categoría.

El 60% de las especies amenazadas se encuentran en la Mata Atlántica, el inmenso
bosque nativo que cubría la costa brasileña y del que hoy se preserva apenas 27% de
su cobertura vegetal. Las especies amenazadas en la Amazonía son 57 (9,1%), y en el
Pantanal son 30 (4,7%).

La lista actual incluye por primera vez los animales acuáticos, como la ballena azul, el
cachalote, el tiburón ballena y el manatí.

Varias especies de monos, como varios mico-leao (mono-león) y de felinos, como la
jaguatirica y el gato do mato, de la familia de los leopardos, también están amenazados
de extinción.

Con 8,5 millones de km2 y seis biomas terrestres, Brasil diputa con Indonesia el primer
lugar en bidiversidad del mundo.




                                                                                           39
Entre otros, Brasil acoge 10% de los mamíferos y 13% de las especies de anfibios,
revelan datos del ministerio del Medio Ambiente. Son en total 530 especies de
mamíferos, 1.800 de aves, 680 de reptiles, 800 de anfibios y 3.000 de peces.
Fuente: http://www.nacion.com

7- Colombia - 11 muertos en el país por ola invernal de los últimos días. Los
afectados superan los 441.000

05 -11 – 08

La última víctima fue un infante de Marina, a quien se le vino su casa encima. 60
poblaciones de caldas, Antioquia y Bolívar, principalmente, están incomunicadas por
daños en sus vías.

Un infante de Marina al que se le desplomó su casa por las fuertes lluvias en Santander
es la más reciente víctima fatal en la segunda temporada invernal que, según la
Dirección Nacional de Atención de Emergencias ya se ha cobrado la vida de once
personas.

Las lluvias del fin de semana también causaron que un puente se viniera al suelo en
Mompox, Bolivar, en este momento el departamento más afectado; más de 30
derrumbes en Caldas y dificultades de tránsito en Antioquia.

El balance nacional, desde el 15 de septiembre, da cuenta también de 49 heridos, tres
desaparecidos, 441.074 personas afectadas en 175 municipios. Hay también 162 casas
destruidas y averiadas 38.496.

En Bogotá, las lluvias superaron el nivel histórico de noviembre. Solo el domingo,
durante un aguacero de dos horas, alcanzó a caer un volumen de 47,3 milímetros de
agua en algunas zonas de la ciudad, cuando el promedio es de 26 milímetros.

Cerrado puente de Cajamarca

Un derrumbe en Cajamarca (Tolima), a la altura del kilómetro 64, ya fue solucionado y
hay vía por ambos carriles. La única novedad es que el puente de Cajamarca estará
cerrado desde mañana y hasta el 8 de noviembre, entre las seis de la mañana y las dos
de la tarde, por obras de reforzamiento de estructura.

En Quindío, la Oficina Municipal de Atención y Prevención de Desastres de Armenia,
Ompad, reportó que durante el fin de semana y por causa de las fuertes lluvias, dos
viviendas resultaron afectadas. No se reportaron heridos en estos hechos.

Muere infante de Marina en el Cesar

Las fuertes lluvias que han caído en las últimas horas en el Magdalena Medio dejaron
un soldado muerto y un municipio totalmente inundado.

En La Gloria (sur del Cesar) murió a las 3:00 a.m de ayer el infante de Marina Juan de
Jesús Jiménez Garcés cuando la casa en la que se resguardaba de un fuerte aguacero
cedió ante la fuerza de la lluvia. En el hecho también resultó herido en sus piernas el



                                                                                       40
sargento Ismael Mendoza Rojas, ambos adscritos al Batallón Fluvial 30 de la Infantería
de Marina.

También en la madrugada de ayer, a las 4:00 a.m, dos quebradas se desbordaron e
inundaron el casco urbano del municipio Arenal (sur de Bolívar) afectando más de 2.000
viviendas y 400 fincas, según el reporte oficial.

30 derrumbes en vías de Caldas

El norte de Caldas está incomunicado con Manizales por más de 30 derrumbes.

Los intensos aguaceros del fin de semana pasado provocaron la emergencia. Cuatro
equipos de la Secretaría de Infraestructura remueven los deslizamientos.

"Al final del día esperamos rehabilitar la comunicación entre Manizales y esta zona del
departamento", dijo Jorge Neira, funcionario de la Secretaría de Infraestructura de
Caldas.

Según el funcionario, los 30 derrumbes, de diferente magnitud, obstruyen el tránsito
entre los municipios de Neira, Aranzazu y Salamina, y La Pintada - Aguadas y Pácora.

El tramo más afectado es Aranzazu-Salamina, pero también tienen dificultades los de
Neira -Aranzazu, Aranzazu-Salamina, La Pintada-Aguadas y Aguadas-Pácora.

Mil afectados en el sur del Meta

Unas mil familias resultaron afectadas por los aguaceros que durante los dos últimos
días han caído sobre Granada, al sur del municipio del Meta.

Casas inundadas, enseres perdidos, falta de alimentos e incluso robos se presentan en
razón de la situación.

Según el Capitán Guillermo León Valencia, comandante del Cuerpo de Bomberos de
Granada, los sectores más afectados por la situación invernal en el casco urbano son
los barrios Morichal y la Reserva (que corresponden a zonas de invasión), así como los
sectores de 'Nueva Granada' y 'Brisas de Iriqué' por el desbordamiento del 'Caño Iriqué'.

Entre tanto, en el sector rural las zonas más golpeadas por el invierno y ante el
desbordamiento del Río Ariari, han sido las veredas Puerto Suárez, Caño Rojo, Santa
Clara, Los Mangos y Puerto Caldas.

De otra parte, un deslizamiento de piedra y lodo, en la noche del lunes, provocó el cierre
de la vía al Llano en el kilómetro 46, en Puente Quetame (Cundinamarca).

En las primeras horas del martes, maquinaria e ingenieros de la Concesionaria Vial de
los Andes habilitaron la carretera a un carril, y a la una de la tarde, el segundo.

En Bogotá, no se han presentado víctimas hasta el momento, pero los autoridades
anunciaron que aumentará la sensación térmica de frío.

Tres muertos y varias vías afectadas en Antioquia


                                                                                       41
En Antioquia, las fuertes lluvias del fin de semana pasado afectaron la circulación por
varias de las carreteras que comunican a los 125 municipios.

En la vía Medellín al Urabá antioqueño, se presenta paso a un sólo carril por derrumbes
en los sitios Eutimio, Mestizal, Los Naranjos, Puente Militar, La Chorquina y Manglar. Al
cierre de esta edición, no se había logrado dar paso en el sitio Los Maderos, cercano a
Cañasgordas, donde se presentó un derrumbe el fin de semana pasado. En la vía
Medellín a Ciudad Bolívar, suroeste antioqueño, hay paso restringido en los sitios La
Brasilia, Puerto Escondido, Sinifana y La Huesera.

