2007Nov02

Document Sample
2007Nov02 Powered By Docstoc
					                     THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                          Friday, November 2 2007




                    UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

        Vancouver Vows Carbon Neutral 2010 Winter Olympics (ENS)
        One in three freshwater fish under threat (The Telegraph)
        The U.N.'s Bleak Environmental Report (Business Week)
        Green Financial Products Take Root in North America (Green Financial)
        Israel Urged to Aid Oil-Stained Lebanon (IPS)
        Les autorités gouvernementales invitées à s’impliquer Rapport Sur
         L’environnement (Le Soleil)
        SA starts world trend in environmental reporting (Engineering News)
        USA & China. Olympic Truce Resolution wins support of United Nations
         (BYM)




                             Other Environment News

   One million people affected by Mexico floods (AFP)
   Floods swamp Mexico's Tabasco state (ABC)
   Climate bill seen as sign of political shift (Reuters)
   Bill Clinton: "Green" economy offers great rewards (Reuters)
   Emirates airline executive rubbishes Gore's climate film (AFP)
   Global Warming Bill Advances in Senate (AP)
   US edges towards cap on greenhouse gases (Guardian)
   No cause for alarm, says minister after power cut warning (Guardian)
   How to save the planet (Guardian)
   FG Reviews National Policy on Environment (All Africa)
   City's lights out for environment (BBC News)
   Air pollution in Albania kills at least 200 every year: WHO (AFP)
   IOC chief says daily pollution tests for Beijing Games (Reuters)
   Wildfires Spew Carbon Emissions Into the Atmosphere (ENS)
                      Environmental News from the UNEP Regions

   ROA
   ROAP
   RONA

                                   Other UN News

   Environment News from the UN Daily News of 1 November 2007(none)
   Environment News from the S.G.’s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 1 November
    2007(none)
                           UNEP and the Executive Director in the News


ENS: Vancouver Vows Carbon Neutral 2010 Winter Olympics

NEW YORK, New York, November 1, 2007 (ENS) - Organizers of the 2010 Winter Olypmic
Games to be held north of Vancouver at Whistler Mountain, British Columbia pledged Monday to
minimize the environmental footprints of the events before, during and after the Games. The
Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games has set a goal of holding a
carbon-neutral set of events that will result in no net emission of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, VANOC, and the
United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, signed a memo of understanding, MoU, at the
United Nations headquarters in New York to work together to enhance environmental performance
and increase public awareness of the importance of environmental protection and sustainable
development.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, "Through the Olympic movement, we can further
sustainable development by holding green Games and boosting global interest in the environment.
UNEP welcomes VANOC's goal of carbon neutral Games and is proud to be a partner is this
important endeavor."


Lifts at Whistler Mountain, British Columbia (Photo by Ryan Muir)
UNEP may advise VANOC on environmental issues, including greenhouse gas emissions, ozone-
friendly chemicals, waste management and green procurement, Steiner said. UNEP and VANOC
pledged to work together to inspire action on national and international environmental goals.

In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness that environmental and sustainability
considerations should be at the heart of the Olympic project. All Olympic Games are now expected
to leave a sustainable legacy and promote environmental awareness.

"We are delighted that UNEP and VANOC have been able to continue the great spirit of
collaboration that has existed for several Games now by signing this MoU," said Pal Schmitt,
chairman of the International Olympic Committee's Sport and Environment Commission.

"The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games are making great strides in the field of sustainable
development and this new relationship with the UNEP will undoubtedly provide further
opportunities to inspire sustainable actions around the world."

"The Olympic and Paralympic Games represent a unique opportunity to produce lasting benefits,
both locally and globally," said VANOC chief executive John Furlong. "Today, as we come
together in a spirit of cooperation with UNEP, we are well on our way to fulfilling the goal of
meeting our commitment of hosting sustainable Games, of raising awareness about the environment
and inspiring greater commitment to environmental protection around the world."
Under the MoU, VANOC will support and participate in World Environment Day and a global
forum on sport and the environment.

Under this MoU, VANOC has the opportunity to participate in world youth conferences organized
by UNEP. In 2007, VANOC sent two indigenous Inuit youth from northern Canada to the 2007
TUNZA International Youth Conference in Germany - a youth forum held every two years that
brings together young environmentalists from all over the world to share experiences on the
environment. There, the young people discussed environmental issues such as the need to address
climate change in their community.


John Furlong is CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games
(Photo courtesy VANOC)

VANOC has been tracking and reporting on its environmental performance with the publication of
its first Sustainability Report in June 2007, available online at: vancouver2010.com. The next
version of the report, which is based on the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, will be available
in the first quarter of 2008.

The agreement between UNEP and VANOC comes several days after the 7th World Conference on
Sport and Environment, which took place in Beijing on October 25 to 27.

In Beijing, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge confirmed that VANOC will
host the next World Conference on Sport and the Environment in the spring of 2009. This will be
the first time the international conference will be hosted by a Canadian city.

"We are delighted to host such an important conference that will showcase the progress being made
by the Olympic Movement in the field of sustainable development," said Furlong. "I am confident
that we will draw a record attendance and build on the intense and growing interest in sustainability
here in BC, throughout Canada and worldwide. All of the participants and presenters will contribute
to a compelling forum for global sustainable sport experiences and expertise."

Critics of VANOC's environmental performance say the organizers got off to a poor start by
building a four lane highway across irreplaceable wetlands and forest lands to ease the long drive
from Vancouver north to Whistler Mountain where the Alpine Skiing events will take place.

In the summer of 2006, police arrested 23 protesters and dismantled a highway construction
blockade in West Vancouver's Eagleridge Bluffs, ending a demonstration against the highway that
lasted for 39 days.

Coalition to Save Eagleridge Bluffs president Dennis Perry was among those jailed for protesting.
"What we're saying is do not put this disastrous overland highway route through," he declared. "It
could not be more destructive if it were planned to be."
________________________________________________________________________
The Telegraph (UK): One in three freshwater fish under threat

By Paul Eccleston

Last Updated: 6:01pm GMT 01/11/2007

More than one in three European freshwater fish are threatened with extinction and 12 are already
extinct, according to a new scientific study.

The level of threat which fish face is much higher than that facing Europe's birds and mammals, it is
claimed.
A new book Handbook of European Freshwater Fishes, produced in collaboration with the World
Conservation Union (IUCN) says the diversity of life in European freshwater ecosystems is rapidly
declining.

Most threats have come as a result of development and population growth on the continent in the
last 100 years.

Water abstraction, particularly in the dry Mediterranean areas, is the single most serious threat
which has led to rivers drying up in the summer months. The problem has become more acute with
the impacts of climate change.

Large dams built for irrigation, flood control and power generation have had major impacts on
species in large rivers and have led to local extinction of numerous migratory species.

Poor fisheries management has led to overfishing and the introduction of alien species bringing with
them diseases.

The areas worst affected include the lower reaches of the rivers Danube, Dniestr, Dniepr, Volga and
Ural, the Balkan Peninsula, and southwestern Spain.
William Darwall, Senior Programme Officer, IUCN Species Programme, said: "With 200 fish
species in Europe facing a high risk of going extinct we must act now to avoid a tragedy.

"Many of these species, not considered as "charismatic" or with any apparent "value" to people,
rarely attract the funds needed for their conservation - they risk disappearing with only a dedicated
few noticing the loss.

"These species are an important part of our heritage and are critical to the freshwater ecosystems
upon which we do depend, such as for water purification and flood control. Many of these species
can be saved through relatively simple measures. All we need is the public and political will to
make it happen."

Some of the threatened species include the European eel, Anguilla anguilla, the only European fish
which leaves to spawn at sea and which is now at just 5 per cent of its average level in the 1970s;
Gizani, Ladigesocypris ghigii, an endangered freshwater fish endemic to the Greek island of
Rhodes; Jarabugo, Anaecypris hispanica, a Spanish minnow which has declined by at least 30 per
cent in the past 10 years and Chornaya gudgeon, Gobio delyamurei, a newly-discovered Crimean
fish. The Houting Coregonus oxyrinchus, a whitefish has not been seen for more than 60 years and
is presumed to be extinct.

The book was written by Maurice Kottelat (Cornol) and Jörg Freyhof (IGB, Berlin). The threat
assessment was conducted in collaboration with the IUCN Species Programme and Species
Survival Commission Freshwater Fish Specialist Group, with financial support from the North of
England Zoological Society (Chester Zoo).
During the seven years of research for the book, 47 new fish species were discovered. Some of the
assessments are provisional and are to be reviewed before they are included in the 2008 IUCN Red
List of Threatened Species.

Gordon Reid, Director General of the North of England Zoological Society and Chair of the
Freshwater Fish Specialist Group, said: "This comprehensive work allows us to see for the first time
the true diversity of Europe's freshwater fishes.

"At 546 species (including 522 freshwater and 24 marine species that are found in freshwater), the
diversity is about twice the number that is often recognised by popular and scientific literature, this
has led to many rare and threatened species being ignored."
In a statement Maurice Kottelat, former president of the European Ichthyological Society and Jörg
Freyhof, a scientist from Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology said: "It is not too late and saving
all species is still possible if Europe's governments and EU would start to act now. Lack of concern
is the greatest threat to our European fish fauna.

"Fish conservation should be managed in the same way as conservation of birds and mammals, by
agencies in charge of conservation, and not as a crop by agencies in charge of agriculture.

"All species are part of the human heritage, just as, for example, Acropolis; the difference is that if
Acropolis were destroyed one could still re-build a duplicate, but an extinct species cannot be
duplicated."

The book gives information on the habitat, biology and ecology, distribution, methods of
identification and conservation status of all 546 European native species including 522 freshwater
and 24 marine species that are found in freshwater and 33 introduced freshwater fish species.

According to the study the human population of Europe has almost doubled since 1900, and
agriculture and industry have developed massively.

The UN Environment Programme says this has led to the destruction of nearly 60 per cent of
Europe's wetlands, leaving freshwater species declining at a alarming rate.
Freshwater ecosystems provide Europe with many essential products and services including fish for
food, clean water, flood control, tourism and leisure activities and the study concludes even small
scale conservation at a local can make a significant impact on species and help reduce the serious
threat of biodiversity loss in Europe's freshwater fish.
Handbook of European Freshwater Fishes: Maurice Kottelat & Jörg Freyhof. 2007. Published by
the authors. ISBN 978-2-8399-0298-4.
________________________________________________________________________


Business Week: The U.N.'s Bleak Environmental Report

The Global Environment Outlook warns climate change and other threats will severely alter life on
earth if action is not taken

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) released its first environmental report card in 20
years on Thursday, and the grades are jarring: Despite some praise for certain treaties and
reductions, the report blasts the world community for "woefully inadequate" measures and "a
remarkable lack of urgency."

In particular, the 550-page report entitled "Global Environment Outlook" (GEO-4) warned that
climate change, species extinction, dwindling fresh water supplies and other threats will drastically -
- and irreversibly -- alter life on Earth, if global action is not taken.

The program's Executive Director Achim Steiner praised some government and NGO action so far
as "courageous and inspiring." But he also said most nations had failed to "recognize the magnitude
of the challenges facing the people and the environment of the planet."

He summarized the report by saying the world had seen a rise in demand for natural resources over
the past twenty years -- coupled with a dramatic loss of them. "That equation cannot hold for much
longer," he said. "Indeed, in parts of the world it is no longer holding."

A Tipping Point in Awareness?

The report took five years and 388 scientists to produce and comes 20 years after the last report in
1987. Since then -- on the positive side -- international response to the production of ozone-
depleting chemicals has lowered production of those chemicals by 95 percent. Some emissions
treaties and carbon trading and offset schemes were also cited by the report as solid steps forward
over the last 20 years.

But the report also warns that such efforts have been grossly insufficient, and that countries must
make major cuts in emissions by 2050, or the impact will be severe and most likely irreversible.
Major cuts here means between 60 and 80 percent, compared to 1990 levels.

One main warning in the report regards dwindling supplies of water. Referring to another study
released in June by the World Health Organization (WHO) that estimated 13 million people died
annually as a result of dirty water, polluted air and poor working conditions, the UN report added
that if current trends continue, 1.8 billion people will suffer from a shortage of fresh water.

The report also noted a steep rise in the world's energy use, farm yields, population, and per capita
income since 1987 -- population has grown 34 percent, to 6.7 billion, and both farm yields and
average income have grown by about 40 percent -- while forest areas and fish populations have
fallen. Fresh-water fish populations have been halved since 1987, 60 percent of the world's great
rivers are either dammed or diverted, and 73,000 square kilometers (28,000 square miles) of forest
land disappear annually, according to the report. Easily preventable water-borne diseases also kill 3
million people each year -- mostly children under five -- in developing nations.

The UNEP calls for the political will and leadership to heed the alarm and help reverse the largest
destructive trends. "Our hope is that with this GEO-4 report, UNEP can in a sense help to bring
about a tipping point (in environmental awareness), just as we are seeing in 2007 with climate
change," Steiner said.
________________________________________________________________________

Green Financial: Green Financial Products Take Root in North America

By Anne Moore Odell
November 01, 2007

A new report commissioned by UNEP FI lists green financial services and products as it makes the
case for green banking's environmental, social, and economic benefits.

SocialFunds.com -- There has never been a better time to invest greenbacks with the environment.
The financial institutions that offer green financial products and services are well positioned to reap
the benefits, both financially and environmentally. So says the new report, "Green Financial
Products and Services: Current Trends and Future Opportunities in North America" from ICF
International (ticker: ICFI).

Visit the Prospectus Ordering CenterThe report was produced for the United Nations Environment
Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). It was presented last week at UNEP FI's summit in
Melbourne, Australia. The Summit was called to examine sustainable development for the financial
services sector.

The UNEP FI is a collaboration between the private financial sector and the United Nations'
Environment Programme. Its mission is to "identify, promote, and realize the adoption of best
environmental and sustainability practice at all levels of financial institution operations." Currently,
it has more than 160 financial institutional partners.

"We had a large gathering in Melbourne to discuss the challenges and opportunities around
sustainable development in the financial sectors," said Lisa Petrovic, Programme Officer with the
UNEP FI. "Before this report, the emphasis around climate change has been around the issue of
risk. Now, with this report, we are starting to see business opportunities around climate change."

Focusing on global best practices in green finance, the report covers many aspects of the financial
sector, including asset management, corporate and investment banking, insurance, project finance,
and retail. Looking at green global benchmarks, it then examines how Canada and the United States
are positioned to continue the green financial products currently offered and extend new types of
products and services.
Based on research conducted early this year, the report draws on questionnaires submitted to UNEP
FI North American Task Force Members (NATF). Its authors also conducted interviews with
various members of NATF, and other regional UNEP FI Members, mainly European financial
institutions. They also interviewed a handful of smaller, non-UNEP FI financial institutions with
innovative product designs and experiences, including New Resource Bank (NRB) and Shorebank
Pacific.

"In the context of this report, 'green' is solely in reference to environmentally oriented financial
products and services or, more specifically, offerings by financial institutions that are designed to
encourage environmentally sustainable practices and behavior among their clients," explained Katie
Sullivan, Associate, at ICF International and one of the report's authors who traveled to the UNEP
FI meeting in Australia

The take-away from the Melbourne meeting for Sullivan was the importance of ensuring products
and services are linked to real, verifiable environmental benefits.

Because the report takes a wide view of the financial sector, many different products are examined,
for example, energy efficiency mortgages, alternative energy venture capital, and eco-savings
deposits.

A number of factors is helping drive the demand for green financial products, the report puts forth.
An understanding and awareness about environmental challenge and solutions by stakeholders
along with the increased media coverage about environmental challenges and solutions is one of the
major factors. International principles and standards, for example the PRI and the Equator
Principles, are also driving this trend. Specific countries likewise have environmental regulatory
and disclosure requirements.

One of the best practices Sullivan pointed out in green financial products is the Australian bank
mecu's goGreen auto loan. For each loan, the bank considers a GHG rating associated with the
vehicle type and charges an interest rate accordingly. Another green consumer product noted in the
report is the Barclaycar d Breathe, a credit card that donates 50% of its profits to organizations that
work to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Financial institutions in the US and Canada have much to learn about green banking products and
services, the report notes. They are behind European financial institutions that are blazing the green
path.

