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October 1-15 2003

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Elephants Losing the Battle
for Living Space
Asia can be a very crowded place, especially if you are an elephant. In India alone, home to more than half the continent's estimated 35,000 pachyderms, about 200 wild elephants die every year in conflict
with people or killed for ivory. "Elephants are shot, snared, electrocuted, run into by trains, poisoned in retaliation and everywhere deprived of habitat,"
full story


Bush Administration Targets Greenpeace
In a move unprecedented in its history, the US government has indicted an entire organization - Greenpeace, for the peaceful protest activities of its supporters. Two Greenpeace activists boarded the
Jade, a ship carrying wood illegally exported from the Brazilian Amazon. But instead of intercepting the contraband and prosecuting the smugglers, the US government is going after Greenpeace. Making this the first time in history that the US government has prosecuted an entire organization for free speech related activities, and they are trying to do it without a jury trial.  full story


Lawsuit Targets Forest Service's
Wildfire Policy
An environmental group filed a lawsuit yesterday that it hopes will force the U.S. Forest Service to stop routinely fighting wildfires. "The thesis of our case is that fighting fires is what has gotten us into the trouble
we're in," said Andy Stahl, executive director of the group. "It's time to end the war against fire and learn to live with fire and manage it, rather than fight it."  full story


Australia Rejects Power Station Due to Greenhouse Gas Concerns
WWF today congratulated the premier of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), Bob Carr, on the decision to reject permission for building the Redbank 2 coal power station, due to concerns about its
greenhouse gas pollution. This is the first time that a coal power plant has been rejected in Australia on greenhouse emission grounds.  full story


UC Scientists Discover Plant Gene That Promotes Production Of Ozone-destroyers
The discovery of the gene, detailed in the October 14 issue of the journal Current Biology, is important because it now provides scientists with a genetic tool with which to probe how and why plants produce methyl
halides. The identification of the gene should also help researchers determine the extent to which plants emit methyl halides into the atmosphere and why certain plants increase their methyl halide emissions in high salt environments.
full story


Reducing Hunger Without Going Thirsty
Tomorrow is World Food Day. Tonight 800 million people, nearly one person in every seven, will go to bed hungry. The world will definitely need to produce more food to feed an expected 2 billion additional
people by 2050. But we need to be careful that in producing more food, we are not left thirsty.
full story


Democrats Decry EPA Ads on Bill
House Democrats charged yesterday that the Environmental Protection Agency misused public funds to promote the Bush administration's premier clean air legislation in Spanish-language media and may
have violated federal anti-lobbying laws.  full story


US May Expand Access
to Endangered Species
The Bush administration is proposing far-reaching changes to conservation policies that would allow hunters, circuses and the pet industry to kill, capture and import animals on the brink of extinction in other countries.
Conservationists think it's a bad idea. "It's a very dangerous precedent to decide that wildlife exploitation is in the best interest of wildlife," said Adam Roberts, a senior research associate at the nonprofit Animal Welfare Institute, an advocacy group for endangered species.  full story


World's Seagrasses 'in Peril'
Many marine creatures, from seahorses to turtles, are at risk from the rapid destruction of the Earth's seagrasses, according to the United Nations. It has released the first map of their global distribution, and says
15% of them have gone in the last 10 years. Seagrasses are flowering plants - not seaweed - that flourish in some of the shallow waters that line our coasts. They provide an important habitat for a range of other sea life and benefit people by helping to combat erosion.  full story


US Firms 'Tried to Lie' over
GM Crops, Says EU
American biotech companies tried to lie to Europe in an attempt to force genetically modified crops upon them, Margot Wallström, the European environment commissioner, said yesterday. Far
from developing GM crops to solve the problem of starvation in the world, as they claimed, the biotech companies did so to "solve starvation amongst their shareholders", said the European Union's leading green politician.  full story


Details Emerge on Post-9/11 Clash Between White House and EPA
Tensions between the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality over informing the public about air safety after the collapse of the World Trade Center may well
have been greater than revealed in a report issued by the E.P.A.'s inspector general in August, according to newly released documents.  full story


Contamination Fears to Restrict
GM Crop Trials
Stringent new conditions are to be imposed on any future genetically modified crop trials in Britain as research shows that GM pollen can spread to crops 16 miles away, eight times further than previously thought.
A study also found that after growing GM oilseed rape, it could take a farmer up to 16 years to grow a conventional rape crop that would comply with the maximum 1 per cent GM contamination threshold.  full story


Air Pollution Leads to
1.5 Million Asian Deaths a Year
Air pollution in urban areas contributes to the deaths of 1.5 million people in Asia every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday. "In Asia, with half of the world's city dwellers, more than
1.5 million people die every year from diseases related to air pollution," the WHO Western Pacific office said in a statement from its Manila headquarters. "About half a million deaths each year can be attributed to particulate matter and sulphur dioxide in outdoor air," the WHO said.
full story


South Africa Facing Drought Disaster
South Africa may be heading for a prolonged drought, which researchers warn could be among the most severe in decades. The drought in Limpopo province is worsening, with many dams nearly
half full and water levels in some having fallen to as low as two percent. "Large numbers of animals are also dying and farmers are having to sell their livestock," the CSIR warned.  full story


