From: Chad Carpenter <[log in to unmask]>
To: Climate Change Info Mailing List <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tuesday, May 08, 2001 1:19 PM
Subject: Climate News - 8 May 2001
1) FORD TARGETS GLOBAL WARMING (NY Times, ABC, MSNBC, IHT)
2) CONSUMER BOYCOTT TO 'STOP ESSO' (BBC, CNN, Observer)
3) UTILITY PLANS TO PUT LIMITS ON ITS PLANTS (NY Times, WSJ)
4) US-SEN. BYRD BLASTS BUSH ON KYOTO (Charleston Daily Mail)
5) US-HOUSE COMMITTEE REBUFFS BUSH (CNN, Washington Post)
6) G-8 TO SEEK COMPROMISE WITH DEVELOPING NATIONS (Kyodo)
7) UK GOVERNMENT DELAYS EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME (Financial Times)
8) KYOTO CENTRE BOOSTS UK DRIVE TO CURB GREENHOUSE GASES (DETR)
9) CANADA WORRIED BY IDEA OF HEAVY US COAL RELIANCE (CNN)
10) US-SEN. MCCAIN CRITICAL OF GLOBAL WARMING (NY Times)
11) US-SEN. STEVENS: WARMING THREATENS ALASKA (Scripps Howard)
12) WHITE HOUSE ENERGY REPORT STIRS INDUSTRY, GREENS (Reuters)
13) IEA LIKELY TO AGREE ON DIVERSIFICATION OF ENERGY (Kyodo)
14) WORLD'S LARGEST OFFSHORE WINDMILL PARK OPENS (MSNBC)
15) STUDY-GREEN POWER FROM ICELAND VIA CABLE (Scotland on Sunday)
16) US PETROL PRICES HIT ALL-TIME HIGH (BBC)
17) RUSSIA EYES ANTARCTICA FOR OIL, GAS (MSNBC)
18) BUSINESS GROUPS READY FOR FIGHT OVER ENERGY (Chicago Tribune)
19) STUDY FINDS A DECLINE IN NATURAL AIR CLEANSER (NY Times, CNN)
20) AUSTRALIA-HOTTER DAYS AHEAD (SMH, The Age, CNN)
21) ARCTIC'S BIG MELT CHALLENGED (BBC News)
22) CARBON DIOXIDE KEY TO WARMING PREDICTIONS (Science Daily)
23) THAI KING PATENTS ECO-FRIENDLY FUEL (BBC News)
24) AUSTRALIA OPENS WORLD'S FIRST TITANIUM SOLAR CELL FACTORY (ENS)
25) INUIT-CLIMATE CHANGE IS ALTERING ARCTIC RULES (National Post)
26) FLOODS REACH CHEST LEVEL IN WATERLOGGED SOMME (Reuters)
27) AFGHANISTAN ON VERGE OF WIDESPREAD FAMINE (CNN)
28) WORLD HELP FOR DROUGHT-HIT AREAS SOUGHT (Dawn Pakistan)
29) US UNPREPARED FOR HEALTH IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE (NY Times)
30) BRITONS WONDER-"WILL IT EVER STOP RAINING?" (Reuters)
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
31) THE RIGHT KIND OF GREEN (Wall Street Journal)
32) RESIST TEMPTATION OF AN OIL-THIRSTY U.S. (Toronto Star)
33) U.S. MUST EDUCATE PUBLIC ON GLOBAL WARMING (Daily Yomiuri)
34) THE GLOBAL WARMING MYTH (International Herald Tribune)
35) A BLINKERED ENERGY STRATEGY (NY Times)
36) EFFORT NEEDED TO MAKE INDUSTRIES ENVIRO-FRIENDLY (Korea Herald)
37) NUCLEAR POWER'S NEW DAY (NY Times)
38) THE REAL REASON EUROPE SUPPORTS KYOTO (Japan Times)
39) CHENEY'S GAUNTLET (Boston Globe)
40) SCIENTIST TURNS THE HEAT ON GLOBAL WARMING (New Zealand Herald)
41) THE WORLD DOESN'T GET THE SCIENCE RIGHT (LA Times)
42) BUSH COULD KILL KYOTO TREATY (Japan Times)
1) FORD CHAIRMAN TARGETS GLOBAL WARMING
New York Times
May 3, 2001
DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. has created an executive team to find
ways to fight global warming, according to a report issued by the
automaker Thursday. In a letter included in its second corporate
citizenship report, Ford chairman William Clay Ford Jr. wrote that
climate change ``stands out from other environmental issues
because of its potentially serious consequences and its direct
relationship to our industry.'' Jacques Nasser, Ford's president
and chief executive, wrote ``there's no doubt that sufficient
evidence exists to move from argument to action.'' The 88-page
report comes a year after the company's first such treatise where
Ford wrote of corporate hand-wringing over the tug of war between
the automaker's sale of gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles and
its commitment to the environment.
The company previously announced a program to improve fuel
efficiency of its SUVs by 25 percent within five years. During a
conference call with reporters, Martin Zimmerman, the automaker's
vice president for government affairs, called that initiative a
``first step, but there is also the need for broader steps.'' In
this year's corporate citizenship report, Ford announced the
creation of a team of senior executives to study global warming
and for ``considering a range of possible measures for reducing
greenhouse gas contributions'' from Ford products, manufacturing
and ``other activities.''
In the report, the company admits ``we have already found the
going tough'' in putting its strategies to reducing global warming
into action. Specifically, the report cites a five-year product
development cycle, ``complex economic and social forces'' that
affect land, vehicle use and fuel prices, and maintaining value
for shareholders as challenges. Still, Zimmerman said the company
has not changed its stand on corporate average fuel economy, or
CAFE, which Ford believes ``has not been an effective policy'' for
reducing energy consumption. CAFE requires an average fuel economy
of 27.5 miles a gallon for an automaker's entire line of passenger
cars. The CAFE for sport utility vehicles and other light trucks
is 20.7 miles per gallon.
Environmental groups had mixed reactions to Ford's report.
Daniel Becker, the director of the Sierra Club's global warming
and energy program, said ``Ford is accelerating the race for
cleaner cars, but we're only in the first lap.'' Lana Pollack, who
heads the Michigan Environmental Council, applauded the report but
said Ford could reduce greenhouse emissions now by producing more
hybrid electric vehicles, which run on both gasoline engines and
electric motors and have reached 40 miles a gallon. Ford plans to
begin selling a hybrid version of its Escape SUV in 2003. Shares
of Ford were down 63 cents to $28.62 in trading on the New York
International Herald Tribune: http://www.iht.com/articles/18972.html
Dallas Morning News:
Detroit Free Press:
2) CONSUMER BOYCOTT TO 'STOP ESSO'
8 May, 2001
Environmental pressure groups are launching an international
campaign against the world's largest oil corporation, which they
say has opposed moves to combat global warming. Greenpeace and
Friends of the Earth are asking consumers to stop buying petrol
and other products from Exxon Mobil, which in Britain trades under
the name Esso, until the company changes its stance on climate
The boycott is backed by controversial artist Damien Hurst, comic
Rory Bremner, singer Annie Lennox, actress Bianca Jagger the
former wife of Rolling Stones singer Mick, and Anita Roddick
founder of the Body Shop, which plans to publicise the campaign in
its UK stores. Exxon Mobil confirmed its bogeyman status among
environmental campaigners by taking out a series of full-page
advertisements in American newspapers, opposing US participation
in the Kyoto protocol on climate change.
Campaigners say that lobbying by Exxon played a major part in
President Bush's subsequent decision not to ratify the protocol
despite the fact that America accounts for a quarter of all
"greenhouse" gas emissions. The protocol would have obliged the US
to cut emissions of the gases, which some scientists believe to be
the cause of global warming, by 5% from 1990 levels.
Ms Jagger said that Esso had "never invested a single penny in
renewable energy". But the company said in a statement that it had
previously invested £350m in a range of ventures, including solar
power. "We believe that the type of actions we are taking in our
business now, including the development of cleaner fuel
technology, leading edge fuel cell research and substantial energy
efficiency projects, will make a significant contribution to long-
term global emissions reduction," Esso added.
"The call for a boycott of Esso service stations can only be
counter-productive in that we do not believe it will have any
influence on the US Government - but it could harm the thousands
of independent British businessmen and women and their staff who
operate their stations in partnership with Esso in the UK."
This Is London:
3) UTILITY PLANS TO PUT LIMITS ON ITS PLANTS
New York Times
May 4, 2001
Citing a growing concern about global warming, the Entergy
Corporation, one of the nation's largest electric power
generators, announced yesterday that it planned to cap its
emissions of carbon dioxide over the next five years. Entergy's
decision comes weeks after President Bush reversed a campaign
pledge to regulate the carbon dioxide emissions of power plants -
a reaction, many analysts said, to pressure from the utility
industry. Opponents of emission controls argued that the cost
would damage the industry and the economy.
But industry experts and some environmental advocates said
yesterday that Entergy's shift showed that the industry's views on
climate change were not monolithic. "It is incumbent upon every
individual and business to take voluntary initiatives to limit
greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the risks we face today," said
J. Wayne Leonard, the company's chief executive. "Entergy's
program will demonstrate that companies can do the right thing
while remaining competitive and profitable."
Entergy, which is based in New Orleans and operates plants in six
states, took pains to note that its decision was not meant as a
slap at the Bush administration. The company's plan would cap its
carbon dioxide emissions at last year's levels over the next five
years, despite plans to significantly increase its power
generation. About 17,500 megawatts of the electricity that Entergy
generates in the United States is from fossil fuels, and it
expects to increase that capacity by 5,000 megawatts over the next
five years, mainly by building natural- gas-fired plants.
The company estimated that it released about 50 million tons of
carbon dioxide last year. Without the cap, new plants would add
5.5 million tons to its emissions. The pledge does not affect
Entergy's nuclear plants, including the Indian Point 3 plant in
New York, or its foreign holdings. Entergy shares rose 20 cents
yesterday, to $40.45, on a day when power company stocks generally
The company plans to work with Environmental Defense, an advocacy
group based in New York, to develop its emissions reduction
program. It will also be the first American power company to join
the Partnership for Climate Action, a group including DuPont, BP
Amoco and Royal Dutch/Shell, that has pledged to reduce carbon
dioxide emissions by at least 80 million metric tons annually by
2010. Entergy is still trying to figure out how it will cut
emissions. The company said that 80 percent of the reductions
would come from its operations and the remainder from trading
emissions credits - essentially paying others not to pollute.
Utilities in the Energy Department's Climate Challenge program
sought to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 47.6 million
metric tons by last year. Industry experts say Entergy's plans up
the ante and may prompt other power companies to take similar
steps. A spokesman for Entergy said Mr. Leonard had been studying
arguments about climate change for some time but decided to cap
the company's emissions after listening to scientists at a
conference on global warming that Entergy sponsored in New Orleans
Environmental advocates offered cautious praise for Entergy's
decision, with one activist noting that global warming is a
crucial issue in Louisiana. "We're so low in the water here in
Louisiana that we will be among the first and worst affected as
seas rise," said Gary Groesch, executive director of the Alliance
for Affordable Energy in New Orleans.
Wall St. Journal:
4) BYRD BLASTS BUSH STANCE ON KYOTO PLAN
Charleston Daily Mail
May 05, 2001
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Robert Byrd has been one of the Senate's most
vocal critics of the Kyoto treaty, but he took to the floor of the
chamber to decry the Bush administration's decision to scrap the
global climate change agreement. "I am concerned that in the Bush
administration's zeal to reject Kyoto. . .the baby is being thrown
out with the bathwater through a complete abandonment of the
negotiating process," Byrd, D-W.Va., said Friday. And Byrd called
for binding emissions limits by industrialized and developing
nations, saying that voluntary limits have not reduced emissions.
Between 1990 and 2000, emissions increased by at least 11 percent,
The White House announced last month that President George Bush
would not implement the global warming treaty negotiated four
years ago in Kyoto, Japan. One of the reasons cited by
Environmental Protection Agency head Christie Whitman was a
unanimously approved Senate resolution that said both developing
and industrialized nations had to agree to cut greenhouse
emissions, like those produced by burning coal, before it was
The resolution's authors? Sens. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Robert
Byrd. But Byrd said the resolution was an attempt to set
standards, not a rejection of Kyoto. Even if the Kyoto Protocol
had not yet been shaped to fit the Senate's parameters, it should
not be wholly discarded, Byrd said, indicating that he thinks
global warming is a real problem. "Such an abandonment would be
very costly to U.S. leadership and credibility and could force the
international community to go back to square one on certain
critical issues such as carbon sequestration and market-based
mechanisms, areas which I believe are critical to any future
binding climate change treaty," Byrd said.
Environmental groups Friday sprang to praise Byrd's decision to
clearly indicate he is interested in pursuing a solution to global
warming. Byrd is "being portrayed by so many people as being an
unalterable opponent. His going to the floor is a sea change
statement," said Philip Clapp, the president of the National
Environmental Trust. "That's a very important political signal on
Reaction to the administration's decision to back away from the
160-nation treaty has not gone over well with the other
signatories. At the time of the announcement, Whitman said the
United States would remain "engaged" in climate change
negotiations. Even during the presidential campaign, Bush had been
vocal about his opposition to the treaty, which calls on countries
to cut emissions by 2012. The United States would have to reduce
its emissions by one-third by that date.
But Byrd, a long-time advocate for the coal industry, said he was
concerned about reports of the White House energy task force
focusing on production at the expense of conservation. The task
force is set to release the outlines of a comprehensive energy
policy later this month, a policy likely to reserve a prominent
place for coal. Both Byrd and the Bush administration have pushed
the research and implementation of clean coal technology as a
possible way to reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels. The
United States is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, although
China soon will overtake this country. Byrd said, "I want to
emphatically warn that new technologies and voluntary approaches
will not by themselves solve the problem.
"We must also actively negotiate and ratify international
agreements that include binding commitments for all of the largest
emitters of greenhouse gases, if we are to have any hope of
solving one the world's greatest challenges," he said.
5) HOUSE COMMITTEE REBUFFS BUSH ON ABORTION
May 3, 2001
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A House committee has voted to overturn
President Bush's ban on giving foreign aid to organizations that
discuss abortion with their clients or advocate abortion rights.
The House International Relations Committee on Wednesday also
voted to reverse Bush's decision to end the annual assessment of
Taiwan's military equipment needs. A third vote urged the
president not to scrap a global warming treaty that mandated
pollution reductions to curb heat-trapping greenhouse emissions.
However, the committee's actions on the $8.2 billion State
Department authorization bill face a long legislative road before
final passage -- separate House and Senate floor action and a
likely conference committee compromise that would have to go back
to both houses. If the abortion provision survives all that, the
committee chairman predicted Bush would veto the bill. But on
Wednesday, three Republicans sided with unanimous Democrats on the
26-22 vote dealing with aid to foreign organizations engaged in
abortion-related activities. The provision -- which would nullify
the order Bush imposed as his first act after taking office -- was
added to the authorization bill, which was then approved by voice
vote. "This issue, in our view, is a freedom of speech issue, not
an abortion issue," Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., the committee's top
Democrat. The committee chairman, GOP Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois,
a longtime abortion opponent, said before the vote: "If this
amendment prevails, the bill will be vetoed."
Other amendments approved would:
_Urge the administration to continue participating in
international negotiations to complete the global warming treaty.
--Require the president to consult with Taiwan and Congress at
least once a year regarding what weapons the island needs, in line
with U.S. policy since 1982. Bush said last week the
administration would consider arms sales on an "as-needed basis."
--Urge the president to rejoin the United Nations Educational,
Scientific, and Cultural Organization, which the United States
quit in 1984 over concerns about political polarization.
The restrictions on support for foreign organizations involved
with abortion activities are called the "Mexico City policy."
President Reagan first announced his plans to implement the
strategy at a 1984 population conference there. The first
President Bush continued it, but President Clinton overturned it,
except when he allowed it to become law for a year as a compromise
to gain passage of a bill that included money for some U.N. dues
the United States owed.
Republicans said the policy does not take any money away from the
$425 million the administration requested for global population
assistance, but directs that it go only to organizations that do
not foster abortions. The Republicans who voted for the abortion
amendment were Reps. Benjamin Gilman and Amo Houghton, both of New
York, and Jim Leach of Iowa.