"That financial institutions in North America are realizing the value in developing these types of
green products," said Petrovic. "We're seeing a sea change in North America and you will see a lot
of new products come out in the market over the next six months."

One reason financial institutions in the US are behind European institutions in their offerings of
green financial products the report offers is the large size of US banks, which continue to grow with
mergers and acquisitions. Because US banks have less regional competition than European banks,
they have less reason to innovate and offer green products.
The US government also requires less transparency on environmental issues than European
governments. European banks must publish a required annual sustainability report. US banks have
also focused more on community development over the environment, the report states, although
more US and Canadian banks are developing environmental programs.

One interesting chart, "Appendix 2: Environmental trends in North America," outlines the potential
costs, implications, and potential opportunities of environmental trends. For instance, it lists water
as an eco-area with the environmental trend being drought and more people without access to clean
drinking water. The potential risks are the competing interests for water, while the potential
opportunities are multi-stakeholder water management projects and businesses focused on
desalination, water purification, containment removal, and water recycling.

The report concludes: "As environmental understanding and awareness grows in North America, so
too will the demand for products and services aimed at facilitating the advancement of
environmentally sustainable lives, livelihoods, and communities. At the same time, this demand will
also expose new business opportunities, while leading to an increased diversification of products
and services found in multiple sectors."

Green financial products are one of the most visible ways for financial institutions to work toward
sustainable development. With green products, customers trust their financial institutions to protect
both their money and the earth. This report makes a good case for the development of
environmentally friendly financial products and services that will not only develop greener
communities, but make money for financial institutions as well.

ICF International is a worldwide professional services company that works with governments and
private companies. ICF consults in a number of different fields including climate change, the
environment, energy and social programs.
________________________________________________________________________

IPS: Israel Urged to Aid Oil-Stained Lebanon

Fri, 2007-11-02 14:08

By Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service

United Nations, 02 November, (IPS): - When the Israeli Air Force destroyed a slew of oil storage
tanks and a key power station in Lebanon in July 2006, the environmental damage was described as
devastating.

And now, more than 15 months later, the United Nations has released a report detailing the extent of
the destruction caused by that oil spill to human health, biodiversity, fisheries and tourism.

The destruction has had "serious implications" for livelihoods and economy in that continuously
trouble-plagued country.
The Israeli bombing, which destroyed storage tanks and the El-Jiyeh power plant, triggered the
release of about 15,000 tonnes of fuel oil into the Mediterranean Sea, leading to the contamination
of some 150 kms of coastline in Lebanon and neighboring Syria.

The four weeks of bombings, characterised by an intense military conflict between Hezbollah and
Israel, resulted in more than 1,183 fatalities, about one-third of them children, while 4,054 people
were injured and 970,000 Lebanese displaced.

After an assessment of the economic damage, the World Bank said the overall cost was between
527 million dollars and 931 million dollars, averaging about 729 million dollars or about 3.6 percent
of Lebanon's gross domestic product in 2006.

The damages affected forests, water, air, hotels, beach resorts, public beaches, restaurants and
commercial fishing.

The implications of the oil spill have been studied and assessed by over half a dozen international
and environmental organizations, including the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the U.N.
Development Programme (UNDP), the U.N. Environment Programme, the World Bank and the
Food and Agriculture Organization.

According to the IUCN, much of the shoreline ecosystem was physically and chemically
contaminated.

The oil spill had a direct impact on biodiversity hot spots and fragile marine ecosystem, such as the
only marine protected area in the country: Palm Islands Nature Reserve.

In a report to the current session of the General Assembly, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
urges the government of Israel "to take the necessary actions towards assuming responsibility for
prompt and adequate compensation to the government of Lebanon."

The international efforts to help Lebanon should be intensified, he says, in the study titled "Oil Slick
on Lebanese Shores", since "Lebanon is still engaged in oil removal, treatment of wastes and
monitoring of recovery."

"It should also be recognized that this oil spill is not covered by any of the international oil-spill
compensation funds, and thus merits special consideration," he notes.

According to the 14-page report, financial and technical assistance have so far come from more than
a dozen countries, including Kuwait, Norway, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy,
Monaco, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and the United States.

But Israel is conspicuously absent from the list of donors.

To date, the report says, the government of Israel has yet to assume its responsibility for prompt and
adequate compensation to the government of Lebanon.

The UNDP, which reviewed the many international and regional conventions that relate to oil
pollution, found that all conventions are "inapplicable during armed hostilities."
Additionally, the agreements that relate to spill compensation pertain only to oil spills from tanker
vessels at sea, and not land-based incidents.

The U.N. report also says that when the oil spill occurred in July 2006, "it overwhelmed national
response capacity because of the ongoing conflict, the simultaneous need for a massive
humanitarian response, the destruction of infrastructure and a land, air and sea blockade by Israel."

These factors also impeded initial efforts for international assistance.

In a report released last year, the London-based human rights organization Amnesty International
said that during more than four weeks of ground and aerial bombardment by the Israeli armed
forces, the country's infrastructure suffered destruction on a "catastrophic scale".

Israeli forces pounded buildings into the ground, reducing entire neighborhoods to rubble and
turning villages into ghost towns, as their inhabitants fled the bombardments. Main roads, bridges
and petrol stations were blown to bits, AI said.

Entire families were killed in air strikes on their homes or in their vehicles while fleeing the aerial
assaults on their villages.

Scores lay buried beneath the rubble of their houses for weeks, as the Red Cross and other rescue
workers were prevented from accessing the areas by continuing Israeli strikes, according to AI.

"The Israeli Air Force launched more than 7,000 air attacks on about 7,000 targets in Lebanon
between 12 July and 14 August 2006, while the Navy conducted an additional 2,500
bombardments," AI added.

On the humanitarian front, the United Nations and its relief agencies were outraged over the
destruction of lives and infrastructure in Lebanon, in what then Secretary-General Kofi Annan
called a "grossly disproportionate use of military force."

The New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the Israelis of using artillery-fired
cluster munitions in populated areas of Lebanon.

"Cluster munitions are unacceptably inaccurate and unreliable weapons when used around
civilians," Kenneth Roth, executive director of HRW said. "They should never be used in populated
areas."

Jan Egeland, then U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator, was quoted as saying "when one-third of the
wounded and killed reportedly are children and women, then this goes far beyond responding to
those armed groups (Hezbollah) and what they are doing against the civilian population in Israel."

- Inter Press Service (IPS) News Agency –
________________________________________________________________________

Le Soleil (Dakar) : Rapport Sur L’environnement Les autorités gouvernementales invitées à
s’impliquer
À l’instar des autres pays du monde, Dakar a procédé jeudi dernier au lancement du rapport sur
l’avenir de l’environnement du Programme des Nations unies pour l’environnement (Pnue). Un
rapport inquiétant qui fait état des questions qui intéresse la vie de l’homme. Face à ces
préoccupations, les représentants des organisations internationales interpellent les autorités
gouvernementales à s’impliquer dans la lutte pour offrir aux populations un meilleur cadre de vie.

Il y a de quoi avoir peur pour la vie, si l’on se fie au rapport sur l’avenir de l’environnement
mondial lancé jeudi dernier dans 35 pays du monde dont le Sénégal. Le rapport dont l’étude est
basée sur l’atmosphère, la température, la pollution, l’alimentation, l’eau et la biodiversité ne
présage pas des lendemains meilleurs. Les effets des changements climatiques sont remarquables. Il
prédit une possible augmentation des températures moyennes mondiales à 0, 7 4 degrés C dont
l’estimation peut aller même jusqu’à 1,8 degré C voir 4 degrés C.

Il précise que les carottes glaciaires montrent que les niveaux de Co2 et de méthane sont en fait
supérieurs à l’heure où nous sommes à « leurs intervalles de variété, ce qui fait qu’au niveau de
l’océan arctique les températures moyennes augmentent deux fois plus rapidement que le reste du
monde. Et cette augmentation se poursuivra avec des conséquences dévastatrices », si on sait que
plus de 60 pour cent de la population mondiale vit « à moins de 100 km de la côte ».

Pire, le rapport note que la sécurité alimentaire pourrait prendre un coup fatal à cause de l’acidité
des eaux de mer et de la hausse de la température. Docteur De Oliveira, membre du Pnue, avance :
« Il y aura l’augmentation des maladies infectieuses comme la diarrhée et le paludisme ».

Tout de même, des efforts sont notés. Des substances qui réduisent et appauvrissent la couche
d’ozone sont réduites. Mais, signale le document « le trou dans la couche d’ozone stratosphérique
au-delà de l’océan antarctique est devenu plus grand et ceci n’est pas sans conséquence, car ce trou
permet « aux rayons ultraviolets nocifs d’atteindre la terre ».

Le rapport qui a couvert une période de 20 ans (1987-2007) montre aussi que les terres cultivables
sont en nette régression alors que leur utilisation a augmenté. Ce qui amène le Docteur De Oliveira
à dire « que la dégradation des terres entraîne une perte de 20 à 50 M ha par an ».

Abondant dans le même sens, le professeur Pascal Houenou (Redda) « trouve que l’environnement
est le socle du développement en Afrique ». Pour lui, « notre société galopante doit nous inviter à
une meilleure utilisation des ressources environnementales ». Car, pense-il, l’utilisation abusive
entraîne « la dégradation de la terre, la menace du changement climatique et la baisse de la
biodiversité ».

Les écosystèmes sont dégradés et mal utilisés. Et par ailleurs en Afrique plus de trois millions de
personnes meurent chaque année de maladies hydriques. Et d’ici 2025 les prévisions seront revues à
la hausse.

M Houenou trouve qu’il faut un investissement humain, social et économique pour éradiquer ce
fléau. Malheureusement, jusque-là aucun problème majeur soulevé ne connaît des prévisions
d’évolution favorable.
Ainsi, les représentants des différentes entités de l’Onu pensent-ils que les gouvernants doivent
participer à la lutte pour la protection de l’environnement en revoyant leur politique. A en croire le
professeur Houenou, il faut un développement des capacités avec la mise en place de formation
spécialisée, disposer d’un équipement en informatique, encourager la coopération Sud-Nord et sud,
développer les capacités institutionnelles à travers l’apprentissage.

________________________________________________________________________

Engineering News: SA starts world trend in environmental reporting

DONALD GIBSON Since the reports' release, people have started to realise its implications

The South African Environment Outlook (SAEO), has released a 371-page publica- tion by the
Department of Environ-mental Affairs and Tourism (Deat), that sets a new world trend in
environmental and sustainable development reporting, says consulting engineering firm SRK
Consulting.

While leading countries have in the past compiled state-of-the-environment reports, South Africa
has taken its task further, to postulate a number of future scenarios that could evolve, depending on
drivers such as governance, and economic and technological capability. It also includes an analysis
of human vulnerability in relation to environmental change, the first of its kind in South Africa,
SRK Consulting says.

The book supports the series of state-of-the-environment publications produced by the United
Nations Environment Programme (Unep). Periodically, Unep issues outlook reports on the state of
the environment of the world and its constituent regions, with such reports as the Africa
Environment Outlook and the Southern Afri-can Development Community Environment Outlook.
Currently, the fourth Global Environment Outlook is in preparation by Unep.

SRK Consulting says that it has a record of providing policy research and advisory services for all
three spheres of government in South Africa.

South Africa first completed a state-of-the-environment report in 1999, but is believed to be the first
country in the world to complete an environment outlook process.

The SAEO, which includes a 42-page executive summary and an interactive Internet version, is
based on existing peer-reviewed scientific research, integrated into book format, and simplified to
make it user- friendly. At the suggestion of the National Youth Commission, a youth version of the
report, mvelo Yethu has also been prepared for the youth with appropriate illustrations.

All the products are downloadable from Deat nvironmental information portal that went live in mid-
August 2007. A DVD containing the SAEO and other state-of-the-environment resources are also
available.

The publication stresses that the environment and the future well-being of South Africans are inter-
linked and cannot be separated.
Principal scientist and SRK environmental business unit manager Donald Gibson says that both the
SAEO and the soon-to-be released National Framework for Sustainable Development indicate that
South Africa’seconomic growth and poverty reduction imperatives will be affected unless the
country mainstreams natural resource and environmental issues into its policy and decision-making
at all levels.

The Outlook 2005-2025 chapter, proposes four possible scenarios for the future, the most desirable
of which, ˜Laduma! indicates sus- tainable development and the worst,
Skorokoro,a collapse of the ecosystem functioning and human wellbeing.

The report does not paint an overwhelmingly bright picture of our environmental future, but since
its release, people have started to realise its implications,says Gibson.

What the report is saying is that we cannot continue with the business-as-usual approach. We need
to adjust our approach to the environment to make our future more sustainable,he says.

It’s strategy; it’ not a blue- print; but it is an important document that aims to stimulate discussion
around South Africa’ environmental future, he notes. We have a solid legal framework in place and
we believe that awareness about climate change and the link between the environment and the
wellbeing of South Africans is growing,says Gibson.

It efinitely not all bleak; the main positive being that there have been major advances in
environmental governance by all stakeholders in South Africa over the last 15 years or so. Given the
lag between instituting management measures and realising on-the-ground change, these advances
will take time to have any effect on the environmental conditions.

He says, however, that there is a need for capacity building in the country in the broadest sense. It is
essential to build capacity in government, and particularly at local government level and this
support should be expanded to civil society to assist communities in meaningfully participating in
decision-making to improve environmental conditions, he notes. Business leaders have an important
role to play in sharing knowledge and developing technology in support of sustainable
development, and there is a clear need to improve the environmental information base in South
Africa, and to translate the data into insight, he says.

Environmental considerations in the report have a human dimension because a vast section of the
South African population, and the economy, are closely linked to the country’ natural capital, he
says. The South African economy has in the past grown, largely based on the material consumption
of natural resources, and many people are closely linked to the natural environment as they rely on
the services it provides. This affects everyone, he explains, and more so now as the Southern
African region is thought to be, in future, one of the worst affected by climate change.

Several negative trends are shown in the report. We also see a continuing decrease in the capacity of
the environment to absorb pollution and waste, says Gibson.
we believe that if we cannot reduce the deteriorating natural capital base, achieving the poverty
reduction and economic growth targets will be more difficult, he concludes.
________________________________________________________________________


BYM: USA & China. Olympic Truce Resolution wins support of United Nations

Thursday, 01 November 2007


Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic
download of this picture from the Internet.

With 10 months remaining until the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the 62nd Session of the United
Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York City today adopted the Olympic Truce Resolution.
Entitled ―Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal,‖ the Resolution
was introduced by China on behalf of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It was sponsored
by the 182 Member States of the Assembly.

Presenting the Resolution to the UN has in recent years been a way of inviting its Member States to
observe and promote peace during and beyond each Olympic Games. It underscores the importance
of making a contribution through sport to find peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the world's
conflicts.

‖Today’s endorsement reflects the universality shared by the United Nations and the Olympic
Movement. The presence of the UN as a force for good is felt in more countries than ever before. So
it is with the Olympic Movement,‖ said Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC, in a speech delivered
to the General Assembly after a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon this morning.

In his speech, President Rogge added, ―Today, athletes from 205 National Olympic Committees
compete in the Olympic Games. And today the IOC provides more assistance to developing
countries than ever before, often in collaboration with many UN agencies and other international
partners. That is why I hope the widespread support for this resolution speaks not only for its
symbolic value, but also for its practical potential. Sport alone cannot enforce or maintain peace.
But it has a vital role to play in building a better and more peaceful world.‖

Rogge continued, ―In China, the Beijing 2008 Summer Games have already delivered important
social, legislative and economic benefits. It is better to open a new door to China than to leave it
closed at this point in its modern evolution. In a world where values can change with circumstances,
ours do not. Fair play and good sportsmanship show our respect for sport in its purest, cleanest
form. In a world where commitment to social responsibility wavers, it has always mattered to the
IOC. In a world too often torn apart by war, environmental degradation, poverty and disease, we see
sport as a calling to serve humanity. That is why this resolution is so important.―

Liu Qi, the President of the Organising Committee for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG)
said at the Assembly, ―Beijing 2008 is heartened by the overwhelming support and endorsement
given to the Olympic Truce by the international community at the United Nations. Their solidarity
reinforces the global desire for peace and a cessation of all acts of hostilities during the Olympic
period.‖

Guided by the principles of the Olympic Movement, including education, sustainability, non-
discrimination, universality, humanism and solidarity, the IOC and UN have created an impressive
record of collaboration.

