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					                        THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                             Thursday, 16 April 2009

                        UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

        Korea Herald (South Korea): [Green Growth: Korea's New Strategy (31)] Green finance
         needed for green growth
        Media-Newswire (US): Business for the Environment Summit brings together hundreds of
         key business leaders to discuss green solutions
        TV5 Monde (France): Le sommet "Business for the Environment" réunit plus de 700
         leaders du monde des affaires
        Reforma (Mexico): Un nuevo trato ecológico global
        Jornal de Negócios (Portugal): Umnovo tratado ecológico global

                              Other Environment News

       AFP: EU calls on US to help lead climate change fight
       AFP: Climate change 'tops Australians' security fears'
       AFP: Australia launches 'clean coal' institute
       Reuters: Australia CO2 scheme "weak, may be worthless"
       Reuters: Singapore scientists say can turn CO2 into biofuel
       Reuters: Most green products seen to make false claims

                  Environmental News from the UNEP Regions

       ROA
       ROLAC
       ROWA

                                   Other UN News

       Environment News from the UN Daily News of April 15th 2009
       Environment News from the S.G.’s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of
        April 15th 2009

                  UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

Korea Herald (South Korea): [Green Growth: Korea's New Strategy (31)] Green
finance needed for green growth

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The following is the 31st in a series of articles focusing on the Korean government's
"green growth" strategy. The series will also introduce the increasing efforts of major
advanced countries of the world to promote a green economy. -- Ed.

Global warming broadly affects individuals, companies and countries. It will be
impossible to achieve economic growth while ignoring the environment. Industries with
high carbon emissions will see a dramatic increase in environmental costs. Especially
the environment -- although it had been just part of policy and regulation agendas -- is
now perceived to be an economic issue that can be solved in the market, after the Kyoto

The environmental issues also affect industry structure, heralding the arrival of new
technology such as low carbon technology and new carbon emission reduction
technology. Moreover, the renewable energy sector is grabbing attention as a new "blue
ocean." Under these circumstances, countries are competing fiercely to cultivate low
carbon industries, develop environment-related technology, and obtain competitiveness
in new environment-related businesses.

Korea is ranked 9th in terms of carbon emissions. "Low carbon, green growth" is an
imperative under the heightening pressure to reduce carbon emissions. Low carbon,
green growth enables the environment and economic growth to coexist. And it also
means minimizing pollution and reducing carbon emissions while developing and
commercializing renewable energy technology. This green growth becomes critical to
not only a country's competitiveness but also our survival.

Therefore, the Korean government declared one of its key agendas as green growth,
enabling it to address environmental issues and, at the same time, seek economic
growth by facilitating the related industries. To push for green growth, the financial
system should be in place to support it. Financing of technology development and
commercialization for low carbon, green growth is called "green finance."

Above all, green industries require long-term investments in technology development
and commercialization despite large uncertainties. Due to this, a new system of financial
support is necessary. Furthermore, the financial industry itself is a high value-added
industry that does not cause environmental problems. Given that, green finance is a key
driver of green growth.

Green finance in advanced countries

Countries around the world have already engaged in various competitions to catalyze
green finance. In the wake of the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, the right to emit
carbon dioxide became a new financial instrument and a new emission trading

mechanism was introduced. In addition, under the UNEP Financial Initiative, about 200
financial institutions in 25 countries have invested in green industries.

Financial institutions in advanced countries are expanding their financial support to the
environment-related funds or the environment-related industries while taking part in
carbon trading. As such, they are competing intensely to be a first mover in
environmental finance. Investment banks and hedge funds are raising their investments
in the highly promising renewable energy sector and developing diverse financial
instruments based on those investments. Plus, they are actively seeking to develop
green financial products by securitizing loans to the green sector or forming investment

Countries around the globe are striving to become a first mover in the carbon market. A
carbon exchange is a carbon trading system where companies that have not used up
their quota can sell their unused allowances as carbon credits and companies that
expect to exceed their quota can buy the extra allowances as credits. Carbon credits
may be carbon allowances allocated or clean development mechanism credits earned
by emission reduction projects.

In Europe, carbon markets such as BlueNext and European Climate Exchange were
opened for trading carbon allowances, credits and related derivatives. In the United
States, carbon credits and related derivatives are being traded on the Chicago Climate
Exchange or the New York Merchant Exchange.

Korea's approach to green finance

Faced with such developments worldwide, Korea needs to pursue green growth by
promoting green finance. To that end, more financing support is required for the green
industries. Financial support should be expanded for renewable energy, low carbon
technology and emission reduction projects.

Meantime, financial institutions need to develop various green financial products.
Especially, the green sector requires a long-term investment period involving large
uncertainties about commercialization.

For these reasons, there should be ways to raise funds through the capital market. A
green fund would be one way to expand investments in the renewable energy industry,
emission reduction projects and green technology applications.

Korea also needs to consider ways to catalyze investments in CMD projects or
companies involved in carbon credits and renewable energy business by creating
investment funds exclusively supporting the green industries. However, few Korean
companies engage in CDM projects to earn certified emission reduction credits. Further,
there is no carbon trading system. Accordingly, investment in carbon allowances is

That said, Korea should introduce an investment fund that combines carbon finance and
investment in the green industries, suitable for the domestic market conditions. And it
needs to build a system to assess the green industries and green technology to provide
stronger support to a green industry with high success potential.

Meanwhile, the Korean financial market is dominated by investors whose risk appetite is
relatively low. That trend constrains financial support for innovative firms.

Thus, what is most important is to expand the investor base into those having different
risk appetites in order to invigorate the market. In this regard, the introduction of hedge
funds can be considered a way to catalyze investments in the green sector.

Hedge funds employ diverse investment strategies, seeking high returns. Therefore,
their investment strategy is different from that of conventional investors. In industrialized
countries, hedge funds have been created to invest solely in green companies or seek
carbon finance. Given that, Korea also needs to nurture hedge funds specialized in
green finance by adopting such a hedge fund system.

Along with that, a carbon market needs to be created to smooth out emission trading. A
carbon market refers to a marketplace where carbon allowances under the cap and
trade system or clean energy projects are purchased and sold. Moreover, carbon
derivatives should be introduced to efficiently manage the risks related to carbon credits.

Since it is difficult to see benefits from the carbon market without legally binding carbon
reduction obligations, legal ground and emission reduction targets under the cap and
trade system need to be established first. An enforcement capacity to check actual
compliance with allocated emission quota should be in place along with proper allocation

Based on the local carbon market, Korea will have to strengthen its role of a hub for
emission trading in Northeast Asia through links with global carbon markets.

Build a base for catalyzing green finance

The financial industry itself is a clean industry as well as a high value-added industry. It
is also the industry offering financial support to other industries. In addition, development
in the financial industry contributes to employment and advances in globalization.

However, if the risks associated with finance are not properly controlled, finance could
have adverse impacts on the economy. The best example of this is the recent spread of
the global financial turmoil, triggered by the U.S. subprime crisis.

Therefore, Korea should first look for ways to assess various risks properly and manage
them efficiently in light of development in green finance. To that end, it needs to beef up
risk assessment functions for the green industries, build a financial support mechanism
based on the market principles and establish a system under which the government
provides support if there is risk which cannot be controlled properly.

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Media-Newswire (US): Business for the Environment Summit brings together
hundreds of key business leaders to discuss green solutions

15 April 2009

More than 700 leaders from business, civil society, international organizations and
government are set to meet at the Business for the Environment Global Summit in Paris
on 22-23 April to discuss ways of powering green growth around the globe.

The event, now in its third year, is the world's leading international conference for
business-driven action for the environment. As the world struggles with a deep economic
recession, the conference will highlight the green solutions that can turn crisis into

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP, said:
"Today's crises are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a transition to a low carbon,
resource efficient society. Business has a key role to play in this transformational
process, and the B4E summit is a crucial opportunity to bring together key decision-
makers to sharpen and discuss their role in delivering a Green Economy."

Participants to B4E will include the Chief Executives of Suzlon, Suntech, Alcatel-Lucent
and Siemens France, as well as the seven inspirational laureates of the 2009 UNEP
Champions of the Earth awards, who will be announced in an award ceremony on 22

With a focus on a new, green economy driven by leadership, technology and innovation,
the summit will bring together participants from more than 30 countries to make the
connection between the environment and global economic recovery.

Delegates will learn how to identify and manage the challenges posed by climate
change, and explore the many opportunities of investing in a green economy.

The two-day conference will feature sessions on the Green Economy Initiative,
innovation and technology, policy, resource efficiency, the extractives industry, and the
global water crisis among other key topics.

The event is also held in conjunction with the UNEP Champions of the Earth 2009
awards presentation on 22 April, which is also Earth Day. The seven laureates - all of
whom are inspirational environmental leaders - are the living proof that amid today's
environmental and economic crises lay unprecedented opportunities for innovative
solutions, fresh approaches and dynamic leadership, from policy action to grassroots

The Business for the Environment conference comes on the heels of the UNEP Global
Green New Deal Policy Brief, which advises policymakers on the key areas where
investment is required in order to power sustainable economic recovery.

The Policy Brief argues that investing just one per cent of global GDP, or around $750
billion, into five key sectors could be the key to realizing a Global Green New Deal that in
turn can set the stage for a Green Economy The five sectors, from renewable energy to
freshwaters, could in conjunction with other measures play an important role in reviving

the global economy and boosting employment while accelerating the fight against
climate change, environmental degradation and poverty.

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TV5 Monde (France): Le sommet "Business for the Environment" réunit plus de
700 leaders du monde des affaires

16-04-2009 13:05

Vers un New deal écologique. Le sommet "Business for the Environment" réunit des
centaines des leaders du monde des affaires pour discuter de solutions vertes

Plus de 700 leaders de la société civile, des organisations internationales et des
gouvernements vont se rencontrer au sommet international "Business for the
Environment" à Paris du 22 au 23 avril. Les discussions seront axées sur les façons
d'énergiser la croissance verte autour du monde.

L'événement, qui en est à sa troisième édition, est la plus grande du monde sur le
business et l'environnement. Alors que le monde entier est plongé dans une récession
économique, les conférenciers vont essayer de trouver des solutions vertes qui
permettront de transformer la crise.

Achim Steiner, le Secrétaire général adjoint de l'ONU et directeur exécutif du PNUE, a
affirmé que "les crises d'aujourd'hui sont une occasion unique pour faire la transition
vers une société faible en carbone et efficace en ressources. Les entreprises ont un rôle
important à jouer dans ce processus de transformation. Le sommet « Business for the
Environment»est une occasion cruciale de réunir les décideurs clés pour définir leur rôle
dans la création de l'économie."

