"Alberta Farm Insurance Company in Financial Troubles"
THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS Wednesday 22 October 2008 UNEP and the Executive Director in the News The Indepedent: Organic farming 'could feed Africa' Westcoaster, Canada: No Federal Program Yet To Recycle ―Toxic Junk‖ Reuters: Crunch may put price tag on environment Times Group, India: Each one, plant one Planete-Urgence.org: Des artistes en herbe s'unissent à l'ONU pour combattre le changement climatique Times of Malta: Climate Change: Young artist chosen to speak at UN Times of Malta: Maltese boy's painting at UNEP climate change campaign UN News Center: Top global businesses gather for UN ‗Caring for Climate‘ initiative Los Angeles times: Palm oil craze squeezes orangutan habitat in Borneo Tasmanian Greens, Australia: Bartlett out-of-step on forestry and climate change The Financial: Businesses from Developing and Developed Economies Demonstrate Climate Leadership Daily Nation, Nairobi: Raila in Mau forest over resettlement Other Environment News Reuters: Rich world seen behind global pollution BBC: Low-carbon economy is not a luxury AFP: Tokyo leader berates countries on climate change Reuters: Japan launches voluntary CO2 market Environmental News from the UNEP Regions ROA ROAP RONA ROWA Other UN News Environment News from the UN Daily News of 21 October 2008 Environment News from the S.G.‘s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 21 October 2008 1 UNEP and the Executive Director in the News The Indepedent: Organic farming 'could feed Africa' Traditional practices increase yield by 128 per cent in east Africa, says UN By Daniel Howden in Nairobi Wednesday, 22 October 2008 New evidence suggests that organic practices - derided by some as a Western lifestyle fad - are delivering sharp increases in yields, improvements in the soil and a boost in the income of Africa's small farmers Organic farming offers Africa the best chance of breaking the cycle of poverty and malnutrition it has been locked in for decades, according to a major study from the United Nations to be presented today. New evidence suggests that organic practices – derided by some as a Western lifestyle fad – are delivering sharp increases in yields, improvements in the soil and a boost in the income of Africa's small farmers who remain among the poorest people on earth. The head of the UN's Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, said the report "indicates that the potential contribution of organic farming to feeding the world maybe far higher than many had supposed". The "green revolution" in agriculture in the 1960s – when the production of food caught and surpassed the needs of the global population for the first time – largely bypassed Africa. Whereas each person today has 25 per cent more food on average than they did in 1960, in Africa they have 10 per cent less. A combination of increasing population, decreasing rainfall and soil fertility and a surge in food prices has left Africa uniquely vulnerable to famine. Climate change is expected to make a bad situation worse by increasing the frequency of droughts and floods. It has been conventional wisdom among African governments that modern, mechanised agriculture was needed to close the gap but efforts in this direction have had little impact on food poverty and done nothing to create a sustainable approach. Now, the global food crisis has led to renewed calls for a massive modernisation of agriculture on the hungriest continent on the planet, with calls to push ahead with genetically modified crops and large industrial farms to avoid potentially disastrous starvation. Last month the UK's former chief scientist Sir David King said anti-scientific attitudes among Western NGOs and the UN were responsible for holding back a much-needed green revolution in Africa. "The problem is that the Western world's move toward organic farming – a lifestyle choice for a community with surplus food – and against agricultural technology in general and GM in particular, has been adopted across the whole of Africa, with the exception of South Africa, with devastating consequences," he said. The research conducted by the UN Environment Programme suggests that organic, small-scale farming can deliver the increased yields which were thought to be the 2 preserve of industrial farming, without the environmental and social damage which that form of agriculture brings with it. An analysis of 114 projects in 24 African countries found that yields had more than doubled where organic, or near-organic practices had been used. That increase in yield jumped to 128 per cent in east Africa. "Organic farming can often lead to polarised views," said Mr Steiner, a former economist. "With some viewing it as a saviour and others as a niche product or something of a luxury... this report suggests it could make a serious contribution to tackling poverty and food insecurity." The study found that organic practices outperformed traditional methods and chemical- intensive conventional farming. It also found strong environmental benefits such as improved soil fertility, better retention of water and resistance to drought. And the research highlighted the role that learning organic practices could have in improving local education. Backers of GM foods insist that a technological fix is needed to feed the world. But this form of agriculture requires cash to buy the patented seeds and herbicides – both at record high prices currently – needed to grow GM crops. Regional farming experts have long called for "good farming", rather than exclusively GM or organic. Better seeds, crop rotation, irrigation and access to markets all help farmers. Organic certification in countries such as the UK and Australia still presents an insurmountable barrier to most African exporters, the report points out. It calls for greater access to markets so farmers can get the best prices for their products. Kenyan farmer: 'I wanted to see how UK did it' Henry Murage had to travel a long way to solve problems trying to farm a smallholding on the western slopes of Mount Kenya. He spent five months in the UK, studying with the experts at Garden Organic a charity in the Midlands. "I wanted to see how it was being done in the UK and was convinced we could do some of the same things here," he says. On his return 10 years ago, he set up the Mt Kenya Organic Farm, aimed at aiding other small farmers fighting the semi-arid conditions. He believes organic soil management can help retain moisture and protect against crop failure. The true test came during the devastating drought of2000-02, when Mr Murage's vegetable gardens fared better than his neighbours'. At least 300 farmers have visited his gardens and taken up at least one of the practices he espouses. "Organic can feed the people in rural areas," he says. "It's sustainable and what we produce now we can go on producing." Saving money on fertilisers and pesticides helps farmers afford better seeds, and composting and crop rotation are improving the soil. Traditional maize, beans and livestock farming in the area have been supplemented with new crops from borage seeds to cayenne peppers and honey, with buyers from the US to Europe. Now he is growing camomile for herbal tea, with buyers from the UK and Germany both interested. Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ 3 Westcoaster, Canada: No Federal Program Yet To Recycle “Toxic Junk” Published Date: 2008/10/22 0:10:00 By Steve Rennie The Canadian Press OTTAWA — The federal government scraps more than 2,000 tonnes of computers, fax machines, monitors and other gear each year, says a newly released report. But it will be another year and a half before Ottawa launches a recycling program to safely dispose of the toxic junk. An internal Public Works Department report says the government produces 2,045 tonnes of electronic waste each year. That's roughly the weight of 225 school buses. ―The federal government is one of the largest single generators of end-of-life IT equipment in Canada,‖ says the report. ―There is no comprehensive mechanism in the federal government to address environmentally responsible disposal of IT equipment.‖ The report, dated August 2007 and marked secret, was prepared by the Public Works office dedicated to greening government operations. The Canadian Press obtained it through the Access to Information Act. Canada's environment commissioner says the federal government spends $500 million every year on new computer hardware. These electronics contain toxic elements such as lead, cadmium and mercury, which can cause environmental and health problems if not handled properly. Currently, 80 to 90 per cent of used government electronics go to a federal program that refurbishes them and then sends them to schools and libraries. The rest is sold to recyclers and scrap dealers. However, the ―Computer for Schools‖ program doesn't accept all items. It's not clear how the program handles the high volume of used government electronics donated each year. Officials from Industry Canada, the department that oversees Computers for Schools, weren't immediately available to comment. It doesn't take long for computer equipment to become obsolete, said Rod Muir, a waste diversion campaigner for the Sierra Club of Ontario. ―It sounds to me as though (the government is) not following up nearly as well as they could be in terms of what happens to it after the schools they give it to are done with it,‖ he said. ―My concern, of course, would be, now we start shipping it over to Africa or some Third World country who may be now three generations of equipment behind. 4 ―But two years later, what do they do with it?‖ The United Nations estimates that between 20 and 50 million tonnes of electronic waste is generated worldwide each year. Electronic garbage often ends up in the poorer Asian and African countries, where workers and the environment are exposed to the accompanying toxins. Achim Steiner, head of the UN environment program, recently told a conference in Bali, Indonesia, the growth in electronics is unlikely to abate any time soon. Earlier this year, The Canadian Press reported the government plans to launch a recycling program to dispose of its electronics responsibly. However, the program – estimated to cost between $30 and $35 million over five years – won't be in place until March 2010. This latest Public Works report says the government plans to phase in its recycling program by starting with computer equipment and expanding in the third year to electronics, including BlackBerrys and televisions. Electronic waste is the first part of a broader strategy to dispose of other government assets, from ships to furniture, the report says. Meantime, electronics recycling is piecemeal across the country. The Alberta government has run an electronic waste recycling program since 2005. British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia have industry-run programs. A similar program in Ontario will begin next April. The other provinces rely on municipal drives, charities, retail take-back programs and private companies to safely dispose of electronic waste. ―Electronics recycling infrastructure is developing but currently poorly distributed and operating standards are unclear,‖ the report says. Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ Reuters: Crunch may put price tag on environment Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:33am EDT By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) - The worst financial crisis since the 1930s may be a chance to put price tags on nature in a radical economic rethink to protect everything from coral reefs to rainforests, environmental experts say. 5 Farmers know the value of land from the amount of crops they can produce but large parts of the natural world -- such as wetlands that purify water, oceans that produce fish or trees that soak up greenhouse gases -- are usually viewed as "free." "Most of our valuable assets are not on the books," said Robert Costanza, professor of ecological economics at the University of Vermont. "We need to reinvent economics. The financial crisis is an opportunity." Advocates of "eco-nomics" say that valuing "natural capital" could help protect nature from rising human populations, pollution and climate change that do not figure in conventional measures of wealth such as gross domestic product (GDP) or gross national product (GNP). "I believe the 21st century will be dominated by the concept of natural capital, just as the 20th was dominated by financial capital," Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Environment Program, told Reuters at the International Union for Conservation of Nature congress in Barcelona earlier this month. "We are reaching a point...at which the very system that supports us is threatened," he said. Conventional economists often object it is impossible to value an Andean valley or the Caribbean. "We have struggled with nature-based services: how does a market begin to value them?" Steiner said. Costanza helped get international debate underway a decade ago with a widely quoted estimate that the value of natural services was $33 trillion a year -- almost twice world gross domestic product at the time. INFINITY Some economists dismissed Costanza's $33 trillion as an overestimate. Others pointed out that no one would be alive without nature, so its value to humans is infinite. "There is little that can be usefully be done with a serious underestimate of infinity," economist Michael Toman said at the time. But with the seizure of world money-markets bringing -- for some, at least -- an opportunity to rethink modern capitalism's basic tenet that greed and self-interest can counterbalance each other, more environmental experts hope to revisit nature's role in producing food, water, fuels, fibers or building materials. "The financial crisis is just another nail in the coffin" of a system that seeks economic growth while ignoring wider human wellbeing, said Johan Rockstrom, executive director of the Stockholm Environment Institute. Under standard economics, nations can boost their GDP -- briefly -- by chopping down all their forests and selling the timber, or by dynamiting coral reefs to catch all the fish. A rethink would stress the value of keeping nature intact. 6 Rockstrom said bank bailouts totaling hundreds of billions of dollars might "change the mindset of the public...if we are willing to save investment banks, why not spend a similar amount on saving the planet?" he said. And there are ever more attempts to mix prices and nature. The European Union set up a carbon trading market in 2005 to get industries such as steel makers or oil refineries to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, blamed for global warming. Ecuador has asked rich countries to pay it $350 million a year in exchange for not extracting 1 billion barrels of oil in the Amazon rainforest. BHUTAN The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has shifted from traditional gross national product to a goal of "gross national happiness," which includes respect for nature. And in U.N. talks on a new climate treaty, more than 190 nations are considering a plan to pay tropical nations billions of dollars a year to leave forests alone to slow deforestation and combat global warming. "We want to see a shift to valuing ecosystems," Norwegian Environment Minister Erik Solheim said. Oslo has led donor efforts by pledging $500 million a year to tropical nations for abandoning the chainsaw and letting trees stand. Deforestation accounts for about a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions by mankind. Trees soak up carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, as they grow, and release it when they rot or are burned, usually to clear land for farming. UNEP's Steiner said long-standing objections that it is too hard to value ecosystems were dwindling as economists' ability to assess risks improved. A report sponsored by the European Commission and Germany in May estimated that humanity was causing 50 billion euros ($67.35 billion) in damage to the planet's land areas every year. And a 2006 report by former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern said that unchecked global warming could cost 5 to 20 percent of world GDP, damaging the economy on the scale of the world wars or the Great Depression. Steiner said stock market plunges, or a halving of oil prices since peaks of $147 a barrel in July, showed that environmental experts were not the only ones who had trouble valuing assets. A 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Report also said that natural systems were worth more intact than if converted. It said a Canadian wetland was worth $6,000 a year per hectare, and just $2,000 if converted to farmland. A hectare of mangrove in Thailand was worth $1,000 a year -- 7 producing fish or protecting against coastal erosion -- against $200 if uprooted and converted to a shrimp farm. Costanza, in a letter to the journal Science with a colleague earlier this year, said one way to value nature would be to set up a government-backed system to trade all greenhouse gas emissions and channel the revenues, estimated at $0.9-$3.6 trillion a year, into an "Earth Atmospheric Trust." If half the cash were shared out, each person on the planet would get $71-$285 a year, a big step toward ending poverty. The rest could go to renewable energy and clean technology. Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ Times Group, India: Each one, plant one Though greenbacks may not be looking very attractive now, green certainly is. As part of a UN drive, environmentalists in the city exhort citizens to increase the green cover TARUNYA SURESH Green is the new red. Yes, green is hot, it‘s the colour of the season and no, I‘m not referring to your wardrobe. Confused? Well, let me explain. If every human being planted a tree, and if our planet had as many trees as it had people, the environment wouldn‘t be quite as unstable as it is today. The hole in the ozone layer wouldn‘t be quite as big or threatening, and the globe wouldn‘t be warming up as quickly as it is. While everyone grumbles about pollution, not many of us really do anything about it. ―What can we do?‖ you say. Well, for starters, you can go ahead and plant that long due sapling, thereby lending a helping hand to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which aims at planting seven million trees by the end of 2009. How does this help? Planting forests, or even simply a sapling, has proved to be one of the most cost-effective ways to slow down climatic change, as trees soak up carbon dioxide as they grow and release it when burnt or when they rot. Slowly, but surely you will help paint a greener picture of the environment. Bushra Hussain, one of the founders of a fledgling environmental protection group — Gaaya says, ―I see this drive as an enormous boon. The rate of depletion of our natural resources should ideally be balanced by a replacement of the resources. Other than planting trees, this drive will also create massive awareness among the people, who need to wake up to the fact that green is the way to be.‖ Singer Rahul Nambiar,who is an activist with Greenpeace, is quick to agree. ―With the ozone layer rapidly depleting, I think it is vital that we sow the seeds for the future. It is a small step, but if all of us planted at least one sapling each, we would help the cause greatly. Also, we should make it a point to keep the environment clean by not littering and spitting everywhere,‖ says the singer, making an impassionate plea to the residents of the city. With an initial goal of a billion trees by the end of 2007, individuals had already pushed the total above two billion by the stipulated time period, which renewed the belief and energies of environmentalists the world over that the target could be pushed to seven 8 million. As seven billion trees grow, they soak up roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted by Russia in a year. Russia is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, just behind the United States and China. Actor Prashanth, an environmentalist and member of Exnora, says that we should not stop at seven million and this should be a lifetime effort. ―Taking the present situation into consideration, it‘s about time we, as citizens, gave back something to the environment. All of us have taken resources, misused and depleted them and what stands before us now, is a crisis that has to be averted. If each family took the vow of planting of one sapling a month, it would make such a difference. It is also important that we ingrain the generation to come with a conscience to protect and preserve the environment,‖ says the actor with a green thumb. Venkat,president,IT Exnora says that the UN programme is a step in the right direction. The environmentalist, who is currently shooting in the Himalayas for an NGO aided by the UN says,―I think this is a great initiative and it‘s good that the UN is doing it in a decentralised way. It is the right and responsibility of every citizen to go ahead and plant at least one sapling. It‘s the simplest step towards a green world. We believe in the concept of think globally, act locally and even have a green certification programme, which will recognise people who follow some basic steps to keep the environment clean.‖ You have heard their pleas. Take that step, make a start and look forward to a clean and green tomorrow, because now; it is literally in your hands. email@example.com Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ Planete-Urgence.org: Des artistes en herbe s'unissent à l'ONU pour combattre le changement climatique PNUE - Programme des Nations Unies pour l'Environnement (ONU) Le 07-10-2008 (Publié sur internet le 15-10-2008) Des jeunes artistes du monde entier soutiennent les efforts internationaux pour combattre le changement climatique par le biais de l'événement Peindre pour la planète à New York, une exposition et vente aux enchères d'art créé par les enfants. Lancé aujourd'hui, le site web de Peindre pour la planète présente une sélection de dessins lauréats du Concours international de peinture d'enfants organisé par le Programme des Nations Unies pour l'environnement (PNUE). Evoquant les craintes et les espoirs des enfants pour la planète, ces oeuvres sont un appel puissant des enfants à l'action sur le changement climatique avant qu'il ne soit trop tard. Peindre pour la planète marquera le lancement de la campagne UNis contre le changement climatique qui préconise un accord définitif sur le changement climatique lors de la réunion de Copenhague, au Danemark, en décembre 2009. Cinq jeunes artistes venant du Burundi, de la Colombie, de Malte et des États-Unis se rendront à New York pour partager leur message pour la planète avec les décideurs, les chefs d'entreprise et les médias. 