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Sustainability News
February 27, 2007




Transforming Los Angeles Into a Sustainable City.   Los Angeles (LA) Deputy Mayor Sutley outlined environmental initiatives from energy and transportation to waste management and the revitalization of the LA River. The majority of energy for LA comes from coal plants in Arizona and Utah. Only 6% is renewable. The goal is to use 20% green energy by 2010. Southern California Edison is building a solar farm in the Mojave Desert. The LA Department of Water and Power is working on geothermal projects in the Salton Sea. LA has a pilot project whereby biosolids from sewage plants is disposed in abandoned oil wells and methane is produced that powers a fuel cell. Decreasing LA's demand for energy means embracing green building practices and all new public buildings to meet standards provided by the US Green Building Council. LA is working with private developers to build green. The water supply is inefficient. Too much energy is spent treating and transporting water. LA has a long history of water conservation and consumption has remained steady even with a 15% increase in population. LA will tackle water usage for landscaping, at the city-wide level. The plans include installing smart irrigation systems in parks, diverting more treated waste water and creating more green space with native trees and plants to absorb storm runoff. The city has focused on building carpool lanes, making the city bike-friendly and expanding public transport. The goal is to move away from diesel buses with expansions to the light rail and subway system. LA produces 8,000 tons of garbage every day and was a pioneer of curbside recycling. 62% of waste is diverted from landfills and the goal is to increase that to 70%. Other projects are to help green LA and by creating more parking spaces and building community. The LA River is undergoing a revitalization with a 20 year plan to remove concrete add bike paths and parks and make the way for new real estate development. Many of one million new trees will be planted on public property. Trees that maximize sustainability are recommended. A tree canopy analysis will be used to forecast future environmental and social benefits. Planting will be guided by this information. Sutley represents Los Angeles in the Large Cities Climate Group, an organization of mayors founded in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative. The city is broken up into neighborhoods and driving from one to another, you often feel like a tourist rather than a local. I hope that the initiatives will help bring the communities together. February 12, 2007  WorldChanging  rw 020256

Part 2- Paris Peak Oil Conference Reveals Deepening Crisis   June 03, 2003  Don Chisholm 007163

Wind Turbines Are Sprouting Off Europe's Shores.   Europe’s use of energy from wind has been increasing by 40% per year. The efficiency of turbines today greatly exceeds those of 20 years ago, and turbines currently in use supply 28 million Europeans with electricity. Germany now produces the lion’s share of wind energy (10,650 megawatts - MW), far greater than Spain (3,337 MW), Denmark (2,515 MW), Netherlands (563 MW), and Britain (530 MW), although Denmark obtains 18% of its electricity from wind, the world’s highest per capita consumption. The US, in contrast, has only one fifth of Europe’s wind capacity. The EU, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, wants to produce 20% of its electricity and 12% of its total energy, from renewable sources by 2010 in line with the Kyoto treaty. It hopes to increase its use of wind power from 20,000 MW, primarily from land based turbines, to 60,000 MW in six years. "Much of that growth come from sea-based turbines" from the "shores of Ireland to the Baltic Sea" and, as in the past, will be encouraged with tax credits and guaranteed rates. Wind power does have some problems. It is not yet cost-efficient, although its defenders "argue that traditional fossil fuels and nuclear energy" are subsidized with billions of dollars per year. Building and maintenance costs of offshore turbines tends to be higher than those on land, and some environmental groups worry about disturbance to fishing and spawning grounds and dangers to flocks of birds. Despite this, the growth of wind power from offshore turbines is likely to continue. December 08, 2002  New York Times*   st 004888

Use of Renewable Energy Took a Big Fall in 2001.   The Department of Energy (DOE) reported that energy consumption from renewables dropped sharply in 2001 by "12%, the lowest level in more than 12 years", so that renewables accounted "for only 6% of the energy consumed in the country". "Of the renewables, biomass accounted for 50.4% of the total and hydroelectric for 41.9%", the rest "was from the sun, wind and geothermal sources". It attributed this decline to a drought which lowered hydroelectric power by 23% and to the aging of old solar equipment which was not replaced. However, data from analysts and the DOE itself suggest that sales of equipment for the collection of solar energy have increased over the same time period. The sale of solar collectors increased by 34% in 2001, and installations of photovoltaic cells increased by 80% in the same period. "Exports of solar cells declined in 2001" apparently because the producers "expanded production capacity in other countries." Despite their cost, solar cells are used in areas where "connecting to the ‘electric’ grid would be costly". A spokesman for the DOE said that in contrast to the late 70s and early 80s, the support programs for renewables had declined. December 08, 2002  New York Times*   st 004889

Fish Catch Indicator.   The world fish catch measures the health of the oceanic ecosystem. World demand is outrunning the sustainable yield as shown by declining catches, and collapsing fisheries. Three fourths of oceanic fisheries are fished at or beyond their sustainable yields. In one third of fisheries stocks are declining. December 01, 2002  Earth Policy Institute  rw    004852

The Future is Here - Japan Launches Fuel Cell Cars.   Toyota and Honda leased the world's first mass-marketing fuel-cell cars to the Japanese government and organizations in the U.S. at between $6,500 and $9,800 per month. The technology mixes hydrogen with oxygen from the air to produce the electricity that powers the car; the by-products are heat and water. Carmakers cannot make FCVs at an affordable price, or build enough fuelling stations. Hydrogen is the most abundant element, while oil supplies are finite. Gasoline-electric cars, will lose their power source. FCVs can run for 300 kilometres (186 miles) before refuelling, at about 150 km an hour (93 mph). The U.S.A. pulled out of a treaty to reduce emissions, but California has been leading the drive for stricter standards for emissions and fuel efficiency. The FCVs will be leased to two California universities by Toyota and the city of Los Angeles by Honda. In addition to price, it would take 3,800 hydrogen stations to fuel the five million FCVs that Japan wants on the road by 2020, but officials will have to revise 26 laws to market FCVs. Japanese regulations prohibit hydrogen fuelling stations. Only three experimental sites exist. Do not expect FCVs on the roads any time soon. December 2002  Planet Ark  rw    004872

Future Dilemmas for Australia's Population.   Australia has created a tool defining relationships between economy and ecology for future planners. The first scenario looks at a zero immigration rate, and a population of 20 million by 2050. The second considers a population of 25 million, and the third a population of 32 million by 2050. Sustainability for Australia must include infrastructure, lifestyle, energy usage, international trade, and technology. The challenge is to reduce consumption, while maintaining the standard of living. Population will affect fisheries, stocks of oil, and air quality. Continued growth until at least 2020 gives a window to ensure meeting the standards of innovation and efficiency for a sustainable future. The problem of an aging population need to be addressed, but is more dependency than age. Under the first scenario, a larger proportion of aged citizens could create difficulties for health care and pension systems. Five issues must be considered: 1) Individual Australians must recognise that their lifestyle determines consumption and waste. 2) Australia's social, economic and physical systems are linked together and short-term decisions have long-term consequences. 3) Inbuilt inertia and the time needed for change to take effect. 4) The impact on Australia of growth of global trade to pay for imports and debt. 5) The need to recognise the that resources such as fisheries, oil stocks, and arable land are finite and impose limits. December 2002    rw    004988

Humans Exceed Biological Carrying Capacity.   Human demands on global ecosystems exceed their capacity by 20%. Each person in the U.S. consumed 24 acres of eco-resources, nearly double the nation's "biocapacity," a consumption deficit of nearly 11 global eco-acres per person, exceeded only by Belgium and Luxembourg. November 28, 2002  Environmental News Service/Redefining Progress  rw    004933

Link - Sustainable Development.   November 2002   004529

Approval of Park Drilling Angers Environmentalists.   Approval has been given for two gas wells in Padre Island following an exploratory well. Sixty wells have been drilled here in the last 50 years. The drilling has upset experts on sea turtles who are working there to protect the world's most endangered species. Trucks will be allowed about 20 times a day over turtle nesting grounds but only at slow speeds in escorted convoys. The Sierra Club, sued the Interior Department to stop the drilling. There is enough gas for 15 more wells, which might take 30 years to drill. The decision to reduce dependence on foreign oil, is encouraging drilling on federal land. In Wyoming,it is expected that the Bureau of Land Management will approve more than 51,000 new gas wells. On Padre Island, officials hand out copies of the law that created the national park and guarantees that privately owned oil and gas deposits can be removed. The park could not prevent gas drilling, but was controlling it with the strictest drilling regulations and had received excellent cooperation from BNP Petroleum to use its trucks to do the least harm to nesting turtles. In Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida, the Bush administration decided that drilling would cause impairment and promised to buy or swap rights so there would be no drilling in the preserve. It is unlikely, however, that people along the Gulf Coast of Texas will complain as oil and gas are the economic mainstays. November 2002  Los Angeles Times  rw    004822