6) G-8 TO SEEK COMPROMISE WITH DEVELOPING NATIONS OVER WTO ROUND
3 May 2001
TOKYO May 3 Kyodo - The Group of Eight (G-8) powers have agreed to
search for a compromise with developing countries at their summit
in July as part of efforts to help start new global market-opening
negotiations this year, G-8 sources said Thursday. The G-8 nations
-- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the
United States -- have also agreed to take up the issue of global
warming as a major topic for discussion at their annual summit,
the sources said.
This year's summit is slated for July 20-22 in Genoa, Italy. The
140-member WTO, the Geneva-based international trade watchdog,
failed at its ministerial meeting in Seattle in late 1999 to
launch a new round of trade liberalization talks due to
differences over antidumping, labor protection and agriculture.
The failure was also due to developing countries' refusal to kick
off new trade negotiations. Developing nations, many of which find
it difficult to meet their existing WTO commitments, fear further
liberalization of trade would only serve the interests of advanced
The WTO hopes to launch a new trade round when it convenes a
ministerial conference in Qatar in November. Many fear the global
free trade regime will be jeopardized if the WTO fails to start
new trade negotiations this year. Against this backdrop, the G-8
nations are prepared to mull reviewing WTO accords concerning
export subsidies and textile trade as sought by developing
Developing countries, which constitute the majority of the WTO,
want to maintain their special right to subsidize domestic
industries' exports of industrial products beyond the end of 2002,
when the special treatment is scheduled to be terminated. They
also want advanced nations to bring forward their target date from
the end of 2004 for phasing out import controls on textile
products. The issue of whether the U.S. will soften its stance on
antidumping is also key to the successful launch of a new WTO
round. Washington's objection to calls from Japan and European
states for tighter control on the use of antidumping measures
contributed to the failure of the last WTO ministerial session,
the G-8 sources said.
As for global warming, the U.S. will likely be urged at the summit
to stay with the Kyoto Protocol and continue doing its utmost to
honor its earlier commitment to reduce carbon dioxide and other
greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. announced its intention to
withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol in late March. The protocol,
adopted in 1997, obliges the world's industrialized nations to
impose binding limits on emissions of greenhouse gases.
The protocol will only take effect if it is ratified by at least
55 countries, including industrialized nations whose combined
carbon dioxide emissions make up 55% of the developed world's
total emissions in 1990. The U.S. accounts for 40% of such
emissions. The sixth Conference of the Parties to the U.N.
Framework Convention on Climate Change is scheduled to resume in
Bonn on July 16-27.
The U.S. partners in the G-8 see the summit as an opportunity to
exhort Washington to declare its return to the Kyoto Protocol
during the climate-change convention, the G-8 sources said. The
sources also said other central themes to be addressed at the G-8
summit include ways to ease heavily indebted poor countries' debt
burdens and tighter controls to combat moneylaundering.
7) UK GOVERNMENT DELAYS EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME
May 3 2001
The UK government has delayed issuing rules governing financial
incentives for trading emissions of greenhouse gases for at least
four months. But it remains committed to an April 2002 start to
the scheme despite criticism that the timetable is tight. Brokers
fear the delay will both diminish interest in trading emissions
while simultaneously angering companies already tied to emission
reduction pledges who want as long a period as possible to develop
their strategies before trading begins.
The delay follows major reservations about the draft scheme that
emerged in a consultation process that concluded in January but
for which a summary was only published on Thursday. The government
had said in November that the rules would be issued in March. On
Thursday, they said they would now be issued in July after
discussions with external experts.
Issues that remain to be resolved include the crucial issue of how
to incorporate electricity generators into the scheme. There was
disagreement among respondents to the consultation over whether
the scheme should cover carbon dioxide alone or all greenhouse
gases. Many said the design of the scheme had been constrained by
other aspects of government policy. The government aims to reduce
carbon dioxide emissions to 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2010
and has committed £30m a year for five years to create the
incentives to kick start trading. It estimates carbon trading
could deliver savings of 7.7m tonnes of CO2 by then, almost as
much as will be saved through Climate Change Agreements.
Some 1,700 companies are expected to be interested in trading
carbon dioxide under the scheme although its models assume only a
few tens of participants at first, a level akin to the estimates
8) "KYOTO" CENTRE BOOSTS UK DRIVE TO CURB GREENHOUSE GASES
UK Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR)
3 May 2001
A new climate change bureau to encourage UK business to invest in
efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions overseas is to be launched
by the government. The latest step in the drive to cut emissions,
the Climate Change Projects Office (CCPO) will help British firms
take advantage of new opportunities and markets in low-carbon
technology. The CCPO will be guided by a steering committee
chaired by Nick Baldwin, Powergen's chief executive. It will
provide advice and support for businesses interested in carrying
out projects under two 'Kyoto mechanisms', Joint Implementation
and the Clean Development Mechanism.
The government has also today unveiled draft proposals for an
Emissions Trading Scheme - a measure that could cut carbon by at
least two million tonnes a year by 2010. A draft framework for the
scheme, due to start in April 2002, is published today along with
a summary of responses to the government's consultation on
emissions trading and an expert report on an auction for the
scheme's financial incentive. The government has pledged £43m in
2003-04, to be allocated through a bidding system, as a financial
incentive for companies to join the scheme.
The draft framework includes details of how companies can join the
scheme and the incentives on offer, as well as possible penalties
for non-compliance. Details of the emerging framework will enable
business to plan for entry to the scheme.
Every response to proposals for the scheme, from companies and
business associations to environmental experts and green groups,
endorsed the government's efforts to establish emissions trading
in the UK. Most respondents highlighted the need for simplicity,
flexibility, periodic review, and broad participation, and most
agreed that all greenhouse gases should be included within the
scheme as soon as possible. Many emphasised that taking time to
get the scheme right was more important than an early start.
Environment Minister Michael Meacher said:
"Our progress on an emissions trading scheme and the new Climate
Change Projects Office show our commitment to helping the UK to
capitalise on its leadership in the international climate change
arena, and our determination to meet our targets under the Kyoto
Protocol. "British businesses can become world leaders in
exporting greener, cleaner technologies, providing new
opportunities for industry and achieving cuts in emissions.
"Business wants initiatives like the Climate Change Project
Office. I am delighted that Nick Baldwin has agreed to chair the
steering committee, demonstrating the commitment at the highest
level of business to tackling climate change and ensuring that the
office will respond effectively to business needs."
9) CANADA WORRIED BY IDEA OF HEAVY U.S. COAL RELIANCE
May 2, 2001
OTTAWA, Canada (Reuters) -- Canada, which is already suffering the
effects of global warming, said Wednesday it would be unhappy if
the United States decided to rely on heavily polluting coal-fired
power stations as a way of dealing with a major energy crisis.
U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney -- who heads a task force studying
how to solve U.S. energy woes -- said Monday his country would
have to continue relying on oil and coal, which he said would
remain the cheapest primary source for electric power generation
for years to come.
Canadian Environment Minister David Anderson told Reuters that
when Cheney's task force releases its report later this month,
Ottawa expects it will focus, at least in part, on energy
conservation and a gradual move to cleaner technologies. "Those
are the things we are looking for when the American plan comes out
and we will be concerned if the American plan stretches only to
the (energy) supply side," Anderson said in an interview. "We are
looking for what we describe as a solid future plan for renewable
(energy) and the opportunity there. We want to see something which
is coherent and looks sensibly put together. A sheer reliance on
coal would not do that." Carbon dioxide, a byproduct of burning
hydrocarbons such as coal and oil, and other greenhouse gas
emissions are thought by most scientists to be causing the Earth
to get warmer.
Canada criticized Washington in March for abandoning the Kyoto
accord, designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and is also
unhappy with U.S. plans to drill for oil in an Alaskan wildlife
reserve. U.S. President George W. Bush said the cuts called for in
the Kyoto accord could harm the U.S. economy but he promised to
look at other ways to curb emissions. "We expect what the
president himself described as a vigorous plan to reduce
greenhouse gases, and it will certainly be a great surprise if we
don't get (it)," said Anderson.
Part of Canada's concern stems from increasing evidence that it is
feeling the effects of global warming. Climatologists say
temperatures across the country were above normal in 2000 for the
eighth consecutive year. Studies show the Arctic sea ice has
thinned over the past 30 years or so to 1.8 meters (six feet) from
3.1 meters (10 feet) and the Inuit inhabitants of the far North
say the temperature rises could kill off many of the animal and
plant species they rely on. Canada already provides around 15
percent of U.S. natural gas needs and Anderson said Ottawa wants
to export more electricity, which is a low-polluting power source.
He also said he was looking forward to the findings of a separate
U.S. government committee on greenhouse gases and climate change,
especially the focus on the need to take advantage of new
technologies. "We expect (the findings) to be technology-oriented,
we want to see what technologies, how close they are to
commercialization and realization, we want to see where the
emphasis lies," he said.
10) MCCAIN CRITICAL OF GLOBAL WARMING
New York Times
May 1, 2001
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. John McCain criticized the Bush
administration Tuesday for scrapping rather than trying to fix the
1997 Kyoto climate treaty and its mandatory pollution reductions
to curb heat-trapping greenhouse emissions. ``I wouldn't have done
that,'' the Arizona Republican and former presidential contender,
said in an interview. ``I don't agree with everything in the Kyoto
Protocol but I think it is a framework we could have continued to
work with. We could have fixed it.'' The treaty, negotiated in
Kyoto, Japan, calls on industrial nations to cut heat-trapping
emissions to below 1990 levels by 2012. President Bush sparked an
international outcry when he said on March 28 that it was
unworkable and discriminates against the United States.
Bush said he would not submit it to the Senate for ratification.
Negotiators in Kyoto had specified that major industrialized
countries which are the worst polluters should be assigned most of
the emission cutbacks. Instead, Bush said, developing nations must
be included in any mandatory cuts on carbon dioxide emissions. At
a hearing Tuesday before the Senate Commerce Committee that McCain
chairs, James E. Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for
Space Studies, somewhat bolstered Bush's contention that
regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants is
unworkable at present. ``It is impractical to stop carbon dioxide
from increasing in the near term, as fossil fuels are the engine
of the global economy,'' Hansen said. ``However ... further
reduction to constant emissions is feasible, especially since
countries such as the United States have made only modest efforts
McCain said there is plenty of evidence of climate change due to
recent human activity and the United States should help protect
developing countries who face greater risks of loss of life and
deprivation. ``The developed countries, like the United States,
must do its share in addressing this global problem,'' he said,
citing a United Nations report that found some emissions
reductions may produce net economic gains for developed countries.
``This sounds like the basis for action to me,'' McCain said.
But Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., described the results of work done
by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as
``political documents'' written by ``U.N. environmental
activists.'' ``When President Bush said the Kyoto Protocol was
dead, he was merely stating the obvious,'' Hagel said. He added
that the United States needs ``to demonstrate a commitment to act
domestically before it will be able to build international support
for action absent the Kyoto Protocol.''
11) GLOBAL WARMING THREATENS ALASKAN VILLAGES
Scripps Howard News Service
May 5, 2001
WASHINGTON - The disastrous consequences of global warming
forecast by some scientists are already in evidence in Alaska,
where rising sea levels threaten native villages and towns, Sen.
Ted Stevens of Alaska told a Senate committee on Tuesday. "We face
the problem of moving native villages that have been located along
the Arctic and West coast of Alaska for centuries because they are
slowly but surely being inundated by seawater," the Republican
lawmaker told five top climate scientists testifying before the
Senate Commerce Committee.
One of the towns Stevens said will have to be relocated is Barrow,
Alaska, on Point Barrow, the northern-most city in the United
States with about 4,500 residents, most of them Inupiat Eskimos.
Alaskans have reported that Arctic ice is 8 inches thinner in some
places this year than it was last year, Stevens said. The
Northwest Passage appears likely to be ice-free this summer for
the third year in a row - an unheard-of occurrence, he noted.
"This is a creeping disaster," Stevens said. "We're not even sure
it's covered by existing (federal) disaster loans." Stevens said
he will lead a delegation of senators to Alaska later this month
to observe the effects of climate change firsthand. Some
scientists have predicted that the effects of global warming will
be amplified and first noticed in the polar regions. The 10
warmest years in meteorological record-keeping have all occurred
since 1983, with eight of the years occurring since 1990.
Sea levels worldwide have risen an average of 9 inches in the last
century. In a series of three reports issued earlier this year,
the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
estimated that sea levels will rise another 3.5 to 34.6 inches by
2100 due to warmer water temperatures and melting ice. Last June,
Barrow experienced its first-ever thunderstorm. Thunderstorms
usually occur in warmer climates and are extremely rare along the
Arctic coast. Even in midsummer, about half the nights in Barrow
dip below freezing.
Subsistence hunting remains the primary way of life on Point
Barrow, but Inupiat hunters report that cellars dug into
permafrost to store caribou and whale meat are beginning to thaw.
Local officials worry that they may eventually have to provide
refrigerated storage facilities for the caribou and marine mammals
harvested by residents. Other Alaskan natives, including Inuit
fishermen, have reported that with less ice and warmer water they
are seeing a change in the species of fish and ocean mammals in
The U.N. climate reports, which more than 700 of the world's
leading scientists participated in producing, concluded that there
is a scientific consensus that global temperatures are increasing,
that human activities are an important cause of climate change,
and that the potential consequences may be catastrophic.
Testifying before the committee, Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.,
dismissed the U.N. reports, saying their summaries were written by
politically motivated environmentalists. Sen. Larry Craig, R-
Idaho, also testifying before the committee, said that "premature
government action to cut energy use could cool the economy faster
than it cools the climate."
Greater government effort is needed to improve the computer
modeling upon which climate-change scenarios are constructed,
Craig said. But Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the
committee, said Stevens' description of the effects of climate
change in Alaska are "an argument for doing more than increasing
our (computer) modeling capabilities." Craig and Hagel are among a
group of GOP senators who persuaded President Bush in March to
reverse his campaign pledge to curb carbon dioxide emissions from
power plants, a major source of greenhouse gas, and to withdraw
the United States from the Kyoto Protocol, the international
treaty that sets reduction goals in carbon dioxide emissions for
12) WHITE HOUSE ENERGY REPORT STIRS INDUSTRY, GREENS TO ACT
May 7, 2001
WASHINGTON - A White House task force to develop a new national
energy policy is wrapping up its work and sending its
recommendations to government printers this weekend, industry and
congressional sources said on Friday. The proposals by the task
force, headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, were expected to be
unveiled during the week of May 14 by President George W. Bush.
Representatives of the oil, natural gas, electricity, nuclear and
coal industries have been lobbying the White House for months to
get relief from environmental regulations, access to more federal
lands and government support to boost production in their sectors.
Environmentalists expect the lobbying to pay off.
CLEAN AIR ANYONE?
Officials with clean air and conservation groups said the
recommendations would likely include encouraging construction of
coal-fired power plants, and easing procedures to license new
nuclear plants. "Clearly we expect an attack on the Clean Air
Act," said Frank O'Donnell, executive director of the Clean Air
Trust. He said utilities have pushed Cheney for changes in "new
source review rules" enforced by the Environmental Protection
Such rules were interpreted strictly under the Clinton
administration, leading to federal lawsuits against major power
firms like Southern Co for allegedly making improvements to power
plants without installing pollution controls. "They have lobbied
trying to weaken new source rules and make retroactive
(eliminating the lawsuits)," O'Donnell said.
Utilities say they want federal regulations clarified, to make it
possible for companies to plan ahead and invest. The utilities
have long stated their belief that prosecution for clean air
violations under the previous administration was uncalled for,
because the "improvements" to power plants were for routine
maintenance and repairs. "We're for a comprehensive energy policy
that embraces fuel diversity," said Jim Owen, a spokesman for the
Edison Electric Institute. He noted that each of the fuels used
for powering the nation's generation have significant hurdles.
For coal, Owen said there is a "bewildering overlapping" of
environmental rules. For example, nuclear power is hindered by a
lengthy relicensing process and storage of waste, while hydropower
is grappling with relicensing and confusion about fish
conservation programs. And natural gas suffers from a lack of
pipelines and new production.