En total, tres personas muertas, 956 viviendas afectadas, 15 cultivos en fincas
anegados y 120 familias damnificadas, fue el balance entregado ayer por el
Departamento de Prevención y Atención de Desastres (Dapard), por las fuertes lluvias
en Puerto Nare, Abejorral, Yolombó y Ebéjico.

Fuente: http://www.eltiempo.com

8- Perú - Lluvias afectan la selva central

05 – 11 – 08

Las fuertes lluvias que caen desde hace algunos días en la selva del país han
ocasionado derrumbes, caída de huaicos y el aumento de los caudales de los ríos con
la consiguiente amenaza de inundación de poblados ribereños. Mientras tanto, en la
sierra central las precipitaciones se encuentran por debajo de sus valores normales.

Una de las emergencias reportadas fue la interrupción de la carretera Fernando
Belaunde Terry, a la altura del kilómetro 270. Un huaico destruyó 30 metros de la otrora
Marginal de la Selva y aisló la provincia de Utcubamba (Amazonas). Numerosos
vehículos se quedaron varados.

En el departamento de San Martín, las provincias de Chachapoyas, Rodríguez de
Mendoza y Luya están aisladas debido a la inundación de un túnel cercano a Pedro
Ruiz. Además, en el anexo de Hierba Buena, distrito de Jalca Grande, diez viviendas
han sido dañadas. También en el distrito de Pachiza, provincia de Mariscal Cáceres,
250 viviendas fueron afectadas por las inundaciones, otras 200 en el distrito de
Huicongo y 50 en La Libertad, en la provincia de Bellavista.

En total, según el Comité Regional de Defensa Civil de San Martín, 2.350 personas se
han visto perjudicadas y 25 de ellas figuran como damnificadas. Además, un total de
350 metros de carreteras y 240 hectáreas de cultivos han sido dañados.

En Huánuco, mientras tanto, las lluvias se intensificaron desde hace una semana con
un intervalo de tres a cuatro horas durante el día y la madrugada. Además, la
temperatura ha disminuido considerablemente.

En Ucayali, los ríos de la región aumentaron sus caudales, específicamente el Aguaytía,
Ucayali, San Alejandro y Pachitea.




                                                                                          42
La oficina de Defensa Civil de Ucayali informó que el incremento de los caudales se
viene registrando desde hace dos semanas y que hay pueblos afectados por las
inundaciones y los vientos.

Adam Ramos Cadillo, directora del Servicio Nacional de Meteorología e Hidrología
(Senamhi), aclaró que las precipitaciones caídas hasta la fecha se encuentran por
debajo de sus valores normales y alertó que el incremento se sentirá a partir de enero
próximo.

MÁS DATOS:
1. En Satipo y Chanchamayo, donde las lluvias son permanentes, no se han reportado
mayores caudales.

2. Lo mismo ocurre en las provincias de la región Junín, donde se registran lluvias de
entre 40 y 50 litros de agua por metro cuadrado.

3. En Huancavelica, el acumulado de lluvias durante el mes pasado fue de 73 litros por
metro cuadrado.

AL GRANO
Noviembre es un mes de lluvias*
¿Qué proyecciones meteorológicas se pueden hacer para los próximos días?
Por los estudios realizados --incluso con satélites-- se espera que continúen las lluvias
en la selva central, específicamente en los departamentos de Huánuco, Pasco, Junín,
Ucayali e incluso San Martín. Estas lluvias serán de intensidad moderada, pero habrá
que estar atentos al crecimiento del caudal de los ríos.

¿Cuánto tiempo podría perdurar esta situación?
Estos fenómenos se presentan en noviembre de todos los años, aunque desde el 2006
hacia adelante se ha visto una mayor intensidad, lo que ha devenido en inundaciones y
desbordes. En febrero y marzo, sin embargo, las lluvias se intensificarán en toda la
selva.

¿Por qué se produce este fenómeno?
Estos sistemas atmosféricos vienen desde Brasil y se alojan en la selva peruana a
través de los vientos. Estos mismos sistemas luego devienen en lluvias en la costa,
como en La Libertad y Lambayeque.

Fuente: http://www.elcomercioperu.com


Back to Menu
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                                                                                         43
                                  RONA MEDIA UPDATE
                             THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                    5 November 2008
 General environment in the news:

            NY Times: A Splash of Green for the Rust Belt
            Reuters: Canada can work with Obama on environment, trade
            Mercury News: Saratoga High students do their part for environment
            Philadelphia Inquirer: Nation's recovery lies in a clean-energy economy
            Canadian Press : Climate change climbing corporate priority list, report says
            Wall Street Journal: We Need Sustainable Capitalism
            Reuters: Canada an environmental slouch, study says
            Inquirer: A new energy frontier explored at summit
            NY Times: Economy Shifts, and the Ethanol Industry Reels




NY Times

A Splash of Green for the Rust Belt

By Peter S. Goodman

NEWTON, Iowa

LIKE his uncle, his grandfather and many of their neighbors, Arie Versendaal spent decades
working at the Maytag factory here, turning coils of steel into washing machines.

When the plant closed last year, taking 1,800 jobs out of this town of 16,000 people, it
seemed a familiar story of American industrial decline: another company town brought to its
knees by the vagaries of global trade.

Except that Mr. Versendaal has a new factory job, at a plant here that makes blades for
turbines that turn wind into electricity. Across the road, in the old Maytag factory, another
company is building concrete towers to support the massive turbines. Together, the two
plants are expected to employ nearly 700 people by early next year.

―Life‘s not over,‖ Mr. Versendaal says. ―For 35 years, I pounded my body to the ground.
Now, I feel like I‘m doing something beneficial for mankind and the United States. We‘ve got
to get used to depending on ourselves instead of something else, and wind is free. The wind
is blowing out there for anybody to use.‖

From the faded steel enclaves of Pennsylvania to the reeling auto towns of Michigan and
Ohio, state and local governments are aggressively courting manufacturing companies that
supply wind energy farms, solar electricity plants and factories that turn crops into diesel
fuel.




                                                                                          44
This courtship has less to do with the loftiest aims of renewable energy proponents —
curbing greenhouse gas emissions and lessening American dependence on foreign oil —
and more to do with paychecks. In the face of rising unemployment, renewable energy has
become a crucial source of good jobs, particularly for laid-off Rust Belt workers.

Amid a presidential election campaign now dominated by economic concerns, wind turbines
and solar panels seem as ubiquitous in campaign advertisements as the American flag.