Cities Look to Sea for Fresh Water.   In Tampa, the nation's first desalination plant will produce 25 million gallons of water a day. Five California cities and Texas are seeking aid for plants, including two from El Paso and San Antonio to treat groundwater. Population growth is straining water sources and the cost of desalinated water is becoming closer to that of natural water storage. Desalination can also treat groundwater. Texas will double by 2050 to 40 million people and water will have to be used more carefully. California, whose population will exceed 50 million by 2020 needs need to find ways to enhance supply and desalination is one solution. Water from Tampa will sell for $1.88 per thousand gallons compared with $1.50 to $1.75 from traditional sources. West Coast costs run higher because the Pacific is colder and saltier. Desalination will take pressure off imported supplies, such as water from the Colorado River. The cost of water from these plants is estimated to vary from $2.63 to $3.37 per thousand gallons. Marin County's costs will be higher than Southern California's because the county has no power plants that a desalination facility could be built next to. November 2002  USA Today  rw   Desalinazation requires a lot of energy, something that may be in short supply when oil becomes scarcer. 004823

White House to Fund Greenhouse Gas Removal Projects.   The Bush administration will spend $90 million to fight global warming, including ways to store carbon dioxide underground. The process, called carbon sequestration, has been raised as a way to deal with greenhouse gases. A research team could soon begin studying sites, where carbon emissions could be stored underground. Theoretically, they could hold all of the carbon dioxide emitted by the nation's coal-burning power plants for the next 100 years. The administration would fund 4 to 10 sequestration partnerships across the country although researchers have yet to determine the most effective and least costly method. However experts believe the near-term focus will be on greater fuel efficiency and alternative fuels. By 2050, 250 billion tons of carbon could be stored in soil or underground. The United States has the world's largest coal reserves and it is the dominant fuel for power plants. Pollution from coal has dropped about 30% over the last 30 years. November 2002  Reuters  rw    004832

U.S.: Fishing Permanently Banned Around the Channel Islands.   October 24, 2002  Los Angeles Times 004460

Annan Calls for Wise Use of Water.   UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said "We must develop innovative approaches in water management if we are to feed more than 800 million hungry people in the world, and ensure safe drinking water for more than 1.1 billion people who have currently no access to it." Agriculture uses 70% of the world’s freshwater. October 15, 2002  Africa News Service  rw    004226

Food Scraps to Power Bacteria-driven Battery.   Researchers at the University of the West of England (UWE) have developed a fuel cell about the size of a mobile phone that could eventually be powered by organic household waste although it presently runs on sugar. They say that a series of the cells could run domestic appliances. The cell costs about $15 and converts biochemical energy into electricity. It uses E. coli to release hydrogen atoms. It also contains chemicals that drive a series reactions, delivering electrons to the fuel cell's anode. October 11, 2002  New Scientist  rw    004199

Global Warming Boosts Crops, Cuts Nutrients.   Global warming could increase rice, soybean and wheat production but could hurt the nutritional value, because while the plants produce more seeds, they contain less nitrogen. Scientists expect the level of carbon dioxide to rise over the next few decades and agricultural production in some areas is bound to increase. But while there may be more food, it may not be as nutritious. Livestock - and humans - would have to increase their intake to compensate for the loss. Rice was the most responsive with its seed production increasing 42%. Soybeans a 20% increase, wheat 15% and corn 5%. Nitrogen levels fell an average of 14% across all plants except legumes such as peas and soybeans. The total number of seeds in wheat and barley increased 15%, but the amount of nitrogen declined by 20% and nitrogen is important for building protein in humans and animals. October 09, 2002  Reuters  rw    004173

Power to the People: Plugging Developing Nations Into Renewable Energy.   Nearly 2 billion people live without electricity, and demand will double in 25 years. This must be met in a sustainable way. Photovoltaic systems are cheaper to install to scattered villages than new transmission lines and have minimal maintenance costs. SELCO, Shell Solar, and Soluz are reaching to consumers who can't afford to buy the systems outright. Three different markets have emerged. Stores in developing nations sell 20 to 100 watts systems which villagers buy for $450 to $600. SELCO and Shell Solar are focusing on programs, which allow customers to buy systems by paying $15 to $50 dollars per month. Soluz does not sell the power source, but the electricity it generates, for between $10 and $20 per month. SELCO has sold 17,000 systems and expects to bring in $4 million this year. Local markets establish an infrastructure and a sense of ownership. The World Bank's solar fund spends more than $1 billion but the money flows to consultants, governments, nonprofits, investment funds,and consumer subsidies. Help is needed to absorb the risk and cost of innovation. Soluz, SELCO, and Shell Solar have been around for less than a decade, but their progress is starting to turn heads. October 09, 2002  Grist Magazine  rw    004174

Debunking Climate Change High-cost Scare Myths.   The claim that ratifing the Kyoto Protocol will reduce Canada's standard of living is not true. Analyses show Ontario's GDP rising by 34.4% to 36.3%. Alberta's by 22% to 26.8%. Ratifying the Protocol will reduce smog, toxic air pollution and acid rain. Converting Ontario's coal fired power plants to natural gas will reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides by 90%, sulphur dioxide by 99.5%, reduce mercury, lead and cancer-causing contaminants by 100%; and provide Ontario with 50% of the greenhouse gas reductions needed to achieve compliance with its Kyoto target. Switching from coal to natural gas will boost Alberta's natural gas industry. October 08, 2002  Ontario Clean Air Alliance  rw    004208

Threatened Sea Turtles Find Allies in Baja.   In Punta Abreojos on Mexico's Baja Peninsula the fishing cooperative cracks down on any member caught with a turtle. 220 miles to the south protection is the exception. A group of Punta Abreojos fishers are protecting turtles and few people eat turtle in this village. Wallace Nichols, a U.S. turtle researcher estimates that 30,000 turtles were eaten annually on the Baja. He set up monitoring teams and they held a two-day gathering to report on the results of their first year including the lack of government enforcement. Too many turtles are eaten, many before they have reproduced. Miguel Lizarraga, a fisher from San Carlos, stopped eating turtle two years ago and has become a supporter of the cause. Of the 400 members in his coop, 250 still eat turtle. He fears physical retaliation if he were to report poachers in his area -- Twice he has been told by the government office, that if he didn't have proof of illegal activity, nothing could be done. There are just 13 agents assigned to the entire southern half of the peninsula. An official from Mexico City met with U.S.representatives and the Sea Turtle Conservation Network and made a commitment to investigate turtle poachers October 03, 2002  Grist Magazine  rw    004138

Hunger Reduction Slows to ’Dismal’ Level Food Supply While Some Developing Countries Are Making Progress, Others See Increase in Undernourishment.   840 million people are undernourished and the number is declining by only 2.5 million a year. Halving hunger by 2015 will be not occur if this continues. China has halved its number, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Peru, Ghana and Nigeria saw sharp reductions. The rest of the developing world has seen the number increase by 80 million. The Republic of Congo has seen a tripling due conflict. In India population growth has outstripped food production, with 18 million malnourished but expects to reverse this trend. Iraq, Bangladesh and Tanzania have increases in malnutrition. 14.4 million people across southern Africa are threatened by famine. Famine and HIV/Aids may lead to the collapse of African states. In Zimbabwe commercial farming has been disrupted by Mugabe’s land reform. 4 million children have been orphaned by famine in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique. Good governance, strong and stable economies, and social programmes help. October 2002  Push newsfeed  rw    004167

Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound is Fighting Wind Mills.   The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound is fighting the creation of the Cape Cod wind farm, proposed as one effort to reduce greenhouse gas. The organization says "the proposed location is in the middle of the pristine natural area that defines the region and is treasured by millions of people. ... Wind industry has proven to be as destructive and underhanded as any other power industry." They challenge developers claiming to be enviromental while reaping profits and ruining the environment. Senator, John Warner of Virginia, is reported to have asked the Corps of Engineers to delay the Cape Cod Wind Farm. Environmental groups will have to resolve the conflicts between those advocating wind, solar and geothermal, and those opposing it. October 2002  saveoursound.org  rw    004210