The two organisations have worked together to find solutions to a wide range of social, economic
and environmental problems, including: Running an important prevention campaign against HIV in
collaboration with UNAIDS; Launching a pilot project in Zambia to train and educate young
people through sport; Providing grassroots-level support including sports equipment and
recreational activities to tens of thousands of people in impoverished and rural areas in many
countries; Donating sports and casual clothing to refugees and internally displaced people;
Supporting victims of disasters, including earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding and the Indonesian
tsunami in collaboration with the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement; Working with UNEP to
reduce the environmental impact of the Olympic Games.
                                      Other Environment News


AFP: One million people affected by Mexico floods

MEXICO CITY (AFP) — One person was killed and more than a million people affected by
flooding in Mexico's southern state of Tabasco, officials said, as hundreds of thousands Friday
waited for rescuers to pull them out of their homes in the worst floods ever in the region.

The oil-rich state the size of Belgium is now 80 percent underwater, officials said, adding that they
expect more rain in the next days.

Area rivers continue to swell due to the non-stop rain, and more than 850 towns have been flooded
in the Gulf of Mexico state, officials said.

"Of the 2.1 million Tabasquenos, more than half are suffering from this serious problem that has not
been experienced in the history of Tabasco," state Governor Andres Granier told reporters.

"New Orleans was small compared to this," said Granier, comparing his flooding to the flooding
caused by 2005's Hurricane Katrina in the southern US city.

There is one major difference with Katrina: as of late Thursday only one person was reported killed
by the flooding. That person died Wednesday.

"Around 300,000 people are still trapped in their homes in different locations," he said, adding that
army and navy helicopters and rescue boats were working on the rescue effort.

"The situation is extraordinarily grave," said Mexican President Felipe Calderon, addressed the
nation late Thursday asking for donations.

He described the situation as "one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the country."

Tabasco "is devastated," said Granier, governor of the 29,000 square kilometer (11,000 square mile)
state. "100 percent of crops are lost."

Granier warned that the flooding could get even worse as forecasters say a new cold front could
bring more rain over the weekend.

Some 400 doctors and health workers were deployed to more than 300 towns to detect any outbreak
of infections, according to the state's Civil Protection agency.

State officials warned that non-stop rain would result in swollen rivers, one full week after the first
flooding started.

The floods began last week when a cold front brought heavy rain that caused rivers to burst their
banks.
Soldiers and state authorities had placed more than 700,000 sand bags along the rivers to prevent
flooding, but the water rose above the barriers.

The floods worsened over the past three days as authorities drained water from two dams in the
neighboring state of Chiapas to prevent them from exceeding their capacity. The drainage caused
three Tabasco rivers to burst their banks.

The water rose again Thursday in the state capital of Villahermosa, which was flooded Wednesday
after the Grijalva River burst its banks.

But hundreds of Villahermosa residents refused to leave their flooded homes amid reports of looting
in the city of 750,000 people.

"There's no policing," a woman living in Villahermosa told reporters. "The thieves climb on the
roofs and open the doors through there."

In the neighboring state of Chiapas, authorities declared a state of emergency in 22 municipalities
while 2,500 people have been taken to shelters.

The Federal Electricity Commission also said it was unclear when it would be able to close the
spigots in the Penitas dam in Chiapas.

____________________________________________________________________

ABC: Floods swamp Mexico's Tabasco state

About 80 per cent of Mexico's southern state of Tabasco has been flooded, in the worst floods in 50
years.

The floods have decimated crops and affected 700,000 people.

About 30,000 people were placed in 256 shelters while military helicopters and boats were
deployed to rescue about 300,000 people still trapped in their flooded homes, the state's
Government said in a statement.

"Seven hundred thousand Tabasquenos are affected by the overflow of tributaries in the state," the
Governor's office said in a statement.

More than 850 towns have been flooded in the small Gulf of Mexico state.

"The amount of water is shocking," Governor Andres Granier said.

"100 per cent of crops are lost. We haven't seen this in 50 years."

________________________________________________________________________
Reuters: Climate bill seen as sign of political shift

Thu Nov 1, 2007 5:51pm EDT

By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A milestone, a landmark and "the political center of gravity is finally
shifting on global warming."

Those accolades greeted a Senate subcommittee's approval on Thursday of a bill to cap greenhouse
gas emissions, mostly because it is the first of a dozen such measures that might have a chance of
becoming law.

The approval vote -- 4 to 3 -- means the bill will be debated in the full Environment and Public
Works Committee, chaired by longtime environmentalist Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Boxer, a California Democrat, has indicated she wants the full committee to approve the measure by
year's end. That would dovetail with a global conference on climate change in Bali, Indonesia in
December. Hearings could start next week.

"We are finally on our way toward preventing the ravages of unfettered global warming," Boxer
said in a statement after the vote. Beforehand, she told the panel: "This is a landmark day ... this is
an issue whose time has come."

The bill -- formally known as America's Climate Security Act and informally by the names of its
sponsors, Sens. Joe Lieberman and John Warner -- is different from earlier efforts because of its
details on how a U.S. plan to cap carbon emissions and trade credits for them would work.

"People have said we need a Manhattan Project, we need a moon-shot project to combat global
warming," said Lieberman, a Connecticut independent. "This is it."

But Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who is skeptical about global warming, said the
measure would put a heavy economic burden on U.S. citizens.

The Bush administration has opposed mandatory limits on carbon emissions, arguing that they
could hurt the U.S. economy and urging voluntary measures instead.

SUPPORT FROM COAL-STATE SENATORS

The bill also features a provision that would require publicly traded companies to tell the Securities
and Exchange Commission about any material risks they run as a result of climate change -- from
damage due to increased wildfires, more severe hurricanes and worse droughts to the costs of
complying with new regulations.

The bill has support from senators in coal-rich states, including Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat.
Warner, the bill's co-sponsor, is a Republican from Virginia, another coal state.
Lawmakers from coal states have opposed previous carbon-capping bills, which took aim at coal as
a big emitter of carbon dioxide, one of several "greenhouse gases" that most scientists believe trap
heat and raise global temperatures.

The latest bill recognizes coal's role in global warming but offers financial incentives to develop
clean coal technologies.

That provision rankled some environmental groups.

"The Lieberman-Warner bill will reward corporate polluters by handing them pollution permits
worth almost half a trillion dollars," Erich Pica of the group Friends of the Earth, said in a
statement. "The levels of pollution-rewarding giveaways in this bill are truly obscene."

"Polluters must pay for the damage they do to our planet -- period," the Sierra Club's Carl Pope said
in a statement.

Even so, he supported sending the bill to the full committee.

So did the National Environmental Trust's Philip Clapp, who noted a shifting "center of gravity" on
global warming.

"The question is no longer whether the U.S. will act to cut its global warming pollution, but by how
much and how soon," said Clapp.

Elizabeth Thompson of Environmental Defense hailed the vote as "much more than a milestone,"
saying the bill offered "a real chance of enacting a mandatory cap on emissions in this Congress
________________________________________________________________________

Reuters: Bill Clinton: "Green" economy offers great rewards

SEATTLE (Reuters) - The shift to a green economy is the biggest economic opportunity facing the
United States since the military buildup to World War Two, former President Bill Clinton said on
Thursday.

Addressing the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Climate Protection Summit, Clinton said initiatives to
combat global warming, such as the retrofit of old buildings and switching to more fuel-efficient
cars, would create jobs and boost wages.

"In my view for the United States, it is the greatest economic opportunity we've had since we
mobilized for World War Two," Clinton said. "If we do it right, it will produce job gains and
income gains substantially greater than the 1990s."

Clinton spoke to a group of U.S. mayors who have agreed to meet the goals of the Kyoto Protocol,
the international agreement for fighting climate change.
President George W. Bush rejected Kyoto and its mandatory emissions caps in 2001, but more than
700 cities representing 75 million Americans have agreed to cut their heat-trapping gas emissions 7
percent from 1990 levels by 2012.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels has spearheaded the movement.

During the speech, the former president said the Clinton Climate Initiative would extend its
purchasing consortium of energy-efficient and clean-energy products to 1,100 U.S. cities to get
volume discounts for items like green vehicles and alternative energy technologies.

The purchasing consortium was set up for a group of some of the world's 40 largest cities, including
New York and London.

Cities account for 2 percent of the world's landmass, but produce 75 percent of the world's carbon
emissions, according to Clinton.

________________________________________________________________________

AFP: Emirates airline executive rubbishes Gore's climate film

SINGAPORE (AFP) — A top executive of Dubai-based carrier Emirates on Thursday rubbished
Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary on climate change, saying he did
not believe the film's scientific theory on global warming.

"Don't talk to me about global warming... I just do not buy it whatsoever," Maurice Flanagan,
Emirates executive vice chairman, said at a regional aviation conference in Singapore.

"Al Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth' is absolute rubbish," added Flanagan, who said he had watched the
documentary three times.

The 2006 documentary, which won former US vice president Gore the Nobel Peace Prize last
month, details scientific theory about global warming and its impact.

The aviation industry has been listed by some as among the main contributors of carbon dioxide
emissions which are blamed for global warming.
_______________________________________________________________________

AP: Global Warming Bill Advances in Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers took the first step Thursday on a bipartisan global warming
bill that would impose mandatory cuts in greenhouse gases from power plants, industrial facilities
and transportation.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., pushed the legislation out of his global warming subcommittee by a 4-
3 vote, agreeing to a number of changes aimed primarily at garnering the needed majority to
advance it.
The bill calls for setting limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are emitted from
power plants, refineries, factories and motor fuels. Polluters could exceed the limits by buying
credits from companies whose emissions are under their allowable ceiling.

Lieberman called the vote "potentially a landmark event, the moment at which the United States
finally began a serious fight against the threat of unchecked global warming."

Approval of the bipartisan legislation, whose co-sponsor is Sen. John Warner, R-Va., had been
expected, but not without some early horse-trading for votes.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who favors more aggressive cuts in greenhouse gases, agreed to
support the bill after additional emission reductions from natural gas use were included. Earlier,
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., was persuaded to support the measure when changes were made in the
bill to help farmers.

Voting against the bill were Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Bernard
Sanders, I-Vt.

The full Senate Environment and Public Works Committee plans to take up the bill in coming
weeks, when its chairman, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., is expected to seek greater greenhouse gas
cuts.

Some Republicans complain the emission requirements may already be too stringent, especially in
earlier years when carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, would have to be cut by at least 15
percent by 2020.

Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said earlier this week the bill will have trouble getting the 60 votes
need to overcome an expected filibuster on the Senate floor unless there is an easing of the early-
year requirements.

Many environmental groups support the legislation, but some environmentalists argue that it gives
too much of a break to coal-burning power plants, a major source of carbon dioxide.
_____________________________________________________________________

Guardian: US edges towards cap on greenhouse gases

Friday November 2 2007

The US yesterday took a first step towards mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions, in
direct defiance of the Bush administration's policy on climate change.

Yesterday's vote in a Senate subcommittee marks the first US move towards European-style
policies. Although the caps on emissions approved do not go as far as those in Europe,
environmental campaigners said they marked a decisive break with the administration's policies.
"Whether or not a bill reaches President Bush's desk before he leaves office, this vote was a clear
sign that his Just Say No policy on global warming has reached the end of its useful political life,"
said Philip Clapp, the president of the independent National Environmental Trust (NET).

"This is a very big deal," said Tony Kreindler, of Environmental Defence, a campaigning group.
"We finally have all the elements that we need to get us to the point where we are making law."

The proposed legislation would set a target of a 15% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by
2020, compared with the 20% reduction that is the goal in the EU. It calls for capping emissions at
2005 levels by 2012 and provides for a market-based system for trading emissions permits. The bill
is expected to move swiftly through the legislative process. It enjoys broad support from
Republicans and Democrats, and support for measures to tackle global warming is growing among
large US corporations.

The legislation was introduced by a Republican, John Warner of Virginia, and Joe Lieberman, an
independent senator from Connecticut. It was backed by senators from coal-producing states in
what campaigners saw as growing public support for action against global warming.

The bill is expected to be put to a vote of the full committee this month. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat
from California, who chairs the committee, has said she wants to shepherd the bill through
committee before the start of the Bali conference on climate change in early December.

It remains unclear how George Bush would react to any legislation emerging from the
Democratically controlled Congress that imposes mandatory controls on emissions. The
administration has softened its language in recent months. It acknowledges that climate change is a
problem, a reversal of its earlier insistence that the science was inconclusive.

But as recently as last week evidence emerged of White House officials tampering with reports
from government scientists that do not toe the administration's line on climate change.

"The most likely scenario is that the president would veto the bill given his record but given the
rapid shift in public opinion on this issue, I think there is a glimmer of hope," said Angela
Anderson, the director of climate change for NET.
________________________________________________________________________

Guardian: No cause for alarm, says minister after power cut warning

Terry Macalister
Thursday November 1, 2007

Malcolm Wicks, the energy minister, sought last night to reassure increasingly anxious domestic
and industrial energy consumers that there was "no cause for alarm" about power cuts this winter.

Speaking to a meeting of industry leaders from the Energy Networks Association, he said the
National Grid, which runs the pylons and electricity sub-stations, was well prepared for any future
challenges.
"We do not face the prospect of power shortages this winter. National Grid indicates that we are
going into the winter with a healthy 'safety net' of some 20% more than expected peak electricity
demand," he explained, going on to say that the situation for gas was also "broadly positive".

The speech from Mr Wicks follows a turbulent week when the National Grid issued "a transmission
system warning", calling for an extra 300 megawatts of power to cover any unexpected surge in
demand.

It follows the loss of five nuclear reactors run by British Energy, which generate much of the UK's
electricity but were knocked out of action due to safety concerns, and a faster than expected decline
in local North Sea supplies.

This follows a 30% surge in the price of wholesale electricity and gas in a market worried by
speculation that less gas than expected may be imported in the short term through a new Norwegian
gas pipeline. It also comes as the start-up of two new liquefied natural gas import terminals in south
Wales has been delayed.

The National Grid and the industry regulator, Ofgem, also made public statements yesterday calling
on consumers not to worry. But the domestic pressure group Energywatch said it was still
concerned that the current wholesale price "volatility" could lead to higher bills for homeowners at
a time of rising anxiety about fuel poverty among the frail and elderly.

Mr Wicks said there was no need to panic. "Power stations will from time to time come out of
operation but this is precisely why we have a safety margin, and why National Grid has a routine
mechanism for signalling to energy companies to bring on-stream additional generation to maintain
it. It's a testament to the strength, not the weakness, of our electricity system that the market had no
trouble at all in responding to National Grid's request for more power."

He added: "The situation for gas supply is also broadly positive. There is more gas being imported
this year via the Langeled pipeline from the Norwegian Ormen Lange field and the Tampen link
delivering gas from the Anglo-Norwegian Statfjord field; and there's new gas storage capacity at
Aldbrough [near Hull].

"Even without the new liquefied natural gas import terminal at Milford Haven, these new sources
would provide Britain with the capacity to offset the continuing decline in gas production from the
North Sea ... There is no cause for alarm," Mr Wicks insisted.

His words were supported by an Ofgem spokesman, who said there could never be 100% security in
a system but that, despite a spike in power prices last week, there was little to worry about.

The National Grid did not expect concerns over natural gas supplies to affect the power network
during the winter. The spokesman, Stewart Larque, said: "We are in a position where the supplies
from the North Sea have been declining but we are seeing a lot of new infrastructure coming in to
bring gas from elsewhere.
"There's no room for complacency but the outlook is more positive than it has been in recent years."

But Energywatch, which acts as a watchdog for the gas and electricity industry, said reassurances
from Ofgem and the National Grid about future supplies were no guarantee that homeowners would
not be hit with higher bills.

Adam Scorer, a spokesman for Energywatch, said: "Just because we have the physical capacity to
bring in more gas it does not mean that more gas will flow.

"We are seeing price volatility and these kinds of conditions give utilities the excuse to bring an end
to price cuts or actually raise their prices, as they have done in the past."