ENERGY IS BIG-TIME
The Cheney report comes amid a flurry of energy-related issues
rising to the top of the nation's political agenda. Two regional
Federal Reserve presidents said on Friday the increase in energy
prices threatened a turnaround in the economy. Separately, the
latest U.S. unemployment report showed the jobless rate jumped to
its highest level in two-and-a-half years to 4.5 percent. A day
earlier, Bush ordered federal and military facilities in
California to cut power use to help the state stave off rolling
blackouts expected on at least 30 days between June and October.
Americans are also seeing soaring gasoline prices. Pump prices
rose to the highest level in almost a year and the U.S. Energy
Department has warned of more increases to come. Land and
wilderness protection groups fear the White House report will open
up drilling in pristine federally owned lands, a move they have
promised to fight long and hard. Industry and congressional
sources said they expect Cheney, the former top executive of
oilfield services giant Halliburton Co , to recommend drilling
access in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
They also expect relaxed environmental regulations to make it
easier to obtain permits for new refineries and pipelines. To
avoid future disruptions in gasoline supplies and to lower costs
for refiners, oil firms want the White House report to recommend
cutting the number of cleaner-burning motor fuels that are
required throughout the country. Instead of having dozens of so-
called "boutique" fuels, the industry wants a specific type of
gasoline for each region, and eventually a single cleaner-burning
fuel that could be sold anywhere in the country.
The U.S. oil industry also wants to invest in Iran and Libya's
energy sector, now off limits due to unilateral sanctions. The
White House task force was reviewing the impact of the sanctions
on available oil supplies, but it was unclear if the task force
will recommend easing the investment curbs.
13) IEA LIKELY TO AGREE ON DIVERSIFICATION OF ENERGY SOURCES
& May 2001
TOKYO May 7 Kyodo - The International Energy Agency (IEA) is
likely to agree at its ministerial meeting next week to diversify
the world's energy sources as part of efforts to combat global
warming, a source close to the IEA said Monday. The move is
intended to increase worldwide use of non-fossil fuel energy
sources, such as solar power and wind power, in order to reduce
dependence on crude oil and coal, as well as to urge developing
nations to stockpile energy, the source said. The agreement is
likely to be reached at the 26-member IEA's ministerial gathering
in Paris on May 15-16, the first such talks in two years, the
One focal point of the meeting will be what stance the United
States, which announced its withdrawal in late March from a key
worldwide agreement aimed at curbing global warming, will take on
the diversification of energy sources. The U.S. plan to pull out
of the Kyoto Protocol, which sets limits on industrialized
countries' emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases,
is in danger of derailing the international community's drive to
fight global warming.
The protocol, adopted in 1997, will only take effect if it is
ratified by at least 55 nations, including advanced states whose
combined carbon dioxide emissions make up 55% of the developed
world's total emissions in 1990. The U.S. accounts for 40% of such
emissions. The sixth Conference of the Parties to the U.N.
Framework Convention on Climate Change is scheduled to resume in
Bonn from July 16-27.
During the ministerial session, the IEA is also likely to
reiterate the importance of the successful conclusion of a
dialogue between oil-producing countries and their oil-consuming
counterparts, slated to be held next year in Japan, the source
said. Furthermore, the IEA plans to schedule a meeting between its
member countries and two non-member nations, China and India, as
the energy consumption of the two countries has increased
dramatically in recent years, the source said.
14) WORLD'S LARGEST OFFSHORE WINDMILL PARK OPENS
7 Ma 2001
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, May 7 - A string of 20 white windmills
spinning at the entrance of Copenhagen's harbor stand as a symbol
of Denmark's position as the worldwide leader and pioneer in the
pollution-free wind energy sector. THE WORLD'S largest offshore
windmill park, with a capacity of 40 megawatts of electricity -
four times more than its nearest rival offshore windmill park in
Sweden - was inaugurated by city officials and started producing
energy on Sunday. The Middelgrunden park will supply 32,000
households, or 3 percent of the Danish capital's electricity
consumption. Ever since the late 1970s, when renewable,
nonpolluting wind power emerged as an alternative energy source,
environmentally aware Danes have been up front. "This is the
fastest growing energy generating industry," said Soeren Krohn of
the windmill manufacturers' association, adding that Danish
production was expected to double by 2005.
250-FOOT DIAMETER ROTOR
The local industry, which employs 12,000, held a 50 percent share
in the world market last year by supplying 2,500 megawatts, the
equivalent of a medium-sized nuclear power station. Denmark's
largest producer Vestas alone had 26 percent of that.
Middelgrunden's 211-foot-tall windmills with a rotor diameter of
250 feet are co-owned by Copenhagen Energy and the 8,500-member
Middelgrunden Wind Turbine Cooperative. Spokesman Jens Larsen said
90 percent of the cooperative's members were Danes who "wanted to
be sure they get green energy," while the remainder were companies
and trade unions. In 1979, Denmark began a national windmill
program under pressure from grass root organizations demanding new
electricity sources. Since then, the government has encouraged
Danes to invest money in windmills through co-ops like
"You get a lot more support when people get a say," said Tarjei
Haaland of Greenpeace. "People have no say when oil companies are
in charge." The public interest has also been fueled by concerns
that carbon dioxide, emitted by fossil fuels, might be fueling
SALES INCREASE SIXFOLD
Today, more than 5,600 windmills dot the Scandinavian nation,
producing about 10 percent of Denmark's electricity. In 2030, half
of Denmark's energy should come from windmills, according to the
government. Depending on technological capacity and winds, the
price per kilowatt hour hovers at about 4 cents, which is
competitive with other energy sources, Krohn said.
The idea is catching on. Last year, Denmark exported windmills to
key markets including the United States, Germany, Britain, India
and China. Its sales have increased sixfold in the last five
years, amounting to $1.5 billion in 1999, according to the
industry association. Middelgrunden will retain its position as
the world's largest offshore park for at least a year. Two bigger
seaside parks are expected to open in Denmark next year, and more
are planned off Sweden and the Netherlands, some producing as 160
megawatts - four times the size of the Middelgrunden.
15) STUDY INTO GREEN POWER FROM ICELAND VIA CABLE
Scotland on Sunday
6 May 2001
THE Scottish Executive is considering importing massive quantities
of electricity from Iceland along a submarine cable as part of
plans to combat global warming. Environmental scientists believe
the 620-mile undersea cable could be used to import up to 20% of
Scotland's energy needs while reducing the current dependence on
fossil fuels, such as oil and gas. The underwater cable is being
presented as a serious option by Dr Andrew Kerr, of the Centre for
the Study of Environmental Change at Edinburgh University, who was
commissioned by the Executive to compare how other North Atlantic
countries are tackling the problem.
He is advocating a feasibility study to explore whether up to
5,000 gigawatt hours - equivalent to 20% of Scotland's electricity
requirements - of energy from renewable sources should be imported
from Iceland. The island produces all of its electricity from
renewable sources such as geothermal heat - which produces no
greenhouse gases. "A large, submarine electricity cable from
Iceland to Scotland is of great interest for the future energy
market in Scotland," said Kerr.
The interconnector cable could be run from the coast of Iceland
via the Faroe Islands, possibly to Dounreay in Caithness or
through Orkney to Shetland to landfall near Aberdeen. Although the
cost of building the link would be at least £500m, the electricity
would still be cheaper than that produced in either coal, oil, gas
or nuclear power stations.
16) US PETROL PRICES HIT ALL-TIME HIGH
7 May 2001
US retail petrol prices hit an all-time high on Monday, the
American Automobile Association (AAA) said. The rise in prices
comes amid a recent tightening of supplies from oil refineries,
caused by technical problems and new environmental regulations
which have lowered production capacity.
In addition, petrol demand traditionally rises at this time of
year as more Americans take to their cars for summer breaks. The
White House said President George W Bush was "very concerned"
about rising petrol prices but would resist any short-term
Three cents more
The average retail price for a US gallon (3.8 litres) of regular
petrol is now $1.68 (£1.17) - three cents more than the previous
high price touched last summer - the AAA said. The motoring
organisation, which based its figures on a survey of more than
60,000 service stations, said the highest prices were in
California and the Midwest, where refinery output levels have been
most affected. It said the prices showed the need for an overhaul
of national energy policy and the suspension of some environmental
regulations in case of severe fuel shortages later this year.
Opec, the cartel of some leading world oil producers, has denied
the record US petrol prices are because of inadequate global
supplies of crude oil. "The problem is with refineries and
infrastructure," Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali Naimi said on
Monday during a visit to the US. The price of Opec crude oil stood
at about $26 a barrel on Monday - towards the higher end of the
group's preferred $22-28 a barrel price range.
Lifting of tax ruled out
"The president is very concerned about the rising price of gas
[petrol]," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. "It is
tantamount to a tax increase on the American people." Mr Fleischer
said the president wanted a national energy policy to force down
petrol prices. He ruled out lifting the 18.4 cents-a-gallon
federal tax on petrol as a way of achieving lower retail prices,
adding: "[President Bush] has never sought a quick fix because
quick fixes don't work."
Controversial plans for Alaska Mr Bush is believed to be in favour
of increasing crude oil production in the US - the world's biggest
consumer of oil and petrol - in order to lessen dependence on
To help achieve this, he has already signalled that he might
pursue controversial plans for opening up an Alaskan wildlife
preserve to oil exploration. He has also abandoned US commitments
on the environment under the Kyoto climate change protocol - a
move for which he was strongly criticised internationally.
A US government task force headed by vice-president Dick Cheney -
a former chief of oil engineering services giant Halliburton - is
due to deliver its recommendations for action on energy issues by
17 May. Last week, the Federal Reserve - the US central bank -
said it considered rising petrol prices threatened the chances of
the US economy making a speedy recovery from its slowdown.
17) RUSSIA EYES ANTARCTICA FOR OIL, GAS
2 May 2001
May 2 - A Russian prospecting vessel is reported to have just
collected data on oil and gas reserves in Antarctica, a global
nature reserve where minerals exploitation is forbidden. The polar
geological prospecting ship Akademik Aleksandr Karpinskiy was
working in the Cosmonauts Sea region of eastern Antarctica,
according to a Russian Public TV report monitored by the BBC.
"ACCORDING TO preliminary data, the information collected will
make it possible to predict the presence of oil and gas reserves
in the region," the report said. It quoted Valeriy Masulov, head
of a geological prospecting institute, as saying the area, near
Japan's Syowa Base, had been subject to a two year research
program, which ended with the vessel's return to St Petersburg
late last month. "The Sea of Cosmonauts is one of the peripheral
seas where we expect the presence of a thick sedimentary mantle,
well, and therefore good prospects for predicting oil and gas
bearing strata," Masulov is quoted as saying.
The April 28 report came two months after another television
report on February 13, in which Russian Center TV described
Russia's presence on the sixth continent as a matter of economic
expediency. That report quoted Russian Antarctic Expeditions head
Valeriy Lukin as warning, "It is possible that only countries
possessing the right technology and equipment will receive the
opportunity to develop the natural resources of the Antarctic."
It also claimed that deposits of diamonds in the Antarctic had
turned out to be as big as those in South Africa and Yakutia, in
Russia's Far East. But Russia's expeditions were said to lack
resources to buy new vehicles. The Antarctic is one of the last
pristine environments left on Earth. Much of its scientific value
derives directly from the lack of locally generated pollution, and
more than 40 nations have joined together in an agreement to
preserve this situation.
Under the Madrid Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty, which came into
force in December 1997, minerals exploitation of any kind in
Antarctica is banned, and the ban cannot be revisited for 50
years. Article 7 of the protocol reads, "Any activity relating to
mineral resources, other than scientific research, shall be
18) BUSINESS GROUPS READY FOR FIGHT OVER BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S
Chicago Tribune/Financial Times
May 4, 2001
WASHINGTON--Leaders of some of America's most powerful business
groups gathered this week in a small room at a Marriott hotel to
declare their support for the sort of industry-friendly energy
plan President Bush is expected to release this month. Members of
the coalition, including such groups as the National Association
of Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute, said they
have a $1.5 million budget and have begun running newspaper ads.
"We want to be heard early and often," said Bruce Josten,
executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The coalition's announcement foreshadows the coming fight over
Bush's energy plan, a critical battle for environmentalists and
industry groups. Due out in mid-May, the report's recommendations
are expected to include controversial measures ranging from
drilling in the wilderness to investing in nuclear power plants to
easing environmental rules. The debate will largely revolve around
one question: Can the country escape its energy problems, as Bush
has insisted since the campaign, largely by opening the spigot--
churning out more oil, gas, coal and nuclear power? Or should
conservation and energy efficiency play central roles?
"It's our job to kill the policy if it's bad or make it better if
it's somewhat bad," said Dan Becker, director of the Sierra Club's
global warming and energy program. "We're prepared for both." The
fight, in fact, is already under way.
The Alliance for Energy & Economic Growth, the business group that
announced its existence this week, is made up of groups with
millions of members, and alliance leaders made little secret of
their intention to flex those muscles. "We have been doing
mailings, posting information on our Web sites, going on talk
radio," said Karen Kerrigan, president of the Small Business
Survival Committee. "We are getting our members to share with us
how high energy prices are impacting their businesses, and part of
our effort will be asking our members to bring their stories to
members of Congress."
The Sierra Club, meanwhile, has begun running newspaper ads,
including one that describes wilderness threatened by oil drilling
and concludes, "Americans didn't vote for this." Other groups are
airing spots on Sunday television talk shows. Environmentalist
leaders have been visiting news organizations to provide negative
previews of the Bush plan. And on Thursday, some religious leaders
with an environmentalist stance staged a protest at the Department
"We have to be ready," said Deb Callahan, president of the League
of Conservation Voters. "We know what the situation's going to be,
we know what cards are going to be on the table." These efforts
face an uncertain Congress awaiting the Bush plan. Sen. Frank
Murkowski (R-Ala.) has introduced a complex energy bill, and many
of Bush's recommendations may be tacked onto it. Democrats have
introduced their own version, focusing more on conservation.
"There is going to be a titanic struggle, a titanic conflict,
between the Democrats and Republicans over energy policy,"
predicted Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the House
Energy and Power Subcommittee. In the end, the side that presents
itself as most centrist--favoring both conservation and
exploration for new sources--may be the victor. "The key word here
is balance," said David Nemtzow, president of the Alliance to Save
Energy. "It's the word everybody uses to describe their own plan.
What it says to me is that everyone is striving for the middle
As part of that effort, each side also paints the other as
extremist. Environmentalists portray Bush and Vice President Dick
Cheney, who is heading the administration's energy efforts, as
oilmen bent on wrecking the environment. Bush's supporters say the
environmentalists are naive obstructionists. "Their bottom line is
`No, no, no, no, no,'" said Charli Coon, an energy analyst at the
Heritage Foundation. "There is a problem, and the president is
looking for a solution. The environmentalists don't have a
The Sierra Club's Becker responds, "Their main thrust is the
pillage-and-plunder approach to energy policy." The debate's most
vivid symbol is likely to be the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,
a spectacular Alaskan region of snow-capped mountains and coastal
lagoons that is home to herds of caribou and packs of wolves.
Environmentalists argue that it is folly to drill for oil there,
as Bush envisions, but the administration insists only a minuscule
section would be affected.
More broadly, Bush's prescription for the nation's energy woes is
straightforward: After years of neglect in the Clinton years, he
argues, the nation needs to boost fuel production. It needs to
pump more oil, drill for additional natural gas, encourage the use
of coal and promote nuclear power. Environmentalists respond that
no matter how much fuel it churns out, the U.S. can produce only a
fraction of the energy it burns.
Instead of responsibly stressing long-term solutions, such as
energy efficiency and alternative fuels, they say, the White House
is generating a crisis atmosphere to ram through anti-
environmental laws. This is not an easy issue politically for
Bush, and the usually disciplined White House has stumbled a few
times on energy issues. Environmental Protection Agency chief
Christie Whitman, for example, recently said the Bush's energy
plan would not include drilling in the Arctic refuge; White House
spokesman Ari Fleischer contradicted her the next day.
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, meanwhile, has urged his brother's
administration to prevent drilling off Florida's shoreline. But
the Interior Department appears poised to allow it. And the
president recently found himself explaining reports that the White
House is considering easing sanctions on hostile oil producers
such as Libya and Iran. "It's one thing to consider, it's another
thing to act on sanctions," Bush said. "I don't intend to do that
The White House has been criticized for the way Cheney's energy
task force has operated. The group, including several Cabinet
secretaries, meets once a week, and conservationists say the
process has been closed. "The process is eerily reminiscent of the
way Bill Clinton's administration and Hillary Rodham Clinton put
together its health-care plan--behind closed doors, with little
consultation with Congress, very little consultation with
environmental groups," said Philip Clapp, president of the
National Environmental Trust. A White House official dismissed
that criticism. "This process has been open, deliberative and
transparent," he said.