Calculations Now Available for How Many Trees Cut to Produce Your Favourite Magazine.   The Magazine Paper Project has developed a web program to calculate the trees needed to print a magazine on non-recycled paper. Calculations show that Cosmopolitan uses 328,577 trees a year and could save 32,858 by switching to recycled paper. People Magazine uses 546,134 and could save 54,613, Condé Nast Traveler uses 52,734 and could save 5,273 trees. The National Geographic uses 505,819 trees every year and saves 2,255 trees by using 10% recycled paper for its cover. It could save an additional 48,552 trees by using it for its text pages also. October 2002  Co-op America  rw    004464

A Dairy Cow Produces 160 Pounds of Manure a Day.   Concentrated animal farming has become an industry A calculated amount of inputs generate a calculated amount of outputs (milk, butter, and cottage cheese, etc.). These operations have been exempted from environmental law because they are farming, but the pollution is becoming untenable. A dairy cow produces about 160 pounds of manure a day. Ten cows can produce enough manure to power one Northwest home. The price of energy has made alternative sources cost-competitive. Utilities and investors are exploring other sources, including energy from animal and plant wastes. October 2002    rw    004466

Ozone Hole Splits in Two.   The ozone hole over Antarctica is smaller this year and split in two. Ozone blocks radiation from the sun and thinning could lead to a rise in skin cancer. Aerosols and chemicals cause the thinning and treaties banning them are expected to help the layer recover. This year’s improvement was attributed to warmer temperatures around the circular wind pattern over Antarctica, causing the hole to split into two. The last time the hole was as small was in 1988, also due to warm temperatures. Chemicals cause the ozone hole, but temperature is a key factor. The coldest temperatures over the South Pole are in August and September. Thin clouds form and chemical reactions on the cloud particles help chlorine and bromine gases to rapidly destroy ozone. By early October, temperatures start to warm and the layer starts to recover. September 30, 2002  MSNBC.com  rw    004125

Corruption Devastating South Pacific Environment, Causing Insecurity.   Corruption is wreaking havoc on the South Pacific's environment and leading to instability. Forest and marine resources over exploited, as long as someone gets their bribe. Security issues are becoming more challenging. Security of land tenure, traditional rights and civil unrest caused by the insecurity of future generations and lack of sustainable development. Unsustainable development is underway with compensation paid to local landowners. Increasing poverty, unemployment, spiralling population growth and the related health problems remain un-addressed. Countries in the region had on average a marine environment making up 98% of their jurisdictions but none had coordinated policies. September 27, 2002  Agence France Presse  rw    004105

A Deal on Fuel Economy Rules Could Increase Oil Consumption.   A bill would give credit through 2008, to automakers for vehicles that can run on ethanol and gasoline. Credits offset the production of vehicles that get low gasoline mileage. Extending the program would increase petroleum consumption by 9 billion gallons and direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to rewrite fuel economy standards to reduce consumption by light trucks — S.U.V.'s, pickups and minivans by at least 5 billion gallons of gasoline by the 2012 model year. The savings would be tallied separately from the results of the mileage credits and could be canceled out by them, unless the agency imposed tougher standards. Representative John D. Dingell, said that this is equivalent to taking all S.U.V.'s and light trucks off the road for two years. Senator John McCain, said that he was disappointed by the proposal. The auto industry applauded the plan. If the mileage standards become law, environmental groups are skeptical that the Bush administration will call for saving beyond five billion gallons that would toughen fuel economy requirements. Data from the government report indicate that extending the credits will more than cancel out the 5 billion gallons in reduced gasoline consumption. September 20, 2002  New York Times*  rw    004065

UK Report Casts Doubt on North American GM Crops.   The economic disaster from genetically modified crops in North America has caused some groups to call for a moratorium on GM wheat. It is estimated that gene-altered maize, soya and rapeseed have cost the U.S. $12 billion in farm subsidies, lower prices, loss of orders. These crops could solve world hunger, but only a small increase in maize yields have been realized. Problems with gene-spliced crops led to a call for a moratorium in the US of GM wheat. The strain which Monsanto is seeking approval, could give higher yields to farmers, according to the firm. Public opinion in Europe is wary of gene-altered crops including a three-year ban on new varieties. Soil Association Director Peter Melchett said he hoped their report would better inform the public. Trust in biotech companies took a battering recently with problems which threatened the British government's field trials. UK environment minister Michael Meacher claimed the country was being pressured by the U.S. to allow gene-spliced crops. September 18, 2002  Reuters  rw    004018

Africa's Deserts Are in "Spectacular" Retreat.   West African countries devastated by advancing deserts 20 years ago, are growing greener. Vegetation is ousting sand from Mauritania to Eritrea. The greening has been happening since the mid-1980s. There is a regeneration of vegetation in northern Burkina Faso, more trees and grassland and a 70% increase in sorghum and millet in one province. In August, the World Summit in Johannesburg was told that over 45% of Africa is in the grip of desertification, with the Sahel worst affected. But a team of geographers claim that vegetation has increased. There is confusion why the Sahel is becoming green. There has been increased rainfall, but farmers have adopted better methods of farming. September 18, 2002  New Scientist  rw    004019

World Bank Says Vietnam's Environment is Rapidly Deteriorating.   Over the past 10 years Vietnam's economy has doubled but its natural environment, including one of the world's most biologically diverse ecosystems, has deteriorated rapidly. 10% of the world's species are in Vietnam, but, of Vietnam's endemic species, 28% of mammals, 10% of birds and 21% of reptile and amphibian species are now endangered due to habitat loss and hunting. In 10 years Vietnam's cultivated land area has increased 38%, but 50% of the land has poor soils due to human activity. Even though the amount of forested land area has increased, their quality has decreased. 96% of the country's coral reefs are severely threatened, and over 80% of its mangrove forests are lost. Poverty has been reduced from 70% of the population to about 35% but only 0.85% of the national budget goes to environmental protection. September 18, 2002  Associated Press 004053

UK Homes Face Huge New Threat From Floods.   A private report to Govt: ministers claims that flooding caused by global warming could threaten $340 billion worth of homes and businesses in the U.K., according to the government's Energy Saving Trust. The report says that one out of every 13 homes in the country would be hit hard by rising seas and increased rainfall, while three-fifths of the country's best farmland could be rendered unusable. Just as ominous, the report says, London's place "as an international center for trade and commerce" could be at risk and some 750,000 residents in the capital city could be out of a home. This follows months of flooding in Britain and Europe, when parts of London were submerged, shutting down rail and Tube services. The report concludes: "A long-term policy aimed at slowing down and ultimately reducing car ownership, as well as use, will be necessary to have any real impact on transport emissions". September 15, 2002  The Independent (London)  rw    004040

A Role for Solar, but It's a Cameo.   BP Amoco has 157 gas stations in the U.S., with solar panels providing 6 to 15 percent of the electricity to run the pumps. BP is the world's largest maker of photovoltaic cells. Customers operate the pumps with touch-screen controls. None of them recently knew the station was solar-powered. Michael O'Brien, for BP said, "We've been experimenting with some way to let people know about the solar." The company has 220 solar-powered BP gasoline stations throughout 16 other nations with plans for more. Dan Becker of the Sierra Club said that, "The amount of energy saved is negligible compared to the pollution in the gasoline it pumps." Kert Davies, for Greenpeace USA, gave BP credit for using solar power. Mr. O'Brien of BP responded saying, "We know solar has a long way to go, but the energy business is on a continuum of change toward cleaner sources. He pointed to BP's diesel fuel that contains only a tenth of the normal amount of sulfur. The stations are moving towards gasoline-plus-retail stops with aisles of food, souvenir shops, restaurants and restrooms. The company's station in Hornchurch, England, uses solar and wind power to supply its electricity, and has plantings that require little water. BP reports that the station has attracted dragonflies and bees that buzz happily about the pumps. September 13, 2002  New York Times*  rw    004033