Navy Agrees to Limit Use of Sonar
The Navy has agreed to limit its peacetime use of a new sonar system designed to detect enemy submarines but which may also harm marine mammals and fish, an environmentalist group said. The
Natural Resources Defense Council, which sued the military on the issue, and the Navy reached a settlement last week in which the Navy agreed to use the new system only in specific areas along the eastern seaboard of Asia, according to documents provided by the environmental group.
full story


In Oil we Trust? Russian Islanders
have Mixed Feelings
With its rich oil and gas reserves, Sakhalin has attracted billions of dollars in foreign investment. But many environmentalists and locals worry about the ecological damage the development could bring. At
Sakhalin Environment Watch, a local environmental organization, Natalia Barannikova says the environmental costs could outweigh the economic benefits.  full story


Guardians of the Monk Seals
Fewer fish is bad news for fishermen. It's also bad news for the Mediterranean monk seal. These shy animals once lived in colonies along the coasts of the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic
Ocean from Portugal to Senegal. But today they are one of the rarest mammals in the world. Only 500 remain, scattered between Turkey, Greece, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, and the Madeira Islands.  full story


Alaska Wildlife Haven
Pits Governor vs. Rest
If sea mammals, birds of prey and giant bears went to a shared heaven, it might look like Perenosa Bay. This place is a storm-sheltered, plankton-rich, fish-packed playpen for whales, harbor seals, sea lions and sea
otters. On shore, scores of bald eagles perch like Christmas ornaments in forests of 400-year-old Sitka spruce.  full story


All the President's Votes?
A Quiet Revolution is Taking Place in US Politics. By the Time It's Over, the Integrity of Elections Will be in the Unchallenged, Unscrutinized Control of a Few Large - and Pro-Republican - Corporations. Andrew Gumbel
wonders if democracy in America can survive. "Corporate America is very close to running this country. The only thing that is stopping them from taking total control are the pesky voters. That's why there's such a drive to control the vote. What we're seeing is the corporatization of the last shred of democracy."  full story


Artificial Beaks Help Spread
Conservation Message
A WWF-India initiative is helping to stop hunting of endangered hornbill species in Pakke Tiger Reserve, in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in the north-east corner of India, near Bhutan. Increasing demand for
beaks and feathers coupled with the erosion of traditional taboos on hunting hornbills during their breeding season have exacerbated other threats to the birds such as degradation of their natural habitat.  full story


Oil Spill Compensation For Pakistan
Pakistan has asked the Greek government to assist it compensation claim for the oil spill which was caused by a Greek tanker. The Greek Tasman Spirit carried 67’500 tons of crude oil when it ran aground
offshore Pakistan. The incident was Pakistan’s biggest oil spill. 28’000 tons of crude leaked to the sea and destroyed over 16 kilometer of beaches and a rich marine life.  full story


EU Aims to Stem Illegal Rainforest
Timber Trade
EU countries plan to deal a blow to a billion dollar trade in illegal logging in endangered rainforests whose profits often fuel organized crime and conflict in some of the world's poorest countries. A key part of the
EU's battle against illegal logging is to stop the trade's laundered profits being diverted into organized crime.  full story


Timber-Poaching Racket Exposed in Yala
A log poaching operation was uncovered in Bannang Sata district of Yala province when a vehicle was seen towing illegal logs from a forest reserve. Local officials, police officers and military volunteers led by deputy
governor Panu Uthairat hurried to Baan Lukae Sakae in Bannang Sata on Saturday after the report. The team found that hundreds of rai of forest had been felled at least a year earlier, with many trees still lying on the ground.  full story


GM Protesters to March over Crops
Campaigners against genetically-modified crops were preparing for a protest march in central London today ahead of the publication of controversial research which could decide the issue. Test results from
three-year farm-scale trials of GM crops are due to be revealed in a series of papers printed in an independent scientific journal on Thursday. The findings are likely to have a huge influence on the Government’s final decision on whether to approve the commercial production of GM crops in the UK.  full story


Naturalists Set up 'Air Traffic Control' Network to Save Birds
Naturalists are to set up a global "air traffic control" network to protect the nesting and feeding sites of tens of millions of endangered migratory birds. Ornithologists are alarmed by fresh evidence that dozens of geese,
wader and duck species now setting off on their annual migration south are facing extinction or, at best, a steep decline in numbers.  full story


Federal suit Targets Greenpeace
for Members' Actions
government criminally prosecutes an entire organization for the free speech activities of its supporters
April 2002, two Greenpeace activists clambered from an inflatable rubber speedboat onto a cargo ship. They were detained before they could unfurl a banner, spent the weekend in custody and two months later
were sentenced to time served for boarding the ship without permission. It was a routine act of civil disobedience until, 15 months after the incident, federal prosecutors in Miami indicted Greenpeace itself for authorizing the boarding. The group says the indictment represents a turning point in the history of American dissent.
full story


Scientists Study Lake Michigan
for New class of Pollutants
Scientists are testing water from Lake Michigan in hope of determining how a new class of chemical pollutants managed to spread through the environment and how dangerous the toxins are. The emerging
contaminants are used in flame retardants, stain-repellent coatings for textiles and countless household products originally presumed safe.
full story


Study: Commercial Whaling Caused Massive Ecosystem Decline
A new scientific study published on September 22 says that commercial whaling by Japanese and Russian fleets over a half a century ago could be the cause of a mysterious, massive decline of the ecosystem
surrounding Alaska's Aleutian Islands.  full story