No one believes that renewable energy can fully replace what has been lost on the
American factory floor, where people with no college education have traditionally been able
to finance middle-class lives. Many at Maytag earned $20 an hour in addition to health
benefits. Mr. Versendaal now earns about $13 an hour.

Still, it‘s a beginning in a sector of the economy that has been marked by wrenching
endings, potentially a second chance for factory workers accustomed to layoffs and
diminished aspirations.

In West Branch, Iowa, a town of 2,000 people east of Iowa City, workers now assemble
wind turbines in a former pump factory. In northwestern Ohio, glass factories suffering
because of the downturn in the auto industry are retooling to make solar energy panels.

―The green we‘re interested in is cash,‖ says Norman W. Johnston, who started a solar cell
factory called Solar Fields in Toledo in 2003.

The market is potentially enormous. In a report last year, the Energy Department concluded
that the United States could make wind energy the source of one-fifth of its electricity by
2030, up from about 2 percent today. That would require nearly $500 billion in new
construction and add more than three million jobs, the report said. Much of the growth would
be around the Great Lakes, the hardest-hit region in a country that has lost four million
manufacturing jobs over the last decade.

Throw in solar energy along with generating power from crops, and the continued embrace
of renewable energy would create as many as five million jobs by 2030, asserts Daniel M.
Kammen, director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of
California, Berkeley, and an adviser to the presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama.

The unfolding financial crisis seems likely to slow the pace of development, making
investment harder to secure. But renewable energy has already gathered what analysts say
is unstoppable momentum. In Texas, the oil baron T. Boone Pickens is developing what
would be the largest wind farm in the world. Most states now require that a significant
percentage of electricity be generated from wind, solar and biofuels, effectively giving the
market a government mandate.

And many analysts expect the United States to eventually embrace some form of new
regulatory system aimed at curbing global warming that would force coal-fired electricity
plants to pay for the pollution they emit. That could make wind, solar and other alternative
fuels competitive in terms of the cost of producing electricity.

Both presidential candidates have made expanding renewable energy a policy priority.
Senator Obama, the Democratic nominee, has outlined plans to spend $150 billion over the


                                                                                        45
next decade to spur private companies to invest. Senator John McCain, the Republican
nominee, has spoken more generally of the need for investment.

In June, more than 12,000 people and 770 exhibitors jammed a convention center in
Houston for the annual American Wind Energy Association trade show. ―Five years ago, we
were all walking around in Birkenstocks,‖ says John M. Brown, managing director of a
turbine manufacturer, Entegrity Wind Systems of Boulder, Colo., which had a booth on the
show floor. ―Now it‘s all suits. You go to a seminar, and it‘s getting taught by lawyers and
bankers.‖

So it goes in Iowa. Perched on the edge of the Great Plains — the so-called Saudi Arabia of
wind — the state has rapidly become a leading manufacturing center for wind power
equipment.

―We are blessed with certainly some of the best wind in the world,‖ says Chet Culver, Iowa‘s
governor.

MAYTAG was born in Newton more than a century ago. Even after the company swelled
into a global enterprise, its headquarters remained here, in the center of the state, 35 miles
east of Des Moines.

―Newton was an island,‖ says Ted Johnson, the president of local chapter of the United
Automobile Workers, which represented the Maytaggers. ―We saw autos go through hard
times, other industries. But we still had meat on our barbecues.‖

The end began in the summer of 2005. Whirlpool, the appliance conglomerate, swallowed
up Maytag. As the word spread that local jobs were doomed — Whirlpool was consolidating
three factories‘ production into two — workers unloaded their memorabilia at Pappy‘s
Antique Mall downtown: coffee mugs, buttons, award plaques.

―If it said Maytag on it, we bought it,‖ says Susie Jones, the store manager. ―At first, I
thought the stuff had value. Then, it was out of the kindness of my heart. And now I don‘t
have any heart left. It don‘t sell. People are mad at them. They ripped out our soul.‖

When the town needed a library, a park or a community college, Maytag lent a hand. The
company was Newton‘s largest employer, its wages paying for tidy houses, new cars,
weddings, retirement parties and funerals.

As Whirlpool made plans to shutter the factory, state and county economic development
officials scrambled to attract new employers. In June 2007, the local government dispatched
a team to the American Wind Energy Association show in Los Angeles. Weeks later, a
company called TPI Composites arrived in Newton to have a look.

Based in Arizona, TPI makes wind turbine blades by layering strips of fiberglass into large
molds, requiring a long work space. The Maytag plant was too short. So local officials
showed TPI an undeveloped piece of land encircled by cornfields on the edge of town where
a new plant could be built.

Although TPI was considering a site in Mexico with low labor costs, Newton had a better
location. Rail lines and Interstate 80 connect it to the Great Plains, where the turbines are


                                                                                         46
needed. Former Maytag employees were eager for work, and the community college was
ready to teach them blade-making.

Newton won. In exchange for $6 million in tax sweeteners, TPI promised to hire 500 people
by 2010. It has already hired about 225 and is on track to have a work force of 290 by mid-
November.

―Getting 500 jobs in one swoop is like winning the lottery,‖ says Newton‘s mayor, Chaz
Allen. ―We don‘t have to just roll over and die.‖

On a recent afternoon, workers inside the cavernous TPI plant gaze excitedly at a crane
lifting a blade from its mold and carrying it toward a cleared area. Curved and smooth, the
blade stretches as long as a wing of the largest jets. One worker hums the theme from
―Jaws‖ as the blade slips past.

Larry Crady, a worker, takes particular pleasure in seeing the finished product overhead, a
broad grin forming across his goateed face. He used to run a team that made coin-operated
laundry machines at Maytag. Now he supervises a team that lays down fiberglass strips
between turbine moldings. He runs his hand across the surface of the next blade for signs of
unevenness.

―I like this job more than I did Maytag,‖ Mr. Crady says. ―I feel I‘m doing something to
improve our country, rather than just building a washing machine.‖

Ask him how long he spent at Maytag and Mr. Crady responds precisely: ―23.6 years.‖
Which is to say, 6.4 years short of drawing a pension whose famously generous terms
compelled so many to work at the Maytag plant. ―That‘s what everyone in Newton was
waiting on,‖ he says. ―You could get that 30 and out.‖

But he is now optimistic about the decades ahead. ―I feel solid,‖ he says. ―This is going to be
the future. This company is going to grow huge.‖

The human resources office at TPI is overseen by Terri Rock, who used to have the same
position at Maytag‘s corporate headquarters, where she worked for two decades. In her last
years there, her job was mostly spent ending other people‘s jobs.