Carbon Burial Experiment Works.   Efforts to bury the carbon dioxide byproduct from gas exploration in the North Sea have been successful. Waste CO2 that comes up with the extracted methane is separated and pumped back under ground. The CO2 remains trapped in a bubble under shale and mudstone almost a kilometre under the seabed. It has been suggested that carbon sequestration, could allow humans to keep using fossil fuels without global warming. Not just for oil and gas companies but electricity generation as well. To stabilise atmospheric concentrations of CO2 we will have to reduce emissions to zero in the next 50 years. Carbon sequestration is probably one of the most powerful techniques available. The CO2 is separated from the methane and sent, in the form of a fluid lighter than water, into a layer of sandstone. The plume of CO2 is not leaking, it has reached the top of the reservoir and extends about 1.7 kilometres. We now have to find an inexpensive technique for scrubbing the emissions from power stations. The efficiency of a power station would be reduced and there are cost concerns. The obvious locations to store the carbon dioxide are exhausted oil and gas fields which have proven capacity where we know gas cannot escape. September 10, 2002  BBC News  rw    004004

West Nile Virus: High Impact on Bird Species.   Since the disease was discovered in a crow three years ago, the human toll from West Nile Virus has been quite small, at least compared to many bird species. So far 111 species have been hit including the bald eagle and sand hill crane. In the Upper Midwest, hundreds of birds of prey have died from the disease, including red-tailed hawks and great horned owls the hardest hit. Biologists at the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center are concerned that endangered species are threatened. September 09, 2002  MSNBC.com 003999

Developing Nations Form OPEC-like Cartel to Protect Plants and Animals From Exploitation by the Industrialized World.   Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wants to create a cartel to protect plants and animals from exploitation by the industrialized world. The countries concerned hope to set practices and prices to exploit their biodiversity. September 05, 2002  MSNBC.com  rw    003992

Historic Ban Slapped on Bottom-fishing Off West Coast.   Federal regulators voted to ban bottom-fishing next year on the Continental Shelf from Canada to Mexico, to stave off a collapse of some Pacific Coast groundfish populations. It is based on how deep anglers can fish rather than harvest limits. The Pacific Fishery Management Council regulates Pacific waters from three to 200 miles offshore. Over the past three years nine species have been declared overfished, despite harvest limits. Rebuilding the species could take a century because some produce young sporadically. Four species of rockfish were in worse trouble than thought. They are bocaccio, yellow-eye, canary and dark blotched rockfish. Environmentalists also require the council to control bycatch, that cannot be landed because of harvest limits and are thrown overboard after being netted. Recreational catches of groundfish also will be limited. September 2002  Seattle Post-Intelligencer  rw    004041

Sad Day for Environmentalists: Howard Odum Dead.   Howard Thomas Odum, a founder of the modern science of ecology, died on Wednesday. He was 78. Howard Odum founded the Center for Wetlands at the University of Florida. He wrote 15 books and more than 300 scientific papers. His most recent book, "A Prosperous Way Down" (2001), written with his wife, Elisabeth C. Odum, discusses the prospects for a prosperous future as supplies of fossil fuels dwindle. A revised edition of his 1971 book "Environment, Power and Society" is to be published next year. http://www.seym.org/qnews/qnews011002odum.html A Prosperous Way Down - Principles and Policies which shows how our world can thrive and prosper in a future where we live with less. It makes specific suggestions based upon their evaluations of trends in global population, wealth distribution, energy sources, conservation, urban development, capitalism and international trade, information, technology, and education. September 2002   004058

Zimbabwe; Eighteen Percent of Cash-strapped Parents Withdraw Children From Schools.   In the last two months, 18% of Zimbabwe's families have removed their children from school citing a shortage of cash for school fees because the little money they have is used to buy food. Zimbabwe this year received 71 000 tonnes of food and 335 000 tonnes of grain but 850,000 people are still in need of food assistance. 49% of the population are in need of food aid and the country is looking for an extra 486,000 tonnes between now and March. Zimbabwe and South Africa agreed to open the Beitbridge border for 24 hours partly to ease the transportation of food aid. Officials criticised SADC governments for failing to remove bureaucracy in the movement of humanitarian aid. September 2002  Financial Gazette (Zimbabwe)  rw    004106

Cocaine Industry Causes Widespread Destruction of Rain Forest in Peru.   In the last 3 years 5.7 million acres of Peruvian rain forest have been hacked down to grow coca. Over 14,800 tons of chemicals are dumped into the Amazon jungle as coca is turned into raw cocaine paste. Poisoned water, soil erosion, landslides and the extinction of plant and wildlife species are the results. It is one of the richest natural ecosystems and being destroyed piece by piece. Dropping from 6,600 feet to 2,000 feet, the Monzon nourishes a wide range of plant and animal species. In 2001, it produced almost 20% of Peru's coca crop. The Monzon Valley is ideal for coca growing and access is poor, making it hard for police or soldiers to get to the hills. A plot remains productive from four to 10 years, then it is abandoned and another patch of forest burned for cultivation. The soil gets contaminated and the steep slopes result in soil erosion. Converting coca into cocaine leaves behind chemicals that contaminate streams and rivers. Most coca farmers refuse to acknowledge the crop is hurting the environment. "We're poor people in an underdeveloped country," a farmer said. "And we'll sell coca to anyone who comes to buy it". September 2002  San Francisco Chronicle  rw    004118

Give Solar Energy $50-Billion Boost, Gorbachev Group Says.   Mikhail Gorbachev's group Green Cross urged the World Summit on Sustainable Development to set up a $50-billion fund to promote solar energy, The money to come from subsidies, tax breaks and loan guarantees paid to coal, oil, gas and nuclear energy. The Green Cross supports investment in photovoltaic cells, hydrogen, wind and geothermal energy. The goal is for 20% of the world's energy to come from renewable sources and to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil fuels. The United States and Canada are under pressure to ratify the Kyoto protocol. Ottawa spends $12-million a year supporting renewable energy, big business and environmental organizations, are pushing for more. Canada produces 0.1% of its electricity from wind. If Canada could produce 10% from renewable sources that would deliver 13% of Canada's commitments under the Kyoto protocol. Canada has spent $6-billion on nuclear technology, $40.4 billion on oil, gas and coal. The Canadian government has written off $2.8-billion of loans and investments in the non-renewable sector and $2.4-billion in export charges on oil. The Institute for Sustainable Development, said these figures would be higher if they included the environmental costs of burning oil, gas and coal. August 29, 2002  Toronto Globe and Mail/Common Dreams  rw    003920

Lack of Basics Threatens World's Poor.   The United Nations says 1.1 billion people lack clean drinking water and 2.4 billion lack sanitation. More than 2.2 million people die each year from these causes, the number in India is staggering. Halving the number of people without clean water by 2015 will not be easy. Madagascar reported only 33% of their people had access to water. Uruguay said 35% had sanitation There is a need for the international transfer of technology, but John Hilary, adviser for Save the Children, warned against privatizing water supplies, that often put children at risk by raising rates. August 29, 2002  New York Times*  rw    003940

Got Sun? Marketing the Revolution in Clean Energy.   Environmental writer Bill McKibben said "Renewable energy is no longer the stuff of noble visions and pipe dreams: It's available, inexpensive and increasingly normal." But, "The gap between what we could be doing and what we are doing has never been wider." Solar and wind industries have grown almost 40% a year in the last 4 years. But solar and wind together account for less than 1% of the U.S.'s electricity production. Renewable energy is still more expensive than traditional energy sources, but just as important -- most consumers are turned off by the "purist, hippy-dippy" marketing methods used to sell renewables. Amely Greeven, a marketing consultant currently working on campaigns for Nike, Gucci, and Yves Saint Laurent says "Like it or not, the face of 'green' needs a makeover." BP - British Petroleum (aka "Beyond Petroleum") - has changed this, launching a "high-profile, high-concept, mega-bucks clean energy campaign". BP, America's largest supplier of oil and natural gas, is also the world's third-largest solar producer. In the new ad campaign, hip, straight-shooting urbanites say something like "Oil is old news. It's time for a new era." Or - "Think about your children. They're breathing the air I'm breathing, that you're breathing, and it's bad. And down the line, they will suffer. ... You know, if you have alternatives, invest the money in alternatives. You'll still make money. It won't make you a Communist. It'll just make you a better human being." BP has pledged to grow its solar business to $1 billion by 2007 and has predicted that renewable energy sources, which are now only 0.5% of America's energy production, will reach 50% of world production by 2050. BP had committed in 1997 to reducing its own greenhouse emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2010, but has already reached that goal. In response, other energy companies including Shell and ChevronTexaco have started public climate initiatives and investments in the solar, wind, and fuel cell industries. And in the last year, Shell has become one of the world's top solar producers. August 29, 2002  Grist emagazine 003943