Huge Animal Fur Haul in Tibet
Custom officials and police have smashed the largest case of illegal fur smuggling in Tibet in more than half a century, the Chinese state news agency says. More than 1,200 skins of several endangered species,
including tigers and leopards, were captured in the mountainous Ngamring county.  full story


Air pollution Tied to Higher
Stroke Admission Rates
As the level of various air pollutants rises, so do admission rates for intracerebral hemorrhage and ischemic stroke, according to a report published in the October 10th rapid access issue of Stroke: Journal of the
American Heart Association. "This study provides new evidence that higher levels of ambient pollutants increase the risk of hospital admissions for stroke, especially on warm days."  full story


Comment: Swazi Elephants
Born Free, Sold Out
They once lived in beautiful savannas and fields of umbrella-shaped trees, roaming up to 30 miles a day, swimming in watering holes, playing in mud pits, and foraging for food. But in August, 11 elephants
were ripped from their home in Swaziland and carted halfway around the world. The elephants, all between the ages of 10 and 12, were among the babies who watched as their families were slaughtered during a "cull" at Kruger National Park in South Africa in 1994.  full story


Bush Guts Clean Air Rules for Campaign Contributors, Gives False Info to Congress
The Bush administration has gone to great lengths, even so far as giving false information to Congress, to gut a clean air regulation opposed by electric utilities – an industry that funneled $4.8 million into Bush’s 2000
campaign, according to a Public Citizen report released today.  full story


South Africa is Facing an Epic Drought
South Africa could face its worst drought since 1992 if it doesn't rain within the next two months. This was the view of several weather experts when asked about the drought which has had South Africa in a stanglehold
since last year. In the Waterpoort district near the Soutpansberg in Limpopo, stick-thin cattle and game can be seen everywhere because there's not enough fodder and grazing.  full story


Acid Rain Causes Annual Economic Loss of 110 Billion Yuan in China
Sulfur dioxide-caused acid rain has cost China an annual economic loss of over 110 billion yuan (13.3 billion US dollars), and atmospheric pollution results in an annual loss equivalent to two or three percent of
China's GDP, according to joint research by the Chinese Institute of Environmental Science and the prestigious Qinghua University.  full story


Toronto Gets C- in Pollution Report Card
The Toronto Environmental Alliance says the city will have to come up with more cash for clean air initiatives to improve its grade of C-. The mark was based on the city's efforts in the past year, including $30 million
in increased funding for the Toronto Transit Commission, bylaws to reduce pesticide use and a ban on construction of drive-through windows at fast-food outlets and banks.  full story


GM Crops Could Create Hybrids
In the first nationwide survey of its type, the team at Reading University looked at commercially farmed oil seed rape crops (Brassica napus) and Bargeman's cabbage (Brassica rapa), also known as wild turnip, which
grows along riversides and as a weed in arable fields. They predict that the rape would cross fertilise, producing 32,000 hybrids annually in the riverside plants and a further 17,000 in field weed populations.  full story


B.C.-California Zero-Emission
Highway Vision
Industry Minister Allan Rock and newly elected California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger share visions of cruising a West Coast hydrogen highway. Rock said yesterday that he is interested in proposals for a
Canada-U.S. highway equipped with hydrogen filling stations to fuel a coming fleet of zero-emissions vehicles.  full story


Greenpeace Rejects Southern
Bluefin Tuna Deal
The Greenpeace environmental group has strongly criticised a new agreement on Southern Bluefin Tuna, warning the deal could lead to the collapse of the fishery. The decision sees New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia,
Korea, Taiwan, and Australia limited to 14,030 tonnes, with Australia keeping its individual limit of more than 5,000 tonnes.  full story


EPA Searches Lake for New Pollutants
In its final task of 2003, the Lake Guardian pulled away from Navy Pier Thursday so scientists aboard could take one more sample of lake water in their hunt for a new class of chemical pollutants. Known as
"emerging contaminants," the toxins appear to be steadily--and stealthily--spreading through the environment and winding their way up the food chain, all the way to human breast milk and family dinner tables.  full story


GAO Report Faults
Endangered Species Program
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service program for designating critical habitat for endangered species is in disarray because of tangled litigation that is devouring the agency's funding, the General Accounting
Office reports. As a consequence, Fish and Wildlife priorities, such as listing new endangered species, are being delayed, says the GAO, Congress' investigative arm.  full story


WWF Condemns Invasion of
Iguaçu National Park
WWF condemns the violent invasion of Brazil's Iguaçu National Park and the unlawful attempt to reopen a road crossing the area. A group of 300 people have invaded the park with bulldozers, breaking down
fences and destroying the local post of IBAMA, the Brazilian Environmental Agency, as they tried to reopen the 18km 'Estrada do Colono' (Colonists’ Road), closed in 2001 because of its threat to the biological integrity of the park.  full story


Fish and Wildlife Service Relaxes Rules Aimed at Protecting Cormorants
The Fish and Wildlife Service issued a rule Wednesday allowing state wildlife agencies in 24 states, mostly in the Midwest and South, to control cormorant populations without first getting a federal permit, as is
required now. Population control measures could include killing the birds or taking steps to prevent their eggs from hatching, said Nicholas Throckmorton, a spokesman for the federal agency.  full story