―There was a lot of heartache,‖ she says. ―This is a small town, and you‘d have to let people
go and then see them at the grocery store with their families. It was a real tough job at the
end.‖

Now, Ms. Rock starts fresh careers, hiring as many as 20 people a week. She enjoys the
creative spirit of a start-up. ―We‘re not stuck with the mentality of ‗this is how we‘ve done it
for the last 35 years,‘ ‖ she says.

Maytag is gone in large part because of the calculus driving globalization: household
appliances and so many other goods are now produced mostly where physical labor is
cheaper, in countries like China and Mexico. But wind turbines and blades are huge and
heavy. The TPI plant is in Iowa largely because of the costs of shipping such huge items
from far away.



                                                                                            47
―These are American jobs that are hard to export,‖ says Crugar Tuttle, general manager of
the TPI plant.

And these jobs are part of a build-out that is gathering force. More than $5 billion in venture
capital poured into so-called clean energy technology industries last year in North America
and Europe, according to Cleantech, a trade group. In North America, that represented
nearly a fifth of all venture capital, up from less than 2 percent in 2000.

―Everybody involved in the wind industry is in a massive hurry to build out capacity,‖ Mr.
Tuttle says. ―It will feed into a whole local industry of people making stuff, driving trucks.
Manufacturing has been in decline for decades. This is our greatest chance to turn it around.
It‘s the biggest ray of hope that we‘ve got.‖

Those rays aren‘t touching everyone, though. Hundreds of former Maytag workers remain
without jobs, or stuck in positions paying less than half their previous wages. Outside an old
union hall, some former Maytaggers share cigarettes and commiserate about the strains of
starting over.

Mr. Johnson, the former local president, is jobless. At 45, he has slipped back into a world of
financial hardship that he thought he had escaped. His father was a self-employed welder.
His mother worked at an overalls factory.

―I grew up in southern Iowa with nothing,‖ he says. ―If somebody got a new car, everybody
heard about it.‖

When Maytag shut down, his $1,100-a-week paycheck became a $360 unemployment
check. He and his wife divorced, turning what once was a two-income household into a no-
income household. He sold off his truck, his dining room furniture, his Maytag refrigerator —
all in an effort to pay his mortgage. Last winter, he surrendered his house to foreclosure.

Mr. Johnson has applied for more than 220 jobs, he says, from sales positions at Lowe‘s to
TPI. He has yet to secure an interview. His unemployment benefits ran out in May. He no
longer has health insurance. He recently broke a tooth where a filling had been, but he can‘t
afford to have it fixed.

When his teenage daughter, who lives with him, complained of headaches, he paid $1,500
out of pocket for an M.R.I. The doctor found a cyst on her brain. And how is she doing now?
Mr. Johnson freezes at the question. He is a grown man with silver hair, a black Harley-
Davidson T-shirt across a barrel chest, and calloused hands that could once bring a
comfortable living. He tries to compose himself, but tears burst. ―I‘m sorry,‖ he says.

He signed up for a state insurance program for low-income families so his daughter could go
to a neurologist.

ALTHOUGH the United States is well behind Europe in manufacturing wind-power gear and
solar panels, other American communities are joining Newton‘s push, laying the groundwork
for large-scale production.




                                                                                          48
―You have to reinvest in industrial capacity,‖ says Randy Udall, an energy consultant in
Carbondale, Colo. ―You use wind to revitalize the Rust Belt. You make steel again. You
bring it home. We ought to be planting wind turbines as if they were trees.‖

In West Branch, Acciona, a Spanish company, has converted the empty hydraulic pump
factory into a plant that makes wind turbines. When the previous plant closed, it wiped out
130 jobs; Acciona has hired 120 people, many of them workers from the old factory.

Steve Jennings, 50, once made $14 an hour at the hydraulic pump factory. When he heard
that a wind turbine plant was coming in a mere five miles from his house, he was among the
first to apply for a job. Now he‘s a team leader, earning nearly $20 an hour — more than
he‘s ever made. Ordinary line workers make $16 an hour and up.

―It seemed like manufacturing was going away,‖ he says. ―But I think this is here to stay.‖

Acciona built its first turbine in Iowa last December and is on track to make 200 this year.
Next year, it plans to double production.

For now, Acciona is importing most of its metal parts from Europe. But the company is
seeking American suppliers, which could help catalyze increased metalwork in the United
States.

―Michigan, Ohio — that‘s the Rust Belt,‖ says Adrian LaTrace, the plant‘s general manager.
―We could be purchasing these components from those states. We‘ve got the attention of
the folks in the auto industry. This thing has critical mass.‖

IN Toledo, the declining auto industry has prompted a retooling. For more than a century,
the city has been dominated by glass-making, but the problems of Detroit automakers have
softened demand for car windows from its plants. Toledo has lost nearly a third of its
manufacturing jobs since 2000.

Now, Toledo is harnessing its glass-making skills to carve out a niche in solar power. At the
center of the trend is a huge glass maker, Pilkington, which bought a Toledo company that
was born in the 19th century.

Half of Pilkington‘s business is in the automotive industry. In the last two years, that
business is down 30 percent in North America. But the solar division, started two years ago,
is growing at a 40 percent clip annually.

Nearby, the University of Toledo aims to play the same enabling role in solar power that
Stanford played at the dawn of the Internet. It has 15 faculty members researching solar
power. By licensing the technologies spawned in its labs, the university encourages its
academics to start businesses.

One company started by a professor, Xunlight, is developing thin and flexible solar cells. It
has 65 employees and expects to have as many as 150 by the middle of next year.

―It‘s a second opportunity,‖ says an assembly supervisor, Matt McGilvery, one of Xunlight‘s
early hires. Mr. McGilvery, 50, spent a decade making steel coils for $23 an hour before he



                                                                                         49
was laid off. Xunlight hired him this year. His paycheck has shrunk, he says, declining to get
into particulars, but his old-fashioned skills drawing plans by hand are again in demand as
Xunlight designs its manufacturing equipment from scratch, and the future seems promising.

―The hope is that two years from now everything is smoking and that envelope will slide
across the table,‖ he says. ―The money that people are dumping into this tells me it‘s a huge
market.‖

In Newton, the tidy downtown clustered around a domed courthouse is already showing
signs of new life, after the pain of Maytag‘s demise.

The owner of Courtyard Floral, Diane Farver, says she saw a steep drop in sales after
Maytag left, particularly around holidays like Valentine‘s Day and Mother‘s Day, when she
used to run several vanloads a week to the washing machine plant. Times have changed
since that decline. When TPI recently dispatched workers to a factory in China for training,
the company ordered bouquets for the spouses left at home.

Across the street at NetWork Realty, the broker Dennis Combs says the housing market is
starting to stabilize as Maytag jobs are replaced.