But both sides do agree that the nation needs to act quickly.
"We're at a moment in time where we've seen, because of what's
going on in California, that our energy infrastructure has hit its
limit," Callahan said. "We have to make a choice now. We literally
have to make a choice right now."
19) STUDY FINDS A DECLINE IN NATURAL AIR CLEANSER
New York Times
May 4, 2001
Scientists say they have detected wide swings and, most recently,
a sharp drop in atmospheric concentrations of chemicals that
naturally purge the air of many kinds of contaminants and methane,
a powerful heat-trapping greenhouse gas. The scientists say they
suspect that the decline is related to human activity, because the
biggest drop was measured in the northern hemisphere, where most
industry and other human activity is concentrated. The
researchers, who described their work in today's issue of the
journal Science, said there were still many uncertainties involved
in calculating amounts of the molecules.
"It's a surprise as well as cause for deep concern," said Dr.
Ronald G. Prinn, the study's lead author and chairman of the
department of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "If we don't understand it
and it's going down, we'd better find out what's going on."
The chemicals are hydroxyl radicals, which are created as
ultraviolet light knocks hydrogen atoms from water molecules in
air in the presence of ozone, a highly reactive form of oxygen.
The radicals vanish almost as quickly as they are created, usually
in less than a second, chemically reacting with an array of air
pollutants, including such undesirables as carbon monoxide,
methane and sulfur dioxide. They are also a major ingredient in
The puzzle is particularly complicated because the amount of
radicals can be affected by the rates at which they are created
and destroyed. One of many possible influences, atmospheric
scientists say, is an increase in haze, which could block
ultraviolet light and impede the reaction that creates the
molecules. It is important to clarify what is going on, Dr. Prinn
said, because the potent molecules attack some things that are
almost indestructible, most notably methane, which many scientists
have identified as a significant contributor to global warming.
Another target of the radicals is sulfur dioxide, which is emitted
by smokestacks, volcanoes and other sources. The hydroxyl radicals
are thought to purge more than half the sulfur dioxide added to
the air. Experts in atmospheric chemistry who were not involved in
the study said it offered important hints about hydroxyl radicals,
but they emphasized the difficulties in measuring something that
comes and goes so quickly and varies mile by mile.
Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, an atmospheric chemist and chancellor of
the University of California at Irvine, said he doubted there was
a way to confirm that the hydroxyl radicals were exhibiting wide
swings. Nonetheless, Dr. Cicerone said, the study sharpened a
fuzzy picture of an essential atmospheric ingredient. "This is a
terrifically important question because hydroxyl radicals are the
central chemical in the lower atmosphere for processing
everything," he said. "For 25 years, people have been struggling
to measure it." Indeed, the study, like several other recent
efforts, did not rely on direct measurements of the radicals but
of a synthetic gas, methyl chloroform, which the radicals destroy.
Companies stopped manufacturing and using methyl chloroform, a
solvent, in the mid-1990's under agreements aimed at restoring the
ozone layer high in the atmosphere. The amount remaining in the
air is declining, mainly as it is destroyed by hydroxyl radicals,
so the rate of destruction can be an indirect measure of hydroxyl
radicals. Using this method, researchers estimated with a
substantial margin of error that the average amount of hydroxyl
radicals in the atmosphere rose 15 percent from 1979, when methyl
chloroform measurements began, to 1989. After 1990, the amount of
radicals appears to have dropped sharply. The concentration in
2000 was 10 percent below that of 1979.
But the technique adds another level of uncertainty, said Dr.
Stephen A. Montzka, a research chemist for the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration. It is still possible that the
changes in methyl chloroform levels are not coming from reactions
with hydroxyl radicals, but are a result of continuing but
undetected releases of these chemicals. "It's the best barometer
of hydroxyl radicals that we have," he said. "But there are still
big potential sources of error."
20) HOTTER DAYS AHEAD AS GLOBAL WARMING HITS WATER SUPPLY
Sydney Morning Herald
8 May 2001
The CSIRO has dramatically increased its projections of the extent
of global warming, suggesting average Australian temperatures
could rise as much as six degrees by 2070. In its last series of
climate projections, five years ago, the temperature range
estimated for 2070 was 0.6C to 3.8C. The current forecasts are for
warming of between 1C and 6C. The changes would have a significant
impact on agricultural production and natural ecosystems, placing
additional stress on the demands for scarce water resources and
increasing both the seasonal and territorial ranges of many pests.
While Australia is expected to warm at rates similar to the rest
of the world, the impact on rainfall is likely to be more extreme,
said Dr Peter Whetton, head of the CSIRO's Climate Impact group.
"All global climate models show increases in rainfall, averaged
all over the globe. But those increases tend to occur in the mid
to high latitudes and around the equator and there's a tendency
for rainfall to decrease in most models for the latitudes
Australia is in," Dr Whetton said. "Evaporation will increase over
most of the country. Combined with changes in rainfall, there is a
clear decrease in available moisture across the country."
In the Macquarie River catchment, for example, stream flows are
predicted to fall by up to 20 per cent by 2030 while projections
for 2070 range from a marginal increase to falls of as much as 45
per cent. The intensity of tropical cyclones in northern
Queensland could increase by up 20 per cent which, combined with
rising flood levels, may double the area affected by flooding. The
number of summer days with temperatures of more than 35C is
predicted to rise in Sydney from the current two each year to
between three and 11, in Brisbane from three to between four and
35 and in Perth from 15 to between 18 and 39 by 2070.
Releasing the report, Dr Whetton said the Kyoto protocol, if
adopted, was likely to have a relatively minor impact. Instead,
factors such as the rates of population and economic growth would
be significant determinants of the rate of growth in emissions.
This accounts for at least half of the range of temperature
projections. The other factor producing continuing uncertainty is
that scientists remain unsure just how the climate will respond.
It is not now possible to determine the likelihood of the
differing potential scenarios actually happening, Dr Whetton said.
However, Ms Anna Reynolds, co-ordinator of the Climate Action
Network, warned that the lower temperature estimates were based on
a dramatic switch to green energy, decreased consumption of fossil
fuels and decreasing deforestation. "It's a real warning to us,"
she said. "If political leaders don't see this as an issue of
national significance and implement dramatic and immediate change
in our energy policy, then we could be looking at these high-end
changes in temperature." Dr Whetton said Australia's biggest
challenge now was how to respond appropriately to the threat of
"There are two responses we can consider. One is for Australia to
play its part in a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas
emission. The other is to accept some future change in climate due
to enhanced greenhouse conditions is inevitable and that we should
look at what those changes are likely to mean to Australia and
take that on board as we go into the future."
The Age: http://www.theage.com.au/news/2001/05/08/FFXRAV0UFMC.html
21) ARCTIC'S BIG MELT CHALLENGED
3 May 2001
If ever you needed convincing that climate science was complex
stuff, just look at the Arctic. We are told the sea ice in the
northern polar region is disappearing fast: some computer models
even suggest there could be completely open water there during the
summers at the end of this century. If this really is the case,
the implications could be immense - and not just for the polar
bears which rely on the ice to go hunting for seals. The
cryosphere plays a crucial role it helping to regulate the climate
on planet Earth. An ice-free Arctic would likely accelerate any
global warming process that was taking place.
But a new, and as yet unpublished, piece of research is
challenging the idea that a big melt is underway. Dr Greg
Holloway, of the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, Canada,
has got tongues wagging with his suggestion that the missing ice
is still there, piled up in locations where researchers have not
been looking for it. The evidence for major thinning is supported
by submarine data. Upward-looking sonar readings, studied by both
US and British scientists, have produced broadly similar results:
about a 40% reduction in draught between the 1960s and 1990s - by
draught, researchers mean the difference between the surface of
the ocean and the bottom of the ice pack. But the submarine data
are not exactly comprehensive: the cruises were not continuous and
the data sets only cover certain areas in the Arctic. And this is
partly what got Dr Holloway into thinking the ice may simply have
He wondered if multi-decadal wind patterns known to operate in the
Arctic could have shifted the ice into areas not surveyed by the
submarines, giving the illusion that the ice was losing volume
over a period of time. And when he matched the timing of the
submarine visits with what he knew about wind cycles, his
suspicions were confirmed. "It's a circumstance where the ice
tends to leave the central Arctic and then mostly pile up against
the Canadian side, before moving back into the central Arctic
again," he told BBC News Online. "Because of territorial waters
and where US submarines weren't allowed to go in the 1990s - the
submarines couldn't enter Canadian waters and that's where the ice
was." Dr Holloway believes the fact that the British research
tallied with the American studies was purely coincidental - a
"Trying to get a picture of the volume of Arctic ice is pretty
sketchy," he said. "It's a question of what other information we
can bring to bear so that we get a fuller picture. The great hope
for the future is that satellite methods may be able to observe
the thickness of the ice as well as the extent." But Dr Peter
Wadhams, of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, UK,
and one of the world's leading experts on Arctic ice, is not yet
prepared to accept the Canadian's analysis.
"It needs testing obviously, but I think on the whole the evidence
is against it," he told BBC News Online. "There are some submarine
data sets from these regions that are not yet published and they
show no thickening, and data from radar altimetry suggest thinning
over the entire Arctic, not just over the regions where the
submarine data exists." Dr Wadhams said he also thought some of
the theoretical basis underpinning Holloway's ideas was not
supported by what science had learnt about ice dynamics.
"Modellers suspect it is not as simple as Dr Holloway suggests -
the ice will not simply pile up in some other place. There will be
a change in the distribution of ice thickness around the Arctic
but it won't involve any massive build-ups to compensate for
overall thinning." If the submarines have got it right then at
least some stability appears to have returned to the Arctic. The
latest and most comprehensive analysis yet of the sonar data
collected in the 1990s shows little if any thinning - at least
towards the end of that decade. Indeed, at the North Pole, there
are indications in the data that the ice even got a little
thicker. For Dr Holloway, there is a recognition that he needs to
put his research through peer review and get it published. "There
are certainly regional changes taking place," he said. "And if you
take the western Hudson Bay, it may well be that the Polar bears
are being stressed there because of declining ice coverage. But I
believe we have been a little bit overly stampeded into the idea
that there is a terribly alarming melting taking place."
22) CARBON DIOXIDE LEVELS KEY TO GLOBAL WARMING PREDICTIONS
COLLEGE STATION - It's never a good idea to throw the baby out
with the bathwater, even if the baby is millions of years old --
with an uncertain future. That's Thomas Crowley's message on
global climate modeling, published in this week's Science (May 3,
2001). Despite incomplete agreement of computer generated models
and physical evidence, Crowley believes carbon dioxide levels
still prove key to predicting future climate events based on past
"Recently, some researchers have suggested that carbon dioxide
changes are not primarily responsible for past climate changes
over millions of years," said Crowley, a professor of oceanography
at Texas A&M University. "But my co-author, Robert Berner of Yale,
and I demonstrate in our perspective piece for Science that
variations in CO2 are in fact very important for explaining past
ice ages. "Conclusions to the contrary have been based on
fragmentary data," he observed. "I think it would be hazardous to
conclude, based on discrepancies between models and data from the
past, that projections interpreting the negative impact of future
anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are erroneous."
Paleoclimate experts agree that over millions of years, the
Earth's climate has undergone massive changes. Glaciers sculpted
the face of entire continents, followed by warm periods with
virtually no ice. Over 65 million years ago, dinosaurs grazed in
Alaska, and the ice-cold waters of the ocean depths ran lukewarm.
Experts estimate historic atmospheric CO2 content based on
analysis of fossilized soils, marine sedimentary carbon, fossil
leaves and boron isotopes in carbonate fossils. Such indicators
have suggested links between natural variations in the amount of
CO2 present in the atmosphere and long-term climate changes. But
not all the data agree. For example, during certain periods of
high levels of CO2, reconstructed temperatures in the tropics were
Crowley and Berner dispute the idea, however, that such
discrepancies should entirely call into question the role of CO2
in global warming, both now and in the past.
"There are some legitimate reasons for believing the tropical
chemical data may give flawed estimates of temperature," Crowley
said. "If these estimates are, however, eventually proven correct,
then perhaps climate models are not correctly simulating tropical
ocean responses to carbon dioxide changes." "But even if there are
mistakes in our modeling approaches, they may still have limited
application to future greenhouse warming," he continued. "The
locations of the continents were so different in the past from
where they are now that we cannot be sure of the effects of such
continental changes on the ocean."
Crowley and Berner's analysis of models and supporting data led
them to conclude that the CO2 model is valuable for periods of
glaciation at high latitudes, but that in the tropics, predictive
applications of prior climate change are complicated by movement
of the continents on tectonic plates and problems with
interpretation of climate indicators. "The bottom line remains the
same -- CO2 is still very important to the whole process of
climate change. We just don't have all the story yet," Crowley
23) THAI KING PATENTS ECO-FRIENDLY FUEL
4 May, 2001
The King of Thailand has applied for a patent for a formula he has
devised to substitute palm oil for diesel as a way of cutting
costs and pollution. Officials said that while the idea was not
new, King Bhumibol Adulyadej's formula worked particularly well.
The palm oil is intended to be used on its own or mixed with
diesel without any modification to existing engines. Thailand's
state-run petroleum authority is being asked to help in producing
the new fuel. The 73-year-old king, who is the world's longest-
reigning monarch, has been involved in a number of agricultural
and irrigation projects.
24) AUSTRALIA OPENS WORLD'S FIRST TITANIUM SOLAR CELL FACTORY
3 May 2001
CANBERRA, Australia, May 3, 2001 (ENS) - The government of
Australia is committed to meeting its international climate change
obligations, but is not prepared to sacrifice economic growth and
Australian jobs, Minister for Industry, Science and Resources,
Senator Nick Minchin said Wednesday. Minchin spoke at the opening
of the world's first titania dye solar cell manufacturing
operation developed by the company Sustainable Technologies
International at Queanbeyan, near Canberra. The new cell
technology has the capacity to provide low cost solar energy
supplies to buildings, remote areas and businesses around the
world, providing significant environmental benefits.
The opening of the Queanbeyan factory is the culmination of seven
years of research and A$12 million expenditure. Sustainable
Technologies International has received a A$1 million grant under
the Commonwealth government's Renewable Energy Commercialisation
Program to construct the facility.
The factory makes a new type of photovoltaic solar cell based on
nanocristaline titanium dioxide as the semiconductor. The titania
solar cells use a titanium dioxide semiconductor coated with
ruthenium dye, which absorbs light in the visible spectrum.
Sustainable Technologies Australia is the sole licensee outside
Europe of the patented core technology for dyed titania cells.
Production costs are cheaper compared with the silicon based solar
cells that are now most widely used. Titania cells perform under a
wide range of temperature and light conditions including low and
diffuse light, and they can be optically transparent or opaque.
The basic titania cell consists of a sandwich of titanium dioxide,
dye, electrolyte and catalyst between two conductive transparent
electrodes. Upon illumination of the cell, light excites the dye,
sending an electron on its way to be picked up and transmitted by
the semiconducting titania dioxide to become electrical energy.
Each of the layers is screen printed on to the glass and baked on
using cost effective standard equipment from the semiconductor
industry. The company claims the production of its cells is less
harmful to the environment than the manufacture of silicon cells
which emits hazardous gases and requires the use of hazardous
gases and a great deal of water and electricity. Titania solar
cell manufacture produces no toxic gas emissions, Sustainable
Senator Minchin said the development of this Australian technology
is an excellent example of Australian innovation and the success
of the government's package of greenhouse response measures. The
greenhouse gas emissions of developing countries such as China,
India and Brazil are estimated to overtake those of developed
countries by 2004. Senator Minchin renewed his call for developing
countries to be engaged in the Kyoto Protocol process. "If
developing countries are not involved, Australia and other
developed nations will lose industry and jobs offshore as
companies relocate to avoid greenhouse restrictions," he said.