A World Without Water.   During the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, thousands of anti-globalization activists and environmentalists will be trying to call attention to the dangers of privatizing the world's water supplies. Only 5% of the world population receives water from corporations and activists want to stop the process. In 1998 the World Bank predicted the global trade in water would generate up to $800 billion a year. Two years later, water companies, backed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) strong-armed the UN into defining water as a human need (sold for profit by private companies) instead of a human right (people are ensured equal access on a nonprofit basis). Private companies had a green light to lease, buy, or enter into agreement for existing water systems from which they profit by charging for water; some also provide sewage disposal, and implement water treatment plants. Many of these companies have guarantees written into their contracts, so profits cannot fall below a predetermined number and they can sell any surplus to the highest bidder. Two conglomerates, Vivendi Universal and Suez, based in France, have 70% of the world water market. Suez operates in 130 countries, Vivendi in more than 90. The UN identifies approximately six places where water is so scarce that human life may not be sustainable and conflict may arise over the dwindling resources. Water giants like Vivendi insist that for-profit companies are wealthy enough to invest in new technology and improvements to aging systems while poor governments are not. Activists like Barlow say that for-profit companies are not set up as sustainable enterprises or to conserve resources and there is no source to replace the water that modern humankind consumes. Desalination has proven expensive and leaves behind water mostly uninhabitable for marine life. According to the latest calculations, there are only 8.6 million cubic miles of fresh water left on earth, 2.6% of the 330 million cubic feet of total water. The UN predicts that two-thirds of the world's population will live in water-scarce regions by 2025. Much of the problem is due to river damming and the Green Revolution that replaced drought-resistant crops with water-guzzling varieties. Farmers were forced to forgo sustainable irrigation and deep wells became the norm, pulling groundwater out of water-scarce areas. Developers tried to solve the irrigation problem by building big dams. According to Sandra Postel of the Global Water Policy Project, there were 5000 large dams (more than 15 meters high) worldwide in 1950. There are now 45,000. The Ganges, Yellow River, Nile, and Colorado dry up before reaching the ocean, and water that would feed aquifers runs into the ocean without moisturizing forests and marshlands. The Ogallala Aquifer, which stretches from the Texas Panhandle to South Dakota is believed to have contained 4 trillion tons of pristine water. It is now mined by over 200,000 wells that pull out 13 million gallons per minute, 14 times faster than nature's replenishing rate. Each year since 1991 the aquifer's water table has dropped three feet. By some estimates, more than half its water is gone. The Department of Water Resources of California says that if more supplies aren't found by 2020, residents will face a shortfall nearly as great as the amount consumed today. "Water scarcity is a source of conflict in many places," says Barlow. "Almost every country in the Middle East is facing a water crisis." Israel has aggressively mined water, severely taxing water systems in Syria, Jordan and the Palestinian townships. Turkey has caused tension with plans to dam the Euphrates River, diverting much of its flow to Syria and Iraq. Bangladesh, is suffering because India has diverted and dammed so many of its water sources. In Africa, relations between Botswana and Namibia are strained by Namibian plans to construct a pipeline to divert water from the Okavango River. Ethiopia plans to take more water from the Nile, although Egypt is dependent on those waters for irrigation and power. As water tables fall in the North China Plain as well as in India's Punjab region, experts are bracing for a highly combustible imbalance between water supplies and human needs. The U.S., Canada, and the European Union want the UN to start adopting trade agreements similar to those put forth by the WTO. They're pressuring the UN to implement "voluntary partnerships" with private companies to take over government-run industries devoted to public health, clean air, and water. Representatives from the companies reassure officials that they can privatize and conserve at the same time. But several developing countries landed in WTO court for trade violations that were permitted under UN accords. Poorer nations want to know which entity has ultimate power, and they hope it's the UN. Unfortunately, says Barlow, the shadow summits probably won't have much impact on the WSSD outcome. The bigger goal, she says, is to derail the privatization trend at the World Water Forum scheduled for next March in Japan. Developed nations are taking from each other. The Bush administration is considering using the oil-pipeline infrastructure in the Northern Provinces to flow Canadian water to the American Midwest, which, under the North American Free Trade Agreement, is legitimate. Once Canada opens the taps, it can't turn them off again without violating NAFTA accords. August 27, 2002  Village Voice  rw    003956

Chinese Will Move Waters to Quench Thirst of Cities.   China intends to rechannel water from the Yangtze basin to the north, using three pathways of nearly 1,000 miles each. The official price tag of $58 billion, is more than twice that of the Three Gorges Dam. Some officials speak of delivering water to Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. The plan will uproot 370,000 people. This venture raises questions, including how to deliver clean water across a polluted landscape. Perhaps toughest of all is how to provide for those who will be moved. For many who live around the Danjiangkou Dam their travails parallel China's ambition to meet its water needs. Bitterness survives from earlier rounds of resettlements. Chinese officials are working feverishly on two routes to begin in the coming year. Northern cities have begun to raise water prices and reduce waste, to provide solutions. Provinces are fighting over how water will be shared, because some will require expensive cleansing. The demand has become urgent throughout the densely populated north-central area. Over-pumping of groundwater in some areas has caused sinking of land. Urban consumers take water from farmers, while planners warn of restrictions on industry. China's arid northwest, is being destroyed by drought and overuse. The western route would channel water from tributaries of the Yangtze to China's northwest. But taking water from Tibetan regions may stir political controversy, and pose engineering challenges and costs estimated at $36 million. The coastal route will require 13 pumping stations, and consume large amounts of electricity. It cuts across the world's most soiled river basins. The canal that is still in use, bustles with barges, its shores lined with primitive houseboats, home to hundreds of thousands of people. It also receives untreated sewage from towns and villages and the effluence of thousands of factories. "If you drink the water you get rashes and diarrhea". The cleanup plans include the closure of thousands of dirty factories, many owned by local governments and the building of sewage plants in each of 119 counties along the canal. The government has not said what is to become of the decrepit flotilla and the multitudes who live on or near the canal. Along the central route, pollution will not be a problem. But this plan calls for diverting water north by a new canal from the Han River. But the Danjiangkou dam and reservoir will have to be raised, displacing about 300,000 villagers. The reservoir will not hold enough water to feed the north and meet regional needs and will have to be replenished by a new canal to bring water at enormous expense from the Three Gorges Dam —reducing its electrical capacity by 6 percent or more. Villagers have heard nothing about relocation. The new moves may destroy forests and grasslands and will require bringing drinking water, electricity and roads to those moved in the 1970's. August 27, 2002  New York Times  rw    003967

California Water Shortage.   According to the California Department of Water Resources, if more supplies aren't found by 2020, residents will face a shortfall nearly as great as the amount consumed today. August 27, 2002  Village Voice 003993

Ecological Decline 'Far Worse' Than Official Estimates Leaked Paper - OECD's Grim Warning on Climate Change.   A leaked document prepared for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development from the UN, World Bank, World Trade Organization, and academic papers as a preliminary to the Johannesburg meeting on sustainable development showed a worse than unexpected ecological decline. Aid for environmental protection and social services has declined. Subsidies for industry and agriculture in wealthy countries are affecting development in poor countries. 80% of global finance went to rich countries in 2000, the African continent receiving less than 1%. Unrestricted market access would increase the incomes of more than 2 billion people in the most populated countries by 4% a year. If the EU, Canada, Japan and the US allowed migrants to make up 4% of their workforce, the returns to poor countries could be $160 billion to 200 billion a year. Extinction of species is now reaching 11% of birds, 18%-24% of mammals, 5% of fish, and 8% of plants. OECD reports nearly 50% of all fish stocks are fully exploited, 20% are overexploited· Only 2% of global fisheries is recovering. By 2025 15% of all forest species will be extinct. Over the next 18 years, global energy use will expand by more than 50%. "The non-renewable fossil fuel resource base is expected to meet demand to 2020," the report says. OECD countries subsidize the emission of global warming gases by $57 billion and reducing climate change emissions would have no effect on the global economy. 60% of the world's population lives in ecologically vulnerable areas, 3 million die each year due to air pollution and 5 million from unsafe water. Global water withdrawals will rise 31% by 2020, while being replenished at a rate of 0.1% to 0.5%. August 26, 2002  London Guardian/Common Dreams  rw    003890