Des dirigeants d'entreprises dont Suzlon, Suntech, Alcatel-Lucent et Siemens France
participeront à la conférence ainsi que les sept lauréats du prix champions de la Planète
qui seront annoncés lors d'une cérémonie le 22 avril.

Le Sommet, qui réunira des participants de plus de 30 pays, fera la corrélation entre
l'environnement et le redressement de l'économie mondiale. L'accent sera mis sur une
nouvelle économie verte dont les moteurs seront le leadership, la technologie et

Les délégués apprendront à identifier et gérer les principaux défis imposés par le
changement climatique. Ils apprendront également comment exploiter les bienfaits que
peuvent générer les investissements faits dans l'économie verte.

Les débats de la conférence porteront entre autres sur l'Initiative de l'Economie Verte du
PNUE, l'innovation et la technologie, la politique, l'efficacité énergétique, l'industrie
extractive et la crise mondiale de l'eau.

L'événement se déroulera en même temps que la remise des Prix des Champions de la
Terre du PNUE le 22 avril, la Journée de la Terre.

Les sept lauréats ont tous fait preuve d'un leadership dynamique et sont la preuve que
les crises économique et environnementale ont créé des opportunités sans précédent
pour trouver des solutions innovatrices et des approches nouvelles.

Le sommet "Business for the Environment"intervient quelques semaines après la
diffusion du rapport du PNUE sur le New Deal Ecologique Mondial, qui conseille les
dirigeants la meilleure façon d'investir afin de redresser l'économie de façon durable.

Les cinq secteurs clés, l'économie verte peut devenir une réalité. Les cinq secteurs, de
l'énergie renouvelable aux ressources d'eau, pourraient avec d'autres mesures jouer un
rôle important pour revitaliser l'économie mondiale et engendrer la création d'emplois
tout en donnant un coup de pouce à la lutte contre le changement climatique, la
dégradation environnementale et la pauvreté.

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Reforma (Mexico): Un nuevo trato ecológico global

Martes 3 de Marzo del 2009

Achim Steiner

En tiempos en que el desempleo se dispara, las bancarrotas siguen en aumento y los
mercados de valores bajan en caída libre, a primera vista puede parecer juicioso
enterrar la lucha contra el cambio climático y poner en suspenso las inversiones en
medio ambiente. Sin embargo, sería éste un error devastador, de proporciones tanto
inmediatas como intergeneracionales.
Lejos de significar una carga para una economía mundial que ya está demasiado
estresada y sobrecargada, las inversiones ambientales son exactamente lo que se
necesita para hacer que se recupere el empleo, los pedidos vuelvan a fluir y ayudar a
que las economías recuperen su buen funcionamiento.

En el pasado, preocuparse del medio ambiente era visto como un lujo; hoy se ve como
una necesidad. Se trata de un punto que algunos arquitectos de la economía han
comprendido, pero no todos ellos.

Una gran proporción del paquete de estímulo de 825 mil millones de dólares del
presidente Barack Obama para los Estados Unidos se enfoca en un impulso a las
energías renovables, "aclimatar" un millón de viviendas, y actualizar la atrasada matriz
de electricidad del país. Se estima que estas inversiones podrían generar unos cinco
millones de trabajos "verdes", estimular las industrias de la construcción y la ingeniería,
y hacer que E. U. regrese al tema igualmente serio de combatir el cambio climático y
lograr seguridad energética.

La República de Corea, que está perdiendo empleos por primera vez en más de cinco
años, también ha avizorado una oportunidad verde en estos tiempos económicos
sombríos. El gobierno del presidente Lee Myung-Bak tiene planes de invertir 38 mil
millones de dólares en empleos para limpiar cuatro importantes ríos y reducir el riesgo

de que se produzcan desastres naturales, mediante la construcción de terraplenes e
instalaciones de tratamiento de aguas.

El plan de Lee incluye también la construcción de redes de transporte de bajo impacto
ambiental, como vías férreas de alta velocidad y cientos de kilómetros de ciclovías, y
generar energía utilizando metano de rellenos sanitarios. El paquete también considera
inversiones en tecnologías de vehículos híbridos.

En China, Japón y el Reino Unido hay planes similares de aplicación de paquetes de un
"Nuevo Trato Ecológico". Son igual de relevantes para desarrollar las economías en
cuanto a creación de empleos, lucha contra la pobreza y creación de nuevas
oportunidades, en momentos de creciente incertidumbre acerca de los precios de los
productos básicos y las exportaciones.

En Sudáfrica, el gobierno respaldó la iniciativa Working for Water, que da empleo a más
de 30.000 personas, entre las que se incluyen mujeres, jóvenes y discapacitados,
viendo así también una oportunidad en la crisis. El país gasta cerca de 60 millones de
dólares al año en combatir plantas exógenas de alto poder invasivo que amenazan la
vida silvestre local, las reservas de agua, importantes destinos turísticos y tierras

Esta tarea se seguirá ampliando, puesto que más de 40 millones de toneladas de estas
plantas son cosechadas para convertirlas en combustible para centrales eléctricas.
Como resultado, se estima que se generarán cerca de 500 megavatios, equivalentes a
un 2 por ciento de las necesidades de electricidad del país, y se crearán al mismo
tiempo más de 5000 empleos.

Así, es evidente que algunos países ven ahora las inversiones en infraestructura
ambiental, sistemas energéticos y ecosistemas como buenas apuestas para la
recuperación económica. Puede ser que otros países se sientan inseguros acerca de
los potenciales retornos de las inversiones en servicios de ecosistemas, como el
almacenamiento de carbono mediante la preservación de bosques o el desarrollo de
energías renovables para el 80 por ciento de los africanos que no tienen acceso a
electricidad. Otros más pueden simplemente no saber cómo seguir el ejemplo de los
pioneros de manera más precisa.

A principios de febrero, el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente
convocará a algunos de los principales economistas del mundo a la sede de la ONU en
Nueva York. Se trazará una estrategia para un Nuevo Trato Ecológico Global, adaptado
los diferentes desafíos de cada país, con el fin de ayudar a los gobernantes y ministros
del mundo a diseñar paquetes de estímulo que funcionen en distintos frentes.

El Nuevo Trato Ecológico Global, que el PNUMA planteó como concepto en octubre de
2008, es una respuesta a las actuales dificultades de la economía. Sin embargo, si
estos paquetes de estímulo se asignan con buen criterio, pueden marcar tendencias de
gran alcance y poder de transformación, y generar así las condiciones de una
Economía Verde más sostenible, y urgentemente necesaria, para el siglo veintiuno.

Los billones de dólares que se han puesto en movimiento para enfrentar los problemas
actuales, junto con los billones de los inversionistas que esperan a ver el curso de los

acontecimientos, representan una oportunidad impensable hace apenas 12 meses.: la
posibilidad de emprender un rumbo más inteligente y eficiente en el uso de los recursos,
que pueda enfrentar retos que vayan desde el cambio climático a la escasez de
recursos naturales, la carencia de agua y la pérdida de la biodiversidad.

Inflar a ciegas con miles de millones el actual rescate financiero de industrias viejas y
modelos económicos exhaustos será como malgastar buen dinero en una mala hipoteca
del futuro de nuestros hijos. En lugar de ello, los líderes políticos deben usar estas
oportunidades para invertir en innovación, promover negocios sostenibles y estimular
nuevos patrones de empleo decente y duradero.

Achim Steiner, uno de los vicesecretarios generales de la ONU, Director Ejecutivo del
Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente.

Also appeared in ElTiempo (Colombia)

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Jornal de Negócios (Portugal): Umnovo tratado ecológico global

25 Fevereiro 2009

Achim Steiner

Numa época em que o desemprego dispara, o número de falências aumenta e os
mercados accionistas estão em queda livre, à primeira vista poderá parecer sensato
abandonar a luta contra as alterações climáticas e suspender os investimentos no meio

Numa época em que o desemprego dispara, o número de falências aumenta e os
mercados accionistas estão em queda livre, à primeira vista poderá parecer sensato
abandonar a luta contra as alterações climáticas e suspender os investimentos no meio
ambiente. No entanto, essa escolha seria um erro devastador, com consequências
imediatas e intergeracionais.

Longe de significarem um encargo adicional para uma economia mundial que está já
demasiado pressionada e sobrecarregada, os investimentos em prol do meio ambiente
são precisamente a receita necessária para criar empregos, aumentar as encomendas
e voltar a encarrilar as economias.

No passado, as preocupações com o ambiente eram vistas como um luxo; actualmente
são uma necessidade. Trata-se de uma questão que alguns - mas não todos -
arquitectos da economia compreenderam.

Grande parte do pacote de estímulo económico proposto pelo presidente norte-
americano Barack Obama para os Estados Unidos, no valor de 825 mil milhões de
dólares, destina-se a incentivar as energias renováveis, a "aclimatar" um milhão de
casas e a melhorar a rede eléctrica do país, que é hoje ineficiente. Estima-se que esses
investimentos poderão gerar cerca de cinco milhões de postos de trabalho "verdes",

além de relançarem as indústrias da construção e do equipamento. E deverão também
permitir que os Estados Unidos voltem a focalizar-se no tema, igualmente sério, da luta
contra as alterações climáticas e da segurança energética.

A República da Coreia, que está a perder empregos pela primeira vez em mais de cinco
anos, também identificou o lado positivo destes tempos difíceis. O governo do
presidente Lee Myung-Bak pretende investir 38 mil milhões de dólares num projecto
criador de empregos: o saneamento de quatro dos principais rios do país, através da
construção de estações de tratamento de águas, e a edificação de diques de forma a
reduzir os riscos decorrentes dos desastres naturais.

Entre outros elementos que figuram no plano de Lee Myung-Bak incluem-se a
construção de redes de transportes de baixo impacto ambiental - como os comboios de
alta velocidade e centenas de quilómetros de vias para ciclistas -, a produção de
energia a partir do metano de aterros sanitários, bem como o investimento em
tecnologias para veículos híbridos.

Na China, Japão e Reino Unido estão igualmente previstos planos semelhantes,
criadores de empregos, através de pacotes de estímulo para um "Novo Tratado
Ecológico". E são igualmente relevantes para as economias em desenvolvimento, em
termos de criação de empregos, combate à pobreza e criação de novas oportunidades
numa época de crescente incerteza em torno dos preços e do volume de exportações
das matérias-primas.