9 Ils inaugureront officiellement l'exposition au Siège de l'ONU à New York le 23 Octobre. C'est la première fois que les oeuvres originales- choisies parmi une collection d'environ 200,000 peintures-seront exposées. Le 25 Octobre, une sélection de peintures sera mise aux enchères à Harvard Club à New York pour collecter des fonds d'urgence pour les enfants affectés par les catastrophes climatiques. La somme recueillie sera remise à l'UNICEF, le Fonds des Nations Unies pour l'enfance. En plus de la vente aux enchères en direct, les oeuvres seront également vendu en ligne en partenariat avec LiveAuctioneers pour permettre une plus grande participation (au grand public de participer). La pré-enchères des peintures sera également disponible prochainement sur liveauctioneers.com ainsi que sur www.unep.org/paint4planet. Peindre pour la Planète marquera le lancement de la campagne 'UNis contre le changement climatique' qui soutient l'appel pour un accord final lors des pourparlers sur le changement climatique prévus à Copenhague, au Danemark, en décembre 2009. Après New York, l'exposition deviendra itinérante er sera présentée à plusieurs forums et réunions sur le changement climatique, pour atteindre le point d'orgue à Copenhague. Le partenaire privilégié de Peindre pour la Planète est le Natural World Museum (NWM), qui par ses programmes précurseurs, allie l'art à la sensibilisation et à l'action environnementales auprès du grand public. L'initiative Peindre pour la planète a reçu le soutien généreux de Bayer, Nikon et la Fondation pour la paix mondiale et l'environnement, qui sont des partenaires clé du PNUE pour le Concours international de peinture d'enfants et d'autres initiatives pour les jeunes depuis de nombreuses années. Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ Times of Malta: Climate Change: Young artist chosen to speak at UN Tuesday, 21st October 2008 Fiona Galea Debono Photos: Matthew Mirabelli. When Andrew Bartolo was 13, he painted a picture for the United Nations Environment Programme's International Children's Painting Competition that portrayed his perspective on today's defining challenge - climate change. He did well then, placing third worldwide, alongside two other Maltese children, among 14,000 entries. But little did he know that, two years later, his painting would be among a mere 27 original works, chosen from 200,000 UNEP winning competition entries over almost two decades, to be exhibited and auctioned at the UN's Paint for the Planet event at its headquarters in New York. On Saturday, his picture should fetch $500 at the very least, a sum that will go into Unicef's emergency relief for children affected by climate-related disasters. 10 "I never thought it would generate funds; I never had any expectations. I am shocked and even proud that such a big difference can be made with such a little gesture," Andrew, now 15, told The Times. The auction, being held at the Harvard Club of New York City and also online for worldwide bidding, goes up at $500 intervals. So his work could really have an effect. Moreover, Andrew is one of only five young artists worldwide to be invited to the UN to sum up, in 100 words, the message his painting intends to convey. Together with students from Burundi, the US and Columbia, he was chosen on the basis of that message, which, in his case, gives a voice to animals and has a humorous touch. The event in New York also marks his first foray into public speaking - and he is addressing none other than the UN secretary general, business leaders, decision makers and international media. The San Anton School student is "slightly nervous and very excited", but he intends to rise to the challenge and use the experience to pave the way for future addresses of the sort. He plans to tell his prestigious audience that, even though humans suffer, they can, at least, express themselves. "Animals, on the other hand, cannot, so my painting gives a voice to the silent protest of these creatures. "Few people portray the animal point of view, but the reality is that we depend on them too and, if something happens to them, we would be just as badly affected," Andrew maintains. His painting depicts a bunch of penguins on what appears to be a desert island - their familiar territory having melted away, forcing their migration from their home. One penguin has also melted into a black smudge; the other is living in an open fridge; another is sheltering under an umbrella and the other is swimming to keep cool - all as a result of global warming. "It is an insight into a possible future if we continue at this rate," Andrew warns. But he does not intend to stop at art to convey his eco-friendly message. "I would like to get into environmental science and talk to schoolchildren about green issues in the near future." Meanwhile, he is busy recycling and switching off the lights - even if he leaves the room for a few minutes - in accordance with his parents' instructions and talks at school that have left their mark. What he has learnt is that everyone can make a difference - even if they are unaware of the impact at that particular point. Paint for the Planet is the launching pad for the Unite to Combat Climate Change campaign to support the call for a definitive agreement at the climate change talks in Denmark in December 2009. 11 After New York, the exhibit is travelling to various climate-related events around the world, culminating in Copenhagen. In New York, it runs until November 18. www.unep.org/paint4planet Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ Times of Malta: Maltese boy's painting at UNEP climate change campaign Tuesday, 21st October 2008 - 09:26CET A painting by Andrew Bartolo, 15, will feature in Paint for the Planet, an exhibit and auction of children's art to launch the global United Nations campaign "UNite to Combat Climate Change". The event is being organised by UNEP and features 27 original works from its International Children's Painting Competition. Showcasing children's fears and hopes for the planet, the paintings are a powerful plea from children for leadership on climate change before it is too late. ―I wanted to share my feelings on the critical, international problem of global warming by painting a scene that, though slightly extreme, gives an insight into a possible future, one where animals lose their homes and are forced to migrate to unfamiliar territories,‖ said Andrew. He was replying to questions by Fiona Galea Debono (See video). The auction will be held this Saturday. www.unep.org/paint4planet Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ UN News Center: Top global businesses gather for UN „Caring for Climate‟ initiative 21 October 2008 – A United Nations-backed ―Caring for Climate‖ gathering today is drawing representatives from more than 150 corporations, civil society organizations and governments from around the world to discuss business solutions to the problem of global warming and speed up action on climate change. The UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) launched the ―Caring for Climate‖ scheme last year, with chief executive officers (CEOs) of 150 companies – including 30 from the Fortune Global 500 – signing on. Today‘s meeting in Geneva is the first gathering of those signatories, aiming to create a shared path in support of an effective successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012. ―Climate change will undoubtedly reshape the business landscape as we know it,‖ said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the Global Compact. ―Companies committed to ‗Caring 12 for Climate‘ demonstrate that a growing number of businesses is making a choice that tells us that a sustainable future and business competitiveness can complement each other.‖ Since its creation, nearly 300 businesses have signed on, covering 30 industry sectors in 48 countries, including emerging and developing economies. A recent survey of ―Caring for Climate‖ signatories reflects their optimism about their ability to set targets and reduce their impact on the environment. It also shows that they expect similar leadership from governments, as well as long-term plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions and stepped up investments in low-carbon technologies. Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ Los Angeles times: Palm oil craze squeezes orangutan habitat in Borneo By PAUL WATSON HARDI BAKTIANTORO ANJUNG PUTING NATIONAL PARK, Indonesia - In the rush to feed the world‘s growing appetite for climate-friendly fuel and cooking oil, the Bornean orangutan could get plowed under. Several plantation owners are eyeing Tanjung Puting National Park, a sanctuary for 6,000 of the endangered animals. It is the world‘s second-largest population of a primate that experts warn could be extinct in less than two decades if a massive assault on its forest habitat is not stopped. The orangutans‘ biggest enemy, the United Nations says, is no longer poachers or illegal loggers. It‘s the palm oil industry. On the receding borders of this approximately 1,600-square-mile reserve, a road paved with good intentions runs into a swamp of alleged corruption and government bungling. It‘s one of the mounting costs few bargained for in the global craze to ―go green.‖ The park clings perilously to the southern tip of the island of Borneo, which is shared by Indonesia and Malaysia, the world‘s top producers of palm oil. Exporters market the product as an ecological alternative to crude oil and a replacement for oils containing trans fats. ―They change the forest and say it‘s for energy sustainability,‖ said Ichlas al-Zaqie, local project manager for Los Angeles-based Orangutan Foundation International. ―But they‘re killing other creatures.‖ Indonesia is losing lowland forest faster than any other major forested country. At the rate its trees are being felled to plant oil palms, poach high-grade timber and clear land for farming, 98 percent of Indonesia‘s forest might be lost by 2022, according to the United Nations Environment Program. 13 ―If the immediate crisis in securing the future survival of the orangutan and the protection of national parks is not resolved, very few wild orangutans will be left within two decades,‖ UNEP concluded in a 2007 report. In July, loggers finished buzz-sawing and bulldozing a 40,000-acre swath in a northeastern corner of the park, where at least 561 orangutan lived, to clear ground for oil palm plants, al-Zaqie said. The government isn‘t much help, say environmental activists, who accuse corrupt officials, military officers and police of siding with timber poachers, illegal miners and others threatening the forests. As palm oil companies deny they are encroaching on protected land, environmentalists bemoan a territorial dispute between local officials and provincial and national governments. ―The problem now is even the central government can‘t really say where the exact border of the national park is,‖ said Yeppie Kustiwae, of the World Wide Fund for Nature in Indonesia. Al-Zaqie says palm oil companies are determined to take as much as 5 million acres of orangutan forest habitat in Tanjung Puting and the larger Sebangau National Park, where Borneo‘s largest population of orangutans lives. Tanjung Puting shelters nine primate species, including rare proboscis monkeys. Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ Tasmanian Greens, Australia: Bartlett out-of-step on forestry and climate change Where is ‘data-driven’ Premier’s Data Coming From? Nick McKim MP Tuesday, 21st October 2008 The Tasmanian Greens today rejected Premier David Bartlett‘s assertion that Tasmania‘s old growth forests are ―irrelevant‖ to the global climate change debate, and called on the self-described ―data-driven‖ Premier to get across the peak climate change science currently coming out of the EU, the IPCC, the UNEP, the IUCN and the World Bank. Greens Opposition Leader Nick McKim MP said a recent Australian National University study revealed that Tasmania‘s old forests sequester 40-60 percent more carbon than disturbed or commercial-use forests, and there is zero evidence to back up the Premier‘s opinion that logging forests will be more valuable than preserving them as carbon sinks. Mr McKim also called Premier Bartlett to consider the future financial implications for Tasmania following his decision to turn his back on climate change science, particularly the foregone profits from carbon sequestration in Tasmania‘s remaining old forests. ―Mr Bartlett has revealed himself as woodchip driven rather than data driven,‖ Mr McKim said. 14 ―David Bartlett says its more valuable to log old forests for woodchips before we‘ve even heard what price we will receive for carbon sequestration in standing forests – without a known price for carbon sequestration, how could the Premier possibly know what he is talking about?‖ ―Despite the industry‘s head-in-the-sand rhetoric, about 90 percent of Tasmania‘s forest harvest currently goes for woodchips which make paper which does not capture carbon over the long term.‖ ―The forest carbon science from the ANU has been in for months yet David Bartlett seems to be stuck in the 1950‘s and is now parrotting the unsustainable position and unscientific assertions of a woodchip industry focussed on resisting change.‖ Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ The Financial: Businesses from Developing and Developed Economies Demonstrate Climate Leadership 21/10/2008 10:59 (07:21 minutes ago) The FINANCIAL -- Representatives of more than 150 corporations, civil society organizations, governments and UN agencies from around the world are gathering in Geneva on October 21 for the first gathering of signatories to Caring for Climate, a voluntary global action platform jointly launched in 2007 by the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). ADVERTISEMENT According to Global Compact, the meeting showcases and discusses new business solutions to the climate challenge and aims to produce crucial business insights and develop a clear and shared path forward in support of an effective post-Kyoto policy framework on climate change. It also sets the stage for a World Business Summit on Climate Change, to be convened in Copenhagen on 24-26 May 2009. Caring for Climate seeks to advance practical solutions and help shape public policy as well as public attitudes on climate change. Nearly 300 businesses, covering 30 industry sectors in 48 countries, have joined the platform. Signatories include a large number of companies from emerging and developing economies where environmental and resource security issues have come to the forefront of the business agenda. Through a series of plenary sessions and interactive workshops, the Geneva meeting will discuss best practices and policy frameworks with regard to climate change; investments and technologies; as well as emerging climate leadership in developing nations. A new GlobeScan survey among Caring for Climate signatories, to be introduced at the meeting, reveals that a majority of signatories are optimistic about their ability to develop the internal capacity to set targets and reduce climate impact, while recognizing room for improvement in implementing strategies and sharing climate experience with other companies. According to the survey, Caring for Climate signatories expect similar leadership from governments, long-term plans for emission reductions, more investments in low-carbon 15 technologies and stimulation of consumer demand for innovative climate-safe products and services. Survey respondents further recommend that governments meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009 to finalize the post-Kyoto agreement should ensure participation by developed and developing nations, set GHG reduction targets even if compromise is required, and establish workable mechanisms to help nations meet targets, along with incentives for business. In addition to the Globescan survey, participants will discuss seven new reports and research projects, covering a wide range of climate-related issues, including energy efficiency, responsible investment, and strategies and practices in emerging economies. Final reports will be presented at the World Business Summit on Climate Change in 2009. Statements Attributable to Co-Conveners of Caring for Climate ―Recent weeks of financial turmoil are a reminder of fundamental decisions that need to be taken about how we run our economies and business with longer term climate change impacts in mind‖, said Achim Steiner, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. ―Latest scientific evidence on climate change are proving worse than foreseen, and ecosystems services worth trillions of dollars are being lost due to unsustainable consumption and production. Participant companies under Caring for Climate are showing hope for the future, taking action in all regions and addressing climate change in a strategic manner‖. ―Climate change will undoubtedly reshape the business landscape as we know it. Whether or not companies take early action on climate change is crucial‖, said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact. ―Companies committed to Caring for Climate demonstrate that a growing number of businesses is making a choice that tells us that a sustainable future and business competitiveness can complement each other‖. ―The global corporations who make up our membership understand, in spite of the financial crisis, that acting on climate change is more urgent than ever‖, said Bjorn Stigson, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. ―Global business has the resources to deliver energy efficiencies, to innovate, to develop and deploy technology, and to drive carbon markets. This goes to the heart of issues of long term success: profitability, value to shareholders and responsible management in the interests of the community as a whole. Business has now demonstrated repeatedly that is also willing to work in partnership with governments and other players to ensure that we succeed in this enormous challenge‖. Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ Daily Nation, Nairobi: Raila in Mau forest over resettlement Wednesday October 22, 2008 Prime Minister Raila Odinga left for the Mau Forest on Tuesday morning in an attempt to quell resistance by the local community, regarding their impending relocation. The PM disclosed that the task force set up last July to find out the most amicable way of resettling the communities, had faced some obstacles, following remarks by local leaders. The 21-member team was directed to ensure any further destruction of the water tower or encroachment was immediately stopped, assess resettlement options and decide on those to be compensated. 16 Mr Odinga warned Rift Valley politicians against engaging in politics regarding the eviction of those who own land within the Mau Forest. He said the politicians were ―just hecklers‖ keen on inciting their communities against the reclamation of the land adjacent to the forest complex. "Politicians should stop incitement and heckling ...the Government will only deal with the stakeholders on the ground,‖ he said. ―They keep on barking yet they do not stay there.‖ Mr Odinga spoke this morning at Wilson Airport before he embarked on an air trip to assess the extent of the damage in the area. The aerial trip will take the PM over the Ol Posimoru, Maasai Mau, Transmara, Mau Narok and the Eastern and Southern Mau Forests in the vast complex stretching over 400,000 hectares. The PM was scheduled to hold a meeting at Sisiyan area with the members of the Kipsigis community, many who are likely to be affected by the resettlement exercise to be carried out soon. There are about 1,962 bona fide land owners in the Mau, and they have proof of ownership -title deeds. Among the issues that have to be sorted out is the compensation of the settlers in Mau. Though the area politicians have called for compensation, other leaders such as Heritage Minister William Ole Ntimama said the farmers should not be compensated, since it will be fraudulent to be paid for inhabiting Government land. According to a recent aerial survey presented yesterday by the United Nations Environmental Programme (Unep) , there is also forest encroachment from tea estates due to the ―optimum conditions‖, especially along the Transmara Forest. Lake Nakuru is also threatened since River Njoro is drying up... the Lake is also undergoing a lot of siltation‖ said Christian Lambretchs, the Policy and Programmes officer at Unep‘s Division of Early Warning and Assessment. When the PM left Nairobi, he was not accompanied by the Rift Valley MPs, but by ministers and permanent secretaries from all ministries likely to be affected by the Mau saga-- Lands, Water and Irrigation, Provincial Administration‘s assistant minister Simeon Lesirma and Forestry and Wildlife minister Noah Wekesa. Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Hassan Noor was also in the entourage. The PM maintained that he did not involve the leaders, some of whom he has since accused of being involved in grabbing the forest land. Lands Minister James Orengo, Water Minister Charity Ngilu, Forestry Minister Noah Wekesa and Internal Security Minister Simeon Lesirma were in the entourage. French Ambassador Elisabeth Barbier and officials from Unep were also in the entourage. Back to Menu 17 ============================================================= Other Environment News Reuters: Rich world seen behind global pollution Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:20pm EDT By Timothy Gardner NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rich countries are partly responsible for pollution from poor ones, including poisonous mining discharge, because they buy many of the raw materials and goods that produce the waste, environmental groups said. "In our part of the world, these problems have been fixed for the most part," said Richard Fuller, founder of the New York-based Blacksmith Institute, which has compiled a database of 600 of the world's worst polluted places. "We have exported our industry overseas and yet there's no pollution controls in these places or the pollution controls are terribly inadequate." Blacksmith and Green Cross Switzerland, which works to clean up contamination from industrial and military disasters, released a report on Tuesday called "The World's Worst Polluted Places" -- available at www.worstpolluted.org. It found that artisanal gold mining, contaminated surface water, radioactive waste processing and uranium mining and the recycling of used lead acid batteries, most of which occur in poor countries from Africa to Asia, are some of the world's top 10 sources of pollution dangerous to human health. Millions of people are poisoned or killed each year by industrial pollution and emissions, it said. To be sure, the developing world is also rife with problems that are not caused by the processing or manufacture of goods used in rich countries. Indoor air pollution from cooking fires, which occurs mostly in Africa, is one key example, the report said. And many of the products made or processed in rapidly developing countries, such as China and India, are used domestically. Still, children in developing countries are hit by pollution from many of the industries that make or process things used mostly by rich countries, including metals smelting and processing, lead battery recycling and the industrial mining of both common and precious materials, it said. Children are more vulnerable to disease from toxic pollution than adults. Rich countries should help mop up pollution sources not only because they are the world's largest consumers but because some pollution can travel over oceans through the atmosphere, eventually reaching consumers throughout the world. 18 "Mercury from artisanal gold mining can end up in tuna that we end up eating, poisoning our own children," Fuller said. Blacksmith and Green Cross Switzerland helped launch the Health and Pollution Fund last year with representatives from the United States, Germany, China, Russia and other countries. The planned $400 million fund will be dedicated to cleaning up toxic hotspots in developing countries. Fuller said. Blacksmith is trying to work with the U.S. Department of Treasury to help with clean-ups. (Editing by John O'Callaghan) Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ BBC: Low-carbon economy is not a luxury VIEWPOINT Elliot Morley The low-carbon economy is an integral part of economic recovery, not a luxurious extra, says Elliot Morley, president of GLOBE International. In this week's Green Room, he sets out the reasons why the current financial crisis offers a unique opportunity for us to clean up our act. Does the G8 have the political will to make a low-carbon economy a reality? The world's focus is rightly on the turmoil in the financial markets and the global economic slowdown. Some commentators, indeed some politicians, have used the deteriorating economic circumstances to argue that tackling climate change through the transition to a low- carbon economy is a luxury item; saying it is too expensive, could damage competitiveness, and should be a secondary political objective. This is an understandable view but, in my opinion, it is short-sighted. The global economy and the climate system are linked and the current slowdown represents a unique opportunity to use public sector investment to kick-start the economy and build the low-carbon infrastructure we need for our long-term prosperity. The low-carbon economy is an integral part of economic recovery, not an optional bolt on. 'Unique opportunity' Some economists are arguing that in order to kick-start the economy, governments will need to invest in major infrastructure projects to help stimulate demand in the economy, increase investment and create jobs. This presents us with a unique opportunity to create the low-carbon infrastructure we need for our future prosperity, such as more renewable energy generation, better public transport networks, smarter and more flexible electricity grids, "retrofitting" buildings to 19 increase energy efficiency, and a network of pipelines to carry captured CO2 from fossil fuel power plants to storage sites under the North Sea. This investment in infrastructure, together with policies to structure financial and industrial markets to deliver social and environmental goods, would help reignite the economy, reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels and improve energy and climate security. The political will has been found to stabilise the banking crisis. Now we need that same political will to tackle the economic slowdown to tackle the twin challenges of climate and energy security. So, what are the building blocks required to generate the political support to drive economic investment into a low-carbon future? Firstly, we need a global political agreement on how to tackle climate change beyond 2012. Most eyes are focusing on the UN meeting in Copenhagen in 2009 for a settlement. However, if negotiations are to be successful, the political conditions must be created beforehand. The Italian G8 Summit next July is a key milestone. Prime Minister Berlusconi has a chance to demonstrate real leadership by urging world leaders to agree the shape of a post-2012 deal and to do so against a backdrop of challenging economic conditions. And it is crucial that the major emerging economies of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa are given an equal seat at the negotiating table. Emerging economies will only be persuaded to take part in the transition to a low-carbon economy if we begin the discussion by recognising their new position in the world. EU leadership is critical and it was heartening last week to see the EU Council reaffirm its determination to meet its self-imposed ambitious emissions reduction targets, and the UK's new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change commit the UK to 80% emissions cuts from 1990 levels by 2050. When I was in Beijing earlier this year, the members of the National People's Congress I met told me that the EU's targets had significant influence on Chinese decision-makers. This ambition must not be allowed to slip if we are to be successful in Copenhagen. Secondly, we need a global carbon market. Having a significant price on carbon is the single most efficient way of driving CO2 out of the economy. The EU's Emission Trading Scheme is the foundation for this. We now need to link this to markets emerging in the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. And, as recommended by GLOBE's working group on market mechanisms, in the context of the financial turmoil and the focus on market regulation, we must ensure that the global carbon market is regulated by an independent body with the authority and transparency to build confidence and ensure integrity. 20 Thirdly, the price on carbon must be backed with regulation and innovative financing to drive global investment into clean technology. By setting ambitious efficiency standards on new appliances, buildings and technology, we can use the clout of the world's biggest markets to drive innovation around the world. These actions do not just reduce emissions. They have huge economic benefits. By driving investment into clean technology and diversifying our energy resources we can help reduce the inflationary pressures and price volatility of oil, while creating jobs in all sectors from design and manufacturing, to engineering, IT and consultancy. The benefits would not simply be felt in the developed world. Developing countries have a lot to gain too. As host nations for emissions reduction projects in the carbon market they can attract inward investment into clean energy, along with technology and skills transfer from developed countries. Fresh thinking As manufacturing centres for the clean technologies needed around the world, developing countries can create the jobs and wealth needed to develop their economies along a low-carbon path. China is an obvious example. It is already the global manufacturing centre for wind turbines, a vast number of which are deployed in wind farms on its own soil. It is here we can begin to see some links between the environmental and financial crises. It is the world's biggest carbon emitter, it holds vast reserves of wealth but, although so far it has been shielded from the financial turmoil, orders for its various manufacturing centres are set to fall as a result of the slowing demand from the industrialised nations. This means that China too is likely to feel the downturn, but herein lies the opportunity. China, and other countries with reserves of sovereign wealth, could invest in low-carbon as a way of reinvigorating the global economy which, in turn, will reinvigorate their own. We have recently seen a smaller scale example with Abu Dhabi investing in a 20% share in the Thames Array wind farm. This is a sensible move from oil producing countries, diversifying their investments into the future global energy infrastructure and contributing to lower emissions. It is an example other oil producers should follow and demonstrates that a post-2012 treaty is an opportunity for oil producers, not a threat as some currently perceive. To help create the right political conditions for success in Copenhagen, GLOBE is launching an International Commission on Climate and Energy Security. The Commission will comprise of senior legislators from G8 countries and the major emerging economies of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa to identify the most difficult domestic obstacles, and to explore in-depth, as well as politically test, the specific outcomes required from the G8 summit. 21 The work of these legislators gives me great hope that G8 leaders will rise to the challenge in Italy next year and help prepare the ground for an ambitious and effective post-2012 agreement to tackle climate change. Such an agreement is not just necessary to protect our climate but also to provide a framework within which we can kick-start our economies, create jobs and secure our future prosperity. Elliot Morley is president of GLOBE International and was the UK prime minister's special representative to the G8's Gleneagles Dialogue Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ AFP: Tokyo leader berates countries on climate change by Harumi Ozawa Harumi Ozawa – 1 hr 31 mins ago TOKYO (AFP) – Tokyo's outspoken governor on Wednesday berated world leaders for their "foolish" failure to halt global warming as major cities met to plan action on the climate. Mayors or senior officials from 36 of the world's largest cities were gathering for two days of talks in Tokyo on how to fight global warming in the latest meeting of the so-called C40 climate initiative. Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara lashed out at Russia and the United States for disputing rights to the North Pole, noting that the polar ice cap was melting at a record pace. "Such is the ego of human beings. It's such a foolish tale," Ishihara said in an opening address. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last month called for drafting a border in the oil-rich Arctic to be completed, sparking protests as Canada said it would boost military alertness. Russia later said it had no plans for a "unilateral partition" of the Arctic. Ishihara said he was "very disappointed" with international talks on climate change including July's summit in Japan of leaders of the Group of Eight rich nations, who called for at least halving global carbon emissions by 2050. "It's easy to share a sense of crisis but if you can't come up with specific measures to deal with this, then the crisis will only get worse," Ishihara said. Toronto Mayor David Miller said cities were especially threatened by global warming, pointing to the so-called "urban heat island effect" in which populated areas heat up in the summer. Metropolitan areas tend to have higher temperatures than rural areas due to heat- absorbing concrete roads and buildings in addition to warm air exhaust caused by air conditioning inside. 22 "Cities are especially vulnerable to climate change events," Miller said. "It's essential that leader-cities continue to exchange best practices and technological innovation." The C40 was initiated in 2005 by London's then socialist mayor Ken Livingstone, an ardent environmentalist. The latest C40 meeting involves Bangkok, Beijing, Cairo, Chicago, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Singapore and Sydney among other cities. Ishihara, a celebrated novelist, is controversial for his bluntly nationalistic remarks including frequent denunciations of China. But he has also become one of Japan's most popular politicians by taking strong-armed action on the environment, including slapping a complete ban on polluting diesel vehicles inside Tokyo. In June, Ishihara ordered Japan's first mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, moving faster than the national government as Japan struggles to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. Japan on Tuesday launched a carbon market for the first time on a national scale as promised by former prime minister Yasuo Fukuda. But the system is only voluntary based on emissions cuts pledged by companies. Under so-called "cap-and-trade" systems which have come into growing use in the European Union, companies have an economic incentive to cut emissions as they can sell credits to those that lag behind. Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ Reuters: Japan launches voluntary CO2 market Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:52am EDT By Risa Maeda TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan on Tuesday launched a voluntary carbon market based on companies' pledged emissions cuts and hopes thousands of firms will sign up to what could become a forerunner of a mandatory cap-and-trade scheme. The scheme, once it's up and running by next year, is expected to be the nation's broadest emissions market. But some said the scheme still fell short of what Japan needed to make deep emissions cuts and could backfire. The trial over-the-counter market is aimed at accelerating further cuts in the private sector via new technologies to save energy and reduce or remove emissions from the atmosphere, Environment Minister Tetsuo Saito told reporters. 23 "It's based on a voluntary (cap) because we'd like to see as many companies as possible joining in as we start. But we're aiming to make it a cap-and-trade scheme eventually," he said. "We're hoping to accept applications from thousands or even tens of thousands of companies, ranging from big companies to medium to small ones as well as mainstay companies in each region," he added. Japan, the world's fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter, has been reluctant to impose a mandatory cap on companies' emissions because of past efforts by industry to clean up and become more efficient. Japan is one of the world's most energy-efficient countries. But like all rich nations, it has come under increasing pressure from developing nations to pledge deeper cuts to its emissions as part of a broader U.N.-led fight against climate change. ABOVE ITS TARGET Japan is obliged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent in 2008-2012 from the 1990 levels under the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol climate pact. But as of 2006, Japan's emissions were 6 percent above 1990 levels. In the trial market, a target can limit either the total volume of CO2 a company emits or the amount of CO2 per unit of production. The latter would allow emissions to rise along with economic growth as long as energy efficiency improves, one factor overshadowing the efficiency of the scheme. Another risk is that caps based on an industrial sector could restrain individual companies' efforts to take advantage of carbon pricing. "To make a trial meaningful one, it should be able to help a company to make its own tactics and decide its own strategy for business management," said Tadashi Otsuka, professor of law at Waseda University, a member of a government climate panel. A present, each industrial sector under the powerful industry body Keidanren voluntarily sets a target to meet over the five years until 2012. But electric power and steel companies, Japan's two top emitters, have resisted mandatory targets as well as emissions trading akin to that already in place in the European Union. "It's a step forward, albeit a minor one," said Naoyuki Yamagishi, head of climate change program at WWF Japan, said of the trial scheme. But he said it fails to address two key issues if the government were to try to implement deeper cuts --- how to set absolute volume caps on different industrial sectors and how to allocate them to each company. "There is risk that insufficient results from an insufficient trial market would make people consider any scheme is useless," Yamagishi said. 24 OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS The government starts accepting applications on Tuesday for the trial scheme and the closing date is December 12, 2008 for companies to set a voluntary emission cut target for the year to March 2009. No pricing details have been announced. Actual trading is to start at any time after the government approves applicants' targets. More participants are likely to join late next year because authorities are due to verify companies' emissions in the first Kyoto year by mid-October. Japan is only one of 37 industrialized nations bound under Kyoto to meet emissions curbs from 2008 to 2012, when the pact's first phase ends. The Japanese government and big corporates have been active in buying U.N. carbon offsets called CERs to try to help the nation meet its Kyoto target. The government has also been buying large amounts of a cheaper Kyoto offset called AAUs from former Soviet bloc countries. But many of these emissions are less directly linked to verifiable emissions reductions projects in Eastern Europe and are therefore less credible. Japan's existing, and much smaller voluntary scheme, called J-VETS, offers small companies subsidies to become more energy efficient. But the scheme is ending a piloting role because the government is cutting subsidies it pays only once for a company. (Editing by David Fogarty) Back to Menu ============================================================= 25 ROA MEDIA UPDATE THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS 22 October 2008 General Environment News Benin : Rencontre Ministérielle De La CEDEAO Sur Les Changements Climatiques PANA (Cotonou) : La rencontre des ministres de l'Environnement de la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (CEDEAO) sur les changements climatiques a démarré ce mardi à Cotonou, a constaté sur place la PANA. Cette rencontre permettra aux ministres en charge de l‘Environnement de discuter de la mise en place d'une politique cohérente et intégrée d'adaptation aux changements climatiques et à perturbations écologiques causées par le réchauffement de la planète. Elle permettra également de doter la sous-région d'un cadre et d'un plan intégré sur le changement climatique, qui vont renforcer les capacités des Etats membres à faire face aux changements climatiques en donnant un sens élevé à la coordination régionale et en mettant en place un réseau de mécanismes d'intervention efficace au niveau national. Un plan régional sera adopté pour faire face aux conséquences des changements climatiques, dont les manifestations sont la désertification, une pluviométrie irrégulière, la sécheresse et la capacité réduite des sols à retenir l'eau. Le renforcement des capacités de la CEDEAO dans les négociations internationales sur les changements climatiques, la stratégie pour une meilleure prise en compte de l‘approche Genre dans les questions portant sur les changements climatiques, sont entre autres sujets qui seront abordés lors de cette rencontre qui prend fin mercredi par une déclaration politique, pour démontrer l'engagement politique des Etats membres à prendre diverses initiatives pour relever les défis face aux changements climatiques. Angola: Oil Spill at Cabinda Sea Recorded Angola Press Agency (Luanda): A slight oil spill was last Thursday registered in the area of the Delta complex of the Cabinda offshore, due to a rupture in a pipeline. Speaking to ANGOP, the director of public relations of Chevron, Humberto Baquissi, added that due to immediate correction measures the rupture was isolated in the early hours of Friday. Humberto Baquissi confirmed the ongoing operation to clean the oil spilt in the affected areas. He said that the spill does not compromise fishing activity, having considered hasty fisherman's decisions to paralyse their activities. On his turn, the head of the provincial department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Fisheries and Environment, Daniel Tati Luemba, confirmed that he was notified by Chevron oil multinational about the spill at the ocean of northern Cabinda province. http://allafrica.com/stories/200810210077.html Nigeria: Yar' Adua Reaffirms Commitment to Environment Leadership (Abuja): President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua yesterday led the 36 state governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory to commit themselves and address as a matter of national concern, the challenges of environmental degradation which poses a great deal of threat to human survival and the integrity of the nation's ecosystem, even though environment was not specifically listed in the 7 point agenda. 