The Kyoto Protocol, an addition to the United Nations climate
treaty, governs the emissions of six greenhouse gases by 39
industrialized countries including Australia. Most of the
countries must reduce their gas emissions relative to their 1990
levels, but Australia is permitted to increase its emissions by
eight percent. Still, says Minchin, Australia's economy would be
hurt if the protocol comes into effect.
A member of Australia's Liberal government, Senator Minchin
accused the Labor opposition of threatening the future of
Australian industry and the livelihood of its workers by
committing to ratify the Protocol, even without US backing and the
engagement of developing nations. "Allens Consulting has estimated
that more than 50,000 jobs in non-metropolitan Queensland alone,
would be lost if the Protocol was implemented in its current form.
Labor is courting the extreme green vote at the cost of industry
and jobs for Australians," Minchin charged.
25) INUIT ELDERS SAY CLIMATE CHANGE IS ALTERING OLD RULES OF THE
May 05, 2001
IQALUIT, Nunavut (CP) - Inuit hunters are struggling to adapt to a
changing climate that is turning traditional, centuries-old
knowledge on its head. Nunavut government research based on in-
depth interviews with dozens of elders reveals the rules of
survival in the North are shifting. Snow can't always be relied on
for igloo-building. Caribou skin and fur clothing freezes in
unaccustomed humidity. Thin ice keeps hunters away from their
traditional prey as new game species spread up from the south.
Even the prevailing winds relied on for navigation have shifted.
Inuit who have travelled the tundra all their lives are getting
lost in their own homeland.
"We used to know what season things would occur, for example when
your feet would sink through the snow," Arviat elder Donald
Uluadluaq told an interviewer. "People like me are confused."
Beginning last fall, Nunavut government researchers began visiting
small arctic communities to learn what elders and long-time
hunters had observed about changes to their environment. "We are
going to use traditional knowledge to help people adapt," said
Earle Baddaloo of Nunavut's Department of Sustainable Development.
Scientific studies have suggested the Arctic is at the forefront
of global climate change. In some areas, average temperatures have
increased by 2 C. The timing of sea ice formation and break-up is
off by up to two weeks. In 55 interviews in Baker Lake, Arviat and
Cape Dorset, elders gave one of the clearest pictures yet of what
those scientific readings mean to hunters on the land.
Regular snow ridge patterns formed by prevailing winds are no
longer reliable guides to direction, researchers heard. Lakes and
rivers are freezing later and slower, sometimes cutting hunters
off within sight of their game. Food cached in the expectation of
it remaining frozen has thawed and spoiled. Berries are ripening
earlier, affecting both the hunters and the movement of animals.
Warmer, more humid weather has made the right kind of snow for
igloo-building harder to find. When hunters do get an igloo built,
that same humidity condenses and freezes, sealing the pores in the
snow and causing it to lose insulation and ventilation. Hunters
must then build a new shelter.
A similar condensation process erodes the effectiveness of
traditional skin clothing. Fish have moved to different lakes and
streams. New insect species are showing up. The old paths over the
ice to game are no longer dependable. "Traditional routes that
their users have been following for umpteen years - wham! Right
through the ice," says Baddaloo. Hunters have already begun to
adapt to their changing climate, shifting the times of their
traditional hunts. They're also beginning to turn their attention
to new species such as moose, which are beginning to extend their
More than recreation, hunting in Nunavut is an essential element
of the Inuit culture. And in a land with some of the highest costs
of living in Canada, so-called "country foods" make up a
significant part of most families' nutritional needs. "This is
survival," Baddaloo says. Such studies, done correctly, have
considerable scientific value, says John MacDonald of the Nunavut
Research Institute in Igloolik. "If there's anybody who observes
weather, it's the Inuit," says MacDonald, who's been collecting
traditional knowledge for 15 years.
Traditional knowledge can flesh out the often-sparse scientific
data in places where observers are few and far between. It also
suggests areas of inquiry that southern scientists haven't thought
of yet. Sometimes, the Inuit know better than the scientists. In
the mid-1970s, biologists insisted the caribou around Chesterfield
Inlet were declining dangerously. Local hunters, whose elders had
told them of such cycles, replied the caribou had just moved to a
different range. The Inuit were right.
While scientists try to find general rules, elders are only
willing to talk about what has worked for them, says MacDonald. To
get scientifically useful information, interviewers must talk to
as many different elders as possible. "There's this sort of
modesty and delicacy about Inuit statement as opposed to the
absolute certainty of western scientific statement," he says. "No
elder pretends to have all knowledge." The Nunavut study will
continue over another four regions of the Arctic, says Baddaloo.
The final report is to be delivered to the minister of sustainable
development by the end of the year.
26) FLOODS REACH CHEST LEVEL IN WATERLOGGED SOMME
May 4, 2001
ABBEVILLE, France - France's Somme valley, synonymous with World
War One trench warfare, is once again teeming with muddy, khaki-
clad soldiers, army trucks and sandbags. If the trickle of
visitors coming to ogle some of the worst flooding ever seen in
France find the parallel vaguely amusing, the joke is lost on
locals. Some 3,000 homes have been under water around the river
Somme in northern France for over a month, 1,000 people have been
evacuated and hundreds are sheltering with relations. Hundreds
more, especially older residents, are too terrified to budge.
Sloshing around their homes in rubber boots, knee-deep in foul
smelling, stagnant water, some in their fourth week without hot
water, electricity or an indoor toilet, flood victims in the
waterlogged town of Abbeville have had enough. Army cadets,
emergency workers and volunteers do their best to keep morale up,
cheerfully ferrying people around in boats, shifting furniture and
delivering hot soup or stew three times a day to those that can no
longer cook. Yet with no end in sight, and nobody able to explain
where all the water has come from or how long it will take to
shift, nerves are starting to snap.
"I keep asking myself how I'll get through another day. My
wallpaper's rotting, everything smells, tiles are falling off. I
can't cook, shower or make coffee, but I can't bear to leave even
if staying makes me cry," said Mireille Vasseux from her window,
brown water swirling inches below the windowsill. "I'm 69 and I
never saw anything like this in all my life here. I've seen
pictures of floods in other countries, it always looked terrible.
I never thought it could happen here."
FLOODS SEEN TAKING MONTHS TO SUBSIDE
Though 117 communes have been declared disaster zones, the floods
are nowhere near the scale of deluges in parts of the developing
world that routinely leave hundreds dead or homeless. It is not
the first time the Somme, with its porous subsoil, has flooded,
nor is France alone in Europe. Scores of Britons lost their homes
through floods last year after months of rain. But what is
worrying is that the waters are not dropping. Given seasonal high
tides and daily drizzle, experts say water levels may take months
to subside, despite three massive pumps brought in from the
Netherlands at the end of April.
The pumps are shifting 15,000 cubic metres (530,000 cubic feet) of
water per hour from the swollen river to the sea. But the excess
water is estimated at 10 million cubic metres, which, even if it
stopped raining, would take a full month to clear. "It's the
duration that scares me. I never heard of a flood lasting so long.
It's not just burst riverbanks, this water came from behind, from
high tides," said teacher Eric Duhaupas, whose small detached
house is surrounded by a moat, its cellar full to the brim with
what looks and smells like dirty dishwater.
Fireman Jean-Joel Holzmann is also gloomy. "It's going to take
months and months for this to go down, even if it stops raining -
just look at the amount of water," he says. He points to a deep
crack in a school wall, evidence that the building is starting to
subside into a playground where water is at chest level. The
brightly coloured tops of swings, climbing frames and basketball
nets poke eerily above the muddy surface.
RESIDENTS DEMAND EXPLANATIONS
For Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, who is fielding a slump in
popularity ahead of 2002 elections, the floods are yet another
environmental headache after devastating hurricanes in late 1999
and a disastrous oil spill off the north coast. Heckled when he
visited Abbeville in April, Jospin was even - wrongly - accused by
locals of diverting the swollen Seine river from Paris. "They're
not telling us everything, there has to be something behind this
and we want to know what," said one local man, citing rumours of
mismanagement of estuary sluice gates.
"First they told us it would be over in June, then July, and now
September," a woman added. "My children are playing in water
that's got sewage floating in it yet nothing's being done. You'd
think we were living in the bloody third world." The government
has pledged 30 million francs ($4.07 million) in aid and opened an
investigation into the causes of the flood. But nerves are fraying
fast - even men admit they're wept - and emergency workers are
reporting attempted suicides.
SOLIDARITY REIGNS, DESPITE DESPAIR
Of 730 flooded houses in Abbeville, scores have already been
written off as foundations rot, and their owners have warned the
ground may be too waterlogged to rebuild on. Even where the
streets look dry, telltale plastic piping runs out of every
cellar, feeding ribbons of grey running water along the edges of
every road. A glance through garden fences shows lawns looking
like mangrove swamps. Around the submerged station, where the tops
of chairs on the platforms make ripples on the surface, the mood
is bleak. Trains are unlikely to run much before Christmas, as it
will take months to replace rusty track and electrical contacts.
Hotels and camp sites, which depend on summer tourism, are empty.
Cafe owners say it is hardly worth opening. Supermarkets and
schools are shut and effluent pours from a flooded factory.
"It's just so depressing, day after day like this. Our season is
ruined. Even if we have guests we've no hot water and there are
rats everywhere," says Corinne Decamps, who is letting out rooms
at the Grand Hotel de la Gare for next to nothing to the media and
what locals dub "disaster tourists". In a nearby street, pumps hum
day and night in the flooded houses and electric cables hang
dangerously close to the water. Planks of wood on columns of
bricks provide outside walkways while wooden boxes make stepping
stones inside houses. But in one street, spirits are high, as
disaster brings neighbours together. Huddled under umbrellas in
knee-high water in the road, a bedraggled group holds a makeshift
barbecue, wading about to music, and swigging whisky to keep warm.
A sign over a front door reads, "Welcome to the Open Air Ball -
Free for Flood Victims, 300 francs for the Curious". "You've got
to see the funny side," says the host, Patrick. "It's disgusting -
we're living like prisoners and peeing in plastic bags. But you've
got to keep morale up somehow."
27) AFGHANISTAN ON VERGE OF WIDESPREAD FAMINE
May 5, 2001
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A devastating drought in Afghanistan has left
3.8 million people at risk of famine and the situation is
"deteriorating rapidly", according to a U.S. delegation that
recently returned from the central Asian country. The delegation
said the drought is affecting every region of Afghanistan and that
the country is lacking the necessary two million tons of food to
feed its people -- a deficit that has doubled since just last
year. "Everyone is more or less at the same level of shared
destitution," said Peter Morris of the U.S. Agency for
International Development's (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster
The team's trip to assess the humanitarian situation in the
country marked the first official U.S. visit to Afghanistan in
three years. The team found that all villages visited had been
devastated by the drought. A USAID statement said the team was not
able to travel to the country's worst hit areas in Ghor and
Badghis because of security concerns. Leonard Rogers with USAID
said, "The situation is deteriorating rapidly."
The U.N. estimates the drought has forced over 700,000 people to
flee their homes, landing at camps for internally displaced
citizens. George Havens, a USAID nutritionist, called the
conditions of the camps "woefully inadequate," and described the
shelter facilities, water and sanitation as extremely poor. "The
populations are making due with whatever they can borrow, beg or
collect as family resources have been depleted," Havens said.
He said infant mortality rates had reached emergency levels. "When
the resources finally hit rock bottom, which is very close, then
you'll see a precipitous drop in health and nutrition status,"
Morris added. While the team cited the drought as the major factor
for the deepening humanitarian crisis, the members of the
delegation said the ruling Taleban regime was contributing to the
crisis. "In the short term, it's dire in any event because of the
drought," Rogers said, adding there are "things that the Talebans
could do to improve access," including improving security
conditions. Thursday, the Taleban rejected U.N. calls for a cease-
fire as a way to help the U.N. deal with the humanitarian
situation. The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions against the
Taleban's in an effort to pressure the party to hand over Saudi
exile Osama bin Laden, who is accused of bombing two U.S.
embassies in Africa. The sanctions allow for humanitarian aid. The
United States has allocated $78.5 million in assistance to
Afghanistan, according to USAID figures. Rogers said the United
States would announce additional aid within the next two weeks.
28) WORLD HELP FOR DROUGHT-HIT AREAS SOUGHT
06 May 2001
ISLAMABAD, May 5: Global warming is causing alarming situation in
the dry areas of Pakistan, which have been hit hard by the
prolonged drought during the last couple of years , said director
general of International Centre for Agriculture Research in Dry
Areas (Icarda), Dr El Beltagy, here on Thursday. Dr El Beltagy was
discussing matters pertaining to agriculture in dry areas with the
federal minister for food and agriculture, Khair Mohammad Junejo.
The minister said the drought and prolonged dry spell in the
country had necessitated use of efficient irrigation technology
and smart variety of crops with lower water requirements and
shorter gestation period. He stressed the need for more co-
operations of the international agencies in the rain-fed areas.
He said, rain fed areas in the country contributed a huge chunk of
agriculture products which were the source of livestock survival
and apart from producing staple food grains, these areas were
unique for production of variety of fruit and vegetables. Dr
Beltagy said that his agency had been doing a lot of work in
Pakistan for the last many years and it would continue to help
agriculture in the dry areas despite budget constraints.
He said Icarda's programme also included improving condition of
the inhabitants, controlling erosion, improving ecological
conditions and disease control. "We are targeting poor farmers in
the dry areas by organizing and training them through local
institutions", he said.
The global warming, he said, was causing alarming situation for
the dry areas which was risky as well as challenging and therefore
an increase in productivity as well as co-operation was needed. He
recognized the need for continued support and assured that Icarda
would extend full co-operation in this regard.
The agriculture minister said the government had initiated a
number of schemes to improve the status of agriculture in the
country, specially the rain-fed areas, including concessional
loans, sinking of more tube wells, Barani dams and trickle
sprinkle irrigation system, apart from flourishing the livestock
29) US UNPREPARED FOR HEALTH IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE
New York Times
May 3, 2001
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A panel of scientists from
universities, government and the private sector has released its
assessment of the health challenges the US faces as the global
climate changes, calling for sweeping improvements in the nation's
infrastructure. The US is better prepared than less-developed
nations for meeting the health needs expected to occur with future
extreme weather events, but it still needs to improve its public
health infrastructure, take steps to protect its most vulnerable
residents and commit resources to further study the link between
climate and health, a co-chair of the initiative told Reuters
Health in an interview.
The assessment was mandated by Congress and supported by the
Environmental Protection Agency. Scientists at the Bloomberg
School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore,
Maryland, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in
Atlanta, Georgia, headed up the project. The panel's conclusions
are published in a special May supplement issue of the journal
Environmental Health Perspectives.
The initiative ``really cuts across many different fields of
public health,'' according to Dr. Jonathan Patz, of Johns Hopkins,
the co-chair of the assessment. Patz said that the guidelines
``should be viewed as a consensus document.''
Many scientists predict that in the decades to come, extreme
weather events such as heat waves and heavier rainfalls will occur
more frequently, Patz explained. The task of the team was to look
at how health in the US might be vulnerable to these and other
future climate changes, as well as to gauge the nation's ability
to adapt to these challenges, he said. Although the US is equipped
to deal with some of the consequences of climate changes, certain
groups, including children, the elderly, people with weakened
immune systems and residents of flood plains may be more
vulnerable than others, Patz noted.
``People still die in floods and heat waves,'' Patz said. ``We are
not protecting everyone.'' The panel identified several major
concerns: heat-related illnesses and death, the health effects of
extreme weather events such as floods and storms, water- and food-
borne diseases, insect- and rodent-borne diseases and air
pollution-related health effects. For each of the problem areas,
researchers identified several strategies for reducing health
risks. The panel suggests, for instance, that improvements in
pollution control as well as increased use of mass transit may
reduce health problems related to air pollution.
Other recommendations for minimizing the health risks of climate
change include improved early-warning systems for severe weather
and pollution, better urban planning and development of community
emergency plans. To view a brochure summarizing the
recommendations of the panel, go to
30) BRITONS WONDER - "WILL IT EVER STOP RAINING?"
May 8, 2001
LONDON - A sodden cyclist fighting through the London traffic
during a familiar torrential downpour looked up at a bus conductor
with a resigned look. "Does it ever stop raining?" he asked with a
shrug, before ploughing through a huge roadside puddle. It is the
question on the lips of millions of Britons, already renowned for
their fixation with bland conversations about the weather and
their pets. Now they can do both at once - it has been raining
cats and dogs.