Aboriginals Suggest Plan to Turn Nuclear Site into Tourist Attraction
The Aboriginal owners of a site used by the British for nuclear testing pitched a plan to the Federal Government Thursday to turn the derelict piece of land into a tourist attraction. The Maralinga Tjarutja
elders said they would return to the desolate country in South Australia state's outback only if the Australian and British governments provided seven million Australian dollars ($US4.8 million) in infrastructure, including a caravan park.  full story


Study: Navy Use of Sonar
Might be Killing Whales
Navy sonar might be giving whales a never-before-seen version of the illness known as "the bends," leading them to be stranded and to die, according to a new study in today's edition of the scientific journal Nature.
The findings could strengthen the hand of environmental groups trying to force the world's navies to limit or stop their use of sonar during sea exercises. The U.S. Navy and the Natural Resources Defense Council this week are negotiating such limits in an effort to settle a council lawsuit.  full story


German Chancellor Must Urge Russian President to Ratify Kyoto Protocol
The German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Yekaterinenburg, Russia on 8–9 October. The Kyoto Protocol is on the agenda for this regular bilateral meeting. WWF urges
the German Chancellor to use this meeting to secure a concrete timetable for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol within the year.  full story


U.S. Official Questions Ability of E.U. to Implement Climate Change Targets
A senior U.S. official said Wednesday he was less than optimistic the European Union and others that signed on to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change could meet their targets for reducing greenhouse-gas
emissions. The United States, which is the world's largest polluter, rejected the 1997 accord, arguing it was unworkable, but decided to implement its own voluntary carbon dioxide emissions cuts.
full story


Nebraska Town Residents are Warned not to Touch Tap Water Due to Solvents
Residents of a rural neighborhood have been showering in churches and drinking bottled water after tests showed their wells were contaminated with industrial solvents known to cause cancer, liver, and
kidney damage. The contamination is so severe that health officials have advised residents in the 24 affected homes against coming into any contact with the water and are considering applying for federal Superfund designation.
full story


Hino to Launch Eco-Friendly Truck
Hino Motors Ltd. said Wednesday it will debut an environmentally friendly heavy-duty truck on the domestic market on Nov. 4. The soot emissions of the remodeled Profia, featuring a load capacity of about
14.1 tons, are more than 85 percent lower than the 2003 emissions standard set by the government.  full story


China Orders Stepped-Up Emissions Controls at Coal-Fired Power Plants
China has ordered coal-fired power plants in Beijing and other main cities to install emissions controls to cut down on the release of harmful sulfur dioxide, the official China Daily newspaper reported Thursday. New
requirements released this week by the State Environmental Protection Administration also apply to plants in Shanghai, China's business hub and largest city, and 21 other metropolises, the paper said.  full story


Sen. Reid Pitches Renewable Energy at Western Summit in Reno
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., urged representatives from 12 western states at a summit on renewable energy Wednesday to develop a unified approach to energy policies. "In Nevada, we've seen what can be
accomplished in energy policy through collaboration," Reid said at the summit in Reno.
full story


Rich Tourist Trophy Hunters are Wiping out African Lion Population
Concern is rapidly growing that lion populations across Africa are now in free fall as a result of spreading human development, habitat destruction and hunting, both official and unofficial. Latest estimates
suggest there may now be no more than 23,000 lions left across the continent, from a population that might have been 10 times greater only 20 years ago.  full story


The Rain Forest Stamp Of Approval
Kraft Foods Inc., the largest U.S. food and beverage company, said Tuesday it will sell coffee from farms in Latin America that are certified by a conservation group as socially and environmentally responsible. In the
first year of the program, Kraft will buy 5 million pounds of coffee beans from farms in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Central America that are approved by the Rainforest Alliance, said Kraft spokeswoman Patricia Riso.  full story


Power to the People
In the 1970s, demographers made apocalyptic predictions of rapid population growth. Now they think numbers will actually fall within 50 years. On average, the women of Bangladesh have a little more than
three children today, down from the six born to their mothers. Their daughters may have fewer than two.  full story


'Safe' Ozone Levels Can Worsen Asthma
Gent and her colleagues studied 271 children under the age of 12 with active asthma, measuring their response to two air pollutants, ozone and very small particulate matter. A one-hour exposure to air containing
50 parts per billion caused a significant increase in wheezing and chest tightness in those children, and increased their use of symptom-relieving drugs..  full story


Greenpeace Defies Secrecy Order
Greenpeace today defied an order from the French Ministry of Industry to treat all information regarding nuclear materials in France and their transport as state secrets. As a consequence, Greenpeace France and its staff may
be facing jail and fines for informing the public about dangerous plutonium shipments.  full story


Pivotal Supreme Court Case To
Determine Clean Air Protections
Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a Clean Air Act case that has far-reaching implications for the power of the federal government to lower harmful air pollution from industrial sources.
Alaska v. EPA, Alaska challenges the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) power to make large new air pollution sources install the best available pollution control technology..
full story


Rain Forest Plan Blends
Drug Research, Conservation
The centerpiece of the program developed by the professors at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and some 40 Panamanian scientists and students, calls for the developed world to redirect a significant portion
of the U.S. $23 billion to $47 billion it spends each year on drug research and development to developing countries where rain forests grow.
full story