Na África do Sul, a iniciativa "Working for Water" lançada pelo governo - e que emprega
mais de 30.000 pessoas, incluindo mulheres, jovens e deficientes - apoia-se igualmente
nas oportunidades que podem surgir com a crise. O país gasta cerca de 60 milhões de
dólares por ano combate à infestação de plantas exógenas invasivas que ameaçam a
vida selvagem indígena, as reservas de água, importantes destinos turísticos e as terras

Esta iniciativa continuará a expandir-se, com a colheita de mais de 40 milhões de
toneladas destas plantas exógenas invasivas que serão convertidas em combustível
para centrais eléctricas. Consequentemente, prevê-se que sejam gerados
aproximadamente 500 megawatts de electricidade - o que corresponde a 2% das
necessidades de energia eléctrica do país -, de par com mais de 5.000 postos de

Assim sendo, é evidente que alguns países vêem actualmente os investimentos em
infra-estrutura ambiental, em sistemas energéticos e em ecossistemas como sendo a
melhor das apostas para a recuperação económica. Outros poderão duvidar dos
potenciais retornos do investimento em serviços de ecossistemas, como o
armazenamento de carbono mediante a preservação da floresta ou o desenvolvimento
de energias renováveis para os 80% de africanos que não têm acesso à electricidade.
Outros há que simplesmente talvez não saibam como seguir adequadamente o exemplo
dos pioneiros.

Em inícios de Fevereiro, o Programa das Nações Unidas para o Meio Ambiente
(PNUMA) convocou alguns dos principais economistas mundiais para uma reunião na
sede da ONU, em Nova Iorque, onde foi traçada uma estratégia para um Novo Tratado
Ecológico Global, adaptado aos diferentes desafios de cada país, para ajudar os

governantes de todo o mundo a delinearem pacotes de estímulo económico que
funcionem em várias frentes.

O Novo Tratado Ecológico Global, que o PNUMA lançou como conceito em Outubro de
2008, é uma resposta às actuais dificuldades da economia. Se estes pacotes de
estímulo orçamental forem atribuídos com discernimento, poderão dar origem a
tendências abrangentes e transformacionais, criando condições para uma Economia
Verde mais sustentável, tão necessária no século XXI.
Os biliões de dólares que foram mobilizados para fazer face à actual crise financeira, de
par com os biliões de dólares dos investidores estão à espera de aplicar, constituem
uma oportunidade que era impensável há 12 meses: a oportunidade de adoptar uma via
mais eficiente e inteligente em matéria de recursos, capaz de lidar com um vasto leque
de problemas, das alterações climáticas à escassez de recursos naturais, passando
pela penúria de água e pela perda de biodiversidade.

Injectar cegamente os milhares de milhões de dólares dos actuais planos de resgate de
indústrias obsoletas e de modelos económicos esgotados será um terrível desperdício
de dinheiro e hipotecará o futuro dos nossos filhos. Os dirigentes mundiais devem, em
vez disso, aproveitar a ocasião para investirem na inovação, promoverem empresas
sustentáveis e incentivarem novos padrões de emprego decente e duradouro.

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                              Other Environment News

AFP: EU calls on US to help lead climate change fight

Wed Apr 15, 2:40 pm ET

European Union environment ministers called on the United States Wednesday to help
the bloc lead and finance the battle against climate change.

"The EU has been the leader of the international debate. We want to keep on and to
offer a co-leadership to the US," said Czech minister Martin Bursik, whose country holds
the rotating EU presidency.

"We need to build a coalition. It cannot be done unilaterally on the EU side," he told
reporters after a meeting of EU environment ministers in Prague.

Earlier this month in Prague, US President Barack Obama vowed that the United States
was "now ready to lead" on climate change, breaking with his predecessor George W.
Bush, whose stance had long frustrated Europeans.

So far, the US has agreed to cut its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, while Europe has
pledged to cut its own emissions by at least 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2020, and 30
percent if other advanced economies follow suit.

Bursik said he could see progress in the US, and if the Obama administration sticks to
its plan, "it would be a very good starting point."

He also urged a deal on financing the battle against climate change ahead of a summit
in Copenhagen in December, which is expected to produce a new climate treaty to
replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.

"Without a financial package we can hardly succeed in Copenhagen," Bursik said,
calling the summit "vital."

EU commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas agreed that "without money we are
not going to get anywhere. No money, no deal."

"It is not only an obligation of the EU to come with fundings and figures... the United
States, Japan and all the developed countries should contribute," he added.

He said some 175 billion euros would be required annually until 2020 to fight climate
change, and that the EU would need to have "a fair equitable contribution."

Up to now, the EU has been reluctant to disclose the amount of funding it would provide
to combat climate change.

"It would not be the most useful thing... if we just delivered a sum and did not have the
others around the table to state their part," said Swedish environment minister Andreas

Carlgren, whose country will hold the EU presidency at the time of the Copenhagen

"The next step is to define what will be a fair share and for that we need a sustainable
and predictable funding," he said.

He urged other countries "to participate in our leadership with ambitious targets and
ambitious contributions."

Bursik said on Tuesday it would take another 23 billion to 54 billion euros overall to
adapt to the effects of climate change such as extreme floods, retreating Alpine glaciers
and huge changes in precipitation patterns.

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AFP: Climate change 'tops Australians' security fears'

Wed Apr 15, 11:49 am ET

Australians believe climate change is the biggest security challenge facing their country
and are largely relaxed about the rise of China, a government report released
Wednesday showed.

The report, which canvassed community attitudes as part of a review of the country's
defence forces, also found that Australians were interested in friendly relations with

The findings are in sharp contrast to a similar study conducted in the late 1990s, when
Australians ranked Indonesia as one of the country's major threats.

The chairman of the Defence White Paper Community Consultation Programme, former
senator Stephen Loosley, said it was clear that Australians' attitude to Asia had changed
over the past decade.

Loosley said the racist fear of "yellow peril" -- a belief that Asia's largest population was
a threat to Australia -- was "on life support".

"I suspect that the notion of the yellow peril is now 40-50 years out of date," he said.

"There's a sense that Australia's geo-strategic circumstances are changing over time
and Australians are cautious but there was no culpable sense that China was emerging
as a threat... China was seen more in terms of being an economic partner."

The report also found that Australians were concerned about terrorism but it was no
longer "front of mind" and that climate change was regarded as the most serious security

"In particular, people expect that climate change will diminish food and water supplies,
displace populations and trigger more frequent and more severe weather events," it

"In turn they anticipate an ongoing and increased demand for Australian Defence Force
intervention in stabilisation, humanitarian and disaster-relief operations in the region and
a greater demand for ADF contributions to similar operations globally."

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AFP: Australia launches 'clean coal' institute

Thu Apr 16, 3:37 am ET

Australia has launched what it described as a major initiative to develop clean coal
technology, saying it could play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute's
launch showed Australia was facing up to its responsibilities as the world's largest coal

Rudd said the institute, founded with 100 million dollars (70 million US) of government
money, would help develop technology that allowed coal emissions to be captured and
safely stored.

"Carbon capture and storage is not the only answer to the climate change challenge," he

"But it is a very important part of the global transition to a lower carbon global economy,
a transformation of the global economy every bit as significant as the industrial
revolution in the 18th century and the information revolution of recent times."

The institute's goal is to develop technology capable of "geosequestration" -- where
carbon dioxide gases from coal that are blamed for global warming are captured,
compressed and stored in stable rock formations in the Earth's crust.

It aims to develop 20 commercially viable carbon capture and storage plants globally by

Rudd said such technology was necessary because it was a "cold, hard reality" that coal
would remain the globe's major source of energy for many years to come.

He said 85 nations, corporations and institutions had signed up to join the institute since
it was first proposed seven months ago.

General Electric Australia and New Zealand chief executive Steve Sargent said the
institute could help develop a way to reduce coal emissions.

"The long-term viability of this industry depends on our ability to use our technology and
know-how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the process of generating electricity
from coal," he said.

But Greenpeace said the institute was a public relations exercise designed to take the
heat off the heavily polluting coal industry, describing the goal of building 20 plants by
2020 as "impossible."

"The government is making sure that Australia remains dependant on dirty coal well into
the future, even though the government itself admits that emissions from coal are
directly related to climate change," Greenpeace said.

"This goal is impossible and the government knows that -- they?re just using spin to try
and buy an extension for their fossil fuel industry buddies."

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Reuters: Australia CO2 scheme "weak, may be worthless"

Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:13am EDT

Australia's planned emissions trading scheme might not be worth implementing without
raising the upper limit of emissions cuts from 15 to 25 percent by 2020, the scheme's
architect said on Thursday.

The government's top climate adviser, Ross Garnaut, expressed doubts during a
parliamentary inquiry into the planned scheme.

"If there were no changes at all it would be a lineball call whether it was better to push
ahead or...have another crack at it and do a better one when the time is right," Garnaut

The scheme, which targets cuts of between 5-15 percent of 2000 levels by 2020, has
come under criticism from green groups for being too soft and by business groups for
being too tough.

Australia's scheme would be the world's broadest, covering 75 percent of emissions.
Around 1,000 of the largest polluters, from transport operators and aluminum makers to
gas producers and refineries, will have to pay to pollute.

Australia's Labor government wants to have emission trading laws passed by parliament
this year for the scheme to start by July 2010. But the scheme faces sweeping revision
and possible delays after opposing Senate lawmakers joined forces to agree on an
intensive two-month parliamentary review.

"The government will have to make serious changes to the legislation if it actually wants
it to pass," Senator Christine Milne, deputy leader of the Australian Greens, said on

The 2020 emission targets of 5-15 per cent below 2000 levels were much too weak to
fairly contribute to the global task of preventing dangerous climate change, she said.

Milne said there was little incentive for industry to cut emissions as the scheme gave too
much compensation to business and lacked restrictions on the purchase of foreign

Garnaut also called for limits on free permits and more funding for green technology.


The Australian emissions trade scheme will see a large portion of its carbon credits
auctioned, unlike EU emissions allowances which are given out free. The aim is to push
companies to pollute less or face ever-rising permit costs.

"There are some things that could be done that may reduce the compromise in the ETS
to an extent that would make it worthwhile," Garnaut said.

He said he was worried the emissions trading scheme gives too many free permits to
industry and wanted an "escape clause" which would make it easier to stop their

Greens politicians also want tougher targets, while conservative opposition parties want
the scheme delayed until 2012 to soften the blow for businesses that will shoulder higher

The government needs the support of the opposition, or the five Greens and two
independents, to pass the carbon trade laws in the Senate.

It has said it wants the carbon trading laws passed before a U.N.-backed meeting in the
Danish capital, Copenhagen, in December that will bring together nearly 190 nations to
try to seal broader climate pact to replace or update the Kyoto Protocol.

It has also said it will back a 15 percent cut if other rich nations commit to similar cuts at

Australia, the world's biggest coal exporter and a growing supplier of LNG, accounts for
1.5 percent of global carbon emissions but is one of the highest per-capita polluters, with
80 percent of electricity from coal-fired power stations.