Explainer: Volatile prices

The price of gas is influenced by a range of factors, not least the value of oil, which hit new highs
yesterday of $93 a barrel. Gas and oil prices are historically linked because they can be easily
substituted, and gas prices are indexed to oil because when gas was first used as a competing fuel, it
was important that it remained competitively priced for customers switching from oil. It also
ensured that there was not a distortion in exploration, whereby investment was diverted into only oil
and not gas. The increasing presence in the gas market of speculators, who buy and sell for quick
gains, is also blamed by gas companies for much of the volatility. The price has also risen because
more gas is needed to produce electricity while Britain's nuclear power stations are out of action for
repairs. There has also been uncertainty over the extent of supplies available from the new Langeled
pipeline from Norway and delays in the introduction of two new liquefied natural gas terminals in
south Wales.
Terry Macalister
________________________________________________________________________

Guardian: How to save the planet

The Environment Agency has asked a panel of experts to compile the ultimate to-do list - in order
of priority. Leo Hickman assesses whether they got it right
Leo Hickman

Thursday November 1 2007

Just where do you start when you want to "save the planet"? And in which areas should you focus
most of your efforts? In a rather brave thought experiment, the Environment Agency has assembled
a group of the country's leading environmental experts to draw up a list of actions that we should all
undertake if we are to try to avert the environmental horrors so often forecast if we continue with
our "business as usual" lifestyles. This list contains suggestions for government, companies,
councils, religious leaders, scientists and others to consider, but it also includes actions that
individuals can attempt. More unusually, though, it lists the actions in order of priority.

Many of the suggestions are now so well aired that most of us are probably growing a little weary of
hearing them: putting on a jumper instead of turning up the heating (ranked a lowly 49 out of 50 on
the list); cycling more (31); and growing your own vegetables (23). But the list offers a few
surprises too. For example, for a government agency to publish a list that ranks "buying less" in the
top 10 appears quite a bold statement, given that we are constantly told that avid consumption
improves our lives and fuels the economy.

"My hope is that we come to see consumption as slightly naff, something you do only when you
have to," says Chris Goodall, author of How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, and one of the expert
panellists.

In other areas, though, the panel attempts to tread carefully and not upset sensibilities. One of the
greatest environmental dilemmas is the issue of the world's rapidly growing population. Many argue
very persuasively that we have no hope of confronting all our environmental problems without
greatly reducing the number of people on the planet. But how to begin? The Environment Agency
ranks this as 18 on its list, describing it as the "environmentalists' elephant in the room", but says
government is responsible for confronting this, not the procreators themselves.

"Global population is now six billion and is projected to be 11 billion by 2050," says Nick Reeves,
executive director of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management. "Scratch
the surface of any environmental problem and it reveals population growth, and the way we live our
lives, as the root cause. The need for a population policy has never been more urgent."

Another surprise in the list is how low down transport ranks, even when we know it is responsible
for a quarter of Britain 's carbon emissions and is ever rising. It's a little odd to me that seeking a
solution to our addiction to fossil-fuelled cars doesn't even make the top 20, let alone trouble the top
spot. The rapid growth in the number of people flying is a huge concern, and indeed makes the list
at number 7, but surely the issue of road transport should have troubled the panel more? Even so,
the panel says these are issues for government to confront, not individuals. Nowhere does it say that
we each need to choose to fly or drive less; instead it seeks regulatory levers.

And what of the environmentalist's bete noire - nuclear power? It does not warrant a mention,
which, again, is an interesting omission coming from an agency that knows it is reporting to a
government that is pro-nuclear power.

Another notable omission is the issue of meat consumption. A UN report last year estimated that the
global livestock industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the world's entire
transport sector - a truly shocking revelation. If this is the case, then reducing our meat intake surely
warrants a mention in any list of things to "save the planet."

Where the list is correct, I feel, is in placing such a strong emphasis on encouraging more people to
generate as much of their own power at home as possible, thereby avoiding the great inefficiency
caused by relying on a national grid. "We need small-scale electricity generation that is cost-
effective and works well, particularly wind turbines and solar panels," says Paul Brown, a former
Guardian environment correspondent and author of Global Warning. "These must include CHP
[combined heat and power] and heat pumps."
For me, though, perhaps the most important action is tucked away at number 38 - the need to
"spread the word", as the Environment Agency describes it. Winning the argument on these
environmental issues is arguably the most pressing concern of all, given the apathy many people
still show towards them ·

The full list is published on Monday in the Environment Agency's quarterly magazine Your
Environment (environment-agency.gov.uk). To comment on the list, or suggest your own ideas,
visit guardian.co.uk/environment, where you can also sign up to the Guardian's new Tread Lightly
eco-pledge project.

The top 20: What the panel prescribes

1 Dramatically improve the energy efficiency of electrical goods
2 Religious leaders to make the environment a priority for their followers
3 Encourage the widespread use of solar power throughout the world
4 Secure a meaningful post-Kyoto treaty on reducing the emissions that contribute to global
warming
5 Encourage households to generate much more of their own power
6 Introduce tax incentives to "buy green"
7 Tackle the rapid growth in aviation emissions
8 Wean ourselves off dependency on petroleum
9 Encourage individuals to buy less non-essential "stuff "
10 Dramatically improve public transport
11 Aim for a "zero waste" culture
12 Install "smart energy" meters in all homes
13 Introduce a measure of economic success that includes the environment
14 Fully harness Britain's huge potential for generating renewable energy
15 Seek alternative, less damaging sources for biofuels
16 Bury carbon dioxide from power stations underground
17 Encourage hydrogen fuel cell technology in cars
18 Implement government policies to control global population growth
19 Reach international agreement on preserving rainforests
20 Create better incentives to improve energy efficiency in the home
________________________________________________________________________

All Africa: FG Reviews National Policy on Environment

Daily Trust (Abuja)

November 1, 2007

By Nasidi Adamu Yahaya

The federal government has reviewed the national policy on environment and the draft bill on
national environmental management in its efforts towards ensuring environmental sustainability in
the country.
The permanent secretary, Ministry of Environment, Housing and Urban Development, Hajiya
Ammuna Lawan Ali made this statement at the two-day stakeholder' workshop on the review of the
national policy on environment and the draft bill on national environmental management in Abuja
yesterday.

She said: "Our environment is beset with myriads of challenges occasioned by natural incidences,
indiscriminate human activities and adverse impact of technological advancement. To contain the
challenges, efforts of all stakeholders need to be coordinated, harmonised and channelled towards
effective environmental planning and management."

The permanent secretary, represented by Alhaji Babayo Wanka said the policy document that was
reviewed was first produced in 1988 in order to update numerous legislations on environment and
additional subsidiary environmental issues.

Although all these legislations collectively address the critical issues in environmental management,
but in an individual compartmentalized manner with little or no harmony among them, she said.

According to her, this resulted in a lack of cohesion and effectiveness in environmental
management and "there is the absence of a national environmental law in the country from which
the states as well as other sectors at the national level could adapt."


Hajiya Ammuna said the federal government has collaborated with some eminent environmental
consultants in order to produce a comprehensive draft documents on the policy and environmental
law.
________________________________________________________________________

BBC News: City's lights out for environment

Some of Liverpool's most iconic landmarks will be plunged into darkness to raise awareness of
climate change.

The Town Hall, St George's Hall, the Cunard building the and world famous Liver Buildings are
among 30 places involved in "Lights Out Liverpool".

The campaign, led by Liverpool City Council, is happening from 1900 to 2000 GMT, to highlight
global warming.

Merseyside residents are also being urged to turn off their lights and non- essential appliances for
the hour.

Lord Mayor, Councillor Paul Clark, said: "Lights out Liverpool is all about sending out a powerful
message about the amount of energy we needlessly waste.
"It is really simple if residents continue to work together in reducing energy waste, it really will
make a huge difference.

It means Liverpool's famous waterfront will become pitch black.

The lights out campaign has already taken place in London and Sydney this year, when the House
of Parliament and Sydney Opera House were in complete darkness.

Councillor Berni Turner, the council's executive member for the environment, said: "Liverpool is
aiming to be one of the greenest cities in the UK."

Suggestions to reduce energy, include turning off lights when leaving the room, making sure TVs
are not left on standby and switching off photocopiers and printers when leaving work.
_____________________________________________________________________

AFP: Air pollution in Albania kills at least 200 every year: WHO

TIRANA (AFP) — Illnesses linked to air pollution cause the death of at least two hundred people
every year in Albania, mostly in the capital Tirana, according to a study by the World Health
Organization (WHO) published on Thursday.

The WHO study said various diseases were caused by excess air pollution, which is well above
international and European Union standards.

"At least 200 people die every year in Albania (because of air pollution), most of them in Tirana,
where pollution levels are very high," the study said.

It added that a "considerable number of inhabitants of the Albanian capital, above all children, have
been at risk of respiratory diseases caused by pollution."

Albanian Health Minister Nard Ndoka warned: "The pollution shortens for at least two years the life
expectancy of Tirana's inhabitants."

Experts say that the main cause of pollution are old and used cars using low quality fuel, whose
numbers have surged since the fall of communism, when private vehicle ownership was banned,
while other means of public transport are almost non-existent.
________________________________________________________________________

Reuters: IOC chief says daily pollution tests for Beijing Games

By Larry Fine
NEW YORK, Nov 1 (Reuters) - International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge said on
Thursday that a monitoring system would be set up in Beijing to gauge whether air pollution
warranted delaying events at next year's Games.
Events that involve endurance, such as the marathon or cycling distance races, could be delayed for
a few hours or until another day, Rogge told reporter.

Outlining how officials would monitor air quality, the IOC president said: "Together with the
Chinese we are setting up a whole series of test sites, more than 20 in Beijing will give us
information online.

"The idea is in the middle of the night, in the early hours, an assessment will be made every day, an
analysis to see whether a threshold is broken.
"If that is the case we will discuss it with the relevant international federation.
"Staying and residing in Beijing for young athletes in good health is not an issue. It's not a danger
issue.

"The only possibility that could be a danger for health is sustained exposure to air pollution in long-
distance endurance sports.

"During a marathon for more than two hours, riding a bicycle race for five to six hours -- that could
be a danger hazard and then we would postpone the race."
Though pollution remained a question mark, Rogge forecast a successful Games.
"I think you will hold your breath and will be breathless -- not by pollution but by the quality of the
events," he said.

With China's burgeoning economic growth, pollution levels in Beijing have risen dramatically since
2001 when the city was awarded the 2008 Olympics, Rogge said.

BEIJING QUESTIONED
"People sometimes ask us, 'Why the hell did you give the Games to Beijing in 2001?'
"The conditions in Beijing according to the World Health Organization standards was OK," Rogge
said. "Between 2001 and 2007 the industrial production of China has risen 80 percent -- almost
double -- and that has made a difference.

"In 2001 they had almost 1.5 million cars in the city. Today they have 4.5 million.
"This is something no one could foresee, not even the most optimistic Chinese could foresee that."

Rogge said delaying competition because of conditions was not unusual at an Olympics, where
events could be affected by too much wind or a lack of wind, steamy heat or cold temperatures.
________________________________________________________________________

ENS: Wildfires Spew Carbon Emissions Into the Atmosphere

BOULDER, Colorado, November 1, 2007 (ENS) - Severe wildfires can contribute as much as
vehicles to carbon emissions in some U.S. states, although the amount is highly variable, according
to a study based on satellite data. New research published in the journal "Carbon Balance and
Management" quantifies these emissions and suggests fires will complicate emissions monitoring
and modelling efforts.
Christine Wiedinmyer of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Jason Neff of the
University of Colorado used satellite imaging data to determine the extent of fires over the period
2002-2006. They estimated the output of carbon dioxide, CO2, based on the degree of forest cover
in a particular area.

Typical annual emissions from fires are around five percent of the human-caused total for the
United States. But during major fires in the western and southeastern United States, the proportion
of fire contributions to CO2 emissions can increase.

"A striking implication of very large wildfires is that a severe fire season lasting only one or two
months can release as much carbon as the annual emissions from the entire transportation or energy
sector of an individual state," the authors write.

Although the release of carbon dioxide in fires should be balanced over the long-term by the uptake
of CO2 as new vegetation grows, the immediate impact of the fires on atmospheric CO2 is
significant, the study shows.

The authors say this may create difficulties in accounting for carbon sources and sinks, and in
assessing trends with current remote sensing technologies.

Wiedinmyer warns, "There is a significant potential for additional net release of carbon from the
forests of the United States due to changing fire dynamics in the coming decades."

Although fire emissions are not currently included in most carbon dioxide emission restriction
agreements, increasing fire frequency and severity can lead to greater emissions of CO2 to the
atmosphere and compound the problems that are related to human-caused emissions.

The fires include wild fires, prescribed burning and burning for agricultural purposes, but the
majority of these emissions come from needle leaf forest fires in the western and southeastern
states.
                                  ROA MEDIA UPDATE
                             THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                    November 2 2007


                                   General Environment News

South Africa: Cape Municipalities to Nurture Biodiversity

BuaNews (Tshwane): The City of Cape Town has joined an international initiative focusing on
strategies to protect and develop biodiversity as a natural resource within municipalities. The
initiative follows an historic biodiversity workshop in the Croatian capital of Zagreb attended by 20
cities from across the globe. The event was convened by Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB),
which was pioneered in 2006 by the City of Cape Town and Durban and is a project of the
organisation, ICLEI - local governments for sustainability. According to Sebastian Winkler,
Director of the World Conservation Union's Count Down 2010 project, cities occupy just 2 percent
of the surface area of the planet, but absorb 75 percent of the world's natural resources.
http://allafrica.com/stories/200711010172.html

Nigeria: FG Reviews National Policy on Environment

Daily Trust (Abuja): The federal government has reviewed the national policy on environment and
the draft bill on national environmental management in its efforts towards ensuring environmental
sustainability in the country. The permanent secretary, Ministry of Environment, Housing and
Urban Development, Hajiya Ammuna Lawan Ali made this statement at the two-day stakeholder'
workshop on the review of the national policy on environment and the draft bill on national
environmental management in Abuja yesterday. She said: "Our environment is beset with myriads
of challenges occasioned by natural incidences, indiscriminate human activities and adverse impact
of technological advancement. To contain the challenges, efforts of all stakeholders need to be
coordinated, harmonised and channelled towards effective environmental planning and
management." http://allafrica.com/stories/200711010184.html

Namibia: NNF Celebrates Birthday in Style

The Namibian (Windhoek): The Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) is celebrating its 20th birthday
this month. A number of conservation talks have been lined up to celebrate the occasion. Today,
there will be public talk on community-based conservation and on Wednesday one with the theme
'Wildlife: Namibia's comparative advantage'. On November 15, the NNF will host a talk on river
basins and wetlands. The talks end on November 28, when predators will be the topic of discussion.
All the talks will be held at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC) in Windhoek from 17h45
to 19h30. On November 22, the NNF will have its year-end function for corporate donors and
associates. At this function, the organisation will present an award to the Environmentalist of the
Decade. This person, who is to be nominated by the public, should have made some significant
contribution to the health of Namibia's environment and to sustainable development over the past 10
years. Over the past 20 years, the NNF has been a major driver in the environment and sustainable
development in Namibia. Led by an ornithologist, Dr Chris Brown, the NNF has initiated, led, co-
coordinated and contributed to a large number of innovative local, national and regional projects.
These include the first survey of elephant migrations across the sub-continent, internationally
recognised integrated river basin programmes, community-based natural resource management
initiatives, wildlife management, conservation and wise utilisation of fragile ecosystems,
monitoring       and    protection   of   rare  and    endangered      species    and    habitats.
http://allafrica.com/stories/200711010431.html

Sierra Leone: Friends of the Earth Discusses Waste Management

Concord Times (Freetown): Friends of the Earth Sierra Leone Tuesday held a consultative meeting
to look at the possibilities of controlling waste management across the country. Executive Director
of Friends of the Earth, Olatunde Johnson stated that waste management has been a major concern
to his organization and promised that his organization will do everything to avert the menace. He
also disclosed that his organization would organize a workshop on waste management in December
to enlighten people about the dangers involved. "We have sent several letters to the ministry
concern about the environment to help solve environmental problems that are affecting various
communities in the country but to no avail," he said. Diana Kamara, a market woman at the meeting
noted that Friends of the Earth is not limited and must be treated with all amount of seriousness. She
declared that the problem of waste management must not be left alone with the ministry concern but
must be a collective responsibility. http://allafrica.com/stories/200711010567.html