National Monuments Upheld
by Supreme Court
The US Supreme Court today turned down a request by a county government and extreme right wing groups asking it to strip protection from seven national monuments. The high court let stand two seperate
appeals court rulings finding the creation of the monuments by the Clinton administration was a legal use of the Antiquities Act.  full story


Japanese Police Arrest Eco-Activists
Filming Dolphin Roundup
Three members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have been arrested while using video and still cameras to document a dolphin roundup in Taiji, Japan. The three eco-activists are reportedly being
held by Japanese police. Brooke MacDonald (Canadian), Morgan Whorwood (British), and Nicholas Hensey (American) recently traveled to Japan to document the dolphin round-up and slaughter by local fisherman near Taiji.  full story


Congress Debates Liability of Gas Additive that Helps Clean Air but Fouls Water
A gasoline additive once lauded for cleaning up the air is being phased out because it's also contaminating drinking water. Now its producers want Congress to protect them against what could be billions of
dollars in cleanup costs.  full story


World's First Integrated 'Bio-Refinery'
DuPont and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) today announced a joint research agreement leading toward the development of the world's first integrated "bio-refinery"
that uses corn or other renewable resources – rather than traditional petrochemicals – to produce a host of valuable fuels and value-added chemicals.  full story


A Gift for the Earth?
A Politician breaking a promise is nothing new. But when a broken promise could be putting the world in danger it's a big deal. Despite promises to sign up to tackle global warming, Russian president Putin
seems to be playing roulette with the climate. On Putin's 51th birthday we are reminding him that he is holding our future in his hands.  full story


Keeping Tabs on Oil Pollution
The UAE is considering a routine satellite surveillance for oil pollution in regional waters. Scientists taking part in an international conference in Al Ain said oil spills are considered a serious threat to the marine
environment along the UAE coast, damaging fishing grounds, water desalination plants and natural habitats.  full story


Law On Pesticides Reinterpreted
The Bush administration has adopted a new policy that aims to cut off farmers' ability to sue the makers of insect- and weed-killers when their products don't perform as promised. The new position is a sharp reversal
in federal policy affecting hundreds of thousands of farmers or anyone else who might seek damages on claims that a pesticide didn't work as its label indicated.  full story


Budget Crunch Has Recycling
Efforts In Danger
It's automatic for many people: Toss the empty glass bottle in a recycling bin and not the trash can. But public interest in recycling appears to be waning, as there's less state money to pay for educational and
advertising programs that helped grow the recycling movement that began in the early 1990s.  full story


New Hampshire Suing 22 Oil Companies over Gasoline Additive MTBE
The state sued 22 major oil companies Monday because of the gasoline additive MTBE, which has been found to pollute water, Gov. Craig Benson said. The lawsuit, filed in Merrimack County Superior Court,
claims that the oil companies have added increasing amounts of the additive to gasoline, even though they knew years ago it would contaminate water supplies.  full story


China Adds Wind to its Energy Mix
Nestled in a blasted valley below the Tianshan mountains of China’s westernmost Xinjiang region are 172 stark white windmills that may hold the key to the country’s quest for clean energy to power its booming
economy. Wind power — inexhaustible and widely distributed — might eventually help wean China off smog-spewing coal and crude oil from the volatile Middle East, officials say.  full story


Greens' Strategy: Link Bush, Leavitt
Environmental groups have had few, if any, good things to say about Gov. Mike Leavitt being chosen to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But Leavitt's nomination has been a boon for green groups in
one important way: It has infused new energy into their cause and raised the profile of environmental politics just as the 2004 elections are approaching.  full story


New PAN Park Certified
A beautiful mountainous wilderness area in the heart of Bulgaria, the 71,669ha Central Balkan National Park was established to conserve the unique nature of the Central Stara Planina Mountains, as well as to
preserve local culture and customs. The park has demonstrated its commitment to balancing wilderness management and sustainable tourism..  full story


EU Falling Short of Renewable Energy Targets, Warns New Study
A new study by the WWF confirms fears that the EU Member States might not meet their targets for renewable energy, according to which 22 per cent of the EU's total electricity should come from renewable sources by
2010. The EU seems unlikely to achieve more than a 17 per cent share.  full story


Cyanide Fishing Technique
Takes Stunning Toll on Reefs
They say Philippines fish are the best and will pay up to $330 to pick a live grouper from a tank and have it killed and cooked to order. The Filipino fisherman might receive $33 of this, five to 10 times the price he would
get for a dead fish. But the environmental toll is horrendous. Lingering cyanide in the water kills the coral and the algae on which the fish feed.
full story


New Technique to Cleanup DDT
A controversial technique to clean up New Zealand's most contaminated site, has been given approval. Resource consent commissioners have approved the use of a new method to clean up the soil - the first
time it has been used in the world.  full story


Blair 'Knew Iraq Had No WMD'
Tony Blair privately conceded two weeks before the Iraq war that Saddam Hussein did not have any usable weapons of mass destruction, Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary, reveals today.
John Scarlett, chairman of the joint intelligence committee (JIC), also "assented" that Saddam had no such weapons, says Cook. His revelations, taken from a diary that he kept as a senior minister during the months leading up to war, are published today in The Sunday Times. They shatter the case for war put forward by the government that Iraq presented "a real and present danger" to Britain.  full story