Australia's major exporting polluters, including iron ore and aluminum producers BHP
Billiton, Alcoa and Rio Tinto, and LNG producers Chevron and Woodside Petroleum, will
get significant exemptions for their emissions.

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Reuters: Singapore scientists say can turn CO2 into biofuel

Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:53am EDT

Scientists in Singapore say they have found a way to turn planet-warming carbon
dioxide into clean-burning methanol using a process that uses less energy than previous

The scientists at the state-backed Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology said
on Thursday they used non-toxic organocatalysts to make ethanol, a biofuel that is also
used as an industrial feedstock.

In a statement, the institute said the team, led by Yugen Zhang, used N-heterocyclic
carbenes (NHCs), an organocatalyst in the chemical reaction with carbon dioxide.

NHCs are stable and the reaction between NHCs and carbon dioxide can take place
under mild conditions in dry air, the statement said, adding only a small amount of the
catalyst was needed.

The process also used hydrosilane, a combination of silica and hydrogen.

"Hydrosilane provides hydrogen, which bonds with carbon dioxide in a reduction
reaction. This carbon dioxide reduction is efficiently catalyzed by NHCs even at room
temperature," Zhang said in the statement.

"Methanol can be easily obtained from the product of the carbon dioxide reaction,"
Zhang added.

Previous attempts to turn CO2 into more useful products have required more energy
input and a much longer reaction time, the team said.

But they didn't say how the process could be scaled up to fight climate change by
capturing and transforming some of the billions of tons of CO2 produced annually by
burning fossil fuels.

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Reuters: Most green products seen to make false claims

Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:26pm EDT

Just 2 percent of the growing number of self-proclaimed green products on store shelves
make completely legitimate claims on their labels, a report by consulting firm
TerraChoice Environmental Marketing said on Wednesday.

The remainder commit "greenwashing" sins, that is they mislead consumers about the
environmental benefits of a product or the practices of a company, said TerraChoice,
which runs the Canadian government's eco-labeling program and counts companies as
diverse as Canon and Husky Energy among its customers.

The number of green products available in stores surveyed by TerraChoice increased
dramatically between 2007 and 2009, the report said, and marketing claims became
more creative.

TerraChoice increased its list of greenwashing sins this year to seven from six, adding
"worship of false labels" for marketers who mimic third-party environmental certifications
on their products to entice consumers.

Other sins in the report include lack of proof, vagueness, irrelevance and outright lying.
Products that make environmental claims and are sold in big box stores in the United
States, Canada, Britain, and Australia were surveyed.

TerraChoice researchers recorded product details, claims, supporting information, and
manufacturers' offers of more information or support.

They then tested the claims against best practice guidelines provided by the Canadian
Competition Bureau, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the Australian Consumer and
Competition Commission, and the standard for environmental labeling set by the
International Organization for Standardization.

"The good news is that the growing availability of green products shows that consumers
are demanding more environmentally responsible choices and that marketers and
manufacturers are listening", said TerraChoice Chief Executive Scott McDougall.

"The bad news is that TerraChoice's survey of 2,219 consumer products in Canada and
the U.S. shows that 98 percent committed at least one sin of greenwashing and that
some marketers are exploiting consumers' demand for third-party certification by
creating fake labels or false suggestions of third-party endorsement."

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                               ROA MEDIA UPDATE
                         THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                              Thursday, April 16 2009

                               General Environment News

Nigeria: Shell to Pay N1 Million Over Oil Spill Fire

Daily Trust (Lagos): Royal Dutch oil giant Shell Petroleum Development Company
(SPDC) has been fined N1 million over failure to clean up oil spill sites in which resulted
in an inferno that destroy some part of Perema-biri community, in southern Ijaw Local
government Area of Bayelsa state. The financial penalty was imposed by the National
Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) as required by its Act which stated
that the fine should be paid within 14-day from the date of receipt of such a letter from
the Agency. A statement from the NOSDRA yesterday said apart from the financial
sanction, Shell will also pay compensation to the victims in the community after
determined the level of damage caused by the fire incident.

The Agency said it has already set up a team to ascertain the level of damage done by
the fire in the community and which action will follow some. When contacted yesterday
the Corporate Affairs Department of Shell didn't ignore the incident but promised to
comment officially on the issues today (Wednesday). The NOSDRA accused Shell of
negligence, saying that the incident occurred as a "result of the negligence and
lackadaisical attitude of shell in effecting immediate clean up of spill in the community".
The statement said, the Director General of NOSDRA, Dr Bamidele A. Ajakaiye had
personally written a letter to Shell management to remind them on the spill following a
complaint received on 26th September 2008 from the community.

Tunisia: Presentation of a Guide of Potential Wind-Farming Sites

Tunisia Online (Tunis): During a seminar held in Tunis on Tuesday, a guide identifying
potential sites of wind-farms was presented to professionals and journalists attending the
seminar. The guide dubbed "Atlas Eolien de la Tunisie", is the fruit of a joint
collaboration between the Tunisian energy saving agency (ANME) and Spain's centre of
renewable energies. The realization of the guide necessitated the setting of wind
measuring instruments in 17 different sites in the country, as well as the use of statistics
and data provided by the national meteorological centre.

In his opening address to the seminar, the Secretary of State in charge of renewable
energies and food industries, Mr Abdelaziz Rassaa said that the Tunisian gas and
electricity company (STEG) has built wind-farms in the region of Bizerta with a capacity
of 120 MW. The wind-farms are expected to become operational in 2011, he added. This
new facility comes in addition to the Sidi Daoud plant which has a capacity of 55 MW. Mr
Rassaa also noted that a law promulgated in February 2009 gives incentives to
industrial, agricultural or tertiary establishments which produce electricity from renewable
energies for their own consumption. These establishments will benefit from the
transportation of the electricity thus produced by the national electrical network. 60 MW

of the electricity produced by wind- farms, will be allocated to these enterprises which
are great consumers of energy.

Eritrea: Anseba Region - Ministry Gives Training On Efficient Water Resource

Shabait (Asmara): The Ministry of Land, Water and Environment branch office in Anseba
region gave training on efficient water resource management aimed at ensuring reliable
supply. The head of the office, Mr. Zere Woldetinsae, indicated that staff members of
water supply departments from all the sub-zones of the region took part in the training
that focused on management and utilization of water resource, technical mode of
operation of solar energy and motors, among others.

Noting that a similar training was given previously and that it would be enhanced in the
future, Mr. Zere explained that the training would make due contribution in tackling
problems regarding distribution and management of water resource.

Likewise, the head of economic development in the region, Mr. Kibrom Andemichael,
outlined the major development programs being implemented in the region with a view to
improving the living condition of the people. In this respect, he stated that at a time when
underground water resource is diminishing a result of climate change, the public should
practice judicious utilization of water, besides stepping up soil and water conservation

Ethiopia: Country Poised to Celebrate First Earth Day

Daily Monitor (Addis Ababa): Earth Day 2009 will be celebrated in Ethiopia for the first
time in Ethiopia as the country scales up efforts towards the maintaining and
conservation of the natural environment, the ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development (MoARD) said on Tuesday. The day to also mark the beginning of the
Green Generation Campaign in the country is being organized by a committee drawn
from health, environment and community development professionals, including
stakeholders and Ethiopia's development partners.

Earth Day is a global phenomenon that began 39 years ago, with the goal to highlight
the importance of protecting our environment and how doing so will benefit human
health and communities, Dr. Abera Deressa, State Minister of Agriculture and Rural
Development (MoARD) said at the joint press conference held at his office with Oxfam
America Regional Director and Addis Ababa University Horn of Africa Region
Environmental Center Director. The state minister said, day would the general public
with the opportunity to learn how their health and community's well being is dependent
on the protection of our natural environment. He said activities planned will focus on
informing the Ethiopian population on the current environmental challenges Ethiopia is
facing, what the government, institutions and individuals are doing about it, and how
each Ethiopian can get involved in creating a "Green Generation "in Ethiopia.

The Green Generation includes ordinary people who are engaged in individual and
collective activities to improve their health, to improve their schools, to participate in
building a solution to urgent national and global issues, such as climate change or the
world water crises.

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                            ROLAC MEDIA UPDATE
                        THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                          Wednesday, April 15 2009

                              General Environment News
 I English:
 1-Regional – Safe Hospitals and Disasters
 2- Regional - OAS calls on Caribbean leaders to work together at summit
 3- Brazil - Cattle, not soy, drives Amazon deforestation: report
 4-Brazil - Dirty energy threat to green Brazil
 5- Brazil - Brazilian faces retrial over murder of environmental activist nun in
 6-Cuba - Cuba boosts bio-mass as renewable source of energy
 7- Cuba - Genetically Modified Maize Finds Its Way to Cuba's Fields
 8- Guyana - President determined to have hydropower in Guyana
 9 - Panamá - Fishing boats monitored
 10- Panama - Law enacted to protect Coiba National Park

 II Spanish:
 11- Regional - ¿América en peligro?
 12- Chile - Basura flotante provoca grave contaminación en los mares de la X
1- Regional – Safe Hospitals and Disasters


This cannot be accomplished without a vital element: our hospitals. However, more than
half of them--that is, over 8,000 in Latin America and the Caribbean, are located in high-
risk areas. If these health facilities cease their operations because of a disaster, the
repercussions will be infinitely worse. This year, therefore, World Health Day
underscored the need for safe hospitals.

Safe hospitals are facilities where services remain accessible and that operate at full
capacity in their own infrastructure immediately following a disaster. To ensure this, they
must have the maximum protection possible, access routes to them must remain open,
and drinking water, electricity, and telecommunications services must keep operating. All
this will guarantee the continuous operation of hospitals and enable them to absorb the
additional demand for medical care.

Building safe hospitals is feasible from both a technical and an economic standpoint. In
fact, studies show that if the recommended measures for mitigating the risks of natural
disasters are integrated into the planning and design stages of a new hospital, the cost
of building and equipping a safe hospital is practically the same as for a vulnerable
hospital. In contrast, according to a study by ECLAC, an unsafe hospital generates
millions of dollars in losses in infrastructure, equipment, and materials when the hospital
is damaged during a natural disaster, as well as indirect economic and high human and

health costs.

The safe hospital strategy advocated by the Pan American Health Organization calls for
all new hospitals to be built in compliance with safety standards. Countries such as
Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru have created national safe hospital programs, and Central
America is working on an ambitious plan to implement this initiative in Costa Rica, El
Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. In the Caribbean, countries such as
Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Jamaica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and
the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago are using the Hospital Safety Index, created
to evaluate safety levels in 145 different areas. Bolivia and Paraguay also have been
working on this regard.