Liberia: Swiss Firm Manages Chain-of-Custody in Forest

The NEWS (Monrovia): With a chain-of-custody in managing Liberian forest, it is expected that
"there would be no illegal production of timbers in the country" and a Swiss firm, Societe General
De Surveillance (SGS) has been awarded the task to do just that. Liberia's forestry development
authority (FDA) managing director John T. Woods last Wednesday indicated at the signing
ceremony between the FDA and the Swiss firm that gone are the brutal civil war years during which
illegal timbers were produced in the country. Woods told the gathering of government officials and
some international partners at the signing of the Chain-of-custody Management Contract with the
Swiss firm that the chain-of-custody "is the path that shows the flow of timbers from day of harvest
to day of export and processing." It is intended to ensure that timbers are harvested from legal origin
assigned to contractors through a legal means by the FDA.
http://allafrica.com/stories/200711010721.html

Rwanda: Water Hyacinth Threatens Tourism in Akagera

Focus Media (Kigali): The water hyacinth is suffocating lakes in Akagera National Park,
threatening many species as well as tourism activities. Yet environmental specialists do not agree on
what method to use to wipe it out. A lake has reportedly dried up and many others are under siege
by the free-floating water hyacinth The lake in questions is Lake Mihindi, which has been infested
by the invasive aquatic plant for many years. Many others, including Lakes Gishanju, Shakani, and
Ihema, are also critically affected by the water weed, according to local tourism experts. The
experts say that tourism in Akagera Park could be affected greatly if the current rate of spread of the
water hyacinth is not checked. According to Edwin Sabuhoro of Ecotours, a local ecotourism
company, these floating mats greatly affect the parks ecosystems (both water and land ecosystems),
and in the end impact on tourism. As he explains, the floating mat created by the hyacinth is a threat
to the big, as well as the small aquatic animals; the hippopotamus and elephants are affected, just as
are the small fishing birds, fish and the microscopic plankton they feed on.
http://allafrica.com/stories/200711010814.html
___________________________________________________________________________



                                   ROAP MEDIA UPDATE
                             THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                  Friday, 02 November, 2007


                                      UNEP or UN in the news

      Bangkok Post : The numbers game
      ABC : Developing countries to sign up to Bali climate pact: UN



General Environment News

      Australia-Sydney Morning Herald : Leak reveals limited say at climate talks
      China-NZ Herald : Olympics: Daily pollution tests at Beijing Games
      India-Reuters : India Aims to End Open-Air Defecation by 2012
      Indonesia-Reuters : Surge in Tremors at Indonesia's Kelud Volcano
      Singapore-Hardware Zone : Fujitsu Collaborates with TES-AMM to Launch Recycling
       Channel
      Vietnam – The Times of India : Floods kill 13, leave 5 missing in central Vietnam


                                   UNEP or UN in the news


Bangkok Post : The numbers game

There are too many people on this planet and their numbers are growing too fast. They are
consuming the world's resources and generating toxic waste at an alarming rate. We are hurtling
toward certain doom.

In 30 years' time human beings will outstrip all available resources and collapse in an inevitable
mess unless draconian measures are taken to limit growth.
If allowed to grow at the current rate, "in a few thousand years everything in the visible universe
would be converted into people, and the ball of people would be expanding at the speed of light".
(Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb, 1968).

The impact of humanity on the planet includes a growth rate of its ecological footprint that is out of
control. This planet can no longer sustain us because we have overshot its limits. In 30 years' time,
the biosphere that sustains us will collapse because we have overshot sustainability unless draconian
measures are taken to reduce our ecological footprint. (Meadows et al, The Limits of Growth,
1972).

The earth's population of human beings is now so large that "the amount of resources needed to
sustain it exceeds what is available". If draconian measures to limit growth are not taken we will
face catastrophe in 40 years and eventual extinction brought on by exhausted resources and climate
change. (UNEP, Global Environment Outlook, 2007).
…………………………………………….

ABC : Developing countries to sign up to Bali climate pact: UN
AM - Wednesday, 31 October , 2007, Reporter: Jennifer Macey

TONY EASTLEY: The politics of climate change has dominated the election campaign this week
with the debate focusing on whether developing countries should have to make commitments before
Australia signs up to a new climate change agreement.

But a United Nations spokesman has told AM he's confident that developing nations will agree to
get onboard at the climate change meeting in Bali at the end of the year.

Jennifer Macey reports.

JENNIFER MACEY: The United Nations is quietly confident that developing countries will agree
to take action on climate change.

John Hay is the spokesman for the UN Convention on Climate Change Secretariat based in Bonn,
Germany.

He says developing nations are ready to begin serious negotiations in Bali.

JOHN HAY: What we expect that they will be bringing is a commitment, basically. A commitment
to be engaged and a commitment to be part of a post-2012 climate change regime, and we're already
seeing very good indications that this will happen.

JENNIFER MACEY: But Mr Hay says the Bali meeting won't establish a treaty with new binding
targets. It will merely launch negotiations for a deal to be finalised by 2009.

He says it's likely poorer nations will commit to different types of action, such as lower targets.
JOHN HAY: What we can expect is that countries not only look at the options of absolute targets,
but also bringing, for example, parts of their economies under targets, that countries agree to finding
the best solution which just fits their particular needs. But what is quite clear is that industrialised
countries must take the lead.

JENNIFER MACEY: Bill Hare from Greenpeace International has been to the UN climate change
conferences every year since 1992.

He says it's countries such as Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Singapore, and not China and India,
that need to adopt targets.

BILL HARE: South Korea at one end is classified as a developing country, but it surely must take
on similar targets as countries like Australia or New Zealand ultimately. On the other hand, India is
still very poor and in no way could be expected to take on binding national emission limits at this
point.

JENNIFER MACEY: The Government has accused Kevin Rudd of a policy backflip this week,
when he said a commitment by developing countries in the second phase of Kyoto is a pre-
condition for Australia signing up.

But Bill Hare says the Coalition's stance has also changed.

BILL HARE: Where it is, for the first time, said in New York in September that developing
countries may not have to take the same kind of binding emission obligations as industrialised
countries. Of course no-one actually believes that will mean anything internationally because the
Howard Government has got such a bad reputation internationally.

JENNIFER MACEY: Meanwhile the UN's John Hay warns there's a closing window of opportunity
to get a new climate change deal.

JOHN HAY: If negotiations are not launched this year in Bali, there is a very big danger of the
climate change process, I would almost say, dissolving.

TONY EASTLEY: John Hay, the spokesman for the UN Climate Change Secretariat, ending that
report by Jennifer Macey.
…………………………………………………….




                                  General Environment News


Australia-Sydney Morning Herald : Leak reveals limited say at climate talks
Marian Wilkinson Environment Editor
November 2, 2007 - LEAKED government documents reveal that Australia's failure to ratify the
Kyoto Protocol will limit its influence at next month's United Nations climate talks in Bali, making
it take a "low-profile role" in some of the key discussions.

A copy of the confidential briefing for the Australian delegation to the UN climate talks two years
earlier in Montreal shows the ambassador for the environment, Jan Adams, and the then
environment minister, Ian Campbell, were repeatedly advised that "as a non-party to the Kyoto
Protocol, Australia should take a low-profile role" in vital discussions.

The 100-page briefing leaked to the Herald undermines claims by the Howard Government that
failing to ratify Kyoto will have no real impact on Australia's participation in the Bali talks.

Officials from the Department of Environment and the Department of Foreign Affairs were told,
"wherever possible in preference to direct intervention … Australia should use informal avenues".

On the key issue of the future negotiations for developed countries to cut their greenhouse gas
emissions further, the briefing says: "Given our non-party status we should keep a low profile on
this."

Yesterday the Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, dismissed any suggestion that
Australia's negotiating position would be impeded.

"One of the great lies of the climate change debate is the claim that Australia will not be able to
participate in the vital climate change talks in Bali in December," he said.

"This is a mistruth that is put about constantly by the Labor Party as part of its climate scare
campaign."

But the head of the Australian Conservation Society, Don Henry, said: "We will literally go in the
Bali talks with one hand tied behind our back. It does make our voice weaker."

The Prime Minister, John Howard, rejected the advice of his Environment Minister, Malcolm
Turnbull, to ratify Kyoto just six weeks ago.

Mr Howard and Mr Downer have been critics of the protocol because it created binding agreements
on the developed countries to cut emissions but left open discussion of cuts for developing countries
until after 2012.

Mr Downer said Australia would be an "active participant" at next month's talks, designed to create
a road map for the next global climate treaty after 2012. Discussion on the new climate agreement
would take place under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, "not the Kyoto
Protocol".

But Australia has different statuses at the two separate but related meetings in Bali. The first is the
meeting of the UNFCCC, which will discuss the future treaty. Australia will be a full participant.
But the second meeting involves the developed countries who have ratified Kyoto. At that meeting,
as the leaked documents make clear, Australia will have "a non-party status".

And according to UN documents, the meeting of the Kyoto Protocol parties will discuss issues
critical to the new treaty that could have a big impact on Australia. This includes whether developed
countries will agree to cut their emissions by up to 40 per cent by 2020 and 90 per cent by 2050 to
avoid dangerous climate change.

These figures are much higher than those contemplated by either the Coalition or Labor.
…………………………………………

China-NZ Herald : Olympics: Daily pollution tests at Beijing Games
Friday November 02, 2007 - NEW YORK - International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge
said today that a monitoring system would be set up in Beijing to gauge whether air pollution
warranted delaying events at next year's Games.

Events that involve endurance, such as the marathon or cycling distance races, could be delayed for
a few hours or until another day, Rogge told reporters.

Outlining how officials would monitor air quality, the IOC president said: "Together with the
Chinese we are setting up a whole series of test sites, more than 20 in Beijing will give us
information online.

"The idea is in the middle of the night, in the early hours, an assessment will be made every day, an
analysis to see whether a threshold is broken.

"If that is the case we will discuss it with the relevant international federation.

"Staying and residing in Beijing for young athletes in good health is not an issue. It's not a danger
issue.

"The only possibility that could be a danger for health is sustained exposure to air pollution in long-
distance endurance sports.

"During a marathon for more than two hours, riding a bicycle race for five to six hours - that could
be a danger hazard and then we would postpone the race."

Though pollution remained a question mark, Rogge forecast a successful Games.

"I think you will hold your breath and will be breathless - not by pollution but by the quality of the
events," he said.

With China's burgeoning economic growth, pollution levels in Beijing have risen dramatically since
2001 when the city was awarded the 2008 Olympics, Rogge said.
"People sometimes ask us, 'Why the hell did you give the Games to Beijing in 2001?'

"The conditions in Beijing according to the World Health Organisation standards was OK," Rogge
said.

"Between 2001 and 2007 the industrial production of China has risen 80 per cent - almost double -
and that has made a difference.

"In 2001 they had almost 1.5 million cars in the city. Today they have 4.5 million.

"This is something no one could foresee, not even the most optimistic Chinese could foresee that."

Rogge said delaying competition because of conditions was not unusual at an Olympics, where
events could be affected by too much wind or a lack of wind, steamy heat or cold temperatures.
………………………………………………

India-Reuters : India Aims to End Open-Air Defecation by 2012

INDIA: November 2, 2007 - NEW DELHI - India aims to eradicate open-air defecation by 2012 by
building toilets for hundreds of millions of its poor and homeless, well ahead of a global deadline to
do so, a government minister said.

An estimated 2.6 billion people, or about one-third of global population, do not have access to a
proper toilet, according to the WHO.
More than half that number live in India or China, with India accounting for about 700 million
people, experts say.

Defecating in the open can contaminate water supplies and spread diseases such as diarrhoea, which
kill thousands of people every year and the UN is aiming to provide clean sanitation to all by 2015.

"By 2012, India will be free of defecation in the open and will meet international commitments in
this regard," a statement quoted Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad as saying at the
World Toilet summit late on Wednesday.

Health and sanitation experts from 40 countries are attending the conference to find ways to provide
toilets for everyone and discuss other clean sanitation issues.

Prasad said India had earmarked about 10 billion rupees (US$255 million) on rural sanitation
projects this year, a 43 percent increase on the previous year.

About half-a-million people in India are engaged in manual scavenging -- cleaning toilets and
carrying human excreta on their heads or carting it from toilets without a sewage system and
dumping it in garbage yards, experts say.

The practice is banned but prevalent because of a lack of other employment opportunities and
proper sewage systems.
……………………………………………….

Indonesia-Reuters : Surge in Tremors at Indonesia's Kelud Volcano

INDONESIA: November 2, 2007 - SUGIHWARAS, Indonesia - Hundreds more people have been
evacuated from around Indonesia's Mount Kelud volcano in East Java on Thursday after more than
600 hundred tremors were recorded, an official said.

Authorities raised the alert at Mount Kelud, one of Indonesia's deadliest volcanoes, to maximum
two weeks ago amid signs of an imminent eruption.
"There have been more tremors than at the time we increased the alert to the highest level last
month," said Umar Rosadi, a vulcanologist at the volcano monitoring post.

After the alert was raised, thousands of people were evacuated from a 10-km (6-mile) zone around
Kelud, but many had returned home, fearing for the safety of their possessions.

Rosadi said magma was 700 metres (2,296 feet) below the crater and could shoot out if it had
enough energy.

Some residents living on the slopes of the volcano have refused to leave, saying they know how to
take care of themselves in the event of an eruption.

Their representatives have signed an agreement with officials stating that they will not hold the
government responsible should anything happen to them.

Meanwhile, thousands of people are at risk from volcanic lahar on Mount Guntur in West Java as
dams built to collect the material on the slopes start to overflow, officials warned.

The amount of lahar, a mix of mud and lava, from Mount Guntur has swelled after heavy rains and
as locals continued to mine sand and stones, said Saut Simatupang, an official with Indonesia's
Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation.

"The volcano is active but there's no increased intensity. What we are concerned (with) is a possible
flow of lahar from the dams. We already issued a recommendation for evacuation two weeks ago,"
Simatupang said.

The 2,249-metre (7,378-feet) volcano in Garut district, which lies 200 km (125 miles) southeast of
the capital Jakarta, is popular with tourists for its hot springs and waterfalls.

Garut police chief Eko Budi said not enough had been done to prepare for a possible disaster and
about 6,000-10,000 people were at risk.

Indonesia has faced a series of deadly natural disasters in recent years and has the highest number of
active volcanoes of any country. It sits on a belt of intense volcanic and seismic activity know as the
"Pacific Ring of Fire".
Indonesian officials were also closely monitoring three other volcanoes for increased activity.

The second-highest alert has also been issued for Mount Anak Krakatau, which has been throwing
up showers of ash.

The volcano, known as the "Child of Krakatau", lies in the Sunda strait between the islands of Java
and Sumatra and is about 130 km (80 miles) west of the capital Jakarta.

It gradually formed after the famous Krakatau volcano blew up in a massive eruption in 1883,
triggering tsunamis and killing thousands of people.

Simatupang said there had been increased activity on the volcano, but it was not a big danger to
people.

People have been advised to stay out of a 3-km zone around the volcano, where tourists often land
from small boats to scramble up its newly formed slopes.

Alerts have also been issued for Mount Soputan, in North Sulawesi, which erupted last week
spewing columns of ash 1,000 metres, and Mount Karangetang off Sulawesi.

(Additional reporting by Mita Valina Liem and Ahmad Pathoni in Jakarta)
……………………………………………….

Singapore-Fujitsu Collaborates with TES-AMM to Launch Recycling Channel

Thu 01 Nov 2007 - Fujitsu Collaborates with TES-AMM to Launch Recycling Channel so
Everyone in Singapore Can Do Their part in Reducing Environmental Waste

Driven by its care for the environment, Fujitsu PC Asia Pacific introduces a new Green Program to
invite corporate customers to recycle their old computers and other electronic equipment with TES-
AMM. This new electronic waste management initiative aims to save business costs, increases
corporate citizenship and encourage sustainability of the earth for the benefit of all.