States Join for Suit to Protect Curbs
on Greenhouse Gases
California will join as many as nine other states in suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency to make sure the agency cannot interfere with efforts to control greenhouse gases, Gov. Gray Davis
said. Friday's announcement came the week after Davis and his Democratic counterparts from Washington and Oregon laid out a plan to combat global warming, and after the EPA in August said it lacks authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.  full story


Toxic Waste Dump Site Inspected
Deputy Environment Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi attended a report back meeting in East London, regarding a toxic waste dump discovered in Gonubie. In a statement, department spokeswoman Zodumo Mbuli said
the toxic waste was discovered about two weeks ago. Mbuli said the meeting took place at Carnegie Hall and was attended by senior officials from the Department of Health, the national and provincial Departments of Environmental Affairs, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, the Buffalo City Municipality and members of the provincial legislature.  full story


Dilemma of the Ozone Hole
and Climate Change
Scientists hope by 2005 to launch alternatives to two chemicals used as replacements for ozone-depleting chlorofluoro-carbon (CFC) gases but which themselves contribute to climate change. Hydrofluorocarbon
(HFC) and perfluoro-carbon (PFC) might not hurt the atmosphere’s ozone layer, but they contribute to global warming. A group of 120 scientists is studying this dilemma and hopes to find substitutes within the next two years.  full story


'Bio-Slime,' the Latest Theory
on Pollution, Oozes Intrigue
After spending four years and $25 million, researchers still can't explain how waters off Huntington Beach became so contaminated in 1999 that miles of shoreline had to be closed during the height of the
summer tourist season. Today, several theories intrigue water-quality researchers about the mysterious bacteria spikes, which have subsided but haven't completely vanished. One untested theory has a name more suited to a low-budget horror flick: "bio-slime."  full story


Ten-Day Heatwave May Have
Led to 2,000 Deaths
More than 2,000 people may have died because of the August heatwave in which temperatures stayed over 30C (86F) for ten consecutive days. The death toll in England and Wales between 4 and 13 August reached
15,187, which is 2,045 more than the average for the previous five years, the Office for National Statistics said.  full story


Fishing Method Eyed in Mammals' Deaths
A controversial fishing method in which a giant net is strung between two boats may be responsible for an unusual number of dead whales off Maine's coast in recent weeks, including two animals that appear to
have been lanced by humans, say critics of the technique. State and federal officials say they have no suspects in the deaths of at least four and as many as seven minke whales since Sept. 13, including one that had a square patch cut out of its abdomen and another that appeared to have some type of puncture wound.  full story


Report Finds Strengths, Weaknesses in U.S. Endangered Species Program
Congressional investigators generally approve of the way the Fish and Wildlife Service is putting science into its endangered species program, but say improvement is needed in decisions to protect habitats needed
for species to recover. A report Monday from the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, put new pressure on Fish and Wildlife to develop guidelines for when to require critical habitats, mainly to reduce the agency's exposure to lawsuits from environmental groups.  full story


More Persistent Ozone Hole Raises Concern About Harmful UV Rays
The ozone hole over the South Pole, already as large as it has ever been, is also lasting longer this year, heightening concern about harmful UV radiation reaching the Earth, the United Nations' weather organization
said Friday. Compounding matters, the thinnest area is the largest ever measured, roughly two-thirds of the hole's total size, the World Meteorological Organization said.  full story


Climate conference Split over Kyoto
Protocol; Needs Russian Ratification
Deep divisions between advocates and opponents of the Kyoto Protocol prevented an international climate conference from reaching consensus Friday on the pact to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, whose
existence hinges entirely on Russia's ratification.
full story


States to Sue EPA over Refusal
to Restrict Tailpipe Greenhouse Gases
Gov. Gray Davis, escalating the state's war with the Bush administration over the environment, announced a lawsuit Friday challenging the federal government's refusal to regulate tailpipe emissions
of greenhouse gases. California and other states plan to argue that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was wrong when it declared in August that it lacks authority to limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases implicated in global warming, state officials said.  full story


Brazil GM Crop Plan Challenged
One of Brazil's most senior lawyers has appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn a government decision which allows farmers to grow genetically modified crops. Last week, a government decree
permitted the planting of genetically modified soy beans for one year in the south of the country.
full story


Eco-Spirit Launches
One Earth One People Campaign
The international environmental organization, Eco-Spirit, announced today the launching of its ONE EARTH ONE PEOPLE Campaign. Eco-Spirit's President, David Reeves, stated: "The purpose of this new
campaign is to unite all people of all faiths and spiritual beliefs, all races, all countries, and all cultures, behind a common goal of protecting the Earth and our environment, a goal which members of Eco-Spirit believe is a moral imperative."  full story


GM Crops Flunk the Test
Leaked results of field trials involving 3 GM crops have shown them to be more harmful to the enviornment than conventional varieties. The trials involved maize, sugar beet and oilseed rape. The crops, developed
by Monsanto and Bayer, are modified to resist herbicide produced by the same companies. This allows farmers to eradicate all weeds from fields of GM crops.  full story