Moreover, specific measures are urgently needed to increase the safety of existing
health facilities. Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Cayman Islands, Mexico, and
Peru have been successful in this regard. The costs are higher, but they are always
lower than the tremendous losses that disasters inflict on facilities that have not been

In reducing hospital vulnerability to natural disasters, humanitarian and public health
considerations should be first and foremost, although reducing vulnerability in itself is an
excellent investment. The decisionmakers responsible for public investments that affect
the community should bear in mind that citizens are very conscious of the key message
of World Health Day 2009: ―When Disaster Strikes, Safe Hospitals Save Lives.‖

2- Regional - OAS calls on Caribbean leaders to work together at summit


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin has
called on leaders due to attend the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain later
this week to work together to tackle the many challenges of the hemisphere.

Ramdin made the call on the BBC Caribbean report.

He said it would be critically important for regional leaders to meet and talk collectively
about the problems of their countries.

Energy, food, the environment and the financial crisis are among the matters on the
Summit's agenda.

All the Caribbean leaders are scheduled to attend the April 17-19 Summit and the White
House has already announced that US President Barack Obama will meet with the
CARICOM leaders at a separate session.

Obama, during his two day stay in Port of Spain, also plans to meet Latin American
leaders at another forum.


3- Brazil - Cattle, not soy, drives Amazon deforestation: report

04 – 14 – 09

BRASILIA, Brazil (Reuters). - Cattle ranchers are far bigger culprits in Amazon
deforestation than soy farmers, a study showed on Tuesday, as the environmental
record of Brazil's commodity exporters comes under increasing international scrutiny.

The study, produced jointly by environmental groups and the soy industry, showed that
only 12 of 630 sample areas deforested since July 2006 -- or 0.88 percent of 157,896
hectares (390,000 acres) -- were planted with soy.

By comparison, nearly 200 were converted into pasture land for cattle. The rest of the
deforested areas had not yet been put to use.

"The big villain of Amazon destruction is cattle ranching," said Paulo Adario, Amazon
campaign coordinator with Greenpeace, one of the groups that sponsored the report.

Each year country-sized chunks of the world's largest rain forest are devastated,
although the rate has fallen sharply from a few years ago and preliminary data shows it
fell further in the past 10 months.

In addition to loggers, ranchers and peasants, large-scale farmers are often blamed for
contributing to the devastation as Brazil's agricultural frontier has expanded due to
strong foreign demand for the country's commodities in recent years.

Brazil is the world's biggest beef exporter and the second-largest exporter of soy, much
of which is bought by China.

Adario said the size of deforested plots had been falling consistently in recent years.
That suggests that soy farmers, who require large areas to be efficient, were no longer
involved directly in clearing forest.


Brazil's soy industry, with exports of $18 billion last year, agreed in July 2006 not to trade
soy from deforested areas.

That accord helped prevent farmers from clearing large, new areas, the authors of the
report said.

"Soy is no longer a big threat to the Amazon," said Carlo Lovatelli, head of the soy
industry association Abiove.

Foreign farm competitors in the United States and Europe often criticize Brazilian
exports, such as sugar and beef, for contributing to deforestation.

Lovatelli acknowledged the accord did not cover about 10 percent of Brazil's soy output
and that mechanisms to control its implementation were still inadequate.

Asked what would happen to a farmer who planted soy illegally on deforested land,
Lovatelli said, "He'll sell to a Chinese trader on the spot market."

Some environmental economists say the expansion of soy has been to blame for
deforestation by displacing cattle ranchers deeper into the Amazon in search of cheaper

Still, Environment Minister Carlos Minc said the accord was a good first step.

"It's a model for other sectors to follow," said Minc, adding he was eyeing a similar
accord with the beef industry.

Brazil's government, which last year abandoned years of opposition to deforestation
targets, aims to reduce deforestation in the 12 months through July to about 9,500
square km (3,667 square miles) from 11,900 square km (4,595 square miles) the year

4- Brazil - Dirty energy threat to green Brazil

04 -13 - 09

Brazil boasts of being one of the world's "greenest" energy suppliers, but recent policy
initiatives could jeopardize its desire to be a big player in future climate change

"In the 1970s, Brazil's energy production was dominated by two sources, wood and oil,"
says Maurício Tolmasquim, president of Brazil's Energy Research Company (EPE).

As its economy has expanded, so has its demand for energy, but even now, 46% of
Brazil's energy production is from renewable sources.

This compares with the global average of only 13%, making Brazil one of the greenest
countries in the world.

BBC Brasil has been back to its home country as part of a series looking at where the
fast-growing Bric economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) will be in 2020.

But despite a proud record as a green energy producer, it found that Brazil's
environmental credentials are under threat.

Hydro-electric power

Much of Brazil's energy comes from hydro-electric plants, but the licensing of these is
notoriously difficult.

The result is a push towards thermoelectric plants, which are easier to get permission to

"We are being forced to accept more expensive and less environmentally sound plants,"
argues Maurício Tolmasquin.

Still, fossil fuel's share of Brazil's energy production is small, accounting for only 10% of
the total.

But the new thermoelectric plants should take that share up to nearly 17%.

Some experts say they worry about the strategy. They believe that Brazil is giving out
the wrong signals.

Brazilian domestic energy consumption is predicted to grow by 3.3% a year on average
until 2030, according to a report by Ernst & Young and the economic research institute
Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV).

Yet its energy production is due to rise by 4.2% a year over the same period.

This means that Brazil is set to become one of the major world energy exporters by 2020
if it keeps building power stations and fulfils its potential as a major biofuel producer.

Booming biofuels

Advocates of Brazil's energy strategy point with pride to its biofuel production.

They are quick to highlight the differences between Brazil's sugar cane ethanol and the
corn-based ethanol produced in the United States.

While the latter is also an important food, sugar cane is generally considered a more
efficient and less power-hungry alternative.

However, Brazilian ethanol is still far from being a global commodity, even though the
Ernst and Young report foresees a "gradual reduction" in international trade barriers,
such as import tariffs.

There are also expectations that within the next decade, so-called second-generation
Brazilian ethanol could become a reality.

Instead of being extracted from sugar cane itself, it would use by-products currently
discarded, such as sugar cane's fibrous residue and harvest leftovers.

The Brazilian government forecasts a 150% growth in ethanol production until 2020.

However, ethanol's world market share is still small, with some estimates putting ethanol
consumption at only 1% of that of oil.

Oil rush

Compared to the other Bric countries (Russia, India and China), only the Russians have
gas and oil reserves large enough to make them liquid fuel exporters.

Recent discoveries of massive underwater oil reserves in an area stretching some
800km along the south-eastern coast of Brazil has raised the possibility that Brazil could
also be a big oil exporter.

However, there are also huge technical difficulties to overcome before the oil can be
tapped. The reserves are buried some 7km underneath the sea bed - which makes its
exploration very expensive.

Some figures put the initial investment for exploration at about $1 trillion, so oil would
need to be priced at about $40 (£27) a barrel to make it viable.

But with exploration and production costs falling, Brazil seems set to receive a huge
economic boost as it heads toward 2020.

Lost opportunity

Carlos Nobre, from Brazil's National Institute for Spatial Research (Inpe), says "a great
chance" of making Brazil "the cleanest" country in the world could be lost.

He says that Brazil's strategies for solar, wind and biomass power are poor when
compared to developed countries.

"Clean countries will be granted great credibility in the future. They will be leading the
world. And Brazil has the potential to do that," he says.

Despite its investment in biofuels, Mr Nobre believes that plans for new thermoelectric
plants reflect "very short-term" thinking by the Brazilian government.

"You only need to look at the prices of oil and coal to see that their long-term use will be

Mr Nobre says that Brazil runs the risk of falling behind technologically by not investing
in alternative energy.

"If all countries are walking in the same direction and we're not, we're risking Brazil's
technological future," he says.

5- Brazil - Brazilian faces retrial over murder of environmental activist nun in

04 – 08 - 09

Court orders arrest of man accused of masterminding the murder of rainforest
campaigner Dorothy Stang

A Brazilian court has ordered the arrest and retrial of an Amazon rancher acquitted of
orchestrating the murder of American nun and rainforest activist, Dorothy Stang.

Para state's highest court threw out last year's verdict, which found Vitalmiro Bastos de
Moura not guilty of the 2005 shooting of Stang, 73, who campaigned for 30 years to
save the Amazon rainforest from the interests of wealthy landlords.

"We're elated and we are convinced we will get a guilty verdict in the new trial," said
prosecutor Edson Souza.

Souza said Moura was charged with ordering Stang's murder but he had yet to be

Stang was shot six times at close range with a revolver in the small jungle city of Anapu.
The nun, from Dayton, Ohio, spent three decades on the Amazon's wild frontier, working
to preserve the rainforest and defend the rights of poor settlers whose lands were seized
by powerful ranchers.

Her death prompted Amazon activists – more than 1,000 of whom have been murdered
in the last 20 years – to demand Brazil's government crack down on the illegal seizure
and clearance of the rainforest to graze cattle, raise soy crops and harvest timber.

"I am excited that perhaps Dorothy will find justice," David Stang, the nun's brother,
wrote in an email to the Associated Press.

He has travelled from his home in Palmer Lake, Colorado, to Brazil several times to
witness the trials. "All of us who love Brazil today are so proud of this great country, as
would Dorothy be proud today," he wrote.

Prosecutors said Moura and rancher Regivaldo Galvao hired gunmen to kill Stang over a
disputed plot of land.

Galvao, who denies the charge, was arrested in 2005 but was freed on bail in 2006.

Moura has already been tried twice in the case as Brazil has no double jeopardy law. He
was found guilty by a state court in 2007 and sentenced to 30 years in prison.That ruling
was overturned last year after the man who confessed to shooting Stang recanted his
earlier testimony, insisting he had acted alone. Gunman Rayfran das Neves Sales was
sentenced to 28 years in prison.

The court ruled yesterday that Moura and Sales must be retried because a video that
Moura's defence showed the jury was inadmissible.

That video depicting Amair Feijoli da Cunha, who was jailed for 17 years for acting as
the middleman between the gunman and the ranchers, was made while he was in prison
and without a judge's approval.

The video, made by the defence team, showed Cunha saying that Moura had nothing to
do with the case. He had testified earlier that Moura paid the hired gunmen.

Para court officials said no date had been set for the trials of Moura or Sales.

More than 1,100 activists, small farmers, judges, priests and other rural workers have
been killed in land disputes in the last two decades, according to the Catholic Land
Pastoral, a Brazilian watchdog group.