26 The president who was represented by Vice -President Goodluck Jonathan, at the opening ceremony of the first National Environment Summit (NES), organised by the Federal Ministry Of Environment, Housing and Urban Development, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, expressed his confidence in the summit which he said, "will meaningfully interrogate the environmental imperative of his administration's socio- economic development goals, by mainstreaming environment into the national development agenda. "Our key Environmental challenges are to combat land degradation, deforestation and degradation, drought and desertification, loss of biodiversity, flooding, erosion, urban decay and municipal waste disposal‖, noting that the environment could catalyse sustainable growth and development if properly managed. Yar'Adua however, expressed concern over a World Bank report which stated that Nigeria loses an estimated 5.1 billion dollars per annum to environmental degradation, and urged states governors and local government chairmen to ensure that environmental concerns were effectively integrated into the development plan at sub- national levels of government to ensure their sustainability. http://allafrica.com/stories/200810210347.html Nigeria: FG, State Govs Sign Environmental Pledge Vanguard (Lagos): The Federal Government, state governors and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) yesterday signed the Environmental Pledge, as a symbol of commitment to bring the issue of environment to the front burner of national priorities and commitments. Vice President Goodluck Jonathan signed the document on behalf of the Federal Government while the Cross Rivers State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke signed for the state governors. Environment, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Arc. Halima Tayo Alao who supervised the signing ceremony as part of activities marking the National Environment Summit yesterday in Abuja, said, by signing the pledge, our policy makers are reaffirming their commitment and belief in environmental management and protection. She added that environmental matters are diverse and dynamic with new issues emerging. Meeting the challenges of environmental protection therefore requires constant updates in knowledge, technique and technology". http://allafrica.com/stories/200810210363.html Tanzania: Lake Disappears Together with Livelihoods Arusha Times (Arusha): Lake Kalemawe, one of the man-made Lakes in Kilimanjaro region is disappearing due to environmental destructions by the villagers living along the lake shore. Kalemawe Dam/lake was constructed in 1956 by the British Colonial Government to support agricultural activities of the Pare pastoralists who were evicted from the Mkomazi Game Reserve in 1951 after it was gazzetted. The lake's waters have now shrunk to nearly half of the original size, ruining the livelihoods of many farmers and fishermen, according to a local official and residents. Lake Kalemale is located in same district at Kalemale village and administered under Ndungu Ward and Division. Kalemale village is an arid area situated along the Same- Gonja-Mnazi road and is on the doorstep of Mkomazi Game Reserve. The lake is facing a number of environmental and management problems which if not addressed, might 27 lead to the disappearance of the lake. According to Ward officials, these problems include siltation because of soils from the Lushoto and Pare Mountains, soil erosion; recurring droughts leading to shrinking fishery, deforestation, reduced lake run off and overgrazing. http://allafrica.com/stories/200810210747.html Back to Menu ________________________________________________________________ ROAP MEDIA UPDATE THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS 22 October 2008 UNEP or UN in the news • Global Businesses Gather For ‗Caring For Climate' - Scoop • Brandix takes Gold at National Cleaner Production Awards - Daily Mirror • Sri Lanka's Brandix Says Cleaner Production Makes Economic Sense - Yahoo • Top global businesses gather for un ‗caring for climate‘ initiative - MyNews.in • Crunch may put price tag on environment - ABS CBN News • Crunch may spur rethink of nature as 'free' - The Star • Crunch may spur rethink of nature as 'free' - Sakaal Times • Financial crunch may put price tag on environment - Indian Express • Crunch may put price tag on environment – The Economic Times • Going green in tough timesBy Alexis Hooi - China Daily General environment news • Quake hits Maluku waters - Antara • Tuna under threat in key SE Asia ecosystem: WWF - Antara UNEP or UN in the news Global Businesses Gather For ‗Caring For Climate' Wednesday, 22 October 2008, 10:19 am Press Release: United Nations Top Global Businesses Gather For UN ‗Caring For Climate‘ Initiative New York, Oct 21 2008 9:10AM A United Nations-backed ―Caring for Climate‖ gathering today is drawing representatives from more than 150 corporations, civil society organizations and governments from around the world to discuss business solutions to the problem of global warming and speed up action on climate change. The UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) launched the ―Caring for Climate‖ scheme last year, with chief executive officers (CEOs) of 150 companies – including 30 from the Fortune Global 500 – signing on. 28 Today‘s meeting in Geneva is the first gathering of those signatories, aiming to create a shared path in support of an effective successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012. ―Climate change will undoubtedly reshape the business landscape as we know it,‖ said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the Global Compact. ―Companies committed to ‗Caring for Climate‘ demonstrate that a growing number of businesses is making a choice that tells us that a sustainable future and business competitiveness can complement each other." Since its creation, nearly 300 businesses have signed on, covering 30 industry sectors in 48 countries, including emerging and developing economies. A recent survey of ―Caring for Climate‖ signatories reflects their optimism about their ability to set targets and reduce their impact on the environment. It also shows that they expect similar leadership from governments, as well as long-term plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions and stepped up investments in low-carbon technologies. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0810/S00433.htm ………………………………………. Brandix takes Gold at National Cleaner Production Awards The Brandix Green Plant in Seeduwa, the world‘s first and only Platinum-rated Green apparel factory, clinched the Gold Award at the National Cleaner Production Awards 2008, in recognition of its environment-friendly production practices. The factory which won the top award in Large Organization category, also received an award for energy efficiency and a Merit certificate for excellence in resources efficiency, at a gala awards ceremony held at Trans Asia Hotel last week. The awards recognise organizations that have voluntarily adopted cleaner production to generate demonstrable benefits such as quality improvement, easier penetration of and easier legal and regulatory compliance, new market opportunities, improvements in work environments, better public image and easier legal and regulatory compliance. Commenting on this latest accolade, Brandix Casualwear Managing Director AJ Johnpillai said cleaner production is motivated by environmental imperatives but also makes economic sense as it could increase production efficiency while minimising waste and emissions. ―Cleaner production increases the productivity of a business by ensuring a more efficient use of raw materials, energy and water and also promotes environmental compliance. The Brandix Green Plant has been recognized internationally as a model for all of these aspects,‖ he said. The Brandix Green Factory at Seeduwa was rated Platinum under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System of the US Green Building Council (USGBC). The 130,000 square-foot complex is Brandix Casualwear‘s lead manufacturing plant for global giant Marks & Spencer and sets a global benchmark for low energy consumption, water conservation, solid waste management and low carbon emissions. It is the only converted Green Factory in the world to receive the Platinum rating, the highest standard in eco-friendly manufacture. 29 Following its conversion to an Eco Centre at a cost of US $ 3 million, the 30-year old factory has achieved a reduction of carbon emissions by 80 per cent, an energy saving of 46 per cent, a reduction of water consumption of 58 per cent and zero solid waste to landfill, eco-friendly indicators as yet unmatched by any re-designed Green Plant anywhere in the world. A member of United Nations International Development Organisation‘s (UNIDO) and United Nations Environment Programme‘s (UNEP) Global network of cleaner production centres, the National Cleaner Production Center of Sri Lanka has been functioning for the past six years promoting cleaner production in enterprises. Brandix pioneered the concept of total solutions in the Sri Lankan apparel industry and has been recognized as Sri Lanka‘s largest apparel exporter by the Export Development Board for the past two years. Comprising of 25 fully-integrated manufacturing facilities backed by strategically located international sourcing offices, the Brandix Group specializes in casual bottoms, intimate and active wear, textiles, knitted fabrics, sewing and embroidery thread, accessories and hangers, and offers wet processing and finishing and fabric printing. Brandix is a preferred solutions provider to some of the world‘s best brands, including Gap, Marks & Spencer, Victoria‘s Secret, NEXT, Lands End, Ann Taylor, Abercrombie and Fitch and Tommy Hilfiger. http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/Sections/frmNewsDetailView.aspx?ARTID=29850 ………………………………………… Top global businesses gather for un ‗caring for climate‘ initiative (Ch. Narendra) Contact Reporter A United Nations-backed ―Caring for Climate‖ gathering is drawing representatives from more than 150 corporations, civil society organizations and governments from around the world to discuss business solutions to the problem of global warming and speed up action on climate change. The UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) launched the ―Caring for Climate‖ scheme last year, with chief executive officers (CEOs) of 150 companies – including 30 from the Fortune Global 500 – signing on. Today‘s meeting in Geneva is the first gathering of those signatories, aiming to create a shared path in support of an effective successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012. ―Climate change will undoubtedly reshape the business landscape as we know it,‖ said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the Global Compact. ―Companies committed to ‗Caring for Climate‘ demonstrate that a growing number of businesses is making a choice that tells us that a sustainable future and business competitiveness can complement each other.‖ Since its creation, nearly 300 businesses have signed on, covering 30 industry sectors in 48 countries, including emerging and developing economies. A recent survey of ―Caring for Climate‖ signatories reflects their optimism about their ability to set targets and reduce their impact on the environment. It also shows that they expect similar leadership from governments, as well as long-term plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions and stepped up investments in low-carbon technologies. 30 http://www.mynews.in/fullstory.aspx?storyid=11722 ………………………………………………….. Sri Lanka's Brandix Says Cleaner Production Makes Economic Sense COLOMBO, Oct 22 Asia Pulse - Sri Lankan apparel exporter Brandix group said its cleaner production efforts are driven not only by environmental imperatives but because they help cut costs and improve efficiency. New manufacturing methods that are cleaner than older ones are motivated by environmental imperatives, Brandix Casualwear managing director A J Johnpillai said. But they also make economic sense as they could increase production efficiency while minimising waste and emissions. Cleaner production increases the productivity of a business by ensuring a more efficient use of raw materials, energy and water and also promotes environmental compliance," Johnpillai said in a statement. The Brandix Green Plant at Seeduwa, north of Colombo, which has won a national cleaner production award, has been recognized internationally as a model, he said. The plant clinched the Gold Award at the National Cleaner Production Awards 2008, in recognition of its environment-friendly production practices. ADVERTISEMENT The factory which won the top award in Large Organization category, also received an award for energy efficiency and a Merit certificate for excellence in resources efficiency, the company statement said. The awards recognise organizations that have voluntarily adopted cleaner production to generate demonstrable benefits such as quality improvement, new market opportunities, improvements in work environments, better public image and easier legal and regulatory compliance. The 130,000 square-foot complex is Brandix Casualwears lead manufacturing plant for Marks & Spencer and has been noted for its low energy consumption, water conservation, solid waste management and low carbon emissions. It is the only converted Green Factory in the world to receive the Platinum rating, the highest standard in eco-friendly manufacture, the company statement said. Following its conversion at a cost of US$3 million, the 30-year old factory has achieved a reduction of carbon emissions by 80 per cent, an energy saving of 46 per cent, a reduction of water consumption of 58 per cent and zero solid waste to landfill. Sri Lanka's National Cleaner Production Centre has been functioning for the past six years promoting cleaner production in enterprises. It is a member of United Nations International Development Organisations and United Nations Environment Programmes global network of cleaner production centres. 31 Brandix is one of the island's largest apparel exporters with 25 manufacturing facilities backed by international sourcing offices. The Brandix Group specializes in casual bottoms, intimate and active wear, textiles, knitted fabrics, sewing and embroidery thread, accessories and hangers. It also offers wet processing and finishing and fabric printing. Brandix supplies top brands like Gap, Marks & Spencer, Victorias Secret, NEXT, Lands End, Ann Taylor, Abercrombie & Fitch and Tommy Hilfiger. http://asia.news.yahoo.com/081022/4/3qtfp.html ................................................................... Crunch may put price tag on environment Reuters | 10/22/2008 1:18 AM BARCELONA, Spain - The worst financial crisis since the 1930s may be a chance to put price tags on nature in a radical economic rethink to protect everything from coral reefs to rainforests, environmental experts say. Farmers know the value of land from the amount of crops they can produce but large parts of the natural world -- such as wetlands that purify water, oceans that produce fish or trees that soak up greenhouse gases -- are usually viewed as "free." "Most of our valuable assets are not on the books," said Robert Costanza, professor of ecological economics at the University of Vermont. "We need to reinvent economics. The financial crisis is an opportunity." Advocates of "eco-nomics" say that valuing "natural capital" could help protect nature from rising human populations, pollution and climate change that do not figure in conventional measures of wealth such as gross domestic product (GDP) or gross national product (GNP). "I believe the 21st century will be dominated by the concept of natural capital, just as the 20th was dominated by financial capital," Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Environment Program, told Reuters at the International Union for Conservation of Nature congress in Barcelona earlier this month. "We are reaching a point...at which the very system that supports us is threatened," he said. Conventional economists often object it is impossible to value an Andean valley or the Caribbean. "We have struggled with nature-based services: how does a market begin to value them?" Steiner said. Costanza helped get international debate underway a decade ago with a widely quoted estimate that the value of natural services was $33 trillion a year -- almost twice world gross domestic product at the time. Infinity 32 Some economists dismissed Costanza's $33 trillion as an overestimate. Others pointed out that no one would be alive without nature, so its value to humans is infinite. "There is little that can be usefully be done with a serious underestimate of infinity," economist Michael Toman said at the time. But with the seizure of world money-markets bringing -- for some, at least -- an opportunity to rethink modern capitalism's basic tenet that greed and self-interest can counterbalance each other, more environmental experts hope to revisit nature's role in producing food, water, fuels, fibers or building materials. "The financial crisis is just another nail in the coffin" of a system that seeks economic growth while ignoring wider human wellbeing, said Johan Rockstrom, executive director of the Stockholm Environment Institute. Under standard economics, nations can boost their GDP -- briefly -- by chopping down all their forests and selling the timber, or by dynamiting coral reefs to catch all the fish. A rethink would stress the value of keeping nature intact. Rockstrom said bank bailouts totaling hundreds of billions of dollars might "change the mindset of the public...if we are willing to save investment banks, why not spend a similar amount on saving the planet?" he said. And there are ever more attempts to mix prices and nature. The European Union set up a carbon trading market in 2005 to get industries such as steel makers or oil refineries to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, blamed for global warming. Ecuador has asked rich countries to pay it $350 million a year in exchange for not extracting 1 billion barrels of oil in the Amazon rainforest. Bhutan The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has shifted from traditional gross national product to a goal of "gross national happiness," which includes respect for nature. And in U.N. talks on a new climate treaty, more than 190 nations are considering a plan to pay tropical nations billions of dollars a year to leave forests alone to slow deforestation and combat global warming. "We want to see a shift to valuing ecosystems," Norwegian Environment Minister Erik Solheim said. Oslo has led donor efforts by pledging $500 million a year to tropical nations for abandoning the chainsaw and letting trees stand. Deforestation accounts for about a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions by mankind. Trees soak up carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, as they grow, and release it when they rot or are burned, usually to clear land for farming. UNEP's Steiner said long-standing objections that it is too hard to value ecosystems were dwindling as economists' ability to assess risks improved. 33 A report sponsored by the European Commission and Germany in May estimated that humanity was causing 50 billion euros ($67.35 billion) in damage to the planet's land areas every year. And a 2006 report by former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern said that unchecked global warming could cost 5 to 20 percent of world GDP, damaging the economy on the scale of the world wars or the Great Depression. Steiner said stock market plunges, or a halving of oil prices since peaks of $147 a barrel in July, showed that environmental experts were not the only ones who had trouble valuing assets. A 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Report also said that natural systems were worth more intact than if converted. It said a Canadian wetland was worth $6,000 a year per hectare, and just $2,000 if converted to farmland. A hectare of mangrove in Thailand was worth $1,000 a year -- producing fish or protecting against coastal erosion -- against $200 if uprooted and converted to a shrimp farm. Costanza, in a letter to the journal Science with a colleague earlier this year, said one way to value nature would be to set up a government-backed system to trade all greenhouse gas emissions and channel the revenues, estimated at $0.9-$3.6 trillion a year, into an "Earth Atmospheric Trust." If half the cash were shared out, each person on the planet would get $71-$285 a year, a big step toward ending poverty. The rest could go to renewable energy and clean technology. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/world/10/21/08/crunch-may-put-price-tag-environment Crunch may spur rethink of nature as 'free' By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/10/21/worldupdates/2008-10- 21T180342Z_01_NOOTR_RTRMDNC_0_-360722-2&sec=Worldupdates Crunch may spur rethink of nature as 'free' Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 AT 4:10 PM http://www.sakaaltimes.com/2008/10/21162344/Crunch-may-spur-rethink-of-nat.html Financial crunch may put price tag on environment http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Financial-crunch-may-put-price-tag-on- environment/376388 Crunch may put price tag on environment http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Earth/Crunch_may_put_price_tag_on_environment /articleshow/3623604.cms ………………………………………………….. Going green in tough timesBy Alexis Hooi (China Daily) Updated: 2008-10-22 - As belts tighten in these trying economic times, there are growing worries that environmental issues will end up taking a back seat. 34 Nongovernmental organizations, in particular, face the prospect of reduced funding for their green causes as sponsors and donors divert limited resources to the stabilizing of troubled finances. In a roundtable recently organized by this newspaper, the director of the Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations, Orville Schell, worried that efforts to deal with the challenges of climate change are in danger of being "crippled". "In the middle of a financial crisis, companies and governments are going to be much less willing to make capital outlays to solve these problems", Schell said. However, there is actually no better time to go green. If anything, the current economic challenges accentuate the need for sustainable development and for cutting back on excess. Prior to the financial turmoil, more governments and institutions were already pushing to increase investment in the environment sector because they had come to know of its long-term benefits. Companies that produced goods and services aimed at fighting climate change have so far generated $300 billion in annual revenue, more than the biotech and software sectors combined, environment portal Greenbiz.com quoted an index by HSBC launched last year as showing. A report released earlier this year by the United Nations Environment Programme and the London-based New Energy Finance said global investment in clean energy alone is expected to hit more than $650 billion a year from 2020. China itself is powering ahead as a leading manufacturer of solar cells and is set to become the world's top exporter of wind turbines by next year, according to a recent report by UK-based environmental organization, The Climate Group. This year's Asia-Europe Summit, set to bring together at least 38 state and government leaders from the two regions to Beijing this weekend, is targeting environmental challenges along with facing financial ones. At the individual level, it is also a good time to be reminded of the dangers of extravagance in a consumer culture. I took extra environmental classes at Harvard in the summer of 2002 partly because I thought it was "cool" to do so. I had no idea then the field would become so "hot" in just a few years. But going green has long ceased as a trend waiting to fizzle out or a badge for individuals and groups to garner goodwill. Just like adopting environmental measures as financial systems go on the mend, using the time now to take stock of what you have and to think about consuming only what you need for a sustainable lifestyle makes great economic sense. 