In Race to Tap the Euphrates, the Upper Hand Is Upstream.   The waters of the Euphrates River are in short supply, as Syria, Turkey, and Iraq battle for a share of the river. Similar struggles are taking place all over the world, from Texas to China, as water resources grow scarce and competition for them mushrooms. Less than 1% of the world's water supply is suitable for drinking or agriculture, and demand has increased six-fold over the last 70 years; meanwhile, the supply itself might be shrinking due to the erratic weather patterns caused by global warming. Researchers estimate that by 2015, at least 40% of the world's population will live in countries where it is difficult or impossible to satisfy basic water needs. According to the World Bank, dwindling water supplies will inhibit economic growth, and the U.N. and a Central Intelligence Agency advisory group predict that competition for water will lead to an increasing number of conflicts worldwide. August 25, 2002  New York Times*  rw    003913

U.S.: S.U.V. Haters Pitch a Curbside Battle.   A group concerned about global warming has begun distributing mass-traffic ticket look-alikes to S.U.V's. Two women let the air out of the tires of S.U.V.'s and were sentenced to 50 hours of community service. Some vicitims see activism as harassment. E-mail from victims called Earth on Empty members names such as tree-huggers, elitists, freedom-removers, losers, homosexuals, Democrats and filthy people. John, who runs the Earth on Empty Web site, says the group wants to stigmatize S.U.V. owners the way animal lovers stigmatize women who wear fur coats. August 23, 2002  New York Times*  rw    003889

Kenya, Tanzania to Sell Maize to Zambia .   After rejectin genetically modified maize, the Zambian government will buy maize from Kenya and Tanzania who have offered to supply natural maize to ease the problem the country is facing from the current shortage. Purchases from Kenya, which has a maize surplus, and Tanzania are expected to fill all of Zambia's current requirements. Zambia faces a deficit of 630,000 tonnes. Drought and floods in key growing areas has reduced Zambia's food production. Four million people in Zambia faced starvation. Last month Zambia would not accept GM maize until it determined whether it was safe for human consumption. 42,000 tonnes of GM maize destined for Zambia would be diverted to other southern African countries. Malawi, Mozambique and Lesotho unconditionally accept GM maize. August 22, 2002  Planet Ark/Reuters  rw    003871

Grim Reaping: the Industrialization of Agriculture is Killing the Land.   Industrialization of food production is destroying the health of the land and the rural communities that both sustain and are sustained by the land, says George Pyle, a director of the Prairie Writers Circle, a project of the Land Institute. Soil erosion is one result of industrialization of agriculture – 5.6 tons of topsoil per cultivated acre per year. With the soil is washed away "nitrogen fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals" which necessitate detoxification plants in cities and which produce "’dead zones’ in coastal waters". The remaining soil is of "ever-decreasing quality" necessitating increasingly greater amounts of chemicals. Salinization of the soil ensues as water evaporates leaving behind salts. All of these factors accelerate soil degradation; healthy soils require much organic material, which is destroyed by increasing salt concentrations and weed and pest killers. The author observes that "fewer people on farms is both cause and symptom of degraded land [which is] rapidly losing its ability to produce healthy food". July 29, 2002  commondreams.org  st    003029

Power Shortage Sends Ripples Across West.   In the vast interlocking electrical grid of the western part of the U.S., power usually flows south in the summer and north in the winter. But California is at the brink of a breakdown in its power system, and federal energy officials have ordered suppliers in the Northwest to send emergency electricity south. The Northwest uses a network of hydroelectric dams to give the region a cheap supply of power. But the ability to produce power later in the winter or meet the fish flows in the spring is threatened by low rainfall and the demand for power from California. Population growth and the out- of-state demands have caught up with the network. Already many species of salmon are listed under the Endangered Species Act because of the existence of the dams and the low and the unusually low rainfall has left fish eggs exposed and threatened. The governors of Oregon and Washington have urged their residents to conserve energy and have asked for a cap on the price of wholesale electricity. [Californians have also been asked to conserve energy.] Oregon governor Kitzhaber blamed California's "failed deregulation experiment" for the shortages. Four years ago, when reserves were often as high as 30%, California decided to deregulate its power industry to deliver cheaper, cleaner and more efficient power across the state. However, one-fourth of California's generating capacity has been offline at times in recent weeks after going full tilt to meet the record demands of last summer. December 17, 2000  New York Times 003702

Hidden Freshwater Crisis.   Toxic chemicals are contaminating groundwater on every inhabited continent, endangering the world's most valuable supplies of freshwater, according to a new report from Worldwatch Institute, Deep Trouble: The Hidden Threat of Groundwater Pollution. This first global survey of groundwater pollution shows that a toxic brew of pesticides, nitrogen fertilizers, industrial chemicals, and heavy metals is fouling groundwater everywhere, and that the damage is often worst in the very places where people most need water. 97% of the planet's liquid freshwater is stored in underground aquifers. Nearly one third of all humanity relies almost exclusively on groundwater for drinking, including the residents of some of the largest cities in the developing world, such as Jakarta, Dhaka, Lima, and Mexico City. Almost 99% of the rural U.S. population, and 80% of India's villagers, depend on groundwater for drinking. 3 additional billion people are expected to inhabit the Earth by 2050, creating even more demand for water. More than half of irrigated farmland in India, and 43% in the United States, are watered by groundwater. In India, groundwater was found unfit for drinking in 22 major industrial zones. One third of the wells tested in California's San Joaquin Valley in 1988 contained the pesticide DBCP at levels 10 times higher than the maximum allowed for drinking water-more than a decade after its use was banned. In the U.S. 100,000 gasoline storage tanks are leaking chemicals into groundwater. In Santa Monica, California, wells supplying half the city's water have been closed because of dangerously high levels of the gasoline additive MTBE. In the northern Chinese provinces of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, and Shandong, nitrate concentrations in groundwater exceeded the health guideline in more than half of the locations studied in 1995. December 14, 2000  World Watch 003679

India: The Food vs Population Debate.   The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates the incidence of undernourishment in the developing countries in 1995-97 at 790 million, accounting for 18% of the population of these countries. The world's population grew by 2.1% a year in 1960, but declined to 1.3% in the 1990s. By 2015 it is expected to be 1% and 0.3% by 2050. Currently 77 million persons are added every year and this number is expected to continue till 2015. To meet the food demand, the world cereal production must increase by another billion tonnes, from 1.84 billion tonnes now. In South Asia, per capita income is anticipated to grow only at 1.5% a year. FAO expects a fall in the percentage of the undernourished in the developing countries from 18 in 1995-97 to 10 in 2015 and 6 in 2030. "Thanks to the decline in population growth and the gradual attainment of medium-to-high food consumption levels in several countries, the growth rate of demand for food will be lower than in the past." December 08, 2000  Business Line 003689

World Resources 2000-2001: People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web ofLife.   Increased resource demands which cause global ecosystems to deteriorate could be devastating for human development and the welfare of all species. The report is the result of a two-year effort by 175 scientists from the institute, the UN Development Program, the UN Environment Program and the World Bank. 50% of the world's wetlands and almost as much forest land has been lost in the last century; fishing fleets are 40% larger than the oceans can sustain; nearly 70% of major marine fish stocks are overfished; soil degradation has affected two-thirds of all agricultural lands in the last 50 years; dams, canals and other diversions fragment almost 60% of the world's largest rivers; and 20% of freshwater species are either extinct, threatened or endangered globally. The capacity of ecosystems "to produce many of the goods and services we depend on is rapidly declining," said Norbert Henninger of the World Resources Institute. Governments need to view ecosystem sustainability as essential to human life and adopt an "ecosystems approach" to managing the world's critical resources. December 06, 2000  World Resources Institute 003699