Of those killings, fewer than 100 cases have gone to court. About 80 convicted suspects
were hired gunmen for powerful ranchers and loggers seeking to expand their lands,
according to federal prosecutors and the watchdog.

About 15 of the men who hired them were found guilty but none of them are serving a
sentence today.

6-Cuba - Cuba boosts bio-mass as renewable source of energy

04 - 15 – 09

GUANTANAMO, Cuba (ACN) .- Cuba, with the support of the Swiss Agency for
Development and Cooperation, known in Latin America with the acronym COSUDE, is
investing in a research program named "Bio-Mass as a Renewable Source of Energy for
the countryside".

The Cuban provinces to benefit the most from this initiative, to conclude in 2011, are
eastern Las Tunas, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo, though it will later be extended
to the central and western Cuban regions.

Bio-mass is the main energy renewable source in Cuba, and its definition is organic
matter originated in a biological process, spontaneous or caused, which can be used as
an energy source.

Almost 3 million dollars have been invested in this project, whose main goal is to boost
the production of biogas, a fuel obtained from the decomposition of organic matter when
there is lack of oxygen in the air.

In statements to ACN news agency José Sotolongo MSc, founder of the Application of
Technologies for a Sustainable Development Center, said that they plan to obtain this
bio fuel by processing the waste from coffee beans, rice and forestry residues.

This entity is one of the participants in the Project, which also includes de Indio Hatuey
Experimental Station, from Matanzas University, the Sugar Cane Research Institute, and
the Science and Technology's Agency's Priority Projects Group.

This last entity belongs to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, which
is the Cuban party in this project and which gives continuity to a scientific workshop that
ended today in this easternmost province.

7- Cuba - Genetically Modified Maize Finds Its Way to Cuba's Fields

With little fanfare, genetically modified maize produced by Cuba's genetic and
biotechnology engineering center, CIGB, is being grown on test plots as part of a
new project involving five of the Caribbean island's provinces.

HAVANA, Cuba (Tierramérica).- The CIGB, Cuba's leading institution in scientific
development, has been researching transgenesis of various plants for several years, in
programs that its directors say are kept under strict regulations to ensure biological and
environmental security.

But the experimental cultivation of genetically modified (GM) maize, or corn, has
sounded the alarm among academic experts linked to the farming sector.

The debate tends to be limited to scientific meetings and university classrooms, and not
everyone in agriculture seems to be aware of the issue.

Nor is the heated international controversy very well known here about the risks that GM
crops could pose for human health and biological diversity.

"I don't understand all that, but we have very good varieties here, like this one that I'm
growing, which is called 'canilla'. I have little land (one-eighth of a hectare), but I can also
grow lettuce, cabbage, some root vegetables, which is enough for me to eat and sell to
my neighbors," Leonida Sames, who lives in the outskirts of Havana, told Tierramérica.

Another Havana worker noted that "there is little information" about GM crops and
admitted that he had not read an article in the Cuban government-run press that
announced the beginning of "field trials" this year with a new grain that is resistant to the
fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), the leading corn pest.

Genetic modification also aims to achieve tolerance for a herbicide in order to achieve
greater yields, according to statements to the press by Raúl Armas, expert in plant
biotechnology and project coordinator at the CIGB bureau in Sancti Spiritus province.
The final objective is to obtains seeds that allow expanded production for human and
animal consumption, as long as the appropriate authorities approve them. In this first
phase, a total of 60 hectares of the GM variety will be planted in Cuba, reported the
state-run newspaper Juventud Rebelde. Without ignoring the fact that Cuba needs to
increase and adapt its deficient food production to adverse climate conditions, the

application of this technology is being refuted particularly by sectors that support organic
farming and recuperation and improvement of native variety through ecological

In its defense, CIGB scientists have said that their research does not seek profits for the
institution, but rather that the technology be used in a rational way, and as a complement
to conventional genetics and other important techniques that are being developed here
with good results.

"In the release of transgenics in Cuba I see a great threat to the overall agro-ecological
matrix of a strategic importance (not situation-specific) to our agrarian policy," Eduardo
Freyre, professor at the Agrarian University of Havana, told Tierramérica.

However, he wanted to clarify that his objections "are not intended to discredit" what his
country is doing in this area, and said there is a "high value" to the CIGB researchers'
work and efforts to provide "exceptional guarantees of biosafety."

But about the potential threats to health, he fears that, perhaps not in the short term, but
in the middle in long terms, GM foods could cause allergies, toxicity, immunological
problems, cancer, infertility and even endocrine alterations, said Freyre.

"Not to mention the possibility of transgenic contamination, which endangers wild
species and non-GM crops," added Freyre, author of a prize-winning essay on the
matter in the Cuban theoretical journal, "Temas", to be published in an upcoming edition.

In his opinion, this technology "is made to fit the interests of the multinational
corporations and the market." And taking into account its potential risks, it would be
better for Cuba to concentrate on agro-ecological alternatives already under way, even if
not sufficiently widespread.

Havana has been discreet on the matter even in negotiations taking place to agree on
international standards of responsibility and compensation for potential harm to
biodiversity caused by transborder movement of GM crops, covered in the 2000
Cartagena Protocol, ratified by Cuba in 2002.

Acknowledging that he is unaware of Cuba's position in those talks, Freyre noted that
the negotiations have yet to produce results and the reticent among the participants
include the United States and Argentina. "If they reach an agreement, it would be very
good for Cuba and the region," he said. For example, it would clear up doubts about
maize imported from the United States.

The talks have been going on for five years. Cuba was one of the countries in the Latin
American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) that attended as "friends of the co-chairs" of
the meeting held in February in Mexico to agree on the text of the standards.

Silvia Ribeiro, spokesperson in Latin America for the non-governmental ETC Action
Group (Erosion, Technology and Concentration), based in Canada, attended the
meeting as an observer. She lamented that GRULAC is the bloc that most clearly is
trying to delay or undermine an obligatory policy for responsibility for harm caused by
GM species.

"Cuba didn't speak much in the meeting, but by omission, it remains inside the positions
of the bloc, which is serious," the activist told Tierramérica. It is "lamentable" that after
many years of "quite strict position on the issue of biosafety, now (Cuba) proposes to
cultivate GM maize in open fields and to produce seeds."

"I'm sure that in Cuba there is strong debate on this, and that organic farmers and many
others, including academics, believe that this is a misstep, which places Cuba and its
natural diversity and its seeds under unnecessary threats," said Ribeiro from Mexico,
consulted by e-mail.

The planting of genetically modified crops began in 1996, and the are cultivated
worldwide now reaches 125 million hectares. The leaders are the United States,
Argentina, Brazil, Canada and China. In early March, the Mexican government gave the
green light for experimental cultivation of GM maize in that country.

8- Guyana - President determined to have hydropower in Guyana

04 – 15 – 09

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) - President Bharrat Jagdeo said despite the deadlock
effect of the global financial crisis on major investments in Guyana this year, the
establishment of hydropower resources in Guyana must be pursued.

While speaking to farmers recently during a visit to the Mahaica, Mahaicony and Abary
(MMA) areas, the Head of State highlighted the importance of these alternative sources
of energy.

―Cheaper electricity is vital to industrialization and this country shouldn’t be importing,
spending hundreds of millions of US dollars. When oil prices were US$147 per barrel we
were spending close to US$350M a year importing fuel to run this country,‖ Jagdeo said.

Studies have shown that Guyana with its vast cascading waterways has immense
potential for hydropower. The Turtruba Hydro Project in the Mazaruni, Region Seven has
been identified through a feasibility study in 2002 as one such that could supply power to
the Caribbean region.

The Enman group, a Trinidad-based company has projected that the Turtruba
Hydropower project has the potential of producing more than 11,000 megawatts of
power with minimal environmental degradation.

The hydropower technology which Enman proposes will allow isolated power sources to
be transmitted to Brazil and parts of the Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico,
the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica could be beneficiaries of the power supply.

The Amaila falls in Region Eight, is another potential location capable of supplying some
140 megawatts of power that has the capacity to satisfy 70 percent of Guyana’s
electricity needs.
It was envisaged that the Amaila falls project will include a US$200M hydro station
coupled with a dam and transmission lines.

Hydropower is however, among a list of the large-scale impending investments that were
put on hold as a result of the rippling effect of the global financial crisis.

The Head of State made reference to the US$1B alumina plant for the bauxite industry
to be constructed by a Chinese company but which was suspended. This project would
have been by far the largest investment for Guyana. Similar difficulties were also faced
with hydropower.

―We went out to bid for the hydropower and the people had difficulties raising the money
and they had some other technical difficulties. The hydropower price came in and now
it’s about US$600M but that has been delayed a bit,‖ President Jagdeo said.

He added that this challenge was added to the priority given to the construction of a
bridge across the Berbice River which was a project in the making since the 1960s.

Given that the bridge is now complete, Jagdeo said the next task is for the construction
of a hydropower station.

9 - Panamá - Fishing boats monitored


Panama City, Panama - Dozens of fishing vessels returned to the ocean yesterday
equipped with satellite tracking devices. Following months of delays, more than 100
fishing boats equipped with required satellite monitoring systems set sail last weekend.

The vessels left the docks in the capital at noon on Saturday, after undergoing
equipment inspections by the National Aquatic Resources Authority.

For shrimping boats, it was the first time they were permitted to set traps since a
moratorium was established Feb. 1 as a means of allowing local crustacean populations
to recover.

―The odds are good for shrimp fishing now that the price of diesel has dropped,‖ said
Rigoberto Mera, representative of the Marine Union. ―But better communication with
regulatory entities is required.‖

The satellite equipment was mandated for all fishing vessels by the maritime authority
last year in an attempt to help control illegal fishing. Antennas on each boat emit signals
every two hours that are tracked by agents at the authority’s various monitoring centers.

―This lets us know the location of the boat,‖ explained Raúl Delgado, director of the
Satellite Monitoring Unit for the Aquatic Resources Authority.

In addition to preventing poaching in protected waters, the system is intended to
facilitate communication between vessels in the case of an emergency.

Impulso Panamá, an organization that sponsors small businesses in the country,
subsidized the equipment, which cost about $2,000 per unit.

Owners of boats caught fishing in Panamanian waters without the required monitoring
equipment could be fined $50 per gross ton and face seizure of both the vessel and

10- Panama - Law enacted to protect Coiba National Park

04 –14- 09

Panamá city, Panamá - After eight months of fighting, the country's conservation
groups won an important battle in the preservation of Coiba National Park.

President Martín Torrijos has approved a law that prohibits certain types of tuna fishing
in the park. It was published in yesterday's Government Gazette.

Gabriela Etchelecu, director of Fundación MarViva, said this is a very positive
development, adding that much still remains to be done in the area of marine

Leslie Marín, the lawyer for the Coastal Marine Program of the Centro de Incidencia
Ambiental, also applauded the measure.