35 Find out how much your daily activities contribute to global warming and what you can do to mitigate the effects, by calculating your carbon footprint online. Buy energy-efficient household appliances that save you money on electricity in the long run. Try purchasing only as much as what your wardrobe and cabinets can hold. Make sure what you have in your own shopping bag are products that can be reused, recycled and made from biodegradable materials. Send those stacks of old newspapers and crates of plastic and glass bottles for recycling, to get back what you paid for. Here in Beijing, returning five used beer bottles at some places can even get you a fresh bottle for free. After all, "less is more" has always been a mantra of the green revolution. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2008-10/22/content_7127549.htm General environment news Quake hits Maluku waters Bandarlampung (ANTARA News) - An earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale shook the Saumlaki waters in the eastern Indonesian province of Maluku Tuesday night. The epicenter of the quake which struck at 8 p.m. was located 391 km southwest of Saumlaki town in a depth of 141 km, the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said. The quake did not have the potential of causing a tsunami, it said. (*) http://www.antara.co.id/en/arc/2008/10/21/quake-hits-maluku-waters/ …………………………………………… Tuna under threat in key SE Asia ecosystem: WWF Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Key tuna species are under threat from overfishing in Asia's diverse Coral Triange region and a drastic rethink is needed to stave off collapse, environmental group WWF said Tuesday. Tuna species in the triangle, including heavily overfished bluefin and bigeye tuna, are under increasing pressure as fleets move in from depleted fishing grounds in other parts of the world, WWF researcher Lida Pet Soede was quoted by AFP as saying. The Coral Triangle -- which is bounded by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and East Timor -- contains spawning and nursery grounds as well as migratory routes for up to 89 percent of the world's tuna catch, according to the WWF. The triangle is one of the most biologically diverse areas on earth. "The larger context of the Coral Triangle, where there still are very important spawning grounds for a number of very valuable tuna species is critical," Soede said. 36 A decision last week by Spain, Japan and other countries to close down bluefin tuna fishing in the Mediterranean will mean more fishing ships will move into the triangle, Soede said "Regional collaboration around management of this global commodity is pretty obvious. If you can't agree on managing this commodity together, everybody is going to get hurt," she said. Representatives from the six Coral Triangle nations, fishing companies and WWF are meeting in the Indonesian capital until Thursday to discuss ways of curbing overfishing in the area. Discussions are set to include the creation of a carbon-trading style system to pay countries with large spawning grounds such as Indonesia in return for reducing fishing of tuna, Soede said. Saut Hutagalung, a senior official in the Indonesian fisheries ministry, said the country was struggling to regulate tuna fishing by a fleet of mostly small, unlicensed boats. Indonesia has no effective quota system for species apart from the lucrative bluefin tuna, prized for sushi and sashimi, Hutagalung said. The archipelago nation produced 700,000 tons of tuna in 2007, he said. (*) http://www.antara.co.id/en/arc/2008/10/21/tuna-under-threat-in-key-se-asia-ecosystem- wwf/ ………………………………………END……………………………………….. Back to Menu ______________________________________________________________________ RONA MEDIA UPDATE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS 21 October 2008 General environment in the news: Boston Globe: Why Green Jobs are our Future Yale Environment 360: Environmental Failure: A Case for a New Green Politics New York Times: Alternative Energy Suddenly Faces Headwinds Environmental Protection Agency: U.S. Air Quality Standards for Lead 10x Stronger Associated Press: GPS Could Save Airlines Time and Fuel Washington Post: Congress Can Fight the Recession and Global Warming The Canadian Press: Group loses court bid against Tory government over Kyoto Protocol New York Times: EBay Bans the Sale of Ivory Honolulu Star Bulletin: Islands Position Themselves as Renewable Energy Model for the Nation 37 Boston Globe Why green jobs are our future By Derrick Z. Jackson HOW MUCH GREEN can you make off a green job? Since the 1970s, California's energy-efficiency programs have created 1.5 million jobs, increased payrolls by $45 billion, and yielded $56 billion in energy savings that went toward other consumer spending, according to a University of California at Berkeley study. David Roland-Holst, the study's author, said the state's new mandates to curb greenhouse gases and further efficiency measures will add 400,000 green jobs, $48 billion in household income, and $76 billion to the state's domestic product by 2020. "If the country can follow California's example, it will have a dramatic effect on our future emissions and energy independence," Roland-Holst told the Associated Press. There have been several attempts to project what this would look like nationally. The US Conference of Mayors said an economy that shifts to generating 40 percent of its electricity from wind, solar, biomass, and other fuels will generate 4.2 million green jobs by 2038. The Apollo Alliance coalition of environmentalists and business leaders says a $500 billion investment over the next 10 years will create 5 million green-collar jobs. The alliance says the $50-billion-a-year average "is a smaller share of our gross domestic product than what we spent on the original Apollo program" to go to the moon. "It is one- third the amount that we spend each year in Iraq." At the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the Political Economy Research Institute is a bit more conservative, but still estimates an impressive net increase of 2.5 million green jobs over the next 10 years for an investment of $150 billion a year. Institute co- director Robert Pollin testified last month before the House select committee on energy independence and global warming - chaired by Ed Markey of Massachusetts - that the jobs could be created with the same kind of cash that President Bush plowed into those $600 stimulus checks (remember them?). "It is actually very simple to think about," Pollin said by telephone yesterday. "For the most part we are talking about construction and manufacturing, retrofitting buildings, improving the electrical grid, boosting public transportation. Then, once you get the energy savings, then there is a lot of money around to spend on other things, instead of spending more on importing oil from Saudi Arabia. The money can go elsewhere in the American economy." Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has made a pledge of 5 million green jobs a staple of his stump speech, calling them "jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced; jobs building solar panels and wind turbines and fuel-efficient cars; jobs that will help us end our dependence on oil from Middle East dictators." What is unclear to researchers like Pollin is how Obama will get there if he is elected. Obama's pledge to spend $15 billion a year to create such jobs is well short of the annual investment estimates of Pollin and the Apollo Alliance. Also unclear is how Obama's pledge will weather the economic storms waiting for him. 38 "When I was testifying, someone suggested we can't do this because we're in a financial crisis," Pollin said. "We have to do this precisely because we're in a financial crisis. I just watched Ben Bernanke (the Federal Reserve chairman) call for another stimulus package. What we ought to be doing is rethinking regulating the financial market to channel credit into useful investments instead of useless, destructive speculations. Putting money into green jobs is useful in many ways." The investments can come none too soon as America has already fallen, as Pollin put it, "dramatically behind" Europe and Asia in the wind and solar manufacturing sector. The Globe last week reported that wind turbine projects are being delayed for up to two years because the parts cannot be made fast enough, hurting one of the few big American players in this arena, General Electric. "You can't retrofit a building in Amherst in China," Pollin said. "You can't rebuild a subway system from abroad. The technology is there. We know we're going to get a fast payoff if we get going." http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/10/21/why_gree n_jobs_are_our_future/ Yale Environment 360 Environmental Failure: A Case for a New Green Politics By James Gustave Speth The U.S. environmental movement is failing – by any measure, the state of the earth has never been more dire. What‘s needed, a leading environmentalist writes, is a new, inclusive green politics that challenges basic assumptions about consumerism and unlimited growth. A specter is haunting American environmentalism – the specter of failure. All of us who have been part of the environmental movement in the United States must now face up to a deeply troubling paradox: Our environmental organizations have grown in strength and sophistication, but the environment has continued to go downhill, to the point that the prospect of a ruined planet is now very real. How could this have happened? Before addressing this question and what can be done to correct it, two points must be made. First, one shudders to think what the world would look like today without the efforts of environmental groups and their hard-won victories in recent decades. However serious our environmental challenges, they would be much more so had not these people taken a stand in countless ways. And second, despite their limitations, the approaches of modern-day environmentalism remain essential: Right now, they are the tools readily at hand with which to address many pressing problems, including global warming and climate disruption. Despite the critique of American environmentalism that follows, these points remain valid. Lost Ground The need for appraisal would not be so urgent if environmental conditions were not so 39 dire. The mounting threats point to an emerging environmental tragedy of unprecedented proportions. Half the world‘s tropical and temperate forests are now gone. The rate of deforestation in the tropics continues at about an acre a second, and has for decades. Half the planet‘s wetlands are gone. An estimated 90 percent of the large predator fish are gone, and 75 percent of marine fisheries are now overfished or fished to capacity. Almost half of the corals are gone or are seriously threatened. Species are disappearing at rates about 1,000 times faster than normal. The planet has not seen such a spasm of extinction in 65 million years, since the dinosaurs disappeared. Desertification claims a Nebraska- sized area of productive capacity each year globally. Persistent toxic chemicals can now be found by the dozens in essentially each and every one of us. The earth‘s stratospheric ozone layer was severely depleted before its loss was discovered. Human activities have pushed atmospheric carbon dioxide up by more than a third and have started in earnest the most dangerous change of all — planetary warming and climate disruption. Everywhere, earth‘s ice fields are melting. Industrial processes are fixing nitrogen, making it biologically active, at a rate equal to nature‘s; one result is the development of hundreds of documented dead zones in the oceans due to overfertilization. Freshwater withdrawals are now over half of accessible runoff, and water shortages are multiplying here and abroad. The United States, of course, is deeply complicit in these global trends, including our responsibility for about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide added thus far to the atmosphere. But even within the United States itself, four decades of environmental effort have not stemmed the tide of environmental decline. The country is losing 6,000 acres of open space every day, and 100,000 acres of wetlands every year. About a third of U.S. plant and animal species are threatened with extinction. Half of U.S. lakes and a third of its rivers still fail to meet the standards that by law should have been met by 1983. And we have done little to curb our wasteful energy habits or our huge population growth. Here is one measure of the problem: All we have to do to destroy the planet‘s climate and biota and leave a ruined world to our children and grandchildren is to keep doing exactly what we are doing today, with no growth in human population or the world economy. Just continue to generate greenhouse gases at current rates, just continue to impoverish ecosystems and release toxic chemicals at current rates, and the world in the latter part of this century won‘t be fit to live in. But human activities are not holding at current levels – they are accelerating, dramatically. The size of the world economy has more than quadrupled since 1960 and is projected to quadruple again by mid-century. It took all of human history to grow the $7 trillion world economy of 1950. We now grow by that amount in a decade. The escalating processes of climate disruption, biotic impoverishment, and toxification, which continue despite decades of warnings and earnest effort, constitute a severe indictment of the system of political economy in which we live and work. The pillars of today‘s capitalism, as they are now constituted, work together to produce an economic and political reality that is highly destructive environmentally. An unquestioning society- wide commitment to economic growth at any cost; Powerful corporate interests whose overriding objective is to grow by generating profit (including profit from avoiding the 40 environmental costs their companies create, amassing deep subsidies and benefits from government, and continued deployment of technologies originally designed with little or no regard for the environment); markets that systematically fail to recognize environmental costs unless corrected by government; government that is subservient to corporate interests and the growth imperative; rampant consumerism spurred by sophisticated advertising and marketing; economic activity now so large in scale that its impacts alter the fundamental biophysical operations of the planet — all combine to deliver an ever-growing world economy that is undermining the ability of the earth to sustain life. Are Environmentalists To Blame? In assigning responsibility for environmental failure, there are many places to lay blame: the rise of the modern, anti-government right in American politics; a negligent media; the deadening complexity of today‘s environmental issues and programs, to mention the most notable. But a number of observers have placed much of the blame for failure on the leading environmental organizations themselves. For example, Mark Dowie in his 1995 book Losing Ground notes that the national environmental organizations crafted an agenda and pursued a strategy based on the civil authority and good faith of the federal government. ―Therein,‖ he believes, ―lies the inherent weakness and vulnerability of the environmental movement. Civil authority and good faith regarding the environment have proven to be chimeras in Washington.‖ Dowie argues that the national environmental groups also ―misread and underestimate[d] the fury of their antagonists.‖ The mainstream environmental organizations were challenged again in 2004 in the now- famous The Death of Environmentalism. In it, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus write that America‘s mainstream environmentalists are not ―articulating a vision of the future commensurate with the magnitude of the crisis. Instead they are promoting technical policy fixes like pollution controls and higher vehicle mileage standards — proposals that provide neither the popular inspiration nor the political alliances the community needs to deal with the problem.‖ Shellenberger and Nordhaus believe environmentalists don‘t recognize that they are in a culture war — a war over core values and a vision for the future. These criticisms and others stem from the fundamental decision of today‘s environmentalism to work within the system. This core decision grew out of the successes of the environmental community in the 1970s, which seemed to confirm the correctness of that approach. Our failure to execute a dramatic mid-course correction when circumstances changed can be seen in hindsight as a major blunder. Here is what I mean by working within the system. When today‘s environmentalism recognizes a problem, it believes it can solve that problem by calling public attention to it, framing policy and program responses for government and industry, lobbying for those actions, and litigating for their enforcement. It believes in the efficacy of environmental advocacy and government action. It believes that good-faith compliance with the law will be the norm, and that corporations can be made to behave and will increasingly weave environmental objectives into their business strategies. Today‘s environmentalism tends to be pragmatic and incrementalist — its actions are 41 aimed at solving problems and often doing so one at a time. It is more comfortable proposing innovative policy solutions than framing inspirational messages. These characteristics are closely allied to a tendency to deal with effects rather than underlying causes. Most of our major environmental laws and treaties, for example, address the resulting environmental ills much more than their causes. In the end, environmentalism accepts compromises as part of the process. It takes what it can get. Today‘s environmentalism also believes that problems can be solved at acceptable economic costs — and often with net economic benefit — without significant lifestyle changes or threats to economic growth. It will not hesitate to strike out at an environmentally damaging facility or development, but it sees itself, on balance, as a positive economic force. Environmentalists see solutions coming largely from within the environmental sector. They may worry about the flaws in and corruption of our politics, for example, but that is not their professional concern. That‘s what Common Cause or other groups do. Similarly, environmentalists know that the prices for many things need to be higher, and they are aware that environmentally honest prices would create a huge burden on the half of American families that just get by. But universal health care and other government action needed to address America‘s gaping economic injustices are not seen as part of the environmental agenda. Today‘s environmentalism is also not focused strongly on political activity or organizing a grassroots movement. Electoral politics and mobilizing a green political movement have played second fiddle to lobbying, litigating, and working with government agencies and corporations. A central precept, in short, is that the system can be made to work for the environment. In this frame of action, scant attention is paid to the corporate dominance of economic and political life, to transcending our growth fetish, to promoting major lifestyle changes and challenging the materialistic values that dominate our society, to addressing the constraints on environmental action stemming from America‘s vast social insecurity and hobbled democracy, to framing a new American story, or to building a new environmental politics. Not everything, of course, fits within these patterns. There have been exceptions from the start, and recent trends reflect a broadening in approaches. Greenpeace has certainly worked outside the system, the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club have had a sustained political presence, groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund have developed effective networks of activists around the country, the World Resources Institute has augmented its policy work with on-the-ground sustainable development projects, and environmental justice concerns and the emerging climate crisis have spurred the proliferation of grassroots efforts, student organizing, and community and state initiatives. But organizations that were built to litigate and lobby for environmental causes or to do sophisticated policy studies are not necessarily the best ones to mobilize a grassroots movement or build a force for electoral politics or motivate the public with social marketing campaigns. These things need to be done, and to get them done it may be necessary to launch new organizations and initiatives with special strengths in these areas. 