―We‘ve gone from Maytag, which wasn‘t upgrading their antiquated plant, to something
that‘s cutting-edge technology, something that every politician is screaming this country has
to have,‖ he says.

At Uncle Nancy‘s Coffee House, talk of unemployment checks and foreclosures now mixes
with job leads and looming investment.

―We‘re seeing hope,‖ says Mr. Allen, the mayor.

The town is hardly done. Kimberly M. Didier, head of the Newton Development Corporation,
which helped recruit TPI, is trying to attract turbine manufacturers and providers of raw
materials and parts for the wind industry.

―This is in its infancy,‖ she says. ―Automobiles, washer-dryers and other appliances have
become commodities in their retirement phase. We‘re in the beginning of this. How our
economy functions is changing. We built this whole thing around oil, and now we‘ve got to
replace that.‖

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/business/02wind.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Reuters

Canada can work with Obama on environment, trade


OTTAWA - The Conservative government said on Wednesday that an Obama presidency in
the United States could pave the way for a common North American approach to
environmental issues, and that any differences on trade could be worked out.




                                                                                        50
Cannon told Reuters in an interview that the government would begin working President-
elect Barack Obama's staff quickly on the key issues of the environment and cross-border
trade.

"It gives us the opportunity to pursue our files. We will be pursuing those files actively,
whether they be in the environment sector, whether they be in our border issues, we will be
in close contact with the transition team."

Both Canada and the United States have walked away from the Kyoto Protocol on climate
change, saying it took too great a toll on the economy.

But both the Canadian government and Obama promise cuts in carbon emissions
nonetheless, and Cannon minimized the differences in goals and policies.

"On the environment issue, I'm pleased to see a similar approach between Canada and the
United States, and that probably augurs well for a common North American approach to the
environment," he said.

Canada and the U.S. were recently ranked among the worst polluters in the industrialized
world by the Conference Board of Canada, in part because of their weak stance on climate
change.

The biggest potential for disagreement is in Obama's stated desire to reopen the North
American Free Trade Agreement to strengthen labor and environmental protections.

The Conservatives have warned that if NAFTA negotiations are reopened, its government
will push for numerous other items.

"NAFTA has been beneficial to both Canada and the United States since its inception. Of
course, we acknowledge there are irritants. These irritants are worked out as good
neighbors work things out," he said.

"Look at the softwood lumber issue. I think we were able to deal with that in a very expedited
fashion," he said.

Cannon said Obama's election does not change Canada's commitment to pulling its 2,500
troops from Afghanistan in 2011.

"Despite an increased focus on Afghanistan, it's not going to change our position, adopted
by the Parliament of Canada, to withdraw our troops in 2011," he said.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement after Obama's election victory
saying he looked forward to working with the new administration.

"I look forward to meeting with the President-elect so that we can continue to strengthen the
special bond that exists between Canada and the United States," he said.

http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=c4f3045f-2c5d-4a01-82e1-
ddb00bf3bc48



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Mercury News

Saratoga High students do their part for environment

By Emilie Doolittle

Students in the Environmental Systems Management Club at Saratoga High School joined
with the city of Saratoga and the Art of Living Foundation to plant a tree as part of the
Mission Green Earth campaign to plant 100 million trees by the end of July 2009.

The campaign is part of a global initiative with the Ministry of Environment and Forests,
government of India, the U.N. Millennium Campaign and the U.N. Environment Programme.

Throughout the year, the school will plant 20 new trees on campus. The first tree was paid
for by the Saratoga High School Education Foundation.

Just before the tree was planted, 1,350 students stood up in support of the Mission Green
Earth pledge "to eradicate poverty, to bring primary education, health, hygiene, care for the
environment and make this world a more beautiful place to be in." The pledge was read to
them over the speakers in their classrooms.

The environmental club's president, senior Lyka Sethi, said, "If we start to exhaust all our
resources, the economy, our lifestyles, everything will go down. The tree planting ceremony
is just a little thing that we're doing that symbolizes the bigger picture of the movement to go
green."

"It's very symbolic of our commitment to our environmental movement," said Mayor Ann
Waltonsmith during the tree planting ceremony. "Our city council has been working hard
within our budget to do environmentally sensitive projects. We've planted 12 trees.

In addition,the planning department is developing green building standards to save the Earth
and reduce carbon emission."

"The bottom line is to get our citizens to plant trees," Waltonsmith said. "Change your life to
live more environmentally sensitive."

Johanna Chu, who is a member of the Art of Living Foundation, coordinated the tree
planting ceremony. Chu said, "The purpose of this tree planting ceremony is to increase
awareness of global sustainability and bring awareness to the younger generation. If
everyone planted more trees, it is such an easy way to decrease global warming. If we get
the schools, the community and the city involved, then we can plant more trees and make a
difference."

Assistant principal Karen Hyde was elated to see how many students supported the event.
"It's the first time — maybe in light of the election — that the students are more aware of
what's going on in the world," she said. "This is the first opportunity for students to stand up
and make a difference."




                                                                                           52
"I think saving the environment is really important," said senior Heraa Hyder, co-president of
the Environmental Systems Management club. "It's saving the economy because we're
saving energy. It creates more jobs for people, and we're making the air cleaner."

http://www.mercurynews.com/community/ci_10891782?source=rss

Philadelphia Inquirer

Nation's recovery lies in a clean-energy economy

By Hank Habicht and Timothy E. Wirth

We need to focus on investments that can get the American economy back on track, and
investments in energy are among the most promising ways to secure a long-term recovery.

For the sake of our national, economic and environmental security, we must act now - and
act boldly - to put ourselves on a sustainable-energy footing. The question is whether we will
lead or follow in the global energy revolution.

Our nation has always thrived on creativity, entrepreneurship, resilience and
resourcefulness. Over and over, in the face of difficult challenges, these qualities have
prevailed over the pessimists of both political parties - who argue either that business can't
change without being forced, or that change will lead to a loss of jobs and competitiveness.
Every time, the naysayers have been proved wrong, and so they will be once again.

A lifelong Republican and a lifelong Democrat, we agree that a unique opportunity lies
before us, and we must seize it.

The task of rebuilding our energy infrastructure recalls other great economic transformations
in America's past, such as building the railroads and the interstate highway system. The
next president must be willing to accept the challenge by putting energy at the heart of his
economic strategy.

He should assemble all the key agencies of government - economic, national security and
environmental - to work together under presidential leadership with a single-minded mission
of enabling the U.S. energy economy to meet the needs of the 21st century.

This transformation, of course, will not be achieved in Washington. But with clear and
consistent messages from the new president and Congress, many billions of private
investment dollars, in addition to those already being invested, will be unleashed.