―Not only has the government taken action against the global crisis facing our oceans
and the species living there, but provided that fishing there will be sustainable,‖ Marín

II – Español:

11- Regional - ¿América en peligro?

04 -09 -09

Expertos en cambio climático en América del Sur y del Norte están cada vez más
preocupados por las posibles y devastadoras consecuencias del aumento en el nivel de
los mares, que según los más recientes estimados será mayor de lo que se había

Hasta ahora, el continente americano parecía ser menos vulnerable en comparación
con otras regiones del mundo, como por ejemplo algunas islas del Pacífico, Vietnam o

Sin embargo, el incremento en el rango del aumento en el nivel de mar en el futuro,
discutido en marzo en un encuentro de científicos en Copenhague, alarmó a los
observadores de la región.

Algunas partes del Caribe, México y Ecuador son consideradas las zonas que se
encuentran en mayor riesgo, así como Nueva York y ciertas regiones de Florida, en
Estados Unidos.

El informe elaborado por el Panel Intergubernamental sobre Cambio Climático (IPCC,
por sus siglas en inglés) en 2007 especuló que los niveles del mar podrían elevarse
entre 19 cm. y 59 cm. para fines de siglo, pero varios científicos en el encuentro de
Copenague creen que el nivel de los océanos podría aumentar un metro o más, aunque
se logren mantener bajas las emisiones de gases contaminantes en todo el mundo.

Vea el mapa de las ciudades en riesgo


Una de las principales razones que han provocado un cambio en las estimaciones es el
derretimiento de los hielos en los polos.

"Un aumento de un metro cambiará de forma irreversible la geografía de las áreas
costeñas en América Latina", le dijo a la BBC Walter Vergara, especialista en cambio
climático en la región del Banco Mundial.

"Por ejemplo, una elevación de un metro provocaría inundaciones en una zona de la
costa de Guyana, donde está situada el 70% de la población y el 40% de la tierra
cultivable. Esto implicaría una reorganización masiva de la economía del país".

Vergara y otros expertos también han expresado su preocupación por el efecto que esto
pueda tener en las costas anegadizas del Golfo de México.

"Los nuevos datos son alarmantes", señala Arnoldo Matus Kramer, investigador
especializado en la adaptación al cambio climático de la Universidad de Oxford.

"Cuando combinamos esta información con el crecimiento exponencial de la
urbanización y el turismo en la costa del Golfo de México y en el caribe mexicano, la
situación se torna preocupante".

El caso de Ecuador

Un estudio llevado a cabo en noviembre de 2008 por ONU-Hábitat sobre el estado de
diferentes ciudades del mundo señala que en la mayoría de los estados caribeños, el
50% de la población vive dentro de un radio de dos kilómetros de la costa. La población
de dicha región se verá directamente afectada por el incremento del nivel del mar y
otras consecuencias del cambio climático.

Según el Banco Mundial, las Bahamas, las Guyanas, Belice y Jamaica son los lugares
más expuestos al peligro si los océanos aumentan su nivel en un metro.

Las planicies costeras alrededor de la ciudad de Guayaquil, uno de los principales
centros económicos de Ecuador, también son vulnerables a una combinación de
aumento en el nivel del mar, tormentas y turbulencias marinas.

Un estudio reciente elaborado por investigadores de Espol, un instituto científico de
Guayaquil, indica que un aumento incluso de medio metro pondría bajo presión al
sistema de drenaje en caso de tormenta en la zona sur de la ciudad que,
eventualmente, podría llegar a colapsar.

La lucrativa industria pesquera de Ecuador, uno de los principales pilares de la
economía del país, también se vería amenazada.

"Un aumento de un metro en el nivel del mar constituiría una amenaza más para la
industria pesquera y camaronera", asegura Pilar Cornejo, científica de Espol y autora
del informe de la ONU sobre el tema.

De acuerdo a un estudio reciente del Banco Mundial, de más de 80 países en
desarrollo, Ecuador es uno de los primeros diez países que podrían verse afectados por
el aumento en el nivel del mar, si se hace el cálculo en relación al porcentaje Producto
Interno Bruto.

Argentina, México y Jamaica también están ubicados entre los diez puestos, si se mide
por el impacto que este incremento puede tener en las tierras cultivables.

Los científicos enfatizan que aún no se sabe con certeza cuánto aumentará el nivel de
los mares, ni tampoco cómo se comportarán las gigantescas placas de hielo en los
polos o sobre el tiempo que tomará el mar en aumentar sus niveles, ni cómo este
aumento interactuará con las condiciones costeras actuales.

Calentamiento global

Otro factor a tener en cuenta es el efecto que pueda tener el calentamiento global sobre
la circulación meridiana del Océano Atlántico (AMOC, por sus siglas en inglés), un gran
desplazamiento de aguas que tiene lugar en el Atlántico, donde las aguas cálidas de las
capas superficiales se dirigen hacia el norte mientras en lo más profundo del océano
una corriente de aguas frías se traslada hacia el sur.

Nuevos estudios llevados a cabo en la Universidad del estado de Florida por el Doctor
Jianjun Yin señalan que mientras las ciudades costeras de América del Sur no están
amenazadas este siglo por el aumento adicional del nivel del mar, sí lo están las ciudad
de Nueva York y el estado de Florida.

"Un aumento de un metro puede ser un desastre para algunas zonas de Florida,
particularmente en el sur del estado", le dijo Yin a la BBC.

"El incremento del nivel del mar sumado a la vulnerabilidad frente a los huracanes
hacen que la situación allí sea muy preocupante", agregó.

Según muchos científicos, todavía estamos a tiempo para mitigar los posibles efectos
de un aumento en el nivel de los mares.

"Es necesario reducir las emisiones de gases con efecto invernadero y reducir los
proyectos de urbanización en las zonas costeras", dice Yin.

"Es imperioso que los líderes de América Latina tomen en consideración estas nuevas
cifras sobre el aumento en el nivel de los mares a la hora de diseñar nuevas políticas",
afirma Arnoldo Matus Kramer.

"Actualmente, no lo están haciendo", concluye el experto.

12- Chile - Basura flotante provoca grave contaminación en los mares de la X

04 -13 -09

Las conclusiones corresponden a una investigación realizada por dos científicos de la
Universidad Católica del Norte y es de características alarmantes: plumavit que se
particula y es ingerido por aves, peces y animales acuáticos, sacos con alimentos para
salmón, botellas y bidones que están provocando un daño ecológico que
paulatinamente determina la migración de especies y amenaza a la fauna. Y aunque no
está probado, el virus ISA bien podría "migrar" hacia el sur gracias a estos tóxicos.

El mar de la X Región es afectado por una grave contaminación de basura flotante que
está provocando un daño ecológico en la zona y que amenaza con trasladarse hacia el
sector de Aysén y la Patagonia.

La conclusión se encuentra en un estudio -el primero en Chile- que realizaron los
científicos de la Universidad Católica del Norte (UCN) Iván Hinojosa y Martín Thiel
durante cuatro años, en coordinación con la Armada y el Comité Oceanográfico
Nacional (CONA), que revela la gravedad de la situación. Este hecho podría incluso
trasladarse a la salud de la población que consume productos de la zona.

El documento, al que tuvo acceso El, señala que la fauna está comiendo
de esta basura, que se convierte en fragmentos de tamaño microscópico, cuyos
compuestos químicos tóxicos afectan a los animales que viven en la zona.

"Algunos se asfixian, mientras otros pierden eficiencia para capturar comida o
reproducirse", señala el documento que aparecerá publicado -en inglés- en el Marine
Pollution Bulletin, el más prestigioso del mundo en esta materia.

Básicamente, la investigación abarcó desde el mar interior de Chiloé hasta el
Archipiélago de Chonos, pasando por Boca del Guafo, es decir unos 600 kilómetros
lineales, sin contar los numerosos recovecos de los fiordos.

Who is who

Los responsables de esta situación son varios: las salmoneras, los cruceros que
navegan por la zona, los criaderos de choritos cuyas boyas de plumavit se particulan y
son ingeridas por los mamíferos, aves y especies del mar.

En este sentido, debido a la propagación del virus ISA, los criaderos de este pez han
debido trasladarse hacia la zona de Aysén. Los científicos concluyen que los desechos,
no sólo debido a las corrientes, sino también al uso de la zona, también "migrarán".

En conversación con este diario, Hinojosa explicó que, si bien no está comprobado
completamente, "hay una posibilidad de transporte de sustancias tóxicas hacia zonas
más australes". Es decir, la basura podría también permitir la desviación del virus ISA
que afecta a los salmones, microorganismo que ha provocado millonarias pérdidas a
esa industria.

Dentro de los elementos tóxicos están la plumavit de las boyas que usan los
productores de choritos, la que representa un 80 por ciento del total, junto con las
bolsas plásticas, sacos de alimentos del salmón, hasta botellas de bebida a las cuales
se pegan las algas.

"La plumavit se particula y nunca se degrada y es comida por los pájaros y mamíferos
de la zona, produciendo serios problemas de obstrucción intestinal. No hay estudios
sobre pájaros muertos, pero cuando hicimos nuestra observación encontramos varias
aves sin vida flotando en las aguas. El impacto ecológico en Chile no está medido, pero
sí a nivel mundial. Y otro factor es el efecto paisajístico para la industria del turismo".

Uno de los alcances de esta contaminación también podría recaer sobre la salud de las
personas. Y esto porque el material particulado de plumavit podría afectar a la
producción de choritos de la zona, "ya que como estos últimos son organismos
filtradores, asumen estos plásticos", señala el científico.

La limpieza, asegura Hinojosa, es carísima y resulta muy difícil llevarla a cabo, y en el
último sólo se han hecho campañas a través de jóvenes voluntarios.

En todo caso, Hinojosa reconoció que la modificación en enero de 2008 al Reglamento
Ambiental de Acuicultura, que obliga a estos criaderos a tomar medidas de seguridad
con la plumavit, es un avance importante. Sin embargo, en los últimos viajes que realizó
a la zona "observamos que las boyas están tapadas con bolsas de basura comunes
que, por efecto del sol de seguro se quemarán y ocurrirá la misma situación".

Pero, agrega, para buscar una solución a este problema "no basta con buenas
legislaciones, también hay que difundir estos resultados, hacer acciones de limpieza de
playas con estudiantes, educar, entre otras actividades, para lograr un eventual cambio
en la forma de pensar y actuar de las personas".