42 The methods and style of today‘s environmentalism are not wrongheaded, just far, far too restricted as an overall approach. The problem has been the absence of a huge, complementary investment of time, energy, and money in other, deeper approaches to change. And here, the leading environmental organizations must be faulted for not doing nearly enough to ensure these investments were made. America has run a 40-year experiment on whether this mainstream environmentalism can succeed, and the results are now in. The full burden of managing accumulating environmental threats has fallen to the environmental community, both those in government and outside. But that burden is too great. The system of modern capitalism as it operates today will continue to grow in size and complexity and will generate ever- larger environmental consequences, outstripping efforts to cope with them. Indeed, the system will seek to undermine those efforts and constrain them within narrow limits. Working only within the system will, in the end, not succeed — what is needed is transformative change in the system itself. A New Environmental Politics Environmental protection requires a new politics. This new politics must, first of all, ensure that environmental concern and advocacy extend to the full range of relevant issues. The environmental agenda should expand to embrace a profound challenge to consumerism and commercialism and the lifestyles they offer, a healthy skepticism of growthmania and a redefinition of what society should be striving to grow, a challenge to corporate dominance and a redefinition of the corporation and its goals, a commitment to deep change in both the functioning and the reach of the market, and a powerful assault on the anthropocentric and contempocentric values that currently dominate. Environmentalists must also join with social progressives in addressing the crisis of inequality now unraveling America‘s social fabric and undermining its democracy. It is a crisis of soaring executive pay, huge incomes, and increasingly concentrated wealth for a small minority, occurring simultaneously with poverty near a 30-year high, stagnant wages despite rising productivity, declining social mobility and opportunity, record levels of people without health insurance, failing schools, increased job insecurity, swelling jails, shrinking safety nets, and the longest work hours among the rich countries. In an America with such vast social insecurity, economic arguments, even misleading ones, will routinely trump environmental goals. Similarly, environmentalists must join with those seeking to reform politics and strengthen democracy. What we are seeing in the United States is the emergence of a vicious circle: Income disparities shift political access and influence to wealthy constituencies and large businesses, which further imperils the potential of the democratic process to act to correct the growing income disparities. Corporations have been the principal economic actors for a long time; now they are the principal political actors as well. Neither environment nor society fares well under corporatocracy. Environmentalists need to embrace public financing of elections, regulation of lobbying, nonpartisan Congressional redistricting, and other political reform measures as core to their agenda. Today‘s politics will never deliver environmental sustainability. 43 The current financial crisis and, at this writing, the response to it, reveal a system of political economy that is profoundly committed to profits and growth and profoundly indifferent to people and society. This system is at least as indifferent to its impacts on nature. Left uncorrected, it is inherently ruthless and rapacious, and it is up to citizens, acting mainly through government, to inject values of fairness and sustainability into the system. But this effort commonly fails because progressive politics are too enfeebled and Washington is increasingly in the hands of powerful corporate interests and concentrations of great wealth. The best hope for real change in America is a fusion of those concerned about environment, social justice, and strong democracy into one powerful progressive force. The new environmentalism must work with this progressive coalition to build a mighty force in electoral politics. This will require major efforts at grassroots organizing; strengthening groups working at the state and community levels; and developing motivational messages and appeals — indeed, writing a new American story, as Bill Moyers has urged. Our environmental discourse has thus far been dominated by lawyers, scientists, and economists. Now, we need to hear a lot more from the poets, preachers, philosophers, and psychologists. Above all, the new environmental politics must be broadly inclusive, reaching out to embrace union members and working families, minorities and people of color, religious organizations, the women‘s movement, and other communities of complementary interest and shared fate. It is unfortunate but true that stronger alliances are still needed to overcome the ―silo effect‖ that separates the environmental community from those working on domestic political reforms, a progressive social agenda, human rights, international peace, consumer issues, world health and population concerns, and world poverty and underdevelopment. The final watchword of the new environmental politics must be, ―Build the movement.‖ We have had movements against slavery and many have participated in movements for civil rights and against apartheid and the Vietnam War. Environmentalists are often said to be part of ―the environmental movement.‖ We need a real one — networked together, protesting, demanding action and accountability from governments and corporations, and taking steps as consumers and communities to realize sustainability and social justice in everyday life. Can one see the beginnings of a new social movement in America? Perhaps I am letting my hopes get the better of me, but I think we can. Its green side is visible, I think, in the surge of campus organizing and student mobilization occurring today, much of it coordinated by the student-led Energy Action Coalition and by Power Vote. If there is a model within American memory of what must be done, it is the civil rights revolution of the 1960s. It‘s visible also in the increasing activism of religious organizations, including many evangelical groups under the banner of Creation Care, and in the rapid proliferation of community-based environmental initiatives. It‘s there in the joining together of organized labor, environmental groups, and progressive businesses in the Apollo Alliance and there in the Sierra Club‘s collaboration with the United Steelworkers, the largest industrial union in the United States. It‘s visible too in the outpouring of effort to build on Al Gore‘s An Inconvenient Truth, and in the grassroots organizing of 1Sky and others around climate change. It is visible in the green consumer movement and in the 44 consumer support for the efforts of the Rainforest Action Network to green the policies of the major U.S. banks. It‘s there in the increasing number of teach-ins, demonstrations, marches, and protests, including the 1,400 events across the United States in 2007 inspired by Bill McKibben‘s ―Step It Up!‖ campaign to stop global warming. It is there in the constituency-building work of minority environmental leaders and in the efforts of groups like Green for All to link social and environmental goals. It‘s just beginning, but it‘s there, and it will grow. The welcome news is that the environmental community writ large is moving in some of these directions. Local and state environmental groups have grown in strength and number. There is more political engagement through the League of Conservation Voters and a few other groups, and more work to reach out to voters with overtly political messages. The major national organizations have strengthened their links to local and state groups and established activist networks to support their lobbying activities. Still, there is a long, long way to go to build a new and vital environmental politics in America. American politics today is failing not only the environment but also the American people and the world. As Richard Falk reminds us, only an unremitting struggle will drive the changes that can sustain people and nature. If there is a model within American memory for what must be done, it is the civil rights revolution of the 1960s. It had grievances, it knew what was causing them, and it also knew that the existing order had no legitimacy and that, acting together, people could redress those grievances. It was confrontational and disobedient, but it was nonviolent. It had a dream. And it had Martin Luther King Jr. It is amazing what can be accomplished if citizens are ready to march, in the footsteps of Dr. King. It is again time to give the world a sense of hope. http://www.e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2075 New York Times Alternative Energy Suddenly Faces Headwinds By Clifford Krauss HOUSTON — For all the support that the presidential candidates are expressing for renewable energy, alternative energies like wind and solar are facing big new challenges because of the credit freeze and the plunge in oil and natural gas prices. Shares of alternative energy companies have fallen even more sharply than the rest of the stock market in recent months. The struggles of financial institutions are raising fears that investment capital for big renewable energy projects is likely to get tighter. Advocates are concerned that if the prices for oil and gas keep falling, the incentive for utilities and consumers to buy expensive renewable energy will shrink. That is what happened in the 1980s when a decade of advances for alternative energy collapsed amid falling prices for conventional fuels. ―Everyone is in shock about what the new world is going to be,‖ said V. John White, executive director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technology, a 45 California advocacy group. ―Surely, renewable energy projects and new technologies are at risk because of their capital intensity.‖ Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain both promise ambitious programs to develop various kinds of alternative energy to combat global warming and achieve energy independence. Mr. Obama talks of creating five million new jobs in renewable energy and nearly tripling the percentage of the nation‘s electricity supplied by renewables by 2025. Mr. McCain has run television advertisements showing wind turbines and has pledged to make the United States the ―leader in a new international green economy.‖ But after years of rapid growth, the sudden headwinds facing renewables point to slowing momentum and greater dependence on government subsidies, mandates and research financing, at a time when Washington is overloaded with economic problems. John Woolard, chief executive officer of BrightSource Energy, a solar company, said he believed the long-term future for renewables remained promising, though ―right now we are looking at tumultuous and unpredictable capital markets.‖ Venture capital financing for some advanced solar projects and for experimental biofuels, like ethanol made from plant wastes, is drying up, according to analysts who track investment flows. At least two wind energy companies have had to delay projects in recent days because of trouble raising capital. Several corn ethanol projects have been delayed for lack of financing in Iowa and Oklahoma since last month, and one plant operator in Ohio filed for bankruptcy protection last week. Tesla Motors, the maker of battery-powered cars, recently announced it had been forced to delay production of its all-electric Model S sedan, close two offices and lay off workers. Investment analysts say initial and secondary stock offerings by clean energy companies across global markets have slowed to a crawl since the spring, and for the full year could total less than half of the record $25.4 billion for 2007. Worldwide project financings for new construction of wind, solar, biofuels and other alternative energy projects this year fell to $17.8 billion in the third quarter, from $23.2 billion in the second quarter, according to New Energy Finance, a research firm in London. The slide is expected to be sharper in the fourth quarter and next year. In the United States, financing for new projects and venture capital and private equity investments in renewable energy this year might still top last year‘s results because so much money was in the pipeline at the beginning of the year, but the pace has slowed sharply in the last month. The next presidential administration, to make good on campaign rhetoric and continue supporting renewables, will have to choose alternative energy over other programs at a time of ballooning deficits. Analysts say that is no sure thing. 46 ―Government funding for renewables is now going to have to compete with levels of government funding in other areas that were unimaginable six months ago,‖ Mark Flannery, an energy analyst for Credit Suisse, said. The central questions facing renewables now, experts say, are how long credit will be tight and how low oil and natural gas prices will fall. Oil and gas are still relatively expensive by historical standards, but the prices have fallen by half since July. Some economists expect further declines as the economy weakens. Wall Street analysts say most utilities and other builders can profitably choose big wind projects over gas-fired plants only when gas prices are $8 per thousand cubic feet or higher. Natural gas settled Monday at about $6.79 per thousand cubic feet, down from about $13.58 on July 3. ―Natural gas at $6 makes wind look like a questionable idea and solar power unfathomably expensive,‖ said Kevin Book, a senior vice president at FBR Capital Markets. Government mandates already on the books, including state rules requiring renewable power generation and federal requirements for production of ethanol, ensure that to some degree, alternative energy markets will continue to exist no matter how low oil and gas prices go. But the credit crisis means some companies that would like to build facilities to meet that demand are going to have problems. ―If you can‘t borrow money, you can‘t develop renewables,‖ Mr. Book said. Renewable energy now meets 7 percent of the nation‘s energy needs, and public subsidies have promoted a leap for several alternative energy sources in recent years. Ethanol is sold nationwide as a gasoline additive, and federal legislation aims to replace a major share of the oil now imported into the United States with domestically produced biofuels in the next 15 years. Enough new wind power was installed in the United States to serve the equivalent of 4.5 million households in 2007, the third year in a row the country led all nations in new wind power. Renewable energy has become a big business worldwide, with total investment increasing to $148.4 billion last year, from $33.4 billion in 2004, according to Ethan Zindler, head of North American research at New Energy Finance. Mr. Zindler said the upward momentum had halted, and that total investment this year was likely to be lower than last. In the 1970s, just as in recent years, high prices for fossil fuels led to rising interest in renewables. But when oil prices collapsed in the 1980s, the nascent market for renewable energy fell apart, too. Congress eliminated tax credits for solar energy, ethanol could not compete with cheap gasoline and a wind farm boomlet in California failed to catch on in the rest of the country. The epicenter of investment and development moved to Europe, with its strong government support for renewables, and began shifting back only when heating oil and natural gas prices shot up again in recent years. 47 There are some differences this time. Coal, another major competitor of renewables, remains expensive and is facing increasing scrutiny over environmental concerns. Most important, renewable energy entrepreneurs and experts say, is the growing government and public backing for renewable energy in the United States. ―What is driving the market this time is that we‘re at war and this is a security issue,‖ said Arnold R. Klann, chief executive of BlueFire Ethanol, a California company that is planning to make ethanol out of garbage with the help of $40 million in financing from the Energy Department. In its recent financial rescue package, Congress provided $17 billion in tax credits to promote various forms of clean power, for everything from plug-in electric vehicles to projects that will capture and store carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants. Production and investment tax credits were extended for wind energy for one year, geothermal energy for two years and for solar energy for a full eight years. Meanwhile more than 30 states have enacted standards demanding that utilities generate a minimum proportion — typically 10 to 20 percent — of their power from renewable sources in the next 5 to 10 years. But some analysts say the government supports may not be enough to propel continued growth for renewables, noting that several states have already relaxed their goals. ―When they can‘t meet their targets,‖ Mr. Book said, ―they change them.‖ http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/21/business/21energy.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss Environmental Protection Agency U.S. Air Quality Standards for Lead Now 10x Stronger Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn (Washington, D.C. – Oct. 16, 2008) EPA dramatically strengthened the nation's air quality standards for lead, improving public health protection, especially for children. The new standards tighten the allowable lead level 10 times to 0.15 micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air (ug/m3). "America's air is cleaner than a generation ago," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "With these stronger standards a new generation of Americans are being protected from harmful lead emissions." This decision marks the first time the lead standards have changed in 30 years. EPA strengthened the standards after a thorough review of the science on lead, advice from the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, and consideration of public comments. The previous standards, set in 1978, were 1.5 ug/m3. 48 EPA's action sets two standards: a primary standard at 0.15 ug/m3 to protect health and a secondary standard at the same level to protect the public welfare, including the environment. The existing monitoring network for lead is not sufficient to determine whether many areas of the country would meet the revised standards. EPA is redesigning the nation's lead monitoring network, which is necessary for the agency to assess compliance with the new standard. No later than October 2011, EPA will designate areas that must take additional steps to reduce lead air emissions. States have five years to meet these new standards after designations take effect. More than 6,000 studies since 1990 have examined the effects of lead on health and the environment. Some studies have linked exposure to low levels of lead with damage to children's development, including IQ loss. Lead can be inhaled or can be ingested after settling out of the air. Ingestion is the main route of human exposure. Once in the body, lead is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and can affect many organ systems including children's developing nervous systems. Lead emissions have dropped nearly 97 percent nationwide since 1980, largely the result of the agency's phase-out of lead in gasoline. Average levels of lead in the air today are far below the 1978 standards. Lead in the air comes from a variety of sources, including smelters, iron and steel foundries, and general aviation gasoline. More than 1,300 tons of lead are emitted to the air each year, according to EPA's most recent estimates. Since September 2006, EPA has strengthened air quality standards for lead, ground- level ozone and particulate matter. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/8be79 c35bcf6f882852574e40051e01d!OpenDocument Associated Press GPS could save airlines time, emissions and fuel World War II-era air traffic network that often forces planes to take zigzagging routes is costing U.S. airlines billions of dollars in wasted fuel while an upgrade to a satellite- based system has languished in the planning stages for more than a decade. The $35 billion plan would replace the current radar system with the kind of GPS technology that has become commonplace in cars and cell phones. Supporters say it would triple air traffic capacity, reduce delays by at least half, improve safety and curb greenhouse gas emissions. An analysis of federal and industry data found that if the new system were in place, airlines could have saved more than $5 billion in fuel this year. 49 But funding delays and the complexities of the switchover have kept the project grounded. The government does not expect to have it up and running until the early 2020s, and without a major commitment, supporters warn that even that goal might not be be attainable. "The United States has been to the moon and back. I think the public deserves that same level of effort for our national airspace system," Robert Sturgell, the acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, said in a recent interview. The planned satellite-driven network, dubbed NextGen, would save fuel by ditching radar technology that is more than 50 years old and enabling GPS-equipped planes to fly the shortest route between two points: a straight line. NextGen could save airlines at least 3.3 billion gallons of fuel a year - or more than $10 billion annually by 2025, based on today's fuel prices, according to FAA projections obtained by the Associated Press. Currently, jetliners move in single-file lines along narrow highways in the sky marked by radio beacons. Many of the routes gently zigzag from one beacon to the next, sometimes forcing cross-country flights to follow sweeping arcs and waste hundreds of gallons of fuel. It's "the equivalent of using an electric typewriter when others are using computers," said David Castelveter, a spokesman for the Air Transportation Association. "It's a huge, huge drag on productivity." Some private and commercial aircraft already are equipped with GPS devices that pilots use to determine their position, but the NextGen system would dramatically expand use of the technology by creating a nationwide GPS network for air traffic. Building the network involves gradually putting together the new system while still relying on radar for day-to-day operations. Gerald Dillingham, director of civil aviation issues at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, likened the process "to changing a tire on a car that's going 60 miles an hour." Hank Krakowski, the FAA's head of the air traffic system, called it "one of the largest project management challenges the federal government has had since we put somebody on the moon." Airports also have to make improvements to accommodate the expected increase in air traffic. U.S. airlines have struggled in recent years, in part because of rising fuel prices. Ten airlines have gone out of business and others face bankruptcy. Their financial troubles mean less-frequent flights and fewer amenities for air travelers, who must pay more for tickets, luggage, drinks - even pillows. A report on NextGen released in September by the Government Accountability Office said major problems remained, including a lack of detail about just how the system would work and a shortage of the kind of highly skilled managers needed to see the project through. 