A new program of public and private investment will bring forth the technologies we need to
deliver energy that is not just cleaner, but cheaper and more abundant as well. The result
will echo the Internet and cell-phone booms, creating new businesses, jobs and growth
across the economic spectrum.

To put the country on the road to a clean-energy economy, some steps are needed and are
likely to win bipartisan support:




                                                                                         53
Modernizing the electricity grid, making it more reliable and resilient. Right now, power
outages cost the economy more than $100 billion a year, and the risk of sabotage is real
and frightening.

Preparing the grid for plug-in electric hybrid vehicles that, in combination with second-
generation biofuels, could take oil completely out of light-duty transportation.

Investing in renewable energy, and building the transmission lines and storage technologies
to bring it to market.

Equipping power plants to capture their emissions, allowing the continued use of coal in a
world with restrictions on carbon.

Giving utilities financial incentives to eliminate energy waste and make our homes and
businesses at least as efficient as those in Europe and Japan.

If we can get beyond turf battles and offer a unified approach by federal and state officials,
America's entrepreneurs will bring transformative innovations to market in historic numbers.
This is a vision of hope and opportunity, and it is ripe for action.

Hank Habicht is managing partner of SAIL Venture Partners and served as deputy
administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Reagan. Timothy
Wirth is president of the United Nations Foundation and a former U.S. senator and served
as undersecretary of state under President Clinton. For more information, see
www.energyfuturecoalition.org.

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/20081105_Nation_s_recovery_lies_in_a_clean-
energy_economy.html


Canadian Press

Climate change climbing corporate priority list, report says

OTTAWA - Canada's biggest companies are making climate change a higher priority, partly
through more widespread disclosure of greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a new
report.

The report from the non-profit group Carbon Disclosure Project, to be released Wednesday
by the Conference Board of Canada, surveyed the 200 most valuable Canadian companies
on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Companies were asked to disclose how they are dealing with the risks and opportunities
associated with carbon emissions and energy use. The report, titled Canada 200, found the
level and quality of disclosures improved this year over last year's results.

Fifty-five per cent of the companies provided a response, up from 45 per cent last year. And
companies disclosed more information about their energy costs, as well as the costs and
savings from reducing emissions, the report says. The increased willingness by companies
to disclose their carbon emissions reflects the changing political, social and regulatory
landscape, said Len Coad of the Conference Board of Canada.


                                                                                            54
"The increasing response rate and the improvement in terms of the quality of the responses
we're receiving suggests to us that companies are both more focused on greenhouse-gas
emissions than they were a few years ago, and also better able to respond to the request
that is coming from investors to disclose carbon emissions," he said.

The report found 49 per cent of companies surveyed have plans to manage emissions.
Some companies are going ahead with their own plans to lower emissions, the report says,
while others are waiting for the Conservative government to publish regulatory
requirements.

The Tories have pledged to lower greenhouse gases 20 per cent from 2006 levels by 2020
through regulations, a cap-and-trade system, investments in green technology funds and
credits for companies that took early action to cut their emissions.

Draft regulations were to be published this fall, but last month's federal election likely pushed
back that deadline.

However, final regulations are set to come into force on Jan. 1, 2010, and there's some
concern industry will have to scramble to comply with them.

Companies are already factoring the future cost of carbon into capital expenditure planning,
which affects investment decisions, the report says.
The report says that of the companies that will be most affected by the federal regulatory
requirements, such as those in the oil-and-gas sector, 58 per cent are forecasting their
future emissions or energy use.

Moreover, corporate boards of directors are increasingly assuming the role of stewards of
their companies' carbon emissions, the report says. That responsibility has typically fallen to
a company's middle management or top executives.

"That provides again a greater assurance that long-term strategies are being put in place,
and the matter of reducing carbon emissions is receiving priority attention within the
companies," Coad said.

The Carbon Disclosure Project is supported by 385 institutional investors, including Caisse
de depot et placement du Quebec, Sun Life Financial Inc., CIBC and BMO Financial Group.
Those investors have a total of more than $57 trillion under management.

http://www.westislandchronicle.com/article-cp72144033-Climate-change-climbing-corporate-
priority-list-report-says.html

Wall Street Journal

We Need Sustainable Capitalism, Nature does not do bailouts.

By Al Gore and David Blood

When greeting old friends after a period of absence, Ralph Waldo Emerson used to ask:
"What has become clear to you since we last met?"



                                                                                          55
What is clear to us and many others is that market capitalism has arrived at a critical
juncture. Even beyond the bailouts and recent volatility, the challenges of the climate crisis,
water scarcity, income disparity, extreme poverty and disease must command our urgent
attention.

The financial crisis has reinforced our view that sustainable development will be the primary
driver of economic and industrial change over the next 25 years. As a result, old patterns
and assumptions are now being re-examined in an effort to find new ways to use the
strengths of capitalism to address this reality. Indeed, at the Harvard Business School
Centennial Global Business Summit held earlier this month, the future of market capitalism
was one of the principal themes discussed.

We founded Generation Investment Management in 2004 to develop a new philosophy of
investment management and business more broadly. Our approach is based on the long-
term, and on the explicit recognition that sustainability issues are central to business and
should be incorporated in the analysis of business and management quality.

Nearly five years on, our conviction on the importance of sustainability in delivering long-
term performance has increased. Indeed, the past year, and certainly the past two months,
has reinforced our view on sustainability. While certainly not a complete list, the causes of
the current financial crisis include: short-termism (including but not limited to increased
leverage), poor governance and regulation, misaligned compensation and incentive
systems, lack of transparency, and in some firms, poor leadership and a dysfunctional
business culture.

Forty years ago, Robert F. Kennedy reminded Americans that the Dow Jones Industrial
Average and Gross National Product measure neither our national spirit nor our national
achievement. Both metrics fail to consider the integrity of our environment, the health of our
families and the quality of our education. As he put it, "the Gross National Product measures
neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion
nor our devotion to country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life
worthwhile."

The Keynesian system of "national accounts," which still serves as the backbone for
determining today's gross domestic product, is incomplete in its assessment of value.
Principally established in the 1930s, this system is precise in its ability to account for capital
goods, but dangerously imprecise in its ability to account for natural and human resources.

Business -- and by extension the capital markets -- need to change. We are too focused on
the short term: quarterly earnings, instant opinion polls, rampant consumerism and living
beyond our means. As we have often said, the market is long on short and short on long.
Short-termism results in poor investment and asset allocation decisions, with disastrous
effects on our economy. As Abraham Lincoln said at the time of America's greatest danger,
"We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we will save our country."

At this moment, we are faced with the convergence of three interrelated crises: economic
recession, energy insecurity and the overarching climate crisis. Solving any one of these
challenges requires addressing all three.