Ten Years After: The Killing Fields of Kuwait.   by Jean-Michel Cousteau It has been almost 10 years since the retreating Iraqi invaders, in a "scorched earth" maneuver, turned the environment itself against their Kuwaiti enemies, but the war's environmental legacy continues to poison life in the region, according to a report by Green Cross International. 600 oil fires were set, crippling the Kuwaiti oil industry. Some burned for a year and a half, polluting the air, land and water, smearing the countryside and everything in it with an acrid oily residue. Broken wellheads spilled 60 million barrels of oil onto the land, creating 246 lakes now covering almost 50 square kilometers of desert. The 5% of the oil that has not been recovered continues to percolate downward, contaminating the nation's freshwater aquifers. 40% of Kuwait's freshwater supply are no longer drinkable and Kuwait's strategic reserves are estimated at two days. Apparently, this problem has no technological fix. 1,500 miles of coast were soiled, some of it home to spectacular corals and rare marine creatures, such as dugongs. Today's overfishing and coastal development may hamper recovery. Each day toxic dust is caught up in desert winds. Along the Nile, Ganges, Jordan, Tigris and Euphrates rivers, water supplies shrink while populations grow. Technological, agricultural and managerial changes made to secure the future include drip irrigation, recycling, intercropping and conservation-oriented pricing. [As populations grow and remain energy-hungry, the demand for oil will lead to more strife and more environmental damages.] November 26, 2000  ENN 003744

A World That Works For Every Person by 2040.   August, 2000 brought the birth of a new web site, www.aworldthatworks.com. The site seeks to identify the major global "players" making a difference with 20 global issues and providing up-to-date information on progress being made and resources needed. The ultimate goals of the site are: 1) to develop the largest and most powerful network of individuals committed to A World That Works - and cause global breakthroughs when the size of the network reaches "critical mass." 2) to become a conduit for billions of dollars of investment into each of the global issues listed November 24, 2000  A World That Works 003747

Cause for Thanksgiving: WHO Launches Clean Water Campaign.   The World Health Organization hopes to improve sanitation access for 2.2 billion more people and water supply access for 1.6 billion people by 2015, thus drastically cutting the planet's annual death toll from water-borne diseases. A goal of universal access to water supply, sanitation and hygiene is planned within the next 25 years. Estimated cost per year is $7 billion - a tenth of what Europe spends on alcohol and under half of what the United States spends on pet food, according to Jose Hueb, a WHO coordinator. Most of the people with no improved water supply or sanitation live in Asia and Africa. Diarrhea, intestinal worms and blindness caused by trachoma are the diseases manifested by poor water supply. 2.2 million people die annually of diarrhea, most of them under 5 years old. One child dies every 15 seconds, on the average. In Asia where only 48% of the population has sanitation coverage. 50 of the world's developing countries have already achieved an average 90% coverage of water and 90% of sanitation. November 23, 2000  Reuters 003749

International Buy Nothing Day is November 24, 2000.   North American overconsumption grossly magnifies human impact on the Earth, with 5% of the world's population consuming about 30% of its natural resources. And a mere 20% of the earth's population uses 80% of its natural resources. Our overconsumption is killing the planet. Buy Nothing Day, falling on the biggest shopping day of the year, is sponsored by Adbusters Media Foundation, is an excellent opportunity to formally recognize and reduce the impact of our consumer culture. Can you refrain from buying anything for one whole day? Organize a Buy Nothing Day in your area. Publicize American consumption patterns and urge friends and co-workers to purchase nothing for one day. For more help and information, visit www.adbusters.org., http://www.newdream.org or http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/1624/umvei.htm#Institute November 17, 2000  Adbusters/ZPG 003721

Oil Prices Edge Higher: Decline in U.S. Heating Oil Stocks Raises Supply Concerns as Winter Nears.   ... and a threatened halt of Iraqi exports sent shivers through the global oil market. A 665,000-barrel drop in U.S. heating oil stocks left supplies more than 30% below this time last year, in the face of a cold front now headed to the U.S. northeast. Prices are still below a 10 year high. John Davidson, chief investment officer at Orbitex Group of Funds said that the pinch will be felt by the customers and cause an economic slowdown. Greenspan will probably not be raising any interest rates and in fact may be lowering them some time next year. Iraq, which sells about 5% of the world's crude oil exports, has informed its customers that beginning Dec. 1 it wants a 50 cent a barrel premium outside United Nations-controlled accounts. November 15, 2000  CNN 003720

The Peak of World Oil Production and the Road to the Olduvai Gorge.   by Richard C. Duncan, Ph.D., Pardee Keynote Symposia, Geological Society of America Summit 2000. Based on historic data from 1920 to 1999, world energy production per capita increased strongly from 1945 to its all-time peak in 1979. Then from 1979 to 1999 - for the first time in history - it decreased from 1979 to 1999 at a rate of 0.33%/year. Evidence strongly suggests that, from 2000 to 2011, world energy production per capita will decrease by about 0.70%/year (the 'slide'). Then around year 2012 the author expects a rash of permanent electrical blackouts - worldwide. These blackouts, along with other factors, will cause energy production per capita by 2030 to fall to 3.32 barrels/year, the same value it had in 1930. The rate of decline from 2012 to 2030 is 5.44%/year. The average decline of oil production is predicted to be 2.45%/year from 2006 to 2040. The Olduvai 'slide' from 2001 to 2011 may resemble the "Great Depression" of 1929 to 1939. The electricity business has almost run out off existing generating capacity. In 1999, electricity supplied 42% of the world's end-use energy versus 39% for oil. November 13, 2000  Hubbertpeak.com 003742

The Olduvai Cliff Event: CA. 2007.   In November 2000, Richard C. Duncan, Ph.D., gave a talk to the Pardee Keynote Symposia, Geological Society of America, Summit 2000, The Peak of World Oil Production and the Road to the Oldavai Gorge.  The Olduvai theory states that the life-expectancy of Industrial Civilization, defined in terms of world energy use per capita, is less than or equal to 100 years. The peak of per capita energy use occurred in 1979 and declined from 1979 to 1999 (the 'slope'). The 'slide' was predicted for the year 2012. However, the recent epidemic of 'rolling blackouts' in California, due to a shortage of natural gas in North America -- will precipitate the Olduvai 'cliff event' worldwide (i.e. 'avalanche' or 'trigger') in ca. 2007. 272 new natural gas-powered generating units are now in construction or on order in the US. Using a natural gas model, the author showed that in 1999, US natural gas production, comprising 73.5% of the all North America production, peaked in 1971, and then gently sloped downward. Then from 2007 to 2040, US production falls by some 41% -- an average decline of 1.5%/year during 33 years. "The U.S. reserve level is barely more than half what it was when it peaked at 293 tcf in 1967, before starting a steady decline. ... offshore Gulf of Mexico reserves are being depleted at a rate of 25-30% per year of remaining reserves." (Parent, 2001) ... On the other hand, "US consumption of all primary sources of energy except nuclear power will increase this year. The biggest gainer will be natural gas, demand for which is expected to rise 2.4%." (Radler, 2001b, p. 67) The US Energy Information Agency (EIA) forecasts: US natural gas demand will increase by 62% during 1999-2020. President George W Bush said: "It's becoming very clear to the country that demand is outstripping supply, that there are more users of electricity and natural gas than there is new units being found, and we've got to do something about that." (quoted in Crow, 2001) Canada natural gas production in 1999 was 21.5% of North America production. Then from 1995 to 1999 production slowed to a rate of 2.1 %/year and, according to the model, will peak in 2005 at 6.1 Tcf. Then from 2005 to 2040, Canada production plunges by 86% -- an average drop of 4.3 %/year during 35 years. Mexico natural gas production in 1999 was 5.4% of North America production, peaking in 1982 at 1.3 Tcf,and decline through 1995. From 1995 to 1999 production grew by an average of 6.4 %/year, but is forecast to peak in 2011 at 1.5 Tcf and from 2011 to 2040 fall by 56% -- an average decline of 2.7 %/year for 29 years. However, "In 1994-99 demand for natural gas in Mexico had increased by 6% annually." In summary, North America natural gas production is forecast to peak in 2007 at 28.5 Tcf. Then from 2007 to 2040 production falls by 51%, i.e. an average decrease of 2.1 %/year during 33 years. The Golden State (California) leads the way down the road to the Olduvai Gorge. November 2000  dieoff web page 003088