It is hard to recall three days in the last three months when
there has been no rain in the British capital. Across the country
the limited number of parks and public pathways not closed by the
foot-and-mouth livestock disease are often impossible to negotiate
for the swamps and bogs they have become. One young couple who
were married in late April in central London had not one drop of
rain to spoil the day. They put the miracle down to divine
intervention. But the heavens look likely to continue to open on a
regular basis for a long time to come.
"There are climate predictions indicating that the frequency of
flooding in the south of England will increase," said a spokesman
for the Meteorological Office in London, referring to long-term
forecasts. In the short term, though, things are looking a little
brighter, with settled weather across much of Britain expected
soon and a drier, warmer summer than average.
COSTS, HUMAN AND MATERIAL, ARE HIGH
There is a serious side to all this. The human cost of the worst
flooding for 50 years during the winter has been high. Torrential
rain and gales that battered Britain in December killed four
people and brought further misery to thousands of people already
devastated by flooding less than two months earlier. The October
deluge left at least seven dead in northern Europe and thousands
had to be evacuated from their homes in low-lying areas. The bill
for that downpour in Britain alone was over one billion pounds
Environmentalists say that the unusually wet winter and spring in
Britain is consistent with predictions by scientists studying the
impact of global warming on the region. "Researchers anticipate
hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters in Britain," said Roger
Higman, senior climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth. "We
have not had an extended cold snap during the winter for 15 to 20
Higman said that the knock-on effects could be huge, ranging from
changes in planting cycles and wildlife habitat to higher
insurance premiums and even parts of the country simply
disappearing into the sea. Last month the cliffs at Beachy Head in
southern England, lost a coastal landmark when the famous 200-foot
(70 metre) Devil's Chimney outcrop collapsed.
A few miles west, staff at a supermarket had a lucky escape when
the chalk cliff above them gave way and thousands of tonnes of
falling debris stopped just short of their building. "Then of
course there is the psychological factor - those crisp, clear
winter days are important to people's moods. They love to see
snow," said Higman. Another environmentalist said he was tempted
to call the police when he saw clear blue skies for the first time
in weeks on Thursday. Threatening clouds had arrived by midday.
IT REALLY DOES RAIN IN BRITAIN
London may have rid itself of one of its stigmas - fog or smog is
now relatively rare. But when foreigners jibe that it always rains
in Britain, who can argue? Official weather records go back to
1766 but no winter during the last 235 years has been as wet as
the one that has just ended. The Meteorological Office said that
1,299 mm (51 inches) of rain fell across England and Wales between
April 2000 and March 2001, just pipping the previous record set in
April this year was also wet, with 1.6 times as much rain falling
as the average taken between 1961 and 1990. The British, with
their stiff upper lips, are expected to just grin and bear all of
this. But there are signs that even their patience has run thin.
Rain, rather than foot-and-mouth disease which put much of rural
Britain out of bounds, was cited as the main factor behind a
record 1.75 million Britons taking Easter breaks abroad this year.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
31) THE RIGHT KIND OF GREEN
Wall Street Journal
May 8, 2001
BY THOMAS J. BRAY
President Bush may painting himself back into a corner on carbon
dioxide regulation. And he is getting lots of help from big
corporations eager to demonstrate they are on the side of angels.
With only two weeks to go before the administration unveils its
energy policy, insiders say a proposal for a "voluntary" cap-and-
trade system to limit CO2 emissions is under active consideration.
Under such a system, participating companies would be able to
trade emission rights for cash on the barrelhead. Some companies
already have begun piling up credits, in part because they figure
it's inevitable and in part to burnish their images.
Last week Entergy Corp., the nation's third-largest electric
utility, declared that it would voluntarily cap its own CO2
emissions at 50 million tons a year. Likewise, Ford Motor Co.,
whose chairman is the avowedly green William Clay Ford Jr.,
announced in its second annual "corporate citizenship report" that
it is seeking ways to cut CO2 emissions unilaterally. "Ford's
efforts to be a responsible corporate citizen," cooed the Sierra
Club, "are in stark contrast with the Bush administration's
irresponsible remarks trivializing energy efficiency and President
Bush's broken promise on curbing global warming." Bush advisers
have spent much of the last month listening to a chorus of
experts, most of whom believe global warming is already reality,
debating what to do. It might be tough for Mr. Bush to turn his
back entirely on the Rio Treaty his father negotiated in 1992,
which calls for government action.
Besides, how could anyone object to a voluntary system of hedging
against a United Nations prediction that temperatures will rise by
as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next 100 years?
Here's how. The White House is almost surely wrong if it thinks a
voluntary program will win brownie points from its environmental
critics. The voluntary strategy would be an admission that global
warming is a serious threat, even though President Bush himself
has acknowledged that the jury is still out. Sooner or later,
voluntary controls are likely to be replaced by mandatory ones.
Even greens who concede that the scientific evidence is sketchy,
argue that the "precautionary principle" requires America, the
biggest "polluter," to act now. By the time the theory is proved,
they say, the world could be toast.
But there is a risk to the government getting things wrong as
well. In the 1970s, many of the same scientists were all agog
about the risk of global cooling. What if we wind up spending huge
sums to insure against the wrong thing--and make the actual
problem worse? That wouldn't exactly be a first for Washington.
Indeed, as some economists point out, the Kyoto accords would have
cost America $100 billion to $400 billion in lost gross domestic
product. Yet the computer models favored by climatologists
indicate Kyoto would have done very little to actually reduce
warming. Skeptics believe Kyoto was a bait-and-switch that would
have been followed by far more costly controls.
A sensible middle ground, some conservative environmentalists
argue, would be a strategy aimed at improving mankind's
resilience--its ability to adapt to emerging threats whatever they
might be. If the data suggest global warming is indeed a problem,
for example, then policies might be devised to discourage
development in vulnerable, low-lying coastal areas. Or more
attention might be given to agricultural strains that are better
able to withstand drought.
Rather than place draconian taxes on energy use--taxes that aren't
likely to be accepted by the American public, judging from the
response to high gasoline, fuel-oil and electricity prices--taxes
and regulation should be reduced as a means of encouraging new
technologies that might greatly reduce environmental impacts.
The main object would be to create a wealthier world. Wealthy
societies are far more resilient than poor societies. Such an
approach also would have the virtue of being entirely in keeping
with President Bush's conservative, supply-side views. Even more
to the point, it would be in keeping with the optimistic streak in
our American nature.
Mr. Bray is a staff columnist at the Detroit News. His
OpinionJournal.com column appears Tuesdays.
32) RESIST TEMPTATION OF AN OIL-THIRSTY U.S.
May 2, 2001
U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney - a former oilman like his boss,
George W. Bush - was in town Monday, polluting our atmosphere with
a speech about the Americans' inalienable right to consume energy
as if there were no tomorrow. Vowing that Americans will not have
to change their lifestyles, Cheney dismissed the merits of
conserving energy. "Conservation," he said, "may be a sign of
personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound,
comprehensive energy policy.'' As he envisions it, U.S. energy
policy would consist of burning ever more coal, oil and natural
gas, and building a new power plant every week for the next 20
And while Cheney paid lip service to the need to use power
efficiently, Bush's new budget proposes deep cuts in most federal
energy efficiency programs. It would, for example, cut research
and development funding for efficient energy use by 29 per cent.
Since burning fossil fuels creates pollutants, smog and greenhouse
gases, a sound energy policy ought to go hand-in-hand with a
strong environmental policy. But the environment does not factor
into the Bush-Cheney view. This explains why the president has
jettisoned the Kyoto agreement on global warming and already
broken a campaign promise to limit carbon dioxide emissions from
power plants. Cheney's thirst for oil and hunger for coal and gas
should be setting off alarm bells in Ottawa, since much of what
the Americans burn ends up in our air. As John Bennett of the
Sierra Club of Canada put it, "(Cheney has) just declared war on
the environment. Every energy battle for the last 20 years has
just been reopened."
Worst of all, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien is acting like an
American foot soldier in this war. With dollar signs in his eyes,
Chrétien has told Bush in each of their two meetings that Canada
stands ready to help the U.S. satisfy its appetite for power. He
has invited - indeed encouraged - the Americans to draw as much
oil as they want out of the Athabaska tar sands and build
sprawling networks of pipelines from Canada to the U.S. That's
certainly not how Chrétien displayed his concern for the
environment to Canadians in the 1997 election campaign. In a "red
book" filled with commitments to the environment, Chrétien said:
"Domestic action alone is not enough to protect Canada's
environment. New scientific evidence increasingly indicates that
many environmental problems cross borders and so must be dealt
with on an international level. Ensuring a healthy environment for
Canadians is a major foreign policy goal. We must pursue solutions
to international threats to Canada's environment and speak
forcefully in all cases where our environmental security is
threatened." If that wasn't just empty electioneering, Chrétien
owes it to Canadians to tell Cheney to look elsewhere to satisfy
Americans' gluttonous energy use. He should tell Bush to drill to
his heart's content in Alaska and find his own way to get the oil
and gas to U.S. gas guzzlers. He should tell Bush not to count on
Canada as an ally in his dirty war on the environment.
33) U.S. MUST EDUCATE PUBLIC ON GLOBAL WARMING
5 May 2001
by Ryuzo Sato
The new Bush administration has announced it is opting out of the
Kyoto Protocol for the prevention of global warming. The Japanese
media have reported that this decision has "shocked the world,"
but as far as the United States is concerned, no one aside from a
few groups of environmentalists sees it that way. A few years ago
when the Clinton administration first sent out feelers about the
possibility of the Senate ratifying the treaty, the opposition was
95 to 0.
Let us enumerate the United States' reasons for opposing the
treaty. First, forcing businesses to reduce the emission of
greenhouse gases to 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by the year
2012, as the protocol calls for, would be a major blow to the U.S.
economy. Second, since environmental science itself is still
imperfect, the United States should not ruin its economy by
swallowing the treaty entirely. Third, although more than 100
countries agreed to the treaty, no major industrialized country
has ratified it yet. Fourth, developing countries, including China
and India, are exempt. Fifth, with California now in the midst of
a severe electric power crisis, the United States cannot allow
energy costs to go any higher. Listening to U.S. explanations it
seems that as long as it is good for the United States, anything
A country's greenhouse gas emissions are usually considered as a
proportion of its gross domestic product. According to those
calculations, the United States must assume responsibility for gas
emissions of 25 percent and Japan for 13 percent. Europe is about
the same as Japan. The U.S. contention that the treaty is
meaningless if developing countries such as China and India are
exempt seems like the perverse attempt of a big country trying to
get its own way. Certainly, I know from personal experience that
air pollution in China is terrible, but total emissions do not
compare to those produced by Japan, Europe and the United States.
According to some experts. meteorology may not be an exact science
like physics or chemistry, but from what we now know, the
relationship between gas emissions and global warming is clear,
and since that is the case, it is only natural that every effort
be made to prevent it from getting worse. On the other hand,
menacing reports full of scientific terms, which purport to show
that if we do nothing, islands to the south will sink beneath the
sea and Tokyo will be under water as far as Kokubunji provoke a
backlash from scientists. Some scientists who are apologists for
the United States even go so far as to say that global warming has
pluses as well as minuses since Siberia and Alaska will become
fertile farmland. The biggest concern for the United States right
now is the cost of energy. Electricity rates in California have
soared 45 percent and a great fuss is being made over the prospect
that gasoline price may double within the year.
Given the current situation, the reason for the Washington's
announcement is U.S. public opinion. As the above-mentioned 95 to
0 straw vote shows, the people are opposed to the treaty, and the
Bush administration is simply following this trend. The propelling
force behind policy decisions in Japan may be foreign pressure
(gai-atsu), but in the United States, it is domestic pressure
(nai-atsu) the administration is sensitive to. If the U.S. people
are aware that foreign pressure is being exerted, their reaction
is to resist it.
Yet they must not be allowed to say no to discussions that need to
be conducted on a global scale simply on the grounds that it is
not in the United States' interests. That said, however, the
foreign pressure capable of influencing the United States cannot
come from Japan alone but from the entire world.
It is a bad thing when domestic pressure is as ineffective as it
is on the Japanese government, which is only moved by the logic of
Nagatacho, but it is an annoyance to other countries that the U.S.
government's shortsighted concern for public opinion renders it
incapable of adopting forward-looking policies. Democratic
governments have the duty not just to reflect the popular will but
to educate it. Surely, the leaders of a great country must have
the skill to weigh the interests not just of the present
generation but of generations to come and make the people accept
medicine that is good for them no matter how unpalatable it may
(Sato is C.V. Starr professor of economics at New York University)
34) THE GLOBAL WARMING MYTH
International Herald Tribune
May 3, 2001
By MELANIE PHILLIPS
Every age has a governing creed, dissenters from which are branded
heretics or enemies of the people. Once it was that God created
the world. Next it was that man had to recreate the world as the
workers' paradise. When communism imploded in the late 1980s
another belief emerged to fill the gap - that mankind was
destroying the world through global warming. There is no
conclusive evidence to support the global warming theory.
Scientists are deeply divided over it.
Perhaps most eye-popping of all is the claim that the 1990s were
the warmest decade in history. This completely ignores the
medieval warm period. In 1200, Europe was 2 centigrade degrees
warmer than it is now. This was followed by a cold period known as
the little ice age, which lasted until the latter part of the 19th
century. So it's hardly surprising that the climate has warmed
The historical evidence suggests that our current rate of warming
is no big deal and is part of the natural cyclical pattern. Jan
Veizer, the renowned geologist, has produced a definitive
reconstruction of the world's climate history, which says there is
no correlation between cold and warm periods and low and high
levels of carbon dioxide. The science of global warming has been
suborned by politics and ideology. It was hijacked by those who
wanted a new stick with which to beat Western capitalism, America
Melanie Phillips, commenting in The Sunday Times (London).
35) A BLINKERED ENERGY STRATEGY
New York Times
May 6, 2001
President Bush has said that his forthcoming energy package will
be a balanced mix of recommendations aimed at increasing supply
and, through improved energy efficiency, lowering demand. But it
will be surprising if things actually turn out that way. The main
architect of the energy plan is Vice President Dick Cheney, who
made clear in a speech last weekend that the plan would focus
heavily on increasing supplies of fossil fuels. With the certitude
that he brings to most matters, Mr. Cheney contemptuously
dismissed those who would look elsewhere to satisfy the country's
energy needs. "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue," he
said, "but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive
As Mr. Cheney well knows, there are few people who actually
believe that conservation alone can satisfy the country's energy
needs. The country's electrical transmission lines need upgrading,
there are bottlenecks in the system that distributes natural gas,
and there are undoubtedly deposits of natural gas that can be
extracted with minimal environmental damage from federal lands
that are already open for exploration. But conservation - saving
energy by using it more efficiently - can also make a huge
difference, and for Mr. Cheney to imply otherwise simply
reinforces the suspicion that his strategy is little more than a
clever effort to sell the country on the need for more drilling.
Take first the fuel supply. Mr. Cheney is determined to drill for
oil on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,
which could yield as much as 600,000 barrels of economically
recoverable oil per day by 2010. By contrast, the American Council
for an Energy-Efficient Economy estimates that gradually raising
the fuel efficiency of light trucks and cars to 35 miles per
gallon would save 1.5 million barrels a day in 2010 and 4.5
million barrels a day by 2020 - up to seven times what the refuge
could produce. Moreover, these would be permanent energy savings
that would not require invading an ecological treasure.
Improved energy efficiency would also diminish the need for new
power plants. In the same speech, Mr. Cheney asserted that energy
demands are rising so fast that the country will need to build
1,300 new generating plants in the next 20 years. This assertion
was based on a report of questionable integrity from the Energy
Information Administration, an arm of the Energy Department that
has traditionally promoted conventional energy sources like coal
and oil and downplayed the potential of efficiency and renewable
energy. It is also the same report that Mr. Bush used to justify
his decision to withdraw from the Kyoto accords on global warming.
Meanwhile, the administration has conveniently ignored another
Energy Department study published late last year - "Scenarios for
a Clean Energy Future," compiled by scientists at some of the
Energy Department's national laboratories. The study argued that
efficiency measures alone could obviate the need for building 610
of the 1,300 plants. For example, constructing buildings that were
more energy efficient would eliminate the need for 100 plants,
while rules approved near the end of the Clinton administration
mandating more efficient appliances - air-conditioners, clothes
dryers and water heaters - would save an additional 180 plants.