For example, by challenging America to generate 100% carbon-free electricity within 10
years -- with the building of a 21st century Unified National Smart Grid, and the


                                                                                            56
electrification of our automobile fleet -- we can encourage investment in our economy,
secure domestic energy supplies, and create millions of jobs across the country.

We also need to internalize externalities -- starting with a price on carbon. The longer we
delay the internalization of this obviously material cost, the greater risk the economy faces
from investing in high carbon content, "sub-prime" assets. Such investments ignore the
reality of the climate crisis and its consequences for business. And as Jonathan Lash,
president of the World Resources Institute recently said: "Nature does not do bailouts."

Sustainability and long-term value creation are closely linked. Business and markets cannot
operate in isolation from society or the environment.

Today, the sustainability challenges the planet faces are extraordinary and completely
unprecedented. Business and the capital markets are best positioned to address these
issues. And there are clearly higher expectations for businesses, and more serious
consequences for running afoul of the boundaries of corporate responsibility. We need to
return to first principles. We need a more long-term and responsible form of capitalism. We
must develop sustainable capitalism.

Mr. Gore, chairman of Generation Investment Management, is a former vice president of the
United States. Mr. Blood is managing partner of Generation Investment Management.

http://sec.online.wsj.com/article/SB122584367114799137.html

Reuters

Canada an environmental slouch, study says

TORONTO - Canada's environmental record is among the worst in the industrialized world,
due in part to its poor performance fighting global warming, according to a report from the
Conference Board of Canada on Monday.

Canada placed 15th among 17 peers, beating only Australia and the United States.
Greenhouse gas emissions, high garbage production, and rampant overuse of fresh water
were its biggest environmental problems.

"Without serious attention to environmental sustainability, Canada puts its society and its
quality of life at risk," the independent research organization said in the report.

Canada's government has been widely criticized for being soft on greenhouse gas
emissions, which have been on the rise, partly due to booming development of the Alberta
oil sands.

Canada's per capita garbage production, meanwhile, is significantly higher than of any other
OECD nation and its per capita water usage is second only to the United States, according
to the report.

"We are among the world leaders in managing our forests, our air quality is good overall,
and we have made progress using energy efficiently," said Len Coad, a director at the
Conference Board. "But we generate far too much waste, we still use water as though we
have an unlimited supply, and our past record on greenhouse gas emissions is terrible."


                                                                                         57
Sweden, Finland and Norway took the top three slots on the list. (Reporting by Richard
Valdmanis; Editing by Peter Galloway)

http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE4A25NO20081103

The Inquirer

RFK Jr. proposed a plan for the next president.

By Joseph Hannan

Though the presidential election is still two days away, environmental activist, author and
lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has already developed an energy-policy charge for the winner.

He presented his plan - "Energy Policy: The Next President's First Task" - at the
Philadelphia Energy Summit yesterday at Holy Family University.

The summit, hosted by the university and CBS Radio, featured vendors of environmentally
friendly energy products and vehicles, panel discussions with industry experts, and
Kennedy's keynote address.

He did not give an outright endorsement of either presidential candidate, but did say he
favored Sen. Barack Obama's environmental policy over Sen. John McCain's, adding that
both had merits.

"We've got to start by protecting our environmental resources," Kennedy said.

The refrain of his presentation was that the environment should not be protected simply for
the sake of saving plants and wildlife, but because it serves as the bedrock "value system"
of both the American way of life and free-market economy.

"If we don't solve our energy issue, we're going to continue down to a path of diminished
importance in the world, diminished quality of life for the people of the United States of
America," Kennedy said.

He enumerated initiatives that might prevent this decline. One is the abolishment of carbon
emissions in the United States.

Kennedy said the United States borrows a billion dollars a day from nations - some hostile to
its interests - to import oil. He also said one year without importing oil would free up enough
revenue to pay off the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.

Kennedy recommended the elimination of the approximately $1.3 trillion in annual subsidies
to the oil industry, calling them a "principal impediment." Instead, he advocated investing in
clean sources, such as geothermal energy, that have bolstered the economies of nations
such as Iceland and Sweden.

"The first act the new president has to do is invest $150 billion reconstructing our electric
grid and building a grid that realigns so that it can reach all of the energy centers," Kennedy
said.


                                                                                         58
Kennedy also called for legal repercussions for those who abuse the "public trust assets" of
clean water, food and air.

"When we destroy nature, we diminish ourselves, we impoverish our children," he said.

http://www.philly.com/philly/living/green/20081102_A_new_energy_frontier_explored_at_su
mmit.html?adString=ph.green/green;!category=green;&randomOrd=110208081133

NY Times

Economy Shifts, and the Ethanol Industry Reels

By Kate Galbraith

As producers of ethanol navigate a triple whammy of falling prices for their product, credit
woes and volatile costs for the corn from which ethanol is made, an economic version of
―Survivor‖ is playing out in the industry.

Last week, VeraSun, one of the nation‘s largest ethanol producers, announced that it had
filed for bankruptcy protection after its bets on the price of corn turned out to be wrong —
and costly.

Several other small producers have filed for bankruptcy this year, and construction plans for
several Midwestern ethanol plants have been postponed or shelved. Shares in the handful
of publicly owned ethanol companies have mostly been slumping all year. Aventine
Renewable Energy and Pacific Ethanol, for instance, have both lost more than 80 percent of
their value since the beginning of the year.

While producers pin their hopes on rising government mandates for the use of ethanol,
analysts who follow the industry voice concerns that more companies could go under. They
expect a wave of consolidation to sweep the ethanol business once the credit crisis eases.

Ian Horowitz, an analyst with Soleil Securities, said that he was particularly worried about
BioFuel Energy, an ethanol maker. The company, based in Denver, is low on cash and has
had problems similar to VeraSun‘s, losing $46 million when commodity-price hedges turned
out badly.

―Like the airlines, sometimes one goes in, the others run to go in, too,‖ said Mr. Horowitz,
speaking of bankruptcy protection.

BioFuel Energy‘s shares have fallen to 57 cents, from a high of $7.75 in January. The
company did not respond to requests for comment.

Archer Daniels Midland, the agribusiness giant that is one of the largest ethanol producers,
reported higher overall profits on Tuesday — but recorded a sharp drop in operating profit
for its corn processing unit, which includes ethanol production. The company, which also
announced a new $370 million investment in Brazilian ethanol made from sugar cane, is far
more diversified than its smaller competitors who are focused on ethanol.




                                                                                         59
Nowadays, gasoline sold at many stations nationwide includes about 10 percent ethanol,
with a few stations in the Midwest selling an 85 percent ethanol blend. Many politicians have
embraced ethanol as a way to court farmers and because it is produced domestically. Most
research suggests that corn ethanol offers modest benefits in lowering emissions of climate-
altering greenhouse gases, though production of ethanol has contributed to rising food
prices.