After Oil.   The weightless economy still has dirty old oil pumping through its veins, as the recent fuel blockades demonstrated says David Fleming. In the next ten years, the growing demand for oil will permanently overtake a shrinking supply -- playing havoc with price. Why are western governments doing nothing to prepare? Only one country has the potential for a serious increase in output, on a scale which could make a difference. The bad news is: that country is Iraq. November 2000  Prospect 003735

Group Details Decline of Ecosystems.   The natural wealth of the world's ecosystems has declined by a third over the past 30 years, according to a recent World Wildlife Fund study, entitled The Living Planet Report 2000. Since 1961, the area of land mass and ocean needed to produce natural resources for consumers and to absorb carbon dioxide pollution has doubled. Between 1970 and 1999 there has been a decline in ecosystems by 12% in the forests, 50% in fresh waters, and 35% in the oceans. The pressure of mankind on nature had increased by about 50% over the same period and had now gone beyond the planet's ability to regenerate. "We have borrowed this planet from our children and our grandchildren," said Professor Ruud Lubbers, the former Dutch prime minister, and the Fund's international president. October 20, 2000  Associated Press 003750

Ecosystems Starve Along Tapped-Out Colorado.   Water in the Colorado River goes for fountains in Las Vegas, farms in California's Imperial Valley and swimming pools in Beverly Hills. Water is diverted along the way, or evaporates from the many reservoirs in its path; the result is that the river only reaches the Gulf of California in exceptionally wet years. Large parts of the Colorado River ecosystem are close to crashing catastrophically, according to a new Sierra Club report> compiled over several years by a grass-roots task force with participation from Colorado River basin states. Almost gone are the vast marshlands that once flourished at the mouth of the river, nourishing millions of birds. Gone are the massive floods that once cleansed and revitalized the Grand Canyon. The Sierra Club supports draining Lake Powell. However, the report doesn’t go that far. "Our strategy is more subtle than that," he said. "Some in the club will say we haven’t gone far enough, but we’re not preaching revolution. We’re preaching engagement." said task force chairman Steve Glazer. "The goal was to see if we could engage in the processes governing the river and improve the overall management for ecological, economic and social benefits" October 14, 2000  ENN/Sierra Club 003757


WFP Statistics Reveal Hunger Rate High in Africa.   Stats from the United Nations' World Food Program (WFP) have revealed the high prevalence of undernourishment in developing countries, including Liberia. Although there is enough food in the world to feed its five billion population, almost 200 million children under five are underweight due to malnutrition. Those countries with the highest undernourishment include Liberia, Sierra Leone, Niger, Chad, Central Africa Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and many more. Eleven countries have moderately high undernourishment. These countries include Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Congo (Brazzaville),Uganda, Namibia, Botswana and Lesotho. Between 20- 35% of the population is moderately undernourished. The WFP Hunger Map includes four categories of hunger, ranging down to 2.5% and below. About 800 million people have experienced going to bed with an empty stomach around the world. Most are women and children. According the WFP, one child dies every seven seconds from hunger and related causes. September 08, 2000  allAfrica.com 003765

U.S.: Californians Seek Silver Lining in Power Crisis.   California is becoming increasingly crowded and congested. Some are hoping rolling blackouts and higher utility bills will help keep the state's population in check to maintain a semblance of the famous California lifestyle. There are too many people in California. It's not good for the environment, the wildlife, or the farming community. High wholesale energy costs, a consumer rate cap and too few power plants being built in recent years led to the state's power crisis. But many residents and analysts believe it also is a symptom of a larger problem -- too many people and inadequate infrastructure to support them. California faces strained water supplies, jammed freeways, rising housing costs and overcrowded airports and urban schools. California is the nation's most populous state with 35 million residents, a 75% increase since 1970. Estimates say the state will add a population equivalent to that of Texas by 2040, swelling to 55 million people. Last year, in more than 50 of the state's 58 counties, antigrowth or slow-growth measures were on the ballot. 2000   003089

The Perfect Financial Storm? Energy and Power ... Water.   (scroll down about 1/3 of the page after clicking to this URL.) For the last two decades, investments in finding and producing energy, tankers to export oil, refineries for producing oil by-products, pipelines to transport it and power plants that utilize it have been under-funded and under-invested. The result is that we have run out of spare capacity in oil, natural gas and electricity. Matthew R. Simmons, President of Simmons & Company International, says that "Today's energy crisis is the equivalent of a Perfect Storm. ... The energy crisis is a convergence of pending shortages in all three forms of energy: oil, natural gas and electricity." Oil discovery peaked in the 1960's. Oil production peaked in the U.S. in 1971 and for rest of the world outside the Middle East in 1997. We are now finding only one barrel of oil for every four that we consume. The power shortages in the Midwest last summer and the current energy crisis in California are but the first tremors that are about to send shockwaves through the world's economic system. In addition to energy, fertile soil and water are of absolute importance to mankind's survival. We are seeing chronic water shortages around the globe in close to 40% of the world's population centers. Last year water ministers from around the world met at a summit in the Netherlands to discuss a pending water crisis. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, in its "Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About The Future With Non Government Experts," listed water problems as possible reasons for international tensions and war during the next 15 years. Water is more important in the Middle East than oil. 2000   003090

Calculate Your Ecological Footprint.   This is a very basic questionnaire to calculate a quick and relatively accurate Ecological Footprint for an individual living in the US.There are 13 questions divided into 3 sections (food, transportation, and housing). This application calculates from your answers your Ecological Footprint. The default answers represent North American averages.   October 15, 1999  Redefining Progress 000316

Canadian Tar Sands - Part 1.   The demand for Alberta's natural gas will increase as it replaces coal and heavy oil. Alberta is running out of conventional oil and has to turn to its tar sands and attempt to upgrade them to synthetic oil with less pollution. It takes 5 to 10 times the energy, area and water, to mine, process and upgrade tar sands than conventional oil. The tar sands contain about 1.7 trillion barrels of oil of which approximately 300 billion barrels are recoverable. The most common methods of extracting bitumen from the oil sands are surface mining and in place extraction. The mineable reserves lie under less than 75 meters of a layer of sand, gravel, and shale. The remaining reserves lie below 200 meters, and recovery is economical only by using in situ extraction technologies which refers to methods to extracting using a diluent such as natural gas condensate. 2 tonnes of oil sands must be mined to produce one barrel of light crude oil. Total production from the oil sands by 1996 reached approximately 445,000 bbls/day. In 1996, Alberta's oil sands provided close to 25% of Canada's liquid petroleum production. October 8, 2002  Gallon Environment Letter    004147

Blue Gold: Earth’s Liquid Asset: Water Will Become the Most Pressing Environmental Issue of This Century.   Consumption of freshwater is doubling every 20 years and new sources are becoming scarcer. 3 million people die each year of preventable water-borne diseases. 70% of all fresh water goes to grow food, and in parts of the US, North Africa and Asia, farmers take up to 95%. In the next 20 years population increases will need 17% more water to grow food. Deep aquifers are being pumped 10 times faster than they are being recharged and many have run dry. In many cases polluted water or sea water replaces the ground water, making it impossible to farm. Salt-tolerant crops are being developed to counter this. In Bangladesh, more than a million wells have been dug to tap into deep aquifers. But the water contained arsenic washed down from the Himalayas and up to 15 million people are being slowly poisoned. Tensions between people competing for water is escalating. Farmers compete directly with cities and industry for supplies. Major rivers are used for farm irrigation or industrial use until little is left to go out to sea. It takes 25,000 gallons of water to produce one car; a nuclear power station can use 30 million gallons of water a day and the US computer industry needs 400 billion gallons a year. In rapidly developing countries industrial needs are expected to grow 600% in the next 20 years. Sustainable development means thinking about stopping pollution before it reaches water sources and rethinking industrial processes. The worldwide water industry is expected to become a trillion- dollar-a-year operation within a decade. The only choice many countries have is to leave it to large northern corporations to manage - a politically and contentious route to take where people use little and believe that water is not a commodity from which anyone should profit. August 1, 2002    rw    003868

"We Are as Rich as Our Ability to Do Without."
Thoreau 004012


Sustainability News Headlines


Ice 'Meteors' Sign of Climate Change.   September 2002  Reuters      004126

Managing Planet Earth; Forget Nature. Even Eden is Engineered.   August 20, 2002  New York Times*      003843

The Introduction, Increase, and Crash of Reindeer on St. Matthew Island.   David R. Klein Alaska Coop Wildlife Research 1980?   005137

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