Increased energy efficiency could even rescue the president from
the folly of punching holes in the Arctic, drilling off the coast
of Florida and invading the national forests along the Rocky
Mountain Front. But the key Bush officials do not see the
potential in conservation. In its budget, the administration
actually proposed a 30 percent cut in funding for a government-
auto industry partnership that is seeking to develop a new
generation of energy- efficient vehicles. That partnership, an Al
Gore favorite that Detroit also loves, is helping to speed
development of hybrid cars that get up to 60 miles per gallon. The
White House has also threatened to weaken the new standards for
central air-conditioners, while the Energy Department proposes to
cut in half its spending on alternative fuel sources like wind,
solar energy and fuel cells.
The budget holds out the hope that these research funds will be
restored in 2004 - but only with money earned from oil leases in
the Arctic refuge should Congress allow drilling there. There can
be no plainer illustration of the bias toward extraction that
defines what we know so far about Mr. Cheney's energy strategy.
36) EFFORTS NEEDED TO MAKE DOMESTIC INDUSTRIES ENVIRONMENT-
7 May 2001
On March 29, 2001, the Bush Administration announced it was
walking away from the Kyoto Protocol in order to protect U.S.
economic interests. Many experts believe Bush's action will doom
the Kyoto Protocol, originally scheduled to go into effect in
2002, to failure. The Protocol is aimed at preventing further
global warming by reducing greenhouse gases.
The Bush Administration's action has been received by concern in
international media and worldwide protests. For instance, Time, a
U.S. news magazine, warned that global warming, aside from nuclear
war, had the greatest potential to damage the planet. Russian
reformist Vremya Novostie attacked the U.S. decision to abandon
the protocol, stating that "Washington's decision is incredible...
Nearly every other film by Hollywood is about brave Americans
trying to save the world."
Dangers of global warming
In 1980, some scientists started warning of the dangers of global
warming, pointing to the increasing density of carbon dioxide
(CO2) in the atmosphere. The debate about global warming heated up
following a string unusual meteorological events during the 1980s,
including extreme summer heat, drought, and typhoons. In response
to this, the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) was
established in 1988, providing a stepping off point for
international negotiations for the prevention of global warming.
The IPCC is organized under the UN, and its purpose is to assess
scientific, technical, and socioeconomic information relevant to
the dangers of climate change.
In 1992 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) was adopted at the United Nations Conference on the
Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As
a binding means for the implementation of the UNFCCC, the Kyoto
Protocol was adopted in 1997 at the Third Conference of Parties
(COP3) at the UNFCCC held in Kyoto, Japan.
However, the protocol has still not come into effect as some
industrialized countries, including the U.S., have not ratified
it. The protocol requires ratification by at least 55 countries
whose combined CO2 emissions in 1990 represented more than 55
percent of global CO2 emissions. Currently of the 186 countries
that participate in the UNFCCC, 33 have ratified the Kyoto
Protocol. Korea, which entered into the UNFCCC in December 1993,
has not yet ratified the protocol. If the protocol goes into
effect, industrialized countries will be required to cut
greenhouse gas emissions to 5.2 percent below 1990 levels from
2008 to 2012.
Although the object of the UNFCCC was to protect the global
environment, the negotiations have not progressed smoothly due to
each country's efforts to protect their national economic
interests. The attitudes of different countries varies greatly
depending on their different energy structures, energy
efficiencies and the economic burdens they would face if required
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The reasons for the Bush
Administration's decision to back out of the Kyoto Protocol, which
had been signed by the relatively environmentally-friendly Clinton
Administration, are clear.
Effects of Kyoto Protocol on domestic economy
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions as outlined by the Kyoto
Protocol would lead to a slowdown in local economies and
contractions in corporate activities as energy-reliant industries
become vulnerable. In the long-term however, there exists large
growth potential in new energy-saving related industries. In
contrast, the long-term economic costs of unchecked global warming
are presumably far higher. According to an estimate released by
the IPCC, in 2030 the density of carbon dioxide in the air will be
double that of pre-industrialization levels, creating greater
changes in the ecosystem and causing industrialized countries to
lose 1-3 percent of their GDP and developing countries 2-9 percent
Although the need to address global warming issues has been
generally agreed upon, building a consensus will be difficult
since most countries hold short-term economic objectives to be
more important than long-term economic and environmental costs. It
should be noted here that despite the U.S. absence, the Kyoto
Protocol may still go into effect. Korea was awarded developing
country status during the Kyoto conference, and is therefore not
obliged to immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions even after
ratification. However, the domestic economic structure is quite
vulnerable to a required reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,
due to its heavy dependence on heavy and chemical industries. As a
result, preparations for a having to reduce emissions would be
Furthermore, the U.S. is currently preparing a new proposal to
replace the Kyoto Protocol and will present it at the upcoming
Sixth Conference of Parties (COP6) at the UNFCCC to be held in
July 2001. It seems probable that a new U.S. proposal will demand
the greater participation of developing countries. (One of the
U.S.'s main complaints regarding the Kyoto Protocol is its lack of
accountability on the part of developing nations to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions.) If the U.S. proposal is accepted, Korea
may have to begin reducing greenhouse gas emissions around 2010,
earlier than 2018, as originally scheduled under the Kyoto
If Korea must meet the 2008 deadline, energy-intensive industries
such as steel, chemical, and electric power generation industries
will be hit hard. The Korea Energy Economics Institute estimates
that steel production would decline by a further 17.2 percent
under the U.S. proposal than under the Kyoto Protocol. Chemical
and electric power production would also probably decline by 6.1
percent and 6.9 percent, respectively. They estimate that the
nation's GDP could fall 1.3 percent, with exports dropping 1.4
percent under the U.S. proposal.
Regardless of whether the Kyoto Protocol or a U.S. type proposal
is agreed upon, both the domestic government and affected
industries should make efforts to transform the domestic
industrial structure into an energy-saving and environmentally-
friendly one in advance. For its part, the government should
revise its policies to prevent damage to the ecosystem such as
reckless development of green areas. It can also begin to put into
place legislation to tighten restrictions on greenhouse gas
emissions and promote energy-saving measures.
Domestic companies could begin by examining their CO2 emission
levels and the energy efficiency of their facilities. In addition,
they should develop more efficient and environment-friendly
products. By addressing these seemingly unavoidable issues well in
advance of any forced reduction of emissions, opportunities to
create new businesses in energy-saving fields can be realized and
The writer is a researcher of the Samsung Economic Research
Institute. - Ed.
By Kim Hyon-jin
37) NUCLEAR POWER'S NEW DAY
New York Times
May 7, 2001
MADISON, Conn. - Technologies are born, grow, thrive and decline,
much as living organisms do. That should not be surprising. Since
they derive from human knowledge, their effective application must
be learned, and they compete for social and economic territory.
Nuclear power, a product of naval propulsion research, emerged in
the United States in the 1950's. Its first use as a commercial
energy source came about because it had obvious benefits for
pollution control. A Pennsylvania utility, Duquesne Light, built
the first commercial nuclear power reactor at Shippingport, Pa.,
in 1954. The utility had planned to build a coal-fired power
plant. When the public objected to further smoke pollution around
smoky Pittsburgh, Duquesne switched to nuclear power.
Public acceptance of a new technology is essential to its growth.
Nuclear power, associated in the public's mind with nuclear
weapons, was probably commercialized prematurely, while its
complexities were still being worked out. Its environmental
benefits were not fully appreciated in the early decades because
air pollution was abating under government regulation in the
1960's and 1970's, and global warming had not yet emerged as the
ultimate environmental challenge. When conservation slowed
electricity demand after the Arab oil embargo of 1973 and 1974,
utilities canceled orders for new power plants, both nuclear and
coal. Almost all new plants built since then have been fueled with
But the population of the United States is growing, adding the
equivalent of one California every 10 years. Demand has caught up
with supply even with significant improvements in energy
efficiency and conservation, and the United States has become the
world's leading greenhouse gas emitter. These factors make a
renewal of nuclear power likely.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has begun carefully extending
licenses for existing reactors for an additional 20 years;
eventually all 104 operating United States power reactors will
probably be relicensed. Since they produce no air pollution or
greenhouse gases, that's good news. The nuclear industry is
consolidating, focusing experience and expertise. Several reactors
that have been shut down will probably be restored to operation.
Several others that were left unfinished when demand slowed will
probably be completed. Two or three new advanced light- water
reactors, designs the N.R.C. has already pre-licensed, will
probably be built at sites that already have construction permits.
One company, Exelon, is considering seeking licensing of a simpler
reactor, designed so that it cannot melt down, that uses a bed of
billiard-ball-sized "pebbles" of compacted uranium oxide and
graphite as its fuel and helium as its coolant and working fluid,
passing the fission-heated helium directly into a turbine to
generate electricity even more cheaply than burning natural gas.
If the pebble-bed modular reactor wins approval from the N.R.C.,
other utilities may decide to use this technology as well.
Americans are beginning to understand one of the unique benefits
of nuclear technology. A majority now say they approve of nuclear
power, a shift that appears to indicate awareness that nuclear
power does not produce greenhouse gases that lead to global
warming. There is less evidence of public understanding of
radiation and nuclear waste. Antinuclear activism began in the
1960's with concerns about the disposal of nuclear waste, and
disposal continues to be the nuclear industry's Number 1 public-
The disposal debate is likely to move to center stage later this
year, when the scientists and engineers evaluating Yucca Mountain,
north of Las Vegas, as a possible permanent waste repository
expect to deliver their final report.
All energy technologies produce waste. Burning fossil fuels - even
relatively clean fuel like natural gas - generates waste that
cannot be contained within the power plant, as nuclear waste is,
but must be released into the environment as air pollution and
toxic waste. In the case of coal, burning releases ash that is
mildly radioactive, because radioactive uranium and thorium are
ubiquitous in the earth's crust, including coal seams. Even
renewable technologies like wind power and solar photovoltaics
produce waste: manufacturing the materials for the multitude of
collectors necessary to gather up such diffuse sources as wind and
sunlight requires burning fossil fuels. Thus wind or solar power
systems release far more greenhouse gases across their life cycles
than does a nuclear system of equivalent output.
The great advantage of nuclear power is its ability to wrest
enormous energy from a small volume of fuel. One metric ton of
nuclear fuel produces energy equivalent to two million to three
million tons of fossil fuel. Waste volumes are comparably scaled:
fossil fuel systems generate hundreds of thousands of metric tons
of gaseous, particulate and solid wastes, but nuclear systems
produce less than 1,000 metric tons of high- and low-level waste
per plant per year. The high-level waste is intensely radioactive
at first, but its small volume means it can be and is effectively
isolated and contained. When a nuclear plant is dismantled (few
have been so far), the several hundred thousand tons of concrete,
which is mildly radioactive, is buried in the same sort of
commercial waste site used for radioactive medical and industrial
Spent nuclear fuel loses radioactivity steadily; after 500 years
it is no more radioactive than high-grade uranium ore. The risk of
radioactive waste's seeping past multiple barriers would be small
compared to health risks posed by air pollution from burning
fossil fuels, which the World Health Organization estimates causes
three million deaths a year, with 15,000 deaths annually in the
United States from coal particulates alone. Substituting small,
sequestered volumes of nuclear waste for vast, dispersed volumes
of toxic wastes from fossil fuels could provide an enormous
improvement in public health.
The other risk that nuclear power supposedly raises is nuclear
proliferation. In fact, no nation has developed nuclear weapons
using plutonium from spent power reactor fuel. It's much easier to
make weapons from plutonium bred specifically for that purpose.
Inspection and proper accounting and control of nuclear materials
are the answer to proliferation, not limits to nuclear power.
France once burned coal; that nation's electricity is now 80
percent nuclear, with five times less air pollution and with
carbon dioxide emissions 10 times lower than Germany's and 13
times lower than Denmark's. At a conference recently in Japan
(another nuclear leader, with 36 percent nuclear electricity),
French nuclear industry executive Anne Lanvergeon proposed
improving the debate about nuclear power by creating an
authoritative world database that would assess the advantages and
and economic, environmental and health impact. Measured against
other energy sources, nuclear power would emerge at the top of
such a list.
Energy needs in the United States will grow in the coming decades,
even with improved efficiency and more strenuous conservation.
Nuclear energy needs to be a major component of our energy supply
if we hope both to reduce air pollution and limit global warming.
Richard Rhodes is the author of "Nuclear Renewal" and "The Making
of the Atomic Bomb."
38) THE REAL REASON EUROPE SUPPORTS KYOTO
May 5, 2001
Last week I got my fair share of abuse on the BBC. "Isn't the
United States an awful country?" ranted a Labor MP. "With only 5
percent of the world's population, it produces 20 percent of those
terrible gases that are warming our atmosphere. How dare Bush say
he won't go along with the U.N.' s Kyoto Protocol on global
warming!" But more telling is what the MP didn't say. Kyoto would
help wreck the economic engine that drives America forward while
Europe lags behind. The persistent and significant differences
between U.S. and European gross economic production and
unemployment are not accidents. Europe's leaders know Kyoto would
If the U.S. implements Kyoto as our European friends want, it
would cost the country about 3 percent of GDP per year. And for
what? According to climate models (whose veracity is another
subject), if every Kyoto signatory lived up to the protocol, the
net amount of warming prevented in the next 50 years would be
minus 10.5 degrees C, an amount too small to measure.
Holding up America as the environmental bad boy is just as ill-
advised. Sure, the United States leads in per capita emissions of
carbon dioxide. But what does that mean? Instead, people should
focus on is how efficient it is with respect to these emissions.
If India and China produced, say, one half of U.S. emissions per
citizen (as they will in a few years), they would still emit far
more. And if their gross domestic product remains below America's,
they then suffer from the twin sins of emissions and inefficiency.
So, let's get real and see how many bangs we get for each carbon-
dioxide buck. The best way to do this is to divide U.S. greenhouse
emissions by the country's economic output, which gives emissions
per dollar of gross domestic product. For the 10 biggest emitters,
the worst in this respect is Russia, where 148 million people
produce virtually nothing. The scope of Russia's poverty is now
beginning to show up in life expectancies, which are nosediving
toward the 1900 level of 50 years for males.
For this effort, let's assign the Russians an emission-economic
rating of 100, the worst rate. On this relative scale, the U.S.
rates a 33. The best are the Japanese, at 18, not far ahead of the
U.S., and mainly because of their intensive use of nuclear power.
For purposes of comparison, South Africa rates a 69, Saudi Arabia
-- despite its high GDP from oil revenues -- a 62, and Canada 36.
Among the 10 largest emitters, in terms of economic efficiency,
America comes in third, after Japan and Germany. That's not bad,
considering America's lack of nuclear power, which in recent years
has provided only a bit more than 10 percent of its total energy.
The basic figures needed to make these calculations are easily
obtained from various government agencies, such as the Departments
of Energy and Commerce.
On average, about one-third of a nation's energy use goes to
transportation. So, everything else being equal (a condition that
rarely obtains except in arguments like this), nations that are
bigger geographically are going to emit more carbon dioxide, even
after adjusting emissions for economic efficiency. One solution is
to adjust emissions per unit GDP for the area of each country. In
this calculation, the U.S. comes in as the most efficient nation
on Earth. The worst is Britain, where everyone is crabbing about
U.S. President George W. Bush's position on Kyoto.
There are several reasons for this. One is the U.S.' use of
railroads to efficiently haul about 40 percent of manufactured
goods, compared to Europe, where trains mainly carry people. Many
of these folks ride because they can't afford gasoline -- thanks
to high taxes put in to fight global warming. Another reason is
the airplane. The U.S. is simply too big for trains to move
people, with its major points of commerce mostly scattered on our
four coasts (Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes).
But by moving people in hours instead of days, that commerce
becomes quicker and more efficient.
Admittedly, seat 13E isn't a couchette on the Orient Express, but
it gets businesspeople to Dallas and back in a day. It is a
tribute to the economies of scale that the U.S. can produce so
much, so efficiently, even as most travel is accomplished by the
jet engine, which produces more greenhouse gases per kilometer
than any other form of propulsion.