50 Critics have said the Bush administration, while expressing support for a satellite-based system, never pushed hard enough for it. "The next president needs to make the NextGen initiative a national priority and ensure that it is given the resources, management attention and sense of urgency that it warrants," said Rep. Bart Gordon, a Democrat from Tennessee and chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee. Airlines are expected to contribute $15 billion toward the $35 billion project, and they must equip their fleets with GPS at a cost of more than $200,000 per plane. But most carriers - which are otherwise enthusiastic about NextGen - are reluctant to retrofit planes years, maybe decades, before the satellite network is fully operational. "It's like you buying a new car and the dealer saying, 'How would you like to buy this nifty GPS technology - but it won't be available in your area for years,'" Castelveter said. The NextGen system could offer airlines a 10 percent savings in fuel costs per year. If the network were in place today, it would essentially pay for itself in seven years. GPS is already used in many parts of the aviation world. Many European countries, China and even Mongolia have established some GPS networks or plan to do so soon. At least one major U.S. carrier, Southwest Airlines, says it's investing $175 million to equip 500 planes with GPS within a few years. That will allow pilots to fly more efficiently even before the NextGen system is in place, including quicker landings that burn less fuel. Getting each of its planes on the ground just one minute faster, Southwest says, would save $25 million in fuel a year. The airline could wait until the new system is up and running, "but we're pouring gas down the drain," said Dan Gerrity, CEO of Naverus Inc., which is helping Southwest implement its GPS plans. Cargo carrier UPS has also installed GPS gear on hundreds of aircraft for use at its Louisville, Ky., hub, saying the technology will save nearly a million gallons of fuel a year, as well as reduce noise and emissions by about 30 percent. NextGen would also help airliners fly, land and take off closer together, minimizing delays. Even though the technology would allow more planes into the sky, the FAA and pilots agree that the technology would reduce the risk of accidents such as midair collisions and runway incursions. Most pilots see NextGen as the best hope for keeping flights on time. Rory Kay of the Air Line Pilots Association said the improved technology could also help relieve pilot fatigue by cutting the time planes wait on the ground. Passenger groups generally support the project, even though they expect airlines to pass some costs on to customers. 51 http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation/bal-te.airways19oct19,0,1275231.story Washington Post Cap and Return Fight the recession or fight global warming? Congress can do both. THERE ARE two powerful and opposing economic forces buffeting the American people that could undermine efforts to address global warming. Oil prices are the lowest they've been since June 2007. This good news at the pump may spell trouble for the environment if drivers return to the roads and reverse months of stunning reductions in gas consumption. Meanwhile, the looming recession will lessen the political will in Washington to pursue policies that would add costs to doing business or take money out of the thin wallets of consumers. Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) have committed to putting a price on carbon-burning fuels such as oil and coal through a cap-and-trade system of declining emissions allowances that would be auctioned off to polluters. We agree with Mr. Obama's plan to auction 100 percent of the allowances to reach the goal of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2050. But how to accomplish this without exacerbating the recession? No problem. Return to the American people every penny of the trillions of dollars expected to be generated by these sales. This is not a radical notion. In Canada, British Columbia already does what we are proposing. An economy-wide carbon tax was imposed in the province in July. The $1. 85 billion in Canadian dollars that it is expected to generate over the next three years will go back to the population in the form of reduced tax rates for all residents, corporations and small businesses. A climate action credit will be distributed to the poor to help with rising energy costs. While the climate change bill passed by the Senate this year and the "discussion draft" released by Reps. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) and Rick Boucher (D-Va.) this month provide relief for low-income families, the measures split most of the potential proceeds among various funds intended to spark innovation and spur development of alternative energy that will one day lessen the dependence on fossil fuels. Even in the best of times, we would worry that this gets government into the business of picking winners (and succumbing to legions of special pleaders) when it should get out of the way and let price trigger the technological efficiencies that business will assuredly develop and invest in to meet or exceed the carbon caps. Giving the money directly to the American people has the virtue of being transparent. At a time of impending fiscal constraints, the temptation to pull back from pressing environmental goals is high. But taking on climate change and facing down the recession is not an either-or proposition. With global warming happening more quickly than scientists predicted, Earth can't wait. 52 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp- dyn/content/article/2008/10/18/AR2008101801537.html The Canadian Press Group loses court bid against Tory government over Kyoto Protocol The environmental group Friends of the Earth has lost a court bid to force the federal government to comply with the Kyoto Protocol that sets targets for reducing greenhouse gases. A Federal Court judge dismissed the group's application for a judicial review in a ruling released Monday. Lawyers for Friends of the Earth argued the government has missed three deadlines and associated obligations under Canada's Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act. The act, which sets out requirements for publication of a climate change plan and effective and timely action on Kyoto, became law in June 2007. The Conservative government submitted an ostensible Kyoto blueprint in August 2007, as required by the legislation. But that blueprint didn't commit to the Kyoto target of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. In his decision, Justice Robert Barnes said Monday it's not up to the court to evaluate the government's climate change plan. "I have concluded that the court has no role to play reviewing the reasonableness of the government's response to Canada's Kyoto commitments," he wrote. The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement ratified by 180 countries, including Canada, that sets targets for reducing greenhouse gases. The Tories maintain that the Kyoto benchmarks are unattainable after years of inaction by their Liberal predecessors. A court document filed by government lawyers earlier this year suggested meeting Kyoto targets would plunge Canada into a "severe recession." "Canada's gross domestic product would be reduced by 6.5 per cent, $51 billion of national economic activity would be lost, with 276,000 jobs lost, and per capita income reductions of 2.9 per cent in 2009," the document said. The Conservatives have proposed their own plan to tackle climate change which would see emissions cut 20 per cent from 2006 levels by 2020. Critics charge the Tory plan is less stringent than the Kyoto targets since it uses 2006 as its baseline year, when emissions were higher than 1990 levels. Canada's emissions in 2006 were 721 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, compared to 592 megatonnes in 1990. 53 The court case was billed as the first time a country had been legally challenged for failing to meet commitments to combat global warming. Lawyer Chris Paliare, who represented Friends of the Earth, said a decision on whether to appeal the judge's ruling will be made in a week to 10 days. "We're very disappointed in the result. We had hoped that the Conservative party, the government, would have lived up to the will of Parliament," he said. Friends of the Earth chief executive Beatrice Olivastri declined to comment until after she read the judgment. A spokesman for Environment Minister John Baird declined comment on his behalf and referred calls to the Justice Department, which did not immediately return a call. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/10/20/kyoto-challenge.html New York Times EBay Bans Sale of Ivory By Brad Stone My colleague Felicity Barringer tells us that eBay will ban all transactions in ivory on its global e-commerce site starting next year. The announcement, made on the company‘s eBay Ink blog on Monday, comes as the Massachusetts-based International Fund for Animal Welfare prepares to issue a report condemning the Internet auctions site for allowing the global trade of endangered species and their coveted parts, like elephant ivory tusks. The wildlife conservation group‘s report, set to be released on Tuesday, analyzes data gathered in a six-week investigation tracking more than 7,000 listings of wildlife or their feathers, teeth or pelts, which were offered for sale on more than 185 Web sites in 11 countries. The report indicates that the vast majority of the illegal online trade in endangered animals is done on eBay. Nicola Sharpe, a spokeswoman for eBay, told The Times that the company had decided on the ban after talking with the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service‘s enforcement division and conservation groups like the World Wildlife Fund. ―As we‘ve said over the years, we are not experts‖ in the items bought and sold through the site,‖ Ms. Sharpe said. ―We don‘t have possession of the items. We never allow anything illegal to be sold. Where there are complex laws, we work with a number of stakeholders to make sure we are in compliance. That‘s especially true with ivory.‖ Last year, the company instituted a ban on cross-border sales of elephant ivory products, but, according to Jeffrey Flocken, an author of the new report, that limited ban ―has not worked at all.‖ 54 http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/20/ebay-bans-sale-of-ivory/ Honolulu Star Bulletin A renewable energy project maps out an interisland grid to deliver wind power By Jennifer Sudick A third of Oahu's current peak energy capacity will come someday from an underwater cable network that will transfer power from Maui County, state leaders said yesterday in an expansion of an isle renewable energy plan initially rolled out in January. Under the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, the state plans to transfer 400 megawatts of wind power generated on Maui, Molokai and Lanai via cable to Oahu, effectively creating one electrical grid for the four islands, which comprise about 81 percent of the state's population. The state currently gets 13 percent of its energy from coal imports and 77 percent from outside oil sources. Under the new plan, Hawaii would get a third of its energy from imported oil in 2030, with a ban on adding net fossil-fuel-based capacity. That will help the state meet possible legislation mandating that 40 percent of electric power come from renewable resources by 2030 - a doubling of the renewable portfolio standard requirement rolled out in 2004, Gov. Linda Lingle said yesterday at a press conference attended by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye. "It took much political courage and much business courage to do this," Inouye said. "It's not going to be easy, but we must do it. Out of all the 50 states in the union, our state is the most vulnerable. We have no fossil fuel, so we have to manufacture our own energy." With abundant power available from wind, sun and ocean, renewable energy experts have been very frustrated by Hawaii's continuing dependance on foreign oil. Oahu could see near-term renewable energy projects adding up to 235 megawatts of renewable energy, HECO said. Plans for an underwater cable as well as an expansion of geothermal energy projects are also being considered for the Big Island, where utility parent Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc.operates Hawaiian Electric Light Co., but waters surrounding Kauai are too deep to connect Oahu to the power grid of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, said Robbie Alm, HECO senior vice president for public affairs. The plan will integrate as much as 1,100 megawatts of additional renewable energy on HEI grids, 700 megawatts of which will be implemented within five years into HECO's current overall capacity of 1,700 megawatts. The average system peak on Oahu is 1,200 megawatts, with 500 for reserve use. "Buying energy from new renewable energy projects with prices that are not tied to the price of oil will also help provide more stable energy costs," said Constance Lau, 55 president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Electric Industries, which also oversees Hawaiian Electric Co. on Oahu and Maui Electric Co. on Maui, Molokai and Lanai. Lau said she was flying to New York yesterday to discuss the plan with investors and ratings agencies. Profit for HEI's electric utility operations jumped by more than 1.5 times in the second quarter ending June 30 to $27.4 million from $10.7 million last year. Utility revenue rose 40 percent to $688.1 million. Funding for the state-owned cable would likely come from private investment, utility ratepayers and state and federal grants and loans. No time line or cost was disclosed, but more details are expected in the spring, Lingle said. HECO would be responsible for land-based substations and infrastructure improvements for the system. Several developers have already proposed large-scale wind farms projects on Lanai and Molokai, ranging in size of up to 400 megawatts each. HECO will provide $100,000 in funding to model the Molokai grid, while a similar program is already under way on Lanai through the state Department of Energy. "It will require focused and upfront investment in order to get Hawaii off its dependence on imported oil, but in the long term will lead to significant reductions in energy costs to Hawaii's consumers," said Ted Liu, director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. "There's a lot of costs associated with doing nothing." Liu said he expects a range of high-paying jobs being added to the isle market as larger companies invest in local renewable energy projects. Under the expanded initiative, HECO customers could install solar water heating systems without having to pay money upfront, but instead pay through savings on electric bills, with a goal of 2,500 annual installations on existing homes, Lingle said. Customers will also be able to lower their rates by using electricity at off-peak times using advanced metering systems. Catherine Awakuni, executive director of the state Division of Consumer Advocacy, said the plans will help utility ratepayers by ending a utility business model based on increasing sales rather than encouraging efficiencies in energy use. "Using the best information that we have today, we are balancing the rate impact to consumers against the cost of providing reliable service and a secure energy future," Awakuni said. HECO and the state consumer advocate have agreed by April to explore capping rates for those unable to pay the full cost of electricity. By July, HECO will publish in advance what customers will pay in renewable power and how much of any kind of renewable power they will be purchasing. http://www.starbulletin.com/news/20081021_Isles_power_up_clean- energy_agreement.html#fullstory Back to Menu 56 ______________________________________________________________________ ROWA MEDIA UPDATE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS 22 October 2008 Oman Oman to attend ozone meeting in Damascus Oman, represented by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, will take part in a two-day regional follow-up meeting of the Ozone Officers Network for West Asia Countries to be held in Damascus today. The meeting will discuss topics related to Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) of Montreal Protocol, with final elimination date of chlorofluorocarbons and halones substances use drawing nearer (2010). It will also discuss technical reports on conservation of the ozone layer and the latest developments. Oman joined the Montreal Protocol under Royal Decree No 83/98, Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and Montreal Convention on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer and its London and Copenhagen amendments. http://www.omanobserver.com/ Jordan Environmentalists launch Amman Call for Eco-Cities Environmentalists from the Mediterranean region on Monday concluded a two-day forum by launching the Amman Call for Eco-Cities and forming a committee to set standards and criteria for environment-friendly towns. Minister of Environment Khalid Irani said the panel will conduct visits to different cities across the world that have succeeded in adopting one or more environment-friendly elements. ―There are cities that have environment commissioners and adopt environment-friendly procedures such as Venice. A visit to one of these cities will provide the committee with a success story to be adopted in the criteria,‖ Irani told The Jordan Times yesterday. He said the committee members represent governments, NGOs and UN agencies, who will meet regularly to set time-bound goals. ―Some mayors and decision makers in the involved cities will set time frames for creating green spots in their cities,‖ Irani noted, adding that the committee will be responsible for following up the achievements of these goals. The Amman Call for Eco-Cities identifies environmental issues affecting urban areas, such as increasing population and the high rate of natural resource consumption and what is needed to mitigate them. 57 The document urges local governments and municipalities to develop and enforce legislation that promotes actions, programmes and projects that reduce air and noise pollution, increase the area of and accessibility to open green spaces and embark on campaigns for planting suitable trees in metropolitan cities. In addition, it calls on concerned authorities to enhance and support efforts put forth by the private sector to develop alternative transport modes, greener buildings, energy efficiency and renewable energy use, water conservation and water recycling processes and technologies. The document also invites international agencies such as, but not limited to, the UN agencies (UNEP, UNEDO), and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, to support and recognise eco-city authorities, NGOs and community-based organisations working in the field. ―To guarantee the implementation of Amman Call for Eco-Cities, we decided to hold the forum every two years. This will allow us to study developments related to environment protection and revise them,‖ Irani concluded. http://www.jordantimes.com/?news=11488 Climate change threatens development projects and basic human rights‟ Environmentalists and scientists from the Middle East and other countries on Tuesday urged world leaders to take action to address the climate change phenomenon, which they say threatens development projects and basic human rights. More than 100 environmental experts, activists, researchers and decision makers yesterday discussed the impact of war and conflict on climate change, among other global warming-related topics during a conference on climate change policies in the Middle East and challenges facing decision makers and activists. The two-day event, which opened yesterday, is organised by the United Nations University–International Leadership Institute and the Heinrich Boll Stiftung with the aim of understanding the impact of climate change on the region, raising awareness of the remedies that exist and promoting dialogue and policy changes. Highlighting the environmental impact of global warming in the MENA region, Mukdad Jabbari, head of the water resources section at Baghdad University‘s department of earth sciences, said climate change hampers the implementation of development projects. ―Global warming and climate change are contributing to a shortage of rainfall and consequently desertification; this phenomenon is crossing borders and putting pressure on development programmes,‖ he said. Jabbari noted that countries could be contributing to global warming without being aware of it by using primitive industrial equipment and policies. 