Fujitsu PC Asia Pacific announces the launch of a Green Program focusing on minimizing
electronic waste and recycling of computers and other electronic equipment. In collaboration with
electronic waste management solutions specialist TES-AMM Singapore, Fujitsu introduces a
channel for their corporate customers to conveniently send all their unwanted PCs, laptops or any
other electronic equipment to be recycled at TES-AMM's processing facility.

Currently, the world is experiencing an exponential boom in the consumption of electronics goods,
resulting in massive amounts of electronics scrap piling up and posing threats to the environment.
Asia alone discards about 12 million tonnes of e-waste every year, according to a United Nations
Environment Program (UNEP) 2005 report.
To further purport their cause in environmental sustainability, Fujitsu is pleased to announce that
this service will also be made available to end users as well. This is to encourage and enable more
people to adopt environmentally-friendly practices as part of everyday life.

"Fujitsu believes that everyone has a part to play in reducing the damage discarded computers can
bring to our environment. Apart from going to great lengths to build products compliant to the
European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive (RoHS), we want to make it as
effortless as possible for corporations and consumers to recycle their 'dead' computers. In doing so,
they will not only be able to play their part in saving costs related to electronics waste handling and
focusing their resources to their core business, they will, most importantly, have a chance to
conserve the environment," says Mr. Lim Teck Sin, Associate Director of Product Marketing,
Fujitsu PC Asia Pacific.

With this program, any Fujitsu client with a minimum of 20 units of redundant electronic equipment
can simply make an Uplift Inquiry and arrange for these units to be picked up via any one of these
three options:

Phone: Contact Annie Lim at DID: +65 6861 3576 or mobile: +65 9800 2476
Email: fujitsutb@tes-amm.com
Web Portal: Visit http://www.tes-amm.com/adhoc_request.asp?id:5

If TES-AMM determines that there is no hazardous substance in the equipment based on the
descriptions provided by the participant, a Collection Job Order (CJO) will be generated within
three working days and arrangements to the best convenience of the participant will be made to
collect the equipment.

"At TES-AMM, we believe in 'Recycling Technology for Tomorrow', hence we are very pleased to
see Fujitsu taking the lead in initiating this green movement with us, as it will encourage many
more companies and consumers to recycle their electronic waste. There is very little reason why any
company would not want to take this up, as it not only frees them from having to commit resources
and costs to dispose these unwanted equipment themselves, but also allows them to do a small but
significant part in reducing negative environmental impact," says Mr. Joe Vong, General Manager,
TES-AMM.

Fujitsu remains firmly committed to the promotion of a cleaner environment, complying with the
European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive (RoHS) across our entire range of
products, allowing Fujitsu to stay keenly focused on our customers’ health and well-being,
embracing a healthier environment for all.
………………………………………………….

Vietnam – The Times of India : Floods kill 13, leave 5 missing in central Vietnam

1 Nov 2007 - HANOI: Floods triggered by heavy rains have killed 13 people in central Vietnam and
left five others missing over the past two days, disaster officials said on Thursday.
  Previous flooding the last two weeks killed 11 people in the region, while Typhoon Lekima killed at
  least 88 and left nine others missing in early October.

  "It could not be worse," said disaster official Nguyen Thanh Phat in Quang Nam province, where
  two people drowned and authorities were searching for four others. "The new floods are
  compounding the misery of villagers who have yet to recover from the previous floods."

  In Thua Thien Hue province, six people drowned, said provincial disaster official Nguyen Van
  Song. Nearly 8,000 people have been evacuated.

  Disaster officials in the provinces of Quang Ngai, Quang Tri and Quang Binh reported five flood
  deaths and one missing person.
  ………………………………………………
  ___________________________________________________________________________

                                    RONA MEDIA UPDATE
                                 ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
                                   Thursday 1 November 2007


UNEP AND THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR IN THE NEWS

GENERAL ENVIRONMENT NEWS

   Seattle Post-Intelligencer - U.S. mayors meet in Seattle to push for a green revolution
   New York Times - Green Grocers (and Bakeries)
   Washington Post - All Express Care for the Environment
   The Associated Press - Religious Leaders Act on Climate Change
   Washington Post - New Earth-Friendly School Is A Groundbreaker in St. Mary's
   Washington Post - Candidates Put Focus On Fighting Pollution
   Washington Post - Bush Nominates Agriculture Secretary
   The Associated Press - State Energy Office to decide wind power sites
   The Associated Press - Tropical Storm Noel heads toward Bahamas after killing at least 81
    in the Caribbean
   The Associated Press - Seattle hosts Bill Clinton, 110 mayors at climate conference
   The Associated Press - Federal agency says dams plan for Columbia and Snake rivers
    won't jeopardize fish
   Christian Science Monitor - California fires: blame game
   The Miami Herald - Wrong to scrap good recycling contract
   The San Francisco Chronicle - Fires belch 7.9 million metric tons of gases
   USA Today - Environmentalists say energy companies dodge pollution laws; Oil and gas
    firms argue rules target larger sources
      UNEP AND THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR IN THE NEWS



GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS


       U.S. mayors meet in Seattle to push for a green revolution
       Seattle Post-Intelligencer
       1 November 2007

       City has met a big goal, but more action is needed


       Fluorescent bulbs were climate change activism on training wheels. For the next generation, it's
       time for a green revolution, for overthrowing the old order and ushering in the new, environmental
       and local elected leaders say.

       They talk about a campaign as passionate as the civil rights movement, as nationally unifying as
       World War II patriotism. They're talking put-a-man-on-the-moon-sized investments in the
       development of clean energy. They want strict standards for vehicle greenhouse-gas emissions.
       They're begging the public to pressure national politicians to champion ambitious efforts to curb
       global warming.

       This week Seattle is the epicenter for city-led crusades to slow global warming as it hosts the U.S.
       Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Summit. Seattle and Mayor Greg Nickels are
       acknowledged leaders in the effort to tame climate change. Officials Monday announced that the
       city's emissions beat Kyoto Protocol goals -- an achievement few have matched.

       So just as residents were starting to feel good about the new weatherstripping around their drafty
       windows and the occasional bus commute, the new message is more is needed -- much more. But
       it's no reason to succumb to green fatigue, activists say.

       "It's really important not to demean the 'screwing in the light bulb,' " said K.C. Golden, policy
       director of Seattle-based Climate Solutions. "It's not that it's not effective, it's that it's not effective
       and hopeful in isolation."

       Much of the emphasis in tackling global warming has been on individuals doing their part, but a
       new strategy is emerging. Working locally isn't enough. Taking the climate change message
       national will be one of the goals of this week's Climate Protection Summit. The mayors are eager to
       push for a plan that goes beyond what they and their constituents are doing individually at home and
       work. And they salivate over the possibility of a White House more aggressive on global warming
       issues.
On Thursday, Golden will announce a new effort called 1Sky to unite local actions into something
on a scale large enough to tackle the climate change challenge. The need for 1Sky comes out of
"knowing that one city can't do it, one individual can't do it without that broader sense of a national
mobilization," he said.

Supporters of 1Sky include scientists, tribal members, elected leaders and activists. Its initial focus
is on setting tough near-term goals for greenhouse gas reductions -- 30 percent reductions by 2020,
creating millions of jobs in the clean energy sector and stopping the construction of new American
coal plants.

On Friday, Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., will host a field hearing of a House committee on global
warming to get input on what needs to happen nationally from the mayors -- who emphasize the
importance of their ongoing role in addressing climate change.

"We believe that the mayors are the first responders as related to this issue," said Mayor Doug
Palmer of Trenton, N.J., and president of the U.S.Conference of Mayors.
While some still debate how much action is appropriate, the transition toward bigger, bolder,
further-reaching initiatives is infecting the environmental community.

"We use outreach tools like the light bulb giveaways to have a conversation with the public," said
Kathleen Ridihalgh, regional representative for the Sierra Club. "What we really want to do is get
the policies in place to make the systemic changes happen."

"This is a huge transformative challenge for Americans and humanity," said Ted Nordhaus, an
author who has called for the "death of environmentalism" to make way for new approaches for
battling climate change.

"The idea that we were ever going to solve it by putting a modest price on carbon (emissions) and
driving our cars a little less is kind of crazy," he said.

Locals seem ready to act. A recent survey of nearly 1,000 King County residents found that 79
percent believed that significant steps need to be taken to address global warming.

It still includes action taken at the city level. After all, Seattle is committed to reaching the Kyoto
Protocol goals of cutting greenhouse-gas emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. And
while that goal already has been met, the success is likely to be short lived as population and traffic
levels continue to rise.

The cities and states deserve credit for getting the movement started while federal leaders were
silent on the matter, environmentalists said, but it's time to do more.

"The one thing that we can't afford is to become fatigued about all this," said Bill McKibben,
organizer of Step It Up national climate change events. "We've got to be thinking about global
warming not as another item on a list of problems, but as the lens through which we look at this
world."
Green Grocers (and Bakeries)

By J Alex Tarquinio
New York Times
November 1, 2007

Most people probably would not associate having a sweet tooth with saving the planet. But the
owners of the Little Cupcake Bake Shop would respectfully like you to know that they are part of
the solution.

First, there is the signature ―global cupcakes‖ — vanilla with blue and green frosting to resemble
the earth — for $2.50 each. All the proceeds are donated to environmental groups.
But that is just the beginning. In the two years since the bake shop opened in the Bay Ridge section
of Brooklyn, the owners have cut back their energy and water use and reduced their trash by
installing glazed windows to cut down on the need for heating and cooling; switching to
biodegradable bags and utensils; and adding a recycling unit in the dining area.
Luigi LoBuglio, one of the bake shop’s owners, said he was initially nervous about promoting the
shop’s environmental efforts because Bay Ridge is generally thought of as a tradition-bound Italian
American neighborhood. But he said that customer response had been overwhelmingly positive.
―Our customers are loyal, because they know their money is going to support stuff like this,‖ Mr.
LoBuglio said, holding up a corn starch-based biodegradable fork.

Business experts say that many small businesses could benefit from conservation efforts in two
ways — by saving money on their monthly utility bills and by raising their profile in the community
for much less money than they might spend on local advertising.

―There is a small, but growing fraction of the public that would appreciate this if they promoted it
correctly,‖ said Geoffrey Heal, a professor of public policy and corporate responsibility at the
Columbia Business School.

Professor Heal said that small businesses that deal directly with the public like restaurants, dry
cleaners and nail salons may benefit more from this good will than, say, accountants and software
programmers, who generally sell their services directly to other businesses.

But he said that all kinds of small businesses could see real savings by cutting back on energy use.
―Almost anybody who hasn’t really worked on this can cut their energy use by 10 to 20 percent,‖ he
said. And those savings would all go directly to the bottom line.

Small businesses could begin where many homeowners start — by replacing their conventional
light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs, Professor Heal said. They might also be able to save money
simply by modifying their daily business practices, like switching off computers when they are not
in use. Other changes, like installing glazed windows or buying more fuel-efficient delivery trucks,
would initially cost money, but could quickly pay for themselves, he said.

Yet many small business owners are unaware of how much money these measures could save, at
least in part because most conservation efforts have focused on large businesses. But the potential
savings at small businesses, at least in the aggregate, could also be huge, according to the Alliance
to Save Energy, a nonprofit group based in Washington.

The alliance estimates that if every small business in the United States cut its energy use by an
average of 10 percent, that would be more than the energy consumed in 13 million American
households.

Programs already exist in many states to help small businesses cut their energy use. But from
California to New York to Massachusetts, program directors say that only 1 to 2 percent of the
small businesses in their areas have applied. New York State officials say they are in the middle of a
two-year pilot plan to send employees directly to small businesses in the middle of the state to try to
enroll them in the energy conservation program. (For a list of the state programs, go to
www.ase.org/content/article/detail/2356.)

Ashok Gupta, the director of the air and energy program for the Natural Resources Defense
Council, said that many small-business owners do not have time to research their options. And even
if they know about the programs, he said, they may not realize that they are paying for them, like all
ratepayers in those states, through surcharges on their utility bills.

Sue Little, who owns the Jabberwocky Bookshop, an independent bookstore in Newburyport,
Mass., is one satisfied rate payer. She applied to the energy efficiency program run through her
local utility, National Grid, and paid $536 for more than $3,000 in improvements to the lighting in
her bookstore. National Grid estimated that the annual savings on her electricity bills should be
about $2,350.

Ms. Little said she was initially worried that the fluorescent lights would make the colors on the
books appear unnatural and that she would sell fewer books. ―But I don’t think we’ve lost anything
with the new lights,‖ she said. ―In fact, I think it looks better.‖

Bill Wygal, who owns five hardware stores that bear his name in Contra Costa County, in Northern
California, did not apply for any grants to help pay for much more extensive changes. ―We probably
should have,‖ Mr. Wygal said in a telephone interview. ―Sometimes we make stupid decisions in
small businesses because we don’t have the time. A Fortune 500 company can have a whole staff of
people researching these things.‖

Mr. Wygal said he paid $105,000 to install complicated arrays of mirrors on the rooftops of his two
stores that already had skylights. These mirrors adjust through the day so that enough sunlight
shines down through the skylights to nearly eliminate the need for artificial lighting. Mr. Wygal
estimates that he is saving enough on monthly utility bills that he should break even in five to seven
years.

But most small business owners are not inclined to invest that kind of time and money into
conservation, said William J. Dennis, a senior research fellow at the National Federation of
Independent Business.
In a recent survey, he said he found that roughly half of small business owners had made some
small change to cut their energy bills, like turning down their thermostats. But he said that only 27
percent of those owners could name a second action they had taken. ―They tend to do just one
thing,‖ Mr. Dennis said.

But in many small businesses, particularly in food service, there are many options. For example, if a
typical full-service restaurant started composting, recycling and giving diners reusable mugs rather
than paper cups, it could reduce their waste disposal by more than 50 tons a year, according to an
analysis by the Green Restaurant Association.

The potential savings are a bit more modest, but still substantial, for a bake shop like the Little
Cupcake.

Mr. LoBuglio had a lot of help from his brother, Massimo, an environmental advocate who
volunteered his time to work on the conservation efforts. They have called their project the Little
Cupcake Initiative, and they are adding a link to the bake shop’s Web site,
www.littlecupcakebakeshop.com, giving details of their energy and waste reduction and how much
money they have saved.

Massimo LoBuglio estimates that the bake shop is saving more than $9,000 a year by using ceramic
cups instead of paper for customers who dine in. And it is saving more than $3,500 a year by asking
customers who dine out whether they want a bag, rather than automatically giving them one. He
said that changes to the lighting, including installing a motion sensor in the bathroom and switching
to fluorescents, cost less than $200 and have reduced electricity bills by more than $1,000 a year.

No detail appears to be too small for their attention. For example, the owners estimate that they are
saving $120 a year by not purchasing new envelopes. Instead, they file the nightly receipts and give
the employees their paychecks in reused junk mail envelopes.

―At first it was funny, getting their paychecks in old Verizon or American Express envelopes,‖
Luigi LoBuglio said. ―But now our workers bring in their own junk mail envelopes from home.‖
Three Incumbents Are Shoo-Ins for Three Open Seats

All Express Care for the Environment
By Christy Goodman
Washington Post
November 1, 2007

Three environmentally conscious incumbent candidates are shoo-ins for the three open seats on the
Prince William County Soil and Water Conservation Board.

Vice Chairman Matthew A. Brooks and board members Austin B. Haynes Jr. and Alex Pendleton
Lucas III are seeking to stay on the board for four-year terms.
The Soil and Water Conservation Board teaches farmers conservation principles and helps them get
state funding and grants to enact those principles. The board, which is a state entity but locally
funded, also focuses on public education. The group's most well-known activity is Farm Field Day,
when 500 area schoolchildren go to the county fairgrounds to learn about animals, soil and trees.
Brooks, 45, is an environmental engineer at the Upper Occoquan Sewage Authority and has served
a full term on the board. He has lived in the county since 1971.

"When it is a farmer-based focus, they are more than willing to take the advice we give and instill
some of the practices in order to save money and protect the environment. They care for the land,"
Brooks said. "As we move into a more bedroom-based community, people aren't so tied to the land,
and that can pose a problem."

The board needs to adjust to the county's growth while still educating the public on how to best take
care of the land, he said.