This massive transportation need will never go away. Nor will the
compact nations of Europe get bigger. As a result of size, then,
the energy (read: transportation) taxes required by the Kyoto
Protocol put America at a tremendous economic disadvantage with
regard to its competitors.
In a nutshell, that's why the European governments are so
exercised about Bush's "no" to Kyoto. They see it as an
international instrument that would destroy the economy of their
major competitor, even as they know it doesn't do a thing about
global temperature. These facts are evident. U.S. Vice President
Dick Cheney's energy task force should make them public.
Patrick J. Michaels is senior fellow in environmental studies at
the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. and author of "The Satanic
39) CHENEY'S GAUNTLET
IN OUTLINING the Bush administration's energy policy, Vice
President Dick Cheney appeared hell-bent on polarizing opinion
around the conservation-supply issue. It is an approach that is
unnecessarily confrontational and politically unwise even in the
context of Cheney's stated objective of stressing the need to
increase supplies of electricity, petroleum, coal, and natural
Cheney's skepticism about the effectiveness of conservation as a
factor in the energy equation emerged as a patronizing commentary
on those who favor it, saying that it ''may be a sign of personal
virtue, but it is not enough for a sound, comprehensive energy
policy.'' That is in itself a caricature of those who recognize
that energy problems are multi-faceted, that conventional fuels,
renewable fuels, conservation, and innovation are all essential to
improving America's energy situation.
The issue has been complicated this year by the electricity crisis
in California, which resulted from a poorly structured
deregulation program and the 15-year failure to build enough
generating capacity. The Bush administration promptly turned that
crisis into justification for drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge although the northern oil would arrive a
decade late to help California's crisis. Oil is similarly a
charged issue because America must import slightly more than half
the 19 million barrels it uses daily, from Canada, Venezuela,
Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and many other sources. President Bush has
called for greater energy independence, but his favorite potential
source, the Alaska refuge, is projected to produce about a half-
million barrels daily, less than 5 percent of imports.
On the other hand, Cheney's suggestion that America should
reconsider nuclear power in order to curtail emissions of carbon
dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas blamed for global warming,
deserves consideration. Of course nuclear power carries
environmental problems as well as benefits. But Cheney poisons
such initiatives with his contemptuous attacks on the piecemeal
approach of conservationists who advocate more fuel-efficient
automobiles, appliances, and buildings. It is not a matter of
national pride that Americans, who make up less than 5 percent of
the world population, consume 25 percent of energy.
Some may be tempted to dismiss Cheney, former head of the oil
supply giant Halliburton, as the lackey of the oil industry. But
that would be a mistake. He is smart and knowledgeable about
energy issues but may have forgotten that he would be better able
to persuade others to support a complex program if he acknowledged
the utility of alternative approaches. Instead, he appears to
relish belittling conservation on that score. That is a mistake.
This story ran on page 14 of the Boston Globe on 5/5/2001.
40) DIALOGUE: SCIENTIST TURNS THE HEAT ON GLOBAL WARMING
New Zealand Herald
Uncertainty about the extent and impacts of man-made climate
change cannot be an excuse for inaction, says leading climate
scientist Robert Watson. Dr Watson chairs the Inter-governmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), set up by the United Nations to
distil for the benefit of policymakers a consensus from the
world's climate scientists on the likely extent and impact of
global warming. He has spent much of his career working for Nasa
and is now the World Bank's chief scientist.
"Yes, there are sceptics but I would say well over 95 per cent [of
climate scientists] would basically defend the broad conclusions
of the IPCC," said Dr Watson, who is in New Zealand as a guest of
the Government. "Under all the plausible scenarios for economic
growth, population growth and technological change, what we come
up with is that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide
will increase from 368 parts per million today to maybe, if we are
lucky, as low as 540 ppm or if we are unlucky as much as 970 ppm
That would mean an increase in global mean temperature of anything
from 1.4 deg C to 5.8 deg over the course of this century. If it
is at the high end of the range it would mean as much warming this
century as has occurred altogether since the last ice age.
"Some areas will become drier, some wetter," Dr Watson said. "We
project more heatwaves, more floods, more droughts, more El Nino-
type conditions." Agricultural production would drop in the
tropics and eventually, after an initial boost, in the middle and
high latitudes as well. The challenge to water supplies would
increase. Sea level rise would threaten not only low-lying island
states, but heavily populated river deltas, for example in
Bangladesh and Egypt.
A degree of uncertainty surrounds these forecasts, Dr Watson
readily acknowledges, arising both from the climate change model
and the likely future track of greenhouse gas emissions, which in
turn is a function of economic growth, population growth and
technological change. "But why assume that the uncertainties mean
we are overstating the effects of human activities on climate
change? We may be understating them." It is a weak argument for
doing nothing, Dr Watson says, especially as there is a lot of
inertia in the climate system itself.
"Let's say, hypothetically, you could stop all carbon dioxide
emission at once. The temperature would continue to rise for many
decades and sea levels would continue to rise for centuries." The
IPCC is also looking at what can be done to mitigate climate
change and what it is likely to cost. The Kyoto Protocol set the
goal of reducing greenhouse emissions by developed countries to 5
per cent below 1990 levels over the next 10 years.
The IPCC estimates the cost of doing that would reduce those
countries' combined gross domestic product by anything from 0.2 to
2 per cent by 2010. It is not saying annual GDP growth rates would
be that much lower, but that by 2010 economic output would be up
to 0.2 to 2 per cent lower than it would otherwise have been. But
that is if countries have to rely on measures within their own
borders to meet their target. If international emissions trading
is allowed, as the Kyoto Protocol envisaged, the cost would be
Allowing credits for forestry and other land use changes which
reduce carbon would cut the costs further still, Dr Watson said.
Those costs had to be weighed against the cost of doing nothing -
lost agricultural output, the challenge to water resources and so
on. "We also looked at the technologies to reduce emissions
between now and 2020. "The conclusions of the macro-economists
were that half of the potential emission reductions could be
achieved at negative cost - they would actually save money. "The
other half would cost up to $US100 a tonne of carbon avoided. In
the US context, $100 a tonne would mean about 20c a gallon on
gasoline." The New Zealand equivalent is 13c a litre. But to
realise that technological potential would mean a major policy
The prospects of concerted international action have been dealt a
blow by Washington's rejection of the Kyoto Protocol. In part that
reflects a belief on the part of the Bush Administration that the
economic costs are too high. "Some of their economists have
advised them that it's $200 or $300 per tonne of carbon avoided,"
Dr Watson said. "Naturally I question that."
"But maybe what one could do, within the Kyoto Protocol, to make
them see there will not be major economic dislocation is to cap
the economic exposure of any country to say $30 or $40 or $50 a
tonne of carbon." Any part of a country's emission reduction
obligations which it could not meet for less than that cap would
go into an international pool, with the country paying the capped
price. "You would then look around the world for the cheapest
options ... it's another way of using a trading system."
41) THE WORLD DOESN'T GET THE SCIENCE RIGHT
May 8, 2001
By KEN ADELMAN
Friends and allies, especially in Europe, were aghast when
President Bush ordered the U.S. to withdraw from the Kyoto global
warming treaty, repeating a furor from the early Reagan
administration. Twenty years ago, Jeane Kirkpatrick, as President
Reagan's newly appointed U.N. ambassador, and I, as her deputy,
had to explain a stunning 118-1 vote against the infant formula
code, a popular measure that restricted sales of infant formula
overseas. We were the "1."
The ferocity of global (but mainly European) opposition was
greater than what Bush just endured. Or maybe it just felt that
way, since we were the ones then under attack, and Ronald Reagan
was a more polarizing figure. Nonetheless, a glance back to 1981
justifies Washington's "standing alone" at times, and should
comfort the Bush team. We took the heat and were proved right.
Both the infant formula code and the Kyoto Protocol were
ideologically driven, led from the liberal wing.
Both were conceived by foes of multinational corporations.
Both gained support by associating with lofty goals: breast-
feeding and environmental protection.
Both sought to impose international regulation, presuming that the
"world community" could pursue these lofty goals with more purity
than politically tainted national governments. Both,
unfortunately, rested on faulty, or at least unproven, science.
And both, even more regrettably, diverted top-level time and
effort from real problems--Third World infant deaths and balancing
energy needs with protection of natural resources.
The infant formula code, launched with such fanfare and causing
Americans such embarrassment, proved innocuous at best. Of the 118
countries that voted "yes'--with many more joining since 1981--
only 20 ever implemented the code. So most members of the "world
community" never bothered to turn the code into more than a
megaphone to spout anti-corporate or anti-American rhetoric. And
that was a blessing. Shortly after the code was passed, the
HIV/AIDS crisis began. In the 20 years since, between 1.1 million
and 1.7 million children contracted HIV through breast-feeding.
All these tragic cases have been in the developing world, most in
sub-Saharan Africa. Studies show that about 15% of babies born of
HIV-positive women become infected through breast-feeding. While a
pilot study by the United Nations International Children's
Emergency Fund, the UNAIDS agency and the World Health
Organization reveals that half of HIV-positive women would choose
infant formula for their babies, the code left them with few
Just as the science then was dubious in encouraging women to
breast-feed when their health or other factors meant formula was
better for their babies, so the science on the Kyoto Protocol is
questionable. Top scientists, including those at the National
Academy of Sciences, doubt whether the evidence of global warming
is conclusive enough to justify action today, especially when it
clearly would bring economic harm. While the United States leads
the world in consuming energy, for the past 30 years we've
discouraged the creation of new energy sources. Having repressed
memories of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries oil
shocks of the 1970s, we've been content to depend on foreign
countries for more than half our oil consumption.
At best, we've had a de facto energy policy that discourages
exploration of domestic oil sites or building new electric power
generating plants. That policy has come home to roost with drastic
results in California. Instead of using our ingenuity to develop
new energy sources, we've succumbed to the same international
regulators who brought the world the infant formula code 20 years
ago. Since then, the U.S. has become the world's sole superpower.
With this title goes responsibility to help global stability,
which is impossible without energy security.
No country with a $10-trillion economy like ours can keep that
economy expanding without an expansive energy policy. Fortunately,
the Bush administration is forging a badly needed national energy
policy based on developing more domestic energy, not telling
Americans to use less or allowing the "world community" to
regulate our economy.
Ken Adelman Is Co-host of Tech Centralstation.com, a Policy Web
Site. he Was Director of Arms Control and Deputy U.s.
Representative to the United Nations During the Reagan
42) BUSH COULD KILL KYOTO TREATY
May 8, 2001
Japan must work to bring the U.S. back into the fold
By TAKAMITSU SAWA
U.S. President George W. Bush announced in late March that his
administration did not support the Kyoto Protocol, an
international agreement that requires industrialized countries to
cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as a
way to prevent global warming. That was not altogether unexpected,
considering that the Republican Party has traditionally believed
that the market is the final judge and has therefore taken a
somewhat detached attitude toward environmental issues. In other
words, the Republicans are more concerned about economic growth
than about environmental protection.
The Bush announcement brings to mind a press conference given by
his predecessor, President Bill Clinton, in November 1997, at
which he proposed a zero-percent target for CO2 emissions in 2010.
Clinton was speaking ahead of the Kyoto meeting, which is
officially known as the Third Conference of Parties to the U.N.
Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP3. At that time, the
European Union was calling for a 15-percent uniform cut. Growth-
conscious Japanese industries threw their weight behind the U.S.
proposal, while environmental groups expressed disappointment and
Many people here and abroad expected then that the United States
would set the pace for the Kyoto meeting. As it turned out, the
Kyoto Protocol committed the industrialized countries to reducing
their total greenhouse-gas emissions by an average of at least 5
percent from 1990 levels by 2010. It also required Japan, the U.S.
and Europe to cut their emissions by 6 percent, 7 percent and 8
percent respectively. With hindsight, the European plan for a 15-
percent cut set the stage for diplomatic horse-trading among
Japan, the U.S. and the EU. With the U.S. rejecting any
reductions, a numerical compromise was necessary to hammer out a
three-way agreement along these lines.
At the last climate-change conference (COP6), held in the Hague in
November 2000, Jan Pronk, the environment minister of the
Netherlands and the chair of the meeting, produced a personal
proposal in an effort to forge a consensus. His proposal, which
was clearly tilted toward the U.S., was designed to save the Kyoto
treaty. At the time, a Bush victory in the U.S. presidential race
was considered almost certain, so there was a strong possibility
that a consensus at the Hague meeting favoring the EU position
would be rejected by the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress.
Pronk's proposal was not immediately acceptable to the U.S., still
less to the EU, since each side's reputation was at stake both
domestically and internationally. The meeting decided to hold
another session -- COP 6.5 -- half a year later, in Bonn, from
July 16-27, 2001. Now, however, the U.S. rejection of the Kyoto
Protocol is casting a shadow over the Bonn meeting.
Many people in the EU, as well as in environmental nongovernment
organizations, say the protocol should be put into effect even
without U.S. participation. It must be remembered, however, that
U.S. withdrawal from that agreement could take the teeth out of
it, so to speak. Before I explain why, let me list the key points
of this milestone treaty.
1. Average emissions of heat-trapping gases (carbon dioxide,
methane, dinitrogen oxide, substitute CFCs and sulfur hexafloride)
in the industrialized countries and emerging market economies
(Annex 1 countries) in the five years from 2008 to 2012 will be
reduced by at least 5 percent from 1990 levels.
2. Reduction targets will be "differentiated" on a country-by-
3. Developing countries (non-Annex 1 countries) will not have to
reduce emissions for the time being.
4. "Kyoto mechanisms" -- emission trading, joint implementation
and a clean development mechanism -- will be established to help
individual countries reduce emissions at the lowest possible cost.
5. Carbon dioxide absorbed by forests will be counted as
From 1990 to 1998, total CO2 emissions in the Annex 1 countries
dropped 3.2 percent. However, emissions in the U.S. increased 12
percent while those in other countries decreased 11 percent on
average. Total CO2 output in the OECD's European member states
remained almost unchanged; it fell 34 percent in the former Soviet
Union and East European countries; and combined output in Japan,
Canada, Australia and New Zealand expanded 11 percent. In 1998,
the U.S. accounted for 42 percent of all carbon dioxide emitted by
Annex 1 countries.
If emissions in the U.S. and non-European Annex 1 countries keep
rising as they did and if emissions in Europe stabilize at their
1998 level, then total emissions in the Annex 1 countries in 2010
will have increased 8 percent.
However, if the U.S. is excluded, total emissions will have
decreased 5 percent or more. Thus, the Kyoto Protocol will impose
virtually no extra restrictions if the U.S. withdraws. In other
words, the U.S. boycott will make the protocol's overall reduction
requirement for the industrialized countries no more than that
required by "business as usual," i.e., attainable without any
If country-by-country differentiation is left intact, Japan,
Canada, Australia and New Zealand will have to purchase emission
rights from Russia, Ukraine and Eastern European countries in
order to meet their targets. These former Soviet-bloc countries
will have chunks of their emission quotas left unused -- so-called
hot air -- as long as their economies continue to stagnate. Since
these countries are subject to lenient requirements, they can
supply a huge amount of emission rights to the market at little or
no cost. So the market price will drop to an extremely low level.
This will have undesirable effects, however. First, very low
prices for emission rights will reduce incentives for efforts by
industrialized countries to reduce their emissions. Second, it
will become unnecessary to use the clean-development mechanism,
which allows an industrialized country investing in reductions in
a developing country to count those reductions as its own. As a
result, this support mechanism for limiting emissions in
developing countries will not function as it should.
Thus, if the Kyoto Protocol takes effect without U.S.
participation, not only will efforts to prevent global warming be
set back, but the protocol itself could become ineffective. In
order to avoid its "emasculation," the overall reduction target of
at least 5 percent for industrialized countries will have to be
elevated. Additionally, severe restrictions will have to be
imposed on the use of the Kyoto mechanisms. In other words, U.S.
withdrawal will make drastic changes in the protocol unavoidable.
As an economist, I rate the Kyoto Protocol highly, since it is
economically rational. A U.S. pullout, however, could lead to its
collapse. With the U.S. and the EU facing off, the Japanese
government has a very large role to play as a "third force" in
bringing the U.S. government back into the fold.
Takamitsu Sawa, professor of economics at Kyoto University, is
also the director of the university's Economic Research Institute.
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
New York, NY
Tel: + 1 (212) 673-1818
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