The federal government began mandating the use of ethanol in a 2005 energy bill, setting
off a building boom in ethanol plants. A 2007 energy bill substantially raised the quotas,
which will require 10.5 billion gallons of ethanol next year and 12 billion gallons in 2010.

Energized by strong government support and a profitable year in 2006, the industry
redoubled its building spree. High gasoline prices also encouraged refiners to use more of
the cheaper ethanol over the past year. In August, nearly 50 percent more ethanol was
produced than a year earlier, and many more plants were on the drawing boards.

But then ethanol companies got a rude shock: corn prices hit record highs this summer after
the Midwestern floods. That made ethanol more expensive to produce. Fearing that prices
would go even higher, some producers — including VeraSun, BioFuel Energy and Glacial
Lakes Energy, a South Dakota farmers cooperative — entered into contracts intended to
protect them if corn prices rose.

―We were hearing $8, $9, $10‖ a bushel, said Jim Seurer, the interim chief executive of
Glacial Lakes. ―We sought protection from that.‖

But after the fields dried and it became clear the nation would have a good corn harvest, the
market turned again. Companies that had locked in around $7 and above were stuck
watching corn fall to $4 a bushel.

In a statement last month, Mr. Seurer‘s company reported ―significant margin and hedging
losses due to the sharp downturn in the price of corn.‖

Fewer than 10 of the country‘s ethanol plants have stopped operating, according to Matt
Hartwig, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association, an industry group. But
construction times have slowed and some plants in the planning stage have been halted.


Falling ethanol prices have compounded the squeeze on producers. These roughly track
gasoline prices, and are down by nearly 40 percent since June, despite a recent uptick.

On top of all that came the credit freeze, which hurt companies that needed operating loans.
With companies‘ share prices falling, it became difficult to raise investment capital, too.
VeraSun, for example, sought to issue 20 million shares to raise money, but that failed and it
was forced to file for bankruptcy protection.

A few months ago Glacial Lakes, the South Dakota cooperative, failed in its efforts to obtain
financing from a group of banks, including some Wall Street lenders, Mr. Seurer said. It is
asking its members — many of them farmers — for $11.3 million more to cover operational
costs.




                                                                                        60
Ethanol ―has been hit much harder than most other industries,‖ said Kevin Calabrese, an
analyst at Argus Research, citing the volatility in corn and natural gas prices, the two main
inputs for making ethanol.

The credit crisis will also prevent consolidation that otherwise would be expected in a
hobbled industry, experts say.

―The industry should be consolidated — I think everybody believes that,‖ said Mr. Horowitz
of Soleil. ―But who is going to finance anything right now, let alone a very low-margin
business that doesn‘t look like it‘s going to get better in the near term?‖

Some are more optimistic, in part because of lower corn prices.

―The future of the industry looks very bright,‖ said Ronald H. Miller, president and chief
executive of Aventine, citing the rising federal quotas for producing ethanol.

But he characterized the current environment as ―choppy.‖ Aventine lost about $30 million
earlier this year on certain securities, and recently delayed construction on a Nebraska plant
to stretch its cash.

VeraSun, whose 14 operational plants account for 13 percent of the nation‘s ethanol
production capacity, announced on Tuesday that it was indefinitely delaying construction of
a new plant in Minnesota, its second plant in that state to be delayed. VeraSun hopes to
emerge from bankruptcy as an intact company, but it is possible the company will be sold off
in pieces.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/05/business/05ethanol.html

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                                                                                             61
                                ENVIRONMENT NEWS FROM THE
                                      UN DAILY NEWS

5 November 2008


Ban congratulates Obama on election as United States President
5 November - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today extended his congratulations to United
States President-Elect Barack Obama, voicing hope that his election will usher in a new era of
multilateralism and enhanced partnership with the United Nations.

―As Secretary-General of the UN, I look forward to working with the new administration to fulfil our
common goals and enormously important objectives,‖ Mr. Ban told reporters in New York. ―This is,
I believe, an historic opportunity.‖

He recalled previous statements by Mr. Obama, who was elected last night and will take office
next January, in which he spoke about the strong stake the US has in the UN.

This will be a ―good opportunity not only for, not only the United States, but the United Nations as
a whole to resolve all issues through dialogue,‖ the Secretary-General said, expressing
confidence that there will be greater cooperation between the Organization and the US.

―If ever there were a time for the world to join together, it is now,‖ he said, pointing to the global
financial turmoil, climate change, reaching the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs) by their 2015 deadline and the twin food and energy crises.

Mr. Ban told journalists that he met Mr. Obama for the first and only time last year, shortly after
taking office as Secretary-General, when they were seated next to each other on a flight between
Washington and New York.

During the half-hour flight, the President-Elect asked the Secretary-General many questions on
the world body‘s goals and on issues such as the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea
(DPRK), the Iranian nuclear issue and UN reform.

―He was very engaging and he knew a lot about the United Nations,‖ Mr. Ban said, adding that he
was very encouraged by the encounter.

The Secretary-General also congratulated his ―good friend,‖ Vice President-Elect Joseph Biden.
―With a glad heart, I welcome this new era of partnership for change,‖ Mr. Ban said, noting that he
hopes to speak with Mr. Obama soon, both over the telephone and in person.

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______________________________________________________________________

New UN initiative to help governments tackle climate change problems
5 November - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a new
initiative to help both national governments and local regions strengthen their capacity to
deal with the challenges posed by climate change.

The initiative was unveiled at the World Summit of Regions on Climate Change, which
was held last week in St. Malo, France, UNDP announced in a press release issued today.


                                                                                               62
Under the initiative, developing and emerging economies will receive extra resources to
deal with climate change through collaborations with regional authorities in developing
countries, and from carbon trading mechanisms.

Christophe Nuttall, director of UNDP‘s HUB for Innovative Partnerships, said the current
approach to dealing with global warming challenges favoured the development of
numerous small, dispersed and fragmented projects.

―We believe it would be useful to develop a complementary [and] yet comprehensive
integrated local planning framework that involves sub-national governments in the search
for solutions,‖ he said.

―These sub-national authorities need to integrate climate and carbon-related constraints in
local planning instruments in order to transform their local economies into a vibrant force
for sustainable development.‖

Yannick Glemarec, UNDP Director for Environment Finance, said the new initiative will
help poor communities in developing countries access new funding sources, such as
carbon finance, special insurance products and innovative funds for adaptation.

―These funds will then be available to communities to channel into public projects that will
reduce poverty, improve livelihoods and stimulate economic development,‖ Mr. Glemarec
said.

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

5 November 2008 (none

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