Haynes, who works at a real estate company, started on the board in January as an associate director
with an interest in urban conservation. He was made a full board member this summer. The 49-
year-old Baltimore native moved to the county two years ago and had spent 22 years in Manassas.
"In urban areas, we should look at extra storm water guidelines for extra runoff of fertilizer and
things along those lines," Haynes said. The county could go beyond the standards set by the
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, he said. Haynes also said he wants more local
organizations to partner with the board to expand its efforts.

Lucas, 46, has been on the board for one year. Since age 9, he lived on a farm in the Gainesville
area and spent his childhood "being in the woods and being in the environment," which he said he
learned to appreciate as an adult. The recently retired Army lieutenant colonel was an engineer with
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and now runs construction businesses.

His work on the board "is my way of serving my community after serving my country," Lucas said.
He said he is concerned about the wooded areas "constantly being downsized in our county" and
hopes to expand on the work being done in the schools to create a community-wide focus on the
environment.

Religious Leaders Act on Climate Change
By H Josef Hebert
The Associated Press
November 1, 2007

A coalition of religious leaders urged Congress on Wednesday to ensure that the poor and most
vulnerable are protected from the effects of climate change.

The appeals comes as lawmakers in the coming months plan to consider legislation that would
combat global warming.
The representatives from groups such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National
Association of Evangelicals, National Council of Churches and the Union for Reform Judaism said
Congress should require a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

A compromise bill proposed by Sens. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, and John Warner,
R-Va., was expected to advance from a Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee on
Thursday.

The religious leaders planned to press the bill's sponsors "to strengthen and improve protections for
the poor and vulnerable as (the) legislation moves forward," said Paul Gorman, executive director
of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment.

The church leaders, in a conference call with reporters, outlined their priorities for the legislation.
They include helping low-income families deal with the impact of higher energy prices that result
from new climate policies and making sure that vulnerable people are shielded from the
environmental effects of global warming.
The group said it will seek to have 40 percent of the emissions-related revenues from climate
change legislation directed to help such people. The Lieberman-Warner bill calls for a 5 percent
allocation for such purposes.

"While not all of us agree on much," said the Rev. Michael Livingston, president of the National
Council of Churches, "we do agree on the need to protect God's creation. It has become clear that
global warming will have devastating impact on those in poverty around the world."

The Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs for the National Association of
Evangelicals, said 84 percent of evangelicals support mandatory limits on greenhouse gases. He
said it is not a matter of political persuasion but "of moral leadership."

Added Bishop Thomas Wenksi of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: "Those who contribute
least to the problem are likely to suffer the most."

New Earth-Friendly School Is A Groundbreaker in St. Mary's
By Jenna Johnson
Washington Post
November 1, 2007

St. Mary's County broke ground Monday morning for Evergreen Elementary School, which will be
the county's first new school since 1980.

"This is a very historic occasion," School Superintendent Michael J. Martirano said during a
ceremony near the school site in California.

Dozens of school, county and state officials attended the groundbreaking for Evergreen, which is
scheduled to open in time for the 2009-10 academic year. Heavy rains at the end of last week left
the construction site muddy, so organizers set up a symbolic groundbreaking at a nearby field in the
Wildewood development.

State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick attended the event and applauded the project,
saying the new school would provide "a memorable environment" for students. "I am thrilled about
this building," she said.

Salvatore L. Raspa, chairman of the county Board of Education, called the school an "architectural
accomplishment beyond imagination." County Commissioner Daniel H. Raley (D-Great Mills) said
the school's $20 million cost is justified because educating children is a top priority.

The environment and responsible energy-use are central themes for the design of the school, which
will feature vegetation on the roofs, waterless urinals, natural lighting, geothermal energy, building
materials made from recycled goods and rainwater collection tanks to supply water for toilets.

The building itself will be a learning tool, as students can monitor the school's levels of energy use
at a digital kiosk and study nature in a rooftop science classroom.
Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D), who attended the groundbreaking, said such
energy-saving measures can be money-saving ones.

After the groundbreaking, Grasmick joined board members for a bus tour of the area. They passed
the newly opened Chesapeake Public Charter School.

The group then stopped at Spring Ridge Middle School to watch sixth-grade students perform
science experiments as part of the STEM program, which was developed in response to the
country's shortage of professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The last stop of the day was the Patuxent River Naval Air Station to learn about its partnerships
with the school system.

Candidates Put Focus On Fighting Pollution
By Fredrick Kunkle
Washington Post
November 1, 2007

Four candidates are running this year for three slots on the board of Fairfax County's Northern
Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, which has been around since Congress authorized
creating such advisory groups after the Dust Bowl.

The slate includes two current members: Sally B. Ormsby, of Mantua, who has served two terms
since 2000, and John W. Peterson, of Burke, who was appointed in January to fill a vacancy created
by the departure of David Bulova (D-37) for the House of Delegates. There are two challengers:
Johna Good Gagnon, of Franconia, and Daphne D. Sahlin, of Annandale.
The boundaries of the district are the same as those of Fairfax County. Its five members include
three directors elected every four years and two appointees, including a Virginia Cooperative
Extension agent and a director named by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board. The
agency works to minimize the impact of development on Northern Virginia's landscape, particularly
by controlling erosion and protecting bodies of water that feed the Chesapeake Bay.

Ormsby, 71, initiated a bi-monthly "green" breakfast about four years ago to draw together people
interested in protecting the environment. She is also the district's representative on the Potomac
Watershed Roundtable, which pulls together elected officials, environmentalists, builders, utility
representatives and members of the public interested in boating, fishing and other pursuits to find
ways to protect the bay.

Gagnon, 54, is a member of the Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council who in
1999 ran unsuccessfully for the district board in a field of seven candidates. She is a retired FBI
fingerprint technician who coordinates and offers instruction on criminal justice for Kaplan Higher
Education. (Kaplan is owned by The Washington Post Co.)

Gagnon served her homeowners association and said an interest in serving the community led her to
run for the district board. If elected, she would like to focus on fighting runoff pollution from
driveways and parking lots and overuse of lawn fertilizers, particularly making each neighborhood
aware that its activities can directly affect nearby watersheds and the Chesapeake Bay.

"I'm a big one for getting the schools involved, because if you get the kids involved, they go home
and bug their parents," Gagnon said.

Peterson, 71, said his credentials as a former U.S. Agriculture Department official make him
particularly well suited for the board. He spent 40 years in the USDA's Soil Conservation Service
before retiring as deputy chief in 1994.

"Erosion, per se, is probably one of the biggest pollutants we have to contend with in the United
States," Peterson said.

Sahlin, 52, who retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel and works for the Defense
Department, said biking and running on county trails has deepened her appreciation of the
environment.

"I care deeply about our streams, our soil, and our natural resources," Sahlin said.

If elected, she said, "I do think we can do a better job of communicating to the public."

Sahlin, who did not respond to a request for a biographical statement for the Voters Guide, said, "I
do have a job, and it takes up a lot of my time."

Bush Nominates Agriculture Secretary
2-Term N.D. Governor Has Roots in Farming
By Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post
November 1, 2007

President Bush yesterday nominated Edward T. Schafer, who served two terms as governor of
North Dakota, to head the Department of Agriculture, an agency with a broad mandate including
administration of the federal food stamp program, aiding economic development in rural America
and enhancing food safety.

Bush called Schafer a natural candidate for the post, given his farm roots and experience as an
entrepreneur and governor of a state where nearly a quarter of the workers hold agriculture-related
jobs.

"Ed Schafer is the right choice to fill this post," Bush said in the Roosevelt Room of the White
House as Schafer stood by his side. "He was a leader on agricultural issues during his eight years as
governor of North Dakota."
The nomination of Schafer, the grandson of Danish immigrants who farmed the North Dakota
plains, comes as Congress is moving toward passing a new $288 billion farm bill. The Senate
version of the bill, passed out of committee two weeks ago, would make modest changes to subsidy
programs intended to provide financial security to farmers.

"With Ed's leadership, we will work with Congress to pass a farm bill that provides farmers with a
safety net, protects our lands and the environment, and spends federal tax dollars wisely," Bush
said.

The five-year farm measure also covers a vast array of agriculture-related issues, including research
on new biofuels, fish farming and the continued cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay. Beyond the farm
bill, Bush will rely on Schafer to aid with trade negotiations and to help open foreign markets to
U.S. agricultural products.

"I realize that the mission of this agency goes far beyond the services delivered to the preservation
of a way of life that I believe is the foundation of this country," Schafer said.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), reacted warmly to Schafer's
nomination. "I look forward to working with him and to learning his views on the new farm bill,"
Harkin said.

The 61-year-old Schafer is being nominated to replace former agriculture secretary Mike Johanns,
who resigned in September and is running for the Senate seat being vacated by Nebraska's Chuck
Hagel (R) next year.
State Energy Office to decide wind power sites
The Associated Press
November 1, 2007

Gov. Don Carcieri's administration could soon decide whether to move forward on several
wind turbine projects along Rhode Island's coast.

Earlier this year, the state Energy Office identified 11 sites in Rhode Island where the winds
are strong enough to support the turbines. Carcieri has said he wants 15 percent of the state's
electricity supply to eventually come from wind power.

After four meetings that finished Wednesday, a committee of about 35 people that included
environmentalists, fishermen and others did not settle on any particular sites. Two of the
most promising locations are off shore, just south of Block Island and off the coast of Little
Compton.

"It is premature to start eliminating sites based on the information we have now," said
Cynthia Giles, the Rhode Island advocacy director for the Conservation Law Foundation.

But neither did the group raise any "show-stopping" complaints, said Andrew Dzykewicz,
Carcieri's chief energy adviser.
Dzykewicz's office will now compile the group's feedback into a report and identify two or
three viable sites, he said.

Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.projo.com/


Tropical Storm Noel heads toward Bahamas after killing at least 81 in the
Caribbean
By Jose Monegro
The Associated Press
November 1, 2007

Tropical Storm Noel buffeted south Florida with high surf and winds as it swirled slowly
toward the Bahamas Thursday after triggering mudslides and floods in the Caribbean that
killed at least 81 people.

Forecasters warned of worsening storm conditions in the Bahamas later in the day, and the
government issued a hurricane watch for the northwestern parts of the archipelago. On
Andros Island, the chain's largest, boat owners tied their vessels down ahead of the storm.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center on Thursday issued a tropical storm warning for the
southeastern Florida coast from Ocean Reef to Deerfield Beach. A tropical storm watch was
in effect from north of Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet. A warning means tropical storm

                                                                                            55
conditions are expected within 24 hours while a watch means such conditions are possible
within that area.

The deadly storm dumped rains on the Dominican Republic and Haiti Wednesday night,
more than two days after it struck the island of Hispaniola, where rescuers were struggling to
reach communities cut off by flooding.

As they did, they found a rising toll of death and damage at least 56 dead in the Dominican
Republic, 24 in neighboring Haiti and one in Jamaica.

Two days after a swollen river swept away the hamlet of Piedra Blanca in central Dominican
Republic, Charo Vidal described climbing into a tree and watching her neighbor struggle to
do the same, clutching infant twins while the waters swept an older daughter away.

"She couldn't take care of all three," Vidal said. "That is something very profound, to have a
child snatched from your hands and you cannot do anything for them."

"The river tore her from my hands as I held her," said the mother, Mary De Leon.

At least seven people died in Piedra Blanca, emergency officials said.

Dominican President Leonel Fernandez declared a 30-day state of emergency and asked for
international help, especially rescue teams and helicopters. He also ordered residents to
evacuate from dozens of potential flood zones.

At least 58,300 Dominicans fled their homes, some 14,500 of which were damaged, said Luis
Antonio Luna, head of the Emergencies Commission. He said at least 56 people had died in
the Dominican Republic so far.

Luna said officials were trying to reach dozens of isolated communities, but bad weather, a
lack of helicopters and damage to bridges and highways slowed rescue efforts. He said at
least 27 people were reported missing.

In neighboring Haiti, floods rushed through the capital's Cite Soleil slum, carrying away a 3-
year-old boy. Two people were killed when their house collapsed in a mudslide in the hillside
suburb of Petionville, and at least three others died in Jacmel.

Noel is the deadliest storm to hit this part of the Caribbean since Tropical Storm Jeanne hit
Haiti in 2004, killing an estimated 3,000 people with massive flooding and mudslides.

For the Atlantic region as a whole, Noel is so far the second deadliest of the 2007 season.
Hurricane Felix, a monster Category 5 storm, killed at least 101 people in early September,
mostly along the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and Honduras.

At 8 a.m. EDT, Noel's center was about 110 miles southwest of Nassau, Bahamas, and about
175 miles southeast of Miami. The storm was moving toward the north at 6 mph. It had top
sustained winds near 60 mph, with stronger gusts, forecasters said.

                                                                                           56
Rough surf warnings were in effect for much of South Florida. Waves were pounding
beaches in the Miami area, and residents of a waterfront condominium in South Palm Beach
were urged to evacuate after pounding surf destroyed a retaining wall damaged this month in
another storm.

Michael Stubbs, a government meteorologist, said Noel was expected to be close to hurricane
strength when spinning west of Andros Island at about dawn Thursday. It was forecast to
veer east, away from the United States, after churning past the northeast Bahamian island of
Abaco.

Associated Press writers Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Ramon Almanzar in Santo
Domingo, Dominican Republic; Jonathan M. Katz in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Will Weissert in
Havana; and Jessica Robertson in Nassau, Bahamas, contributed to this report.

Seattle hosts Bill Clinton, 110 mayors at climate conference
By Gene Johnson
The Associated Press
November 1, 2007


There's a lot of boasting as more than 100 mayors from around the country gather here for a
summit on climate change, starting with Seattle's own Greg Nickels, who issued a flurry of
news releases this week trumpeting what his city is doing to combat global warming.

But the bragging about carbon footprints and grass roofs isn't just a bunch of hot air, Nickels
said: A friendly rivalry among the mayors is a good way to get things done, and at any rate
they all know there's much more work ahead to reduce pollution, conserve energy and create
"green collar" jobs.
"We have 700 mayors who all have egos," he said of those who have signed an agreement to
meet Kyoto Treaty environmental goals by 2012. "We all want to make our mark on this
issue."

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is holding the climate summit Thursday and Friday. It will
feature addresses by former President Bill Clinton and New York Mayor Michael
Bloomberg, as well as a satellite appearance by Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore.

The North Dakota mayors attending the conference are Michael Brown of Grand Forks and
Dennis Walaker of Fargo.

The idea behind the gathering is to discuss best practices for reducing carbon emissions, and
how contrary to old perceptions of cities as dirty, smoggy and congested they are on the
forefront of the global warming fight.




                                                                                            57
"It's important that we not just sign on, but that we know how to go about doing it," said
Trenton, N.J., Mayor Douglas Palmer, president of the mayors group. "It all starts with the
mayors. We're running the cities."

Among those practices cited in a 65-page guide presented at the conference:

 Albuquerque, N.M., is trying to guide its population growth into a network of mixed-use,
transit-oriented "urban villages." Its residents have cut water use by 42 percent, and 15
percent of the city government's energy comes from wind power.

 Baltimore created an extensive database of electricity, gas, steam and water use by every
city agency, saving $700,000 simply by scrutinizing its billing.

Syracuse, N.Y., adopted an ordinance this year requiring all municipal building projects to
meet green-building standards.

 Chattanooga, Tenn., has established a free, electric bus system serving the downtown and
riverfront areas.

"If you sit in the bars and talk to these mayors, you'd really be surprised," says Conference of
Mayors Executive Director Tom Cochran. "They're all talking about what they're doing."

And none is doing more than Seattle, Cochran said.

Nickels, described by other mayors as a "pied piper" on environmental issues, has built on
the city's 30-year history as a leader in recycling and conservation by calling, back in 2005,
for mayors around the country to begin honoring the Kyoto goals of reducing carbon
emissions 7 percent below 1990 levels.

A new study released this week showed Seattle to be already meeting its emissions targets
under the climate agreement. New downtown zoning requires developers to meet green
building standards if they want to exceed former height limits. Ridership is up on biodiesel
and electric buses, there's a grass roof on the new City Hall, the city is tripling its bike lane
mileage, and food scrap composting becomes mandatory next year.

A light rail line is being built between downtown and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport,
and a new trolley will soon serve the South Lake Union area.