The Mother of all Tortoises
Giant tortoises that live on the slopes of Alcedo, a volcano on one of the Galápagos islands, are far more inbred than those on nearby islands as a result of passing through a genetic bottleneck after an eruption
there 100,000 years ago, a new study suggests.
full story


Ecologists Bring Wolves to Court's Door
Seventeen conservation and wildlife-protection groups filed suit in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, challenging the Bush administration's decision to down-list wolves from endangered to
threatened status. The groups say the action is a first step toward handing over management of wolves to state governments, of which at least one, Idaho, has pledged to drive all wolves from within its boundaries.  full story


Threat to Wildlife Enough to
Ban GM Crops, MEPs Told
A threat to British wildlife from GM crops would be sufficient grounds for the UK government to ban the growing of such crops, the European health commissioner said yesterday, after the Guardian's report on field
trials of the crops. David Byrne was asked by MEPs on the European parliament's environment committee whether a threat to biodiversity would allow Britain to ban GM crops unilaterally.  full story


Global Warming 'Will Hurt Russia'
A failure by Russia to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol would risk unleashing dangerous climatic changes at home, two of the country's top climate scientists have warned. The caution came during a conference on global
warming in Moscow that ends on Friday. Valentin Meleshko, of the Central Geophysical Observatory, forecast droughts in European Russia, dead pine forests across the taiga, and buckled roads, flooded rivers and broken pipelines in Siberia as permafrost melted.  full story


1200 Inspectors, $300 Million,
Number of WMDS Found? Zero
Five months after the end of the war in Iraq, a CIA adviser has admitted that his 1,200-strong team of inspectors has discovered none of Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction. "The meager
results seem bound to reinforce contentions that the US and British governments, wilfully or by error, grossly exaggerated the scale and the imminence of any threat from Saddam."  full story


Animal Groups Take on
Dolphin-Themed Parks
With their permanent smiles and playful manner, dolphins have long been the friendly creatures of the deep. But as the Caribbean gears up for another tourist season, they are being portrayed as victims as well.
In a heated dispute that could shape the region's tourist industry, animal- rights campaigners are battling resort operators over proposals to develop marine parks where tourists pay hundreds of dollars to swim with trained dolphins.  full story


GM Crops Fail Trials Test
The GM farm scale evaluations will show that "two of the GM crops grown experimentally in Britain, oil seed rape and sugar beet, appear more harmful to the environment than conventional crops and should not
be grown in the UK" and that some scientists "still have reservations" about the third, maize according to a report in today's Guardian.  full story


Renewable Energy Sources in Germany
The International Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) forecasts global temperatures to rise 1.4?C-6?C by the end of this century. Experts warn of a severe impact to the environment if the rise in the average global
temperature can't be kept to under 2?C. This would require a reduction by 30 percent in the emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. For developed countries this translates into a reduction of 80 percent. The main focus must lie in future energy policies and the development of renewable energy sources.  full story


EU to Miss Climate Target for
Renewable Energy, Fears WWF
The 15 European Union member states are unlikely to hit their target — set under the Kyoto Protocol — of generating 22 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010 according to WWF. WWF
fears the EU will achieve no more than 17 percent by the target date. WWF reveals its concerns about the lack of effective policies for renewable power (wind, solar, and biomass) in the month that member states must report to the European Commission on progress in achieving renewable energy targets.  full story


Census of the Endangered
Virunga Mountain Gorillas
The International Gorilla Conservation Program with support from the African Wildlife Foundation, in conjunction with several partner conservation NGO’s and the protected area authorities of Uganda,
Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is conducting a census to establish the number of mountain gorillas left in the Virunga massif. The 1989 census established the population to be approximately 320.  full story


Animals that Like to Roam
Suffer in Zoos, Study Finds
Polar bears, lions, tigers, cheetahs and other wide-ranging carnivores do so poorly in captivity that zoos should either drastically improve their conditions or stop keeping them altogether, biologists from Oxford
University report today in the journal Nature. Zookeepers have long recognized that some species thrive in captivity while others languish..
full story


Parties Urge Action on Climate Change
The economy and health of Australians were at risk if urgent action was not taken to address threats posed by climate change, opposition parties warned. In an unusual step, Labor, the Australian
Democrats and Greens have issued a joint statement urging the government to tackle the issue.  full story


6,217 Apply For State Bear Hunt Permits, But Skepticism Remains
The state Division of Fish and Wildlife reported that 6,217 licensed hunters applied by yesterday's deadline for 10,000 available permits to hunt bears from Dec. 8 to Dec. 13. Noting that bear hunting traditionally
does not attract a lot of hunters in the United States, division authorities said they were satisfied with the turnout.  full story


Critical US Energy Bill Crafted in Secrecy
The massive energy bill taking final shape behind closed doors on Capitol Hill this week began in controversy and is heading into more of it. Secrecy on energy issues began years ago when Vice
President Cheney's energy task force met behind closed doors - a controversial process still being debated in the courts. Now the two Republican chairmen in charge of the energy packages from the House and Senate are behind closed doors again - this time to rewrite the bill themselves without input from Democrats and other critics.  full story


Environmental Groups Criticize
Pollution Bill
Environmental groups say a bill to establish pollution discharge fees doesn't go far enough and erodes the public's right to know about dangerous pollutants. The bill would require those who want to discharge
wastewater to pay permit fees. But it also eliminates a requirement to report how many "critical materials" are being used and released by many of those facilities.  full story