58 According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, many parts of the planet will become warmer, while droughts, floods and other forms of extreme weather will become more frequent, threatening food supplies; plants and animals that cannot adjust will die out. Meanwhile, sea levels are rising and will continue to do so, forcing hundreds of thousands of people in coastal zones to migrate, according to www.unep.org. Moreover, humans‘ basic rights of decent housing and access to clean food and water will be affected by climate change, Clionadh Raleigh, a senior researcher at Trinity College, Dublin, noted yesterday. Highlighting the relationship between climate change, migration and conflicts, Raleigh said increasing migration from one country to another is not associated with climate change, but labour migration will increase, especially in times of drastic famine and disasters. The researcher noted that ethnic communities, women and other marginalised communities will be most affected by the phenomenon, underscoring that climate change is no longer perceived as an environmental problem but a developmental and political threat. http://www.jordantimes.com/?news=11518 Syria An Environmental Seminar on the occasion of Arab Environmental Day at Adlab – Syria ―Arabic‖ http://www.sana.sy/ara/8/2008/10/20/197657.htm UAE Favourite hobby was a 'heinous ecological crime' Abu Dhabi: When the British stopped a favourite hobby, the bird population was increased in the country, a senior UK official told Gulf News. The most grievous environmental crime in UK used to be committed by common people, not organised criminals, said John Clorley, the Head of Wildlife Crime, Enforcement and Management at Defra (UK's Department for Environment, food and Agriculture). "The British were very fond of collecting eggs of wild birds; which threatened the survival of several bird species. People used to climb over the trees to collect the eggs and keep them at their home as a hobby," he said. It had been a strange British hobby, said Clorley with a laugh. He spoke to Gulf News on the sidelines of a three day meeting in Abu Dhabi to conclude the Memorandum of Understanding( MoU) on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia. 59 Errant people Authorities started to take strict action under environmental protection law against the errant people who used to destroy the birds, the crucial link in the food chain and ecosystem. When several people were convicted for the offence, people started to abandon the 'heinous hobby' and in turn, bird population was increased all over the country, said the official. The awareness programmes also played a major role, said Clorely. He said the MoU, to be signed today in Abu Dhabi, is significant to protect those birds. "It is notable that within one year after first conference held in the UK last year, an MoU is signed. Normally it takes four or five years to reach an understanding for such protective measures," said Clorley. The official pointed out that birds are essential components of the ecosystem that support all life on earth. By acting as pollinators and seed distributors they contribute to ecosystem structure and function. The decline in the number of vultures threatens the system of scavenging. "They used to clean up the carcasses". He said his organisation is supporting foreign nations by sharing intelligence to prevent wildlife trafficking. Valuable organs of wildlife are smuggled from ecologically rich countries like India, China and other South East Asian nations and reach the customers in the west. "We have made special arrangements with those courtiers to prevent wildlife crimes," said the official. http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Environment/10253606.html Lebanon Chouf project cuts down trees to save forests CHOUF: A new environmental and agricultural project in the Chouf region aims to protect the area's natural environment against forest fires, wood cutting and other types of deforestation. According to Batloun Mayor Sleiman Kamaleddine, the project was launched in late August in cooperation with the Chouf municipalities and governorate, the forests center in Beiteddine and the Public Health Department of the Health Ministry in the Chouf. The project consists of allowing municipality officials to secure permits from the Agriculture Ministry to "trim and clean" existing forests, Kamaleddine told The Daily Star on Tuesday. 60 "The resulting firewood is to be distributed to the needy, while branches and leaves are sent to a special press where they are transformed, along with olive residue, into artificial firewood," he said. "Supported by [Progressive Soicalist Party leader Walid] Jumblatt, we have bought the press, which is worth $8,500, and installed it on a plot of land located in the Seema region," he added. "Another machine, worth $15, 000, will also be set up in order to mince branches and turn them into sawdust. The project has gained considerable backing from Jumblatt, Kamaleddine said, adding that the PSP leader and Chouf MP had put 14 workers and five vehicles at the disposal of municipalities in order to help patrol the region's woodlands and prevent any wood- cutting or forest fires. "The project also includes the establishment of a nursery in Seema that will include all kinds of trees that can be planted in the region, particularly pines, cedars, olives and other fruit trees," he said. Kamaleddine highlighted the various efforts that have been undertaken in recent weeks in a bid to prevent forest fires. "Dalboun is one of the largest lands in the area. It covers a surface of 1,300,000 square meters," he said. "The wood was in a scary condition but now everything has changed. We have removed the unnecessary plants and branches that could have gone up in flames." "We have also opened a number of roads in the middle of the forest, enabling permanent patrols to be carried out and fire engines to get into the woods, should a fire occur," he added. Kamaleddine added that the project had benefited 52 needy families in the Batloun area who were provided with their firewood needs "for free." "As for those who are well-off, they are given their share of wood at the cost price or even less," he said, adding that the money "goes to workers and guards who work around the clock to assure the forests' safety." The mayor called for creating a large lake in the middle of the Batloun woods, similar to the ones proposed by Jumblatt in several villages in the Upper Chouf. "I also call on the government to follow in the footsteps of Jumblatt and support municipalities, particularly when it comes to providing them with small fire engines along with the needed firefighting equipment," the mayor added. Residents of Barouk and several villages in the Upper Chouf have welcomed the implementation of the project, especially as it comes amid the current economic crisis, the mayor said. 61 "Workers who used to cut trees in several regions have become guardians of forests today," he added. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=96989 Back to Menu ============================================================= 62 ENVIRONMENT NEWS FROM THE UN DAILY NEWS 21 October 2008 Top global businesses gather for UN „Caring for Climate‟ initiative 21 October - A United Nations-backed ―Caring for Climate‖ gathering today is drawing representatives from more than 150 corporations, civil society organizations and governments from around the world to discuss business solutions to the problem of global warming and speed up action on climate change. The UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) launched the ―Caring for Climate‖ scheme last year, with chief executive officers (CEOs) of 150 companies – including 30 from the Fortune Global 500 – signing on. Today‘s meeting in Geneva is the first gathering of those signatories, aiming to create a shared path in support of an effective successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012. ―Climate change will undoubtedly reshape the business landscape as we know it,‖ said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the Global Compact. ―Companies committed to ‗Caring for Climate‘ demonstrate that a growing number of businesses is making a choice that tells us that a sustainable future and business competitiveness can complement each other.‖ Since its creation, nearly 300 businesses have signed on, covering 30 industry sectors in 48 countries, including emerging and developing economies. A recent survey of ―Caring for Climate‖ signatories reflects their optimism about their ability to set targets and reduce their impact on the environment. It also shows that they expect similar leadership from governments, as well as long-term plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions and stepped up investments in low-carbon technologies. Back to Menu ________________________________________________________________ At Harvard University, Ban issues call to action to tackle today‟s crises 21 October - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today issued a call to action to address the challenges of climate change, global health, terrorism, financial instability and disarmament, all of which are key to securing the common good in a time of global crises. ―We come together today at a time of intense crisis – unrelenting waves buffeting the world‘s people and institutions,‖ Mr. Ban told students and faculty at Harvard University‘s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The Secretary-General noted that some people thought he had been overly dramatic a few months ago when he spoke of a ‗triple crisis‘ of soaring food and fuel prices, accelerating climate change, and stalled development for over a billion of the world‘s people. ―Today, with increased evidence of the effects of all three crises around the globe, compounded by the ongoing shock waves of the financial crisis, my call to arms now seems distant and all too modest,‖ he stated. 63 ―Now more than ever we must be bold. In these times of crisis, when we are tempted to look inward, it is precisely the time when we must move pursuit of the common good to the top of the agenda,‖ said Mr. Ban, adding that this involves addressing five global challenges. Turning first to the current financial turmoil, the Secretary-General noted that ―the same threads of globalization that united us in the good times, are now biting deep in the bad times, especially for those who can least afford it. ―While recently we have heard much in this country about how problems on Wall Street are affecting innocent people on Main Street, we need to think more about those people around the world with no streets. Wall Street, Main Street, no street – the solutions devised must be for all,‖ he stressed. In addition, the world cannot afford to delay action on the issue of climate change, which Mr. Ban called ―the ultimate global and existential threat.‖ He urged countries to conclude a new comprehensive climate deal that can be ratified and in place before the current commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012. Global health is another ―great challenge of our time,‖ said the Secretary-General, noting that diseases and pandemics are spreading across borders today faster than ever before, and can have devastating impacts, if not controlled effectively. But it is also a challenge with ―an immense scope for solutions,‖ he added, pointing out that the world has the tools and resources to treat and control many of these diseases, as well as the know-how to build health systems that serve all. Terrorism, combined with the threat of weapons of mass destruction, said Mr. Ban, ―is perhaps the most serious threat to international peace and security.‖ He urged countries to further their cooperation to counter terrorism, including by being more innovative in developing their tools, strengthening partnerships with regional and civil society groups, and better leveraging their collective strengths. Likewise, action was needed to address the ―acute challenges‖ in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation, the Secretary-General stressed, noting that while there is widespread support for the view that nuclear weapons must never be used again, the threats still persist. He noted that there are still gaps in the law, some key treaties remain to be negotiated, and new efforts are needed to create additional nuclear-weapon-free zones, especially in the Middle East, and to bring existing zones fully into force. ―At a time when the world is focused on other more immediate crises, let us never forget that we must press our efforts to address the potential existential crisis which confronts humanity,‖ Mr. Ban stated. ―It would not be responsible to do otherwise.‖ The Secretary-General added that while all of these challenges may seem quite different at first glance, they share important traits that set them apart from other issues facing the world today. ―They endanger all countries – whether rich or poor, big or small – and all their people; they cross borders freely and are highly contagious; and they cannot be resolved without action by us all.‖ Back to Menu 64 ________________________________________________________________ Hard action needed to simplify technology standards, says UN agency 21 October - The telecommunications industry needs to take aggressive action to streamline its work on standardizing the industry and end duplication of effort within the sector, the United Nations technology agency stressed today. It is estimated that over 300 information and communications technology (ICT) standards bodies exist from fields as diverse as broadband internet, aeronautical and maritime navigation, satellite- based meteorology, phone services and TV broadcasting. ―Imagine a world with no internet or no telephone calling from one side of the world to the other,‖ said the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU) standards chief Malcolm Johnson. ―Literally thousands of standards pin together this framework of technologies that keeps the world‘s businesses and consumers connected,‖ he told the first-ever Global Standards Symposium. He emphasised that clarity and efficiency must lead the decision-making process as standardization of the ICT industry becomes more complex by the day. ―We must ensure we all pull together and avoid duplication of effort and waste [of] our increasingly limited resources,‖ Mr. Johnson urged the government ministers, diplomats, senior industry executives and lead officials from standards bodies gathered at the one-day meeting in Johannesburg. ―Even large organizations are having difficulty resourcing this effort, so how can small organizations, especially from developing countries, hope to play a role?‖ he asked. To ensure better coordination between industry and standards developing organizations, a direct line of communication between technology leaders and ITU‘s standardizations arm is being set up, according to a press released issued by the agency. The ITU expects the communications shortcut to ensure that emerging needs are addressed efficiently and in the most appropriate place. Participants at the symposium also addressed issues relating to ICTs and climate change, as well as increasing developing country participation in the standardization process and accessibility to ICTs for persons with disabilities. Back to Menu ________________________________________________________________ Current crises could „derail‟ efforts to achieve global anti-poverty goals – Migiro 21 October - The world is currently at a critical juncture in global development, Deputy Secretary- General Asha-Rose Migiro warned today, noting that the financial turmoil, combined with the food crisis and climate change, threatens efforts to halve poverty and other social and economic ills by the target date of 2015. ―We are facing a financial crisis of epic proportions. No one knows for certain, at this stage, how this will unfold,‖ Ms. Migiro told the ninth meeting of the Regional Consultation Mechanism of UN agencies and organizations working in Africa, taking place in Addis Ababa. 65 ―The impact of the present turmoil, compounded by the food shortages and the effects of climate change, could very well derail the prospects of attaining the MDGs across the board,‖ she added, referring to the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals. All of these challenges are interrelated, she said, pointing out that rising temperatures will threaten agricultural productivity and exacerbate food insecurity, and therefore deepen poverty. ―Both climate change and food security compel us to address people‘s vulnerabilities. They are both integral parts of our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,‖ Ms. Migiro told the meeting. She stressed the need to work together at the global, regional and sub-regional levels, as one UN family to find common solutions to these challenges. ―The Organization is only as relevant as it is able to deliver tangible results to people on the ground. If we fail to act in a more coherent manner, we will fail the very people who count on us to deliver on the promises we have made,‖ the Deputy Secretary-General stated. ―When we act with unity of purpose, the United Nations can better support the efforts of African countries,‖ she added. ―We will go a long way in backing the African Union and NEPAD to realize its vision – from promoting peace, regional integration, and good governance, to accelerating development.‖ In addition to representatives of UN agencies, the gathering in the Ethiopian capital included officials from the African Union (AU) Commission, regional economic commissions and the Secretariat of the New Partnership for Africa‘s Development (NEPAD) – the continent‘s overarching framework for socio-economic sustainable development. Back to Menu ________________________________________________________________ Darfur security so bad UN-African Union mission cannot be effective – Ban 21 October - The security conditions in Darfur remain so poor that the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping operation cannot operate effectively, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in his latest report on the mission, urging the parties to the conflict in western Sudan to stop fighting immediately and start working towards a peaceful settlement. The Sudanese Government and the region‘s many rebel movements ―continue to pursue a military solution to the conflict‖ and they have made little progress in implementing the 2006 peace accord that was supposed to either end or reduce the fighting, Mr. Ban writes. The mission itself – known as UNAMID – is increasingly the target of armed attacks and banditry, obstructing its ability to deploy rapidly and to fulfil its mandate to protect civilians and help implement the peace agreement. ―Reinforcements are slowly arriving, but the security situation and difficult environment in Darfur have delayed the arrival of equipment for incoming contingents,‖ the Secretary-General states, noting that it is more than a year since the operation was authorized by the Security Council. So far, just over 10,500 uniformed personnel, including troops, military observers and police officers, are in place across Darfur, far short of the estimated 26,000 blue helmets required when 66 UNAMID reaches full deployment. More than 2,500 civilian staff have also been recruited, or 46 per cent of the total number of authorized posts. Even bringing equipment and basic supplies into Darfur is exposing UNAMID staff to higher risk, given the volatility of conditions on the ground, the report points out. Mission personnel ―often undertake patrols and provide force protection escorts without adequate communication and transportation assets. UNAMID civilian personnel also work and live in an extremely unsafe environment.‖ A UN security assessment team which visited Darfur and the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, earlier this month is now finalizing recommendations to improve staff safety and security. Mr. Ban says the effectiveness of the mission also depends on Sudanese Government cooperation on issues such as the freedom of movement of UNAMID staff, customs clearance, visas and the re-supply of the operation by air, rail and road. He stresses that the Government has a responsibility to stop its aerial bombardments and military offensives and to ―take concrete steps‖ towards disarming the so-called Janjaweed militiamen and other groups allied to Government forces. ―I call on the Government to comply with its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, in particular with regard to the protection of civilians,‖ the Secretary-General says. The report also calls on all rebel groups to commit to an immediate cessation of hostilities, start serious negotiations with the Government and fully cooperate with the peacekeeping mission. ―UNAMID, despite its broad mandate for the protection of civilians and assistance to peace implementation, is not designed to create a sustainable solution to the Darfur crisis. That is the responsibility of the parties to the conflict.‖ In addition, Mr. Ban reiterates that UN Member States need to provide the units and equipment still missing from UNAMID, including 24 helicopters and additional units dealing with logistics, heavy transport, medium transport and aerial reconnaissance. The Security Council is expected to discuss Mr. Ban‘s report at a meeting next week when Under- Secretary-General Alain Le Roy, who has just completed a visit to Sudan, will brief the 15- member panel. An estimated 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur since fighting erupted in 2003 between Government forces, allied militia and the rebels, while 2.7 million others have been forced from their homes and now live as refugees or as internally displaced persons (IDPs). Back to Menu ============================================================= ENVIRONMENT NEWS FROM THE S.G‟s SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING 21 October 2008 **Secretary-General at Harvard 67 The Secretary-General has left this morning and is heading to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to deliver a speech to students and faculty at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. The speech, which he will deliver in a few hours time at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, is called ―Securing the common good in a time of global crises‖. It will focus on the importance of securing global goods such as disarmament, climate change solutions, global health and action against terrorism. He will speak to the particular challenge of addressing these at a time when they are put at risk by concurrent global crises, including those related to finance, food, energy and development. The Secretary-General is expected to say that global public goods distinguish themselves from other issues of concern because they endanger all countries, whether rich or poor, big or small, and all their people; they cross borders freely and are highly contagious; and they cannot be resolved without action by us all. Also, at Harvard today, the Secretary-General will discuss with faculty experts the importance of securing global goods, including global financial stability. The Secretary-General is expected to return to New York later this evening. Back to Menu ============================================================= 68