Cochran said a major challenge is to secure federal funding to help cities measure their
greenhouse gas emissions a crucial step if they're going to reduce them anytime soon. The
energy bills in the House and Senate include $2 billion for block grants to cities, counties and
states.

Lest anyone be concerned about the emissions created by 110 mayors traveling to Seattle
from all over the country, Seattle is buying carbon offsets for those air and highway miles
through outfits such as the Climate Trust of Oregon and Vermont-based Native Wind, said
Steve Nicholas, director of Seattle's Office of Sustainability and Environment.

                                                                                              58
The city has also persuaded the conference venue, the Edgewater Hotel, to serve all food and
water on real, rather than paper or plastic, plates and cups, and to serve tap water instead of
bottled water.

Federal agency says dams plan for Columbia and Snake rivers won't
jeopardize fish
By Jeff Barnard
The Associated Press
November 1, 2007

The agency in charge of restoring Northwest salmon says a court-ordered plan for operating
federal dams in the Columbia and Snake River basins is not likely to jeopardize the survival
of endangered salmon and steelhead.

"The picture that emerges is not pretty, but it is hopeful," Bob Lohn, Northwest director of
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service,
said Wednesday.

The agencies that operate 24 federal hydroelectric dams and irrigation projects in Oregon,
Washington and Idaho had earlier acknowledged that their projects would lead to salmon
extinction. They offered a series of improvements to make up for them, as called for by the
Endangered Species Act.
The suggestions included improving habitat in spawning streams and estuaries, doing more
to limit damage done by California sea lions that feed on adult salmon and modifying some
dams so juvenile salmon migrating to the ocean can slide over them rather than having to
dive deep through spillways.

The draft biological opinion from NOAA Fisheries looked at the proposals, considered
climatic changes that have reduced the amount of food in the ocean and flows in spawning
rivers, added some further mitigation and concluded that the fish should not only survive, but
move closer to recovery.

After Indian tribes and Northwest states have been consulted and a final review is produced,
the proposal will go to U.S. District Judge James Redden in Portland.

He tossed out the last plan, saying it violated the Endangered Species Act. He warned he
wants something that will help the fish thrive, not just survive.

Lohn noted that the biological opinion did not consider a proposal long favored by some
tribes and conservation groups breaching four dams on the lower Snake River in Washington
because only Congress can do that.

Death toll from floods and mudslides rises to 81 as Tropical Storm Noel
heads toward Bahamas

                                                                                            59
By Jose Monegro
The Associated Press
November 1, 2007

Tropical Storm Noel triggered mudslides and floods in the Dominican Republic and Haiti,
pushing the death toll to 81 on Wednesday and forcing some parents to choose which of their
children to save from the surging waters.

The storm was slowly moving away from the north coast of Cuba and was projected to skirt
Florida and batter the Bahamas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

A tropical storm watch was issued for parts of southeast Florida's coast, which was already
being buffeted by strong winds and high surf. Forecasters warned that gusty winds would
continue hitting Florida through Thursday.

With rain still falling on Hispaniola two days after the storm hit, rescuers were struggling to
reach communities cut off by flooding on the island. As they did, they found a rising toll of
death and damage at least 56 dead in the Dominican Republic, 24 in Haiti and one in
Jamaica.

A swollen river overflowed its banks Monday night and swept away the hamlet of Piedra
Blanca in the central Dominican Republic, forcing Charo Vidal to climb a tree. She watched
her neighbor struggle to do the same nearby, clutching infant twins while water swept an
older daughter away.
"She couldn't take care of all three," Vidal said Wednesday. "That is something very
significant, to have a child snatched from your hands and you cannot do anything for them."

The mother, Mary De Leon, was inconsolable. "The river tore her from my hands as I held
her," she said through tears.

"A lot of people had to choose between losing one child and losing another one," said Liony
Batista, a project manager for Food for the Poor, an international Christian relief
organization.

Sagrario Diaz, a 42-year-old farmer, also struggled to hold on to his son in the surging waters
but failed. "I fought, I swear I tried to save him, but I couldn't," Diaz said. "I would like to
die."

A neighbor, Lucia Araujo, said she heard the boy scream: "Daddy, I don't want to drown.
Help me, I don't want to drown."

At least seven people died in Piedra Blanca, emergency officials said.

About 200 homes were destroyed in the nearby town of Bonao, Batista said.




                                                                                             60
Dominican President Leonel Fernandez declared a state of emergency for the next 30 days
and asked for international help, especially rescue teams and helicopters. He ordered
residents in 36 communities to evacuate because they were in potential flood zones.

At least 58,300 Dominicans fled their homes, some 14,500 of which were damaged, said Luis
Antonio Luna, head of the Emergencies Commission. He said at least 56 people had died in
the Dominican Republic so far. Flooding also forced the evacuation of about 1,000 inmates
from a prison north of the Dominican capital.

Luna said officials were trying to reach dozens of isolated communities, but bad weather, a
lack of helicopters and damage to bridges and highways slowed rescue efforts.

The southwestern town of San Jose de Ocoa was in a precarious situation, unreachable by air,
land or water, Public Works Secretary Victor Diaz Rua said.

"We have been told that the town has a limited food supply, so we're looking for a way in,"
Diaz said.
In neighboring Haiti, floods rushed through houses in the capital's Cite Soleil slum, carrying
away a 3-year-old boy as relatives frantically shouted for help and tried unsuccessfully to
reach him through the muddy, debris-filled water.

Two people were killed when their house collapsed in a mudslide in the hillside suburb of
Petionville, and at least three others died in Jacmel, where officials said 150 people were
trapped on rooftops awaiting aid.

Noel is the deadliest storm in this part of the Caribbean since Tropical Storm Jeanne hit Haiti
in 2004, triggering floods and mudslides that killed an estimated 3,000 people.
For the Atlantic region as a whole, Noel is the second deadliest of the 2007 season. Hurricane
Felix, a monster Category 5 storm, killed at least 101 people in early September, mostly
along the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and Honduras.

At 2 a.m. EDT, Noel's center was about 125 miles south-southwest of Nassau, Bahamas, and
about 195 miles southeast of Miami. The storm was moving toward the north at 5 mph, but
was expected to eventually turn northeast away from Florida. It had top sustained winds near
60 mph, with stronger gusts, forecasters said.

Eastern Cuba got soaked but apparently escaped major damage.

Rough surf warnings were in effect for much of South Florida. Waves were pounding
beaches in the Miami area, and residents of a waterfront condominium in South Palm Beach
were urged to evacuate after pounding surf destroyed a retaining wall damaged this month in
another storm.
The tropical storm watch was issued for about a 140-mile stretch of Florida from just north of
the Keys to Jupiter. Meanwhile, wind and waves washed out beaches from the Georgia
border to Miami.




                                                                                            61
The Miami-based center said weather should begin to worsen in the Bahamas and issued a
hurricane watch for the northwestern part of the island chain late Wednesday.

In Andros Island, the Bahamian chain's largest, boat owners tied their vessels down and
residents secured loose items around their properties as Noel trekked toward the storm-
hardened archipelago.
Michael Stubbs, a government meteorologist, said Noel was expected to be close to hurricane
strength when spinning west of northwest Andros Island at about dawn Thursday.

Associated Press writers Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ramon Almanzar in Santo
Domingo, Dominican Republic, Jonathan M. Katz in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Will Weissert in
Havana and Jessica Robertson in Nassau, Bahamas, contributed to this report.

California fires: blame game
By Brad Knickerbocker
Christian Science Monitor
November 1, 2007

The wildfires that raced through southern California have turned up the political and
scientific heat about climate change's possible role in the conflagrations.

The United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts
increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events, including droughts, heat waves,
and resulting fires. Will this make southern California communities more vulnerable to fires?

Many experts believe such blazes will become routine "because global warming is
intensifying nature's cycles by lengthening fire seasons," reports The San Diego Union-
Tribune.

Walter Oechel, a biology professor at San Diego State University, who had to evacuate, sees
it in personal terms. He told the San Diego newspaper: "The fires we just experienced are
some of the first effects we are feeling from climate change. We now have a very graphic
representation of what many of us have been saying for a long time."

Europe, too, had a record fire year, according to some reports. A story in The Vancouver Sun
surveyed the fire damage around the world starting with Greece and Spain and then
noted:"Flames swept through the olive groves of Lebanon. There were serious burns in
Cyprus, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Italy. Russia reported more than 14 million hectares scorched
in remote Siberia. There were big fires in Australia, too ... in South America fires burning in
remote regions left plumes of smoke so vast they could be observed from space."

Still, the overlapping science of climate, weather, and wildfires makes for a very complicated
picture. Researchers at the University of California, Merced, and the University of Arizona
said in a statement:"At present, the connection between global warming, Santa Ana winds,
and extremely low Southern California precipitation last winter are not known with sufficient
certainty to conclusively link global warming with this disaster."

                                                                                            62
In the same statement, these scientists point to research suggesting that the extent of the
recent drought may be related to early snowmelt driven by climate change:"Climate model
projections suggest that with rising greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere, these
phenomena will become increasingly likely in the future."

Others note a combination of trends, including long ocean cycles, which may increase fire
danger. Says Thomas Swetnam of the University of Arizona in an article at
ScientificAmerican.com:"Whether or not what we're seeing in the western US is mainly a
function of the [Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation] or warming temperatures or some
combination of both, we can't see ... It's warming up, which is likely to lead to more large
fires."

Meanwhile, the politics of global warming continue to flare. Critics took issue with an
assertion by Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada that global warming is directly
linked to the fires in California.

On his blog, Carter Wood of the National Association of Manufacturers wrote:"Global
warming did not cause power lines to fall and spark, arsonists to set the fires, or human
activity to become more widespread in an arid yet forested area."

Mocking a statement by Rep. Ed Markey (D) of Massachusetts that western fires "are
burning more frequently and with greater intensity" due to climate change, Mr. Wood wrote:
"This is not evidence, this is testimony from the scriptures of the Church of Global
Warming... Trouble is, you can't debate faith. But you can debate the propriety of politicizing
every bit of human tragedy in the world."

Another fuss occurred when a government official's congressional testimony about the
impact of climate change was edited by the White House. According to an article in the San
Jose Mercury News, one of the sections eliminated was "Forest fires are expected to increase
in frequency, severity, distribution and duration." It added:"They were part of six pages of
testimony deleted by White House officials before Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the
Centers for Disease Control, spoke Tuesday to the Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee on the health impacts of climate change.... The West Coast, she said in prepared
testimony, 'is expected to experience significant strains on water supplies as regional
precipitation declines and mountain snowpacks are depleted.' That finding was followed by
the warning on wildfires."

Administration officials and Dr. Gerberding played down the incident. But, according to the
Associated Press, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) of California, who chairs the committee where the
testimony was given, demanded to see the unedited version "because the public has a right to
know all the facts about the serious threats posed by global warming."

Wrong to scrap good recycling contract;

OUR OPINION:          DEAL     WOULD       HAVE      SAVED      MONEY       AND      HELPED
ENVIRONMENT

                                                                                            63
The Miami Herald
November 1, 2007

If Miami-Dade commissioners want to know why there is such unbridled anger among the
electorate about local-government spending, they should look no further than the majority's
decision to scuttle a recycling contract that would have saved taxpayers about $250,000 a
month.

The recycling deal had been painstakingly negotiated. Yet the commission scuttled it in
October, even though the deal would expand the county's household recycling program to
include recyclable waste now dumped in landfills. A deal that is good for taxpayers' wallets
and good for the environment -- what's not to like?

A more-expensive deal

Could it be that lobbyists' interest held more sway than a good deal? Commissioners offered
a dubious explanation, saying that they didn't want to give the contract to an out-of-town
company. So, they rejected the agreement with Longwood-based Waste Pro Inc. Then
commissioners came up with a new plan for divvying up the recycling dollars, one that could
cost almost $500,000 more per year than the Longwood company would have charged.

Commissioners conveniently overlooked the fact that lobbyists' clients have only themselves
to blame for the administration's deal with the Longwood-based company. Any of them
could have made an offer low enough that the county couldn't refuse.

The recycling contract was negotiated differently than most county contracts. Instead of
submitting requests for proposals and basing the winning bid on well-defined, strict criteria,
County Manager George Burgess simultaneously negotiated with five solid-waste firms to
get the lowest possible price.

In fact, when Mr. Burgess presented results of his initial negotiations, the County
Commission told him to go back and seek a lower price. So, after more talks with the five
firms, four of which are local, Mr. Burgess returned with the low bid from Waste Pro Inc. --
the one the commission rejected.

Now the commission wants Mr. Burgess to split the county into three districts for waste
recycling and thus reward contracts to three firms, preferably local ones.

Hurting recycling efforts

This scheme will splinter what should be a seamless countywide recycling collection process,
meaning that it will cost the county more and make comprehensive quality assurance more
difficult to maintain. But who's counting dollars? Not a majority of county commissioners.

It may fall on deaf ears to suggest this, but we'll do it anyway: The commission should
reinstate the Waste Pro Inc. deal, with apologies to Miami-Dade taxpayers. That won't

                                                                                           64
assuage residents' anger, but it would signal that commissioners at least know where it's
coming from.

Fires belch 7.9 million metric tons of gases
By Peter Fimrite
The San Francisco Chronicle (California)
November 1, 2007

The fires that roared through Southern California last week spewed the same amount of
greenhouse gases as what is produced in about one week from the state's burning of fossil
fuels, according to scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The preliminary data by the center and the University of Colorado at Boulder show that the
fires emitted 7.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide between Oct. 19 and 26. That's
equivalent to 25 percent of the monthly emissions from all fossil fuel burning throughout
California, according to the report.

The study used satellite observations and a computer model to determine emissions based on
amount of vegetation that burned.

Large fires in western and southeastern states can pump as much carbon dioxide into the
atmosphere in a few weeks as a state's entire motor vehicle traffic in a year, according to the
paper, which will be published online Thursday in the journal Carbon Balance and
Management.
 The study estimates that fires in the contiguous United States and Alaska release about 290
million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year - 4 to 6 percent of the nation's total carbon
dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel burning.

Environmentalists say energy companies dodge pollution laws; Oil and gas
firms argue rules target larger sources
By Bobby Carmichael
USA TODAY
November 1, 2007

Congress and regulators should close loopholes in five major environmental laws that allow
oil and gas companies to avoid regulatory oversight and public disclosure of their drilling
activities, the Natural Resources Defense Council said in a report Wednesday.

"We're looking at a big gaping hole in our safety net," said Amy Mall, an NRDC analyst and
the report's author. "There is no justification to allow oil and gas companies the privilege to
pollute when other industries have to comply" with federal environmental laws.

Not so, said Lee Fuller, vice president of government relations for the Independent Petroleum
Association of America.


                                                                                            65
Federal environmental laws were created to address large sources of pollution, such as
manufacturing, he said. Oil and gas sites are exempted from the laws because they are small
sources of pollution.

The most contentious issue is the industry's exemption from a provision of the Safe Drinking
Water Act.

The exemption means there is little or no federal oversight over a drilling process used to
extract natural gas. The process involves injecting water, mixed with sand and chemicals, to
crack rock deep below the Earth's surface and release the gas trapped within it.

"Oil and gas companies can pump hundreds of thousands of gallons of fluid -- containing any
number of toxic chemicals -- into sources of drinking water with little or no accountability,"
said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., in a statement.

Waxman chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which held a
hearing Wednesday on federal environmental exemptions for oil and gas.

Fuller said the industry drills well below any aquifers that may supply drinking water and
uses extra safety guards when doing it.

Mall said oil and gas companies involved in exploration and production also are exempt from
reporting emissions to the Toxic Release Inventory, a public database maintained by the
Environmental Protection Agency.

Fuller said that database also was meant for large manufacturers and huge sources of
emissions, not thousands of small sources like the many oil and gas wells across the country.
Rapid expansion of oil and gas exploration and production, particularly in the Rocky
Mountain region, over the last two decades has exacerbated the effect of the loopholes,
according to the NRDC's report .

Nationwide, the number of gas-producing wells increased to 425,000 from 270,000 from
1990 to 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

And in 2006, oil and gas companies drilled nearly 30,000 more gas wells and 15,000 new oil
wells, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
___________________________________________________________________________




                                                                                           66

				
DOCUMENT INFO