Despite Administration Denial Senate Poised For Action On Global Warming
Environmental Defense today praised Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today for pledging to soon secure a Senate vote on an extremely affordable version of the McCain Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act containing
a first phase of greenhouse gas pollution reductions. The Act is the first proposal for a bi-partisan and comprehensive national policy to cut the greenhouse gas pollution disrupting the Earth's climate.  full story


"Scat Dogs" Sniff Out
Endangered Species Feces
Dogs are being used to sniff out the scat of endangered species like wolves, kit foxes, grizzly bears—even right whales. The feces of these animals are a treasure trove for researchers, yielding valuable
information about the animals, including population size, fertility, gender, stress, and extent of home range.  full story


90,000-Pound Renewable
Energy Project for India
A 90,000-pound project to develop renewable energy-saving ideas in Asia has been launched at the National Space Centre in Leicester. The Asia Pro Eco project, led by Leicester City Council's energy
agency, will involve Leicester, its twin town Rajkot in India and Portuguese energy agency Energaia. The 18-month initiative will encourage cities in India to use more environment friendly sources of energy.  full story


Energy Dept. Seeks Power to
Redefine Nuclear Waste
The Energy Department has asked Congress to allow it to redefine some nuclear waste so it can be left in place or sent to sites intended for low-level radioactive material, rather than being buried deep underground.
Concerned are tens of millions of gallons of salts and sludges left over from weapons production that are now in tanks in Idaho, South Carolina and eastern Washington.  full story


Wolf Conservation Efforts Comprimised
The Sierra Club joined 13 other conservation and wildlife protection groups today in filing suit in U.S. District Court, challenging the Bush Administration’s decision to change the status of the gray wolf from
endangered to threatened in the Lower 48 States. The Administration’s action is the first step in handing over management of the imperiled species to poorly-funded state governments, at least one of which, Idaho, has pledged to drive all wolves from within its boundaries.  full story


A Realistic Way To Save Rainforests
Misty-eyed idealism alone will not save Earth's dwindling tropical rainforests. But a five-year, $3 million study in Panama indicates rainforests can be protected if the pharmaceutical industry establishes
Third World laboratories and hires local researchers to look for new medicines extracted from plants that evolved defenses against insects.  full story


Wild Orangutans: Extinct by 2023?
Orangutans' days in the wild may be numbered unless something drastic occurs to halt the pace of illegal logging—and soon, according to researchers. "At the current rate of habitat destruction, orangutans could
be extinct in the wild in ten to twenty years," said Cheryl Knott, an anthropologist at Harvard University. By some estimates, more than 80 percent of all orangutan habitat has been destroyed.  full story


Aquaria 'Risk to Tropical Fish'
Some of the most colourful and attractive fish to swim the tropical seas may be threatened by the aquarium trade, the United Nations believes. It says over 20 million fish and about half as many other forms
of marine life are caught every year for the trade. There is also a persistent demand for some forms of coral, the UN believes.  full story


Oil out of the Amazon Rain Forest..Uh Oh!
Leak detection on pipelines has always been an important issue. Lately the increasing concerns for environmental preservation have made it even more important. Add
to that the Amazon Rain Forest's
extreme importance to the world's environmental health. Now add these two topics to the existence of crude-oil production fields in that forest, and the importance of avoiding oil spillage in such a sensitive area is easy to conclude.  full story


Scientists Report Global Warming
Kills 160,000 Annually
About 160,000 people die every year from side-effects of global warming ranging from malaria to malnutrition and the numbers could almost double by 2020, a group of scientists said Tuesday. The study, by
scientists at the World Health Organization (WHO) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said children in developing nations seemed most vulnerable.  full story


Federal 'Roadless' Policy Officially Ends
The head of the U.S. Forest Service expects no immediate impact from a government decision upholding a court ruling that lifted a ban on road-building in a third of America's national forests. The Justice
Department's decision not to appeal U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer's ruling on the so-called roadless policy was welcomed Monday by industry groups and left environmentalists grumbling.  full story


BLM Lifts Wilderness Protections
New guidelines issued Monday by the Bush administration could allow oil and gas companies and off-road vehicles on federal lands that had been off-limits to protect their natural qualities. The policy directives
were sent to BLM state offices to implement an agreement that Interior Secretary Gale Norton struck with Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt in April to resolve a lawsuit the state filed against the department.  full story


US Cuts Military Aid to Friendly Nations
The Bush administration today cut over $89 million in military aid to 32 friendly countries because they refused to exempt U.S. citizens and soldiers from the jurisdiction of the new International Criminal Court
(ICC)--the world's first permanent tribunal to prosecute the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.  full story


Car Fuel Emissions Targeted
New nation-wide vehicle emission standards have been unveiled which will force polluting cars off the roads. A recent study shows that exhaust fumes cause up to 400 premature deaths each year. The new
regulations will require emissions testing for all vehicles as part of their annual warrant of fitness but not until 2006.  full story


Bush Critics Seeking Delay on
Leavitt Nomination to Head EPA
Senate critics of President Bush's environmental record are in no hurry to let him fill a three-month vacancy at the top of the Environmental Protection Agency. While Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt appears to enjoy
support from a majority in the Senate, the Democratic members and a former chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee balked at advancing his nomination this week.  full story



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