Back to Menu

                             ROWA MEDIA UPDATE
                        THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                           Wednesday, April 15 2009


Thousands expected to visit Garden Show

MANAMA: Her Highness Shaikha Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Supreme Council for
Women chairwoman and wife of His Majesty King Hamad, will open the Riffa Views
Bahrain International Garden Show today.

She will also present awards to winners of the show's garden-related competitions.

Thousands are expected to attend the three-day event, which opens to the public from
tomorrow until Sunday at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

The show is being held under the theme 'Water for Life' and features a wealth of exhibits
including flowers, garden accessories and furniture, lifestyle products and art.

The Arab Cities Organisation will honour Shaikha Sabeeka with an award for her efforts
towards women empowerment, Municipalities and Agriculture Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi
announced yesterday. Organisation secretary-general Ahmed Al Adsani will present the
award on the sidelines of the opening of the garden show today.


Majlis panel on Jabel Akhdhar development holds meeting

MUSCAT — The team entrusted to study Jabel Akhdhar development held its 9th
regular meeting yesterday under the chairmanship of Nasir bin Hilal al Mawali, Majlis
deputy chairman and head of the team. The meeting hosted Ali bin Mohammed al Abri,
Undersecretary of Ministry of Water Resources and Dr Saif bin Rashid al Shaqsi,
Director General of Craft Industries Welfare.

The undersecretary briefed the team on the ministry’s efforts over the past years in Jabel
Akhdhar and development plans being executed in the niyabat. He said the ministry has
specific plans to improve water system in the Jabel. They include a special programme
for cleaning and repairing aflaj and dams and erecting more dams to improve water
levels. Dr Al Shaqsi spoke about plans by craft industries authority to promote and
upgrade crafts practised by citizens in the jabel which serve as sources of livelihood for
some families.


Mercury found at abandoned factory

AMMAN - The Royal Department for the Preservation of Nature (Rangers) has seized
six tonnes of mercury, a highly poisonous substance, from an abandoned factory in
Zarqa Governorate, officials said Wednesday.

During a regular inspection on Tuesday, the Rangers found 147 bottles of mercury in the
yard of a chemical factory that once produced chlorine and liquid soda, and has been
closed down for two decades, Rangers Director Brigadier General Nabil Arabiyat said in
a press statement.

―The department formed a committee to investigate the incident and the intended usage
of the chemical, particularly as it was found in a closed factory and kept in a manner
violating environmental and public health and safety regulations,‖ Arabiyat added.

Sources at the department did not confirm whether the large amount of mercury had
been kept in the yard of the abandoned factory since 1989, but said the committee,
which comprises representatives from the ministries of interior and environment as well
as the Rangers, will announce its findings soon.

Arabiyat said the mercury will be transferred to the Swaqa landfill, which is designated
for the disposal of hazardous and chemical waste. He noted that the mercury will be
safely contained there until the investigation is complete, to ensure that the substance
does not pollute water, especially underground resources.

Mercury and its compounds are highly toxic to humans, ecosystems and wildlife.
Exposure to high concentrations can be fatal to humans, while low concentrations can
cause adverse effects on the development of the neurological system.

Experts said recently that half a gramme of mercury is sufficient to spoil five million
gallons of water or 200 Olympic-sized pools.

Earlier this month, the Jordan Environment Society (JES) urged the government to stop
importing and using mercury, warning against its adverse effects on the environment
and public health.

Environmentalists said that about half of the world’s mercury is located in the
Mediterranean region, and warned that countries in the area are facing a problem of
increased mercury emissions endangering human health and the environment.

Environment ministers from 140 countries including Jordan, who gathered in Nairobi,
Kenya, for the 25th United Nations Environment Programme Council meeting in
February this year, agreed to begin negotiating a treaty to contain global mercury

The new treaty for the control of global mercury emissions will include initiatives to
reduce mercury supply, its use in products and processes and overall atmospheric
mercury emissions.

The treaty negotiations will start this year and be completed in 2013.

Experts recommend rainwater harvesting to solve Jordan's water shortage

AMMAN - Two environmental experts from the US on Wednesday called for applying
rainwater harvesting techniques in Jordan and other dry countries to address the rising
demand for water.

Brad Lancaster, author of the award-winning book ―Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands
and Beyond", and David Eisenberg, executive director of the Development Centre for
Appropriate Technology said their visit to the country aims at exchanging information on
the use of appropriate technology and rainwater harvesting to ensure the sustainability
of natural resources and the protection of the environment.

"We are keen on sharing strategies on appropriate use of technology and capturing
rainwater and storing grey water to reduce water consumption," Lancaster told The
Jordan Times yesterday.

The American embassy is hosting the experts in celebration of Earth Day 2009, marked
annually across the world on April 22.

"Water scarcity affects many countries, including parts of the United States. Low-cost
water collection methods such as water harvesting have been practised for centuries,"
the experts said.

Lancaster and Eisenberg agree that more investment in water-related infrastructure and
research is needed to achieve world food security and poverty reduction objectives.

During their visit to Jordan, the two environmental experts are scheduled to meet with
government officials and civil society professionals.

They are also scheduled to deliver presentations on ―water harvesting‖ and ―green
buildings" at El Hassan Science City, and the Jordan University of Science and

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, as the environmental impact of
buildings becomes more apparent, a new field called ―green building‖ is gaining
momentum in America.

Green buildings are designed with the environment in mind, using recycled materials
and natural resources such as sunlight, wind and rainwater to minimise a building’s
effect on the environment and its energy consumption, according to a statement issued
by the US embassy.

Earth Day, which started on April 22, 1970 as a day of national environmental
recognition in the US, has evolved into a worldwide campaign to protect the

Strong winds and dust close roads in south and east

AMMAN - Several main roads in the southern and eastern parts of the Kingdom were
closed down completely on Wednesday as strong winds, estimated at 40 kilometres per
hour and laden with dust, blocked road visibility, officials said Wednesday.

Lectures were also suspended yesterday at Al Hussein Ben Talal University in the
southern desert Governorate of Maan, where strong sandstorms forced the university's
administration to send the students home.

However, the poor weather conditions caused no accidents, according to the Public
Security Department (PSD).

PSD Spokesperson Major Mohammad Khatib said several roads connecting the
country's northern and southern regions were closed to traffic, including the southern
Jurf Al Darawish-Husseiniyeh-Muhammadiyeh road.

Maan-Mdawara-Batn Al Ghoul and Al Karameh-Al Omari (in the eastern desert) roads
were also completely closed down to traffic as road visibility was blocked.

"As the heavy sandstorms reduced visibility, we deployed several highway patrols to
direct people to safer routes and prevent them from venturing onto blocked roads,"
Khatib told The Jordan Times yesterday.

The dusty weather was caused by fresh northwesterly winds blowing from over the
Mediterranean Sea, according to the Jordan Meteorological Department.

The country is expected to witness similar strong winds until Friday evening, when
temperatures are forecast to start rising and return to their average of 22°C,
meteorologist Hassan Momani said yesterday.

"Such fresh winds are normal during this time of the year. Normally the wind blows at 10-
15 kilometres per hour. It reached 40 kilometres per hour today [Wednesday] and is
expected to continue to do so until Friday," Momani told The Jordan Times.

Another drop in temperatures is forecast for today and tomorrow, as they will range
between a high of 17°C during the day and a low of 8°C at night, with scattered rain in
the northern and central parts of the country.

On Saturday, the weather will be fair during the day with temperatures reaching 19°C,
dropping to 9°C at night.


Failure of water projects in the drought area of Yafea’s


Completion of the initial stages of the water project in Tabouk

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                             ENVIRONMENT NEWS FROM THE
                                   UN DAILY NEWS

15 April 2009

Climate change poses challenges, offers economic opportunities, says Ban

The twin financial and climate catastrophes have been cause for nervousness
worldwide, but Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed that the challenges also
open the door for new economic opportunities in the face of the global recession.

―The good news is that we can tackle both at once, as solutions to the climate crisis can
catalyze the green growth that is the foundation of long-term economic prosperity,‖ Mr.
Ban, who has deemed 2009 the ―year of climate change,‖ wrote in the Korean Herald.

If countries must implement green stimulus packages to pull themselves out of economic
turmoil and nations reach agreement on a new global climate change agreement at this
December’s UN conference in Copenhagen, ―the world has its best chance in decades
to make serious progress on both the climate and economic fronts,‖ he added.

According to scientists, the pace of global warming is accelerating, with the window for
action on climate change closing ever faster, the Secretary-General pointed out. Experts
have noted that high rates of greenhouse gas emissions are resulting in the world
reaching the high end of case scenarios delineated in the 2007 report by the Nobel

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the definitive standard for climate

―Unfortunately, time is not on our side,‖ he cautioned. ―The clock is ticking and cannot be
turned back.‖

In his piece, Mr. Ban pressed nations to do their utmost to ensure that the upcoming
climate talks in Denmark, which he said will be a ―watershed moment in history,‖ are

given top priority so that negotiations on a success pact to the Kyoto Protocol, whose
commitment period ends in 2012, can be concluded.

The agreement reac hed ―must be ambitious, fair and effective in reducing emissions
while assisting countries as they adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change,‖ he

The first round of negotiations for 2009 wrapped up last week in Bonn, Germany.

To ensure that all nations are on board, the Secretary-General said that five key political
issues must first be resolved: industrialized nations must set ambitious emissions
reduction targets; major developing countries must identify what mitigation steps they
plan to pursue in the future; solving the issue of finance; an accountable means to
distribute these funds must be set up; and vulnerable countries must be supported in
protecting lives and livelihoods.

―By sealing a deal, we can power green growth today and protect our planet for our
children and their children to come,‖ he said.

Mr. Ban said he disagreed with the view held by some that the global economic
downturn is a reason to curtail efforts to tackle climate change.

―To the contrary, it represents an unprecedented opportunity to redirect government
stimulus packages into green energy options and to fundamentally retool our global
economy so that long-run, sustainable growth is accessible for all,‖ he stated.

His native Republic of Korea (ROK) has blazed a trail to a greener, lower-carbon future,
he said, with investments in mass transit, energy conservation, forest restoration and
water resource management, among others.

The country is also an example for others on actions necessary to reduce emissions, the
Secretary-General said. ―As a power emerging economy, the Republic of Korea can
serve as a bridge between industrialized and developing countries by setting ambitious
emission reduction goals for itself.‖

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

15 April 2009


The Secretary-General has already announced his trip to the Summit of the Americas in
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. From there, he will go to Geneva and then on to
Valletta, Malta, on 21 April. In Malta, he will meet with the President, and Prime Minister,
before addressing the country’s parliament. The University of Malta will confer on the

Secretary-General an Honoris causa doctorate in recognition of his contribution to
raising awareness on climate change.

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Description: Carbon Emission Reduction Technology document sample