EPA.. International Update/EarthLink March-April 1996
The following is the March/April edition of the combined
International Update/EarthLink, a bi-monthly current awareness
newsletter produced by INFOTERRA/USA. International
Update/EarthLink provides information on international
environmental activities, publications and news of interest to
EPA staff and other environmental professionals. For more
information on these or other international environmental topics,
contact INFOTERRA in the EPA Headquarters Library at (202)
260-9357 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: We regret any inconvenience caused to those who received
the partial transmission of the combined International
Update/EarthLink last week.
The following is a bi-monthly update providing international
environmental news of interest to EPA staff. It includes
information from current news sources including journals,
newsletters and other publications. All items listed are
available for review in the EPA Headquarters Library. For more
information on these or other international environmental
topics, contact INFOTERRA in the EPA Headquarters Library at
(202) 260-5917 or e-mail email@example.com
**Viewpoints expressed in the following articles do not
necessarily reflect EPA policy. Mention of products does not
Why Macroeconomists And Environmentalists Need Each Other.
Finance & Development, December, 1995, p.46-47.
Based upon the proceedings of an International Monetary Fund
(IMF) seminar which occurred May 10-11, 1995, the article
analyzes how macroeconomists and environmentalists might
work together to improve some of the social, environmental, and
economic difficulties of Ecotopia, an imaginary developing
country. In addition to common sense solutions, such as
striving for macroeconomic stability while adopting sound
environmental policies, other recommendations were to explore
policies which promote both environmental and economic
efficiency and to develop more accurate environmental indicators
which can measure intangibles such as equity, health, and
Rich Nations Agree On Call For Action To Reduce Dangers Of Lead.
The New York Times, February 23, 1996, p. A4.
OECD Group Agrees To Control Lead, Create Chemical Release
Inventories. Daily Environment Report, February 23, 1996,
pp. A-7 - 9.
The 26 member nations of the Organization for Co-operation and
Economic Development (OECD), representing consumers of 65% of the
world's lead, signed an agreement implementing voluntary measures
to reduce the use of lead and create pollution registries in
member countries. EPA Administrator Carol Browner said, "It's
the first comprehensive approach to reducing the risks of lead.
We now have a recognition that we can protect children from the
damage of lead, a recognition that lead problems are
preventable." The OECD also adopted a resolution on improving
the environmental performance of the OECD and a recommendation on
improving the environmental performance of governments. **Note:
Text of the OECD Council Acts appear in Section E of the February
23rd Daily Environment Report.
OECD Assesses U.S. Environmentalism, Says Americans Should Pay
For Resources. Daily Environment Report, February 13, 1996,
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
issued its environmental performance review of the United States
(US), in which it concluded that Americans could improve
environmental protection by paying more taxes and user fees. The
report says drinking water could be made safer and water quality
improved for fishing and swimming with all costs of compliance
included in the price of water. The U.S. currently has
among the lowest water prices among OECD-member countries. The
report recommends reducing pollution by reducing the use of
private vehicles, and suggests higher fuel taxes, more mass
transit, commuter encouragement and public education. Increased
taxes on other forms of energy are recommended, in spite of the
difficulty of winning public acceptance. The report cites the
Toxic Release Inventory for successfully controlling pollution by
the chemical industry. Also, the report recommends that the
premanufacture notification system required by the Toxic
Substances Control Act be simplified and streamlined. The report
says the U.S. can make or break the success of global efforts to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions depending on how successfully its
own emissions are reduced. Voluntary emission controls
may not be enough "to significantly modify long-established
production and consumption patterns, based on abundant and cheap
How Clean Can You Get?. The Economist, February 17, 1996, p. 37.
Organization for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) members
met in Paris to discuss pollution. Briefing material prepared
for the meeting includes statistics indicating that the richer,
developed countries have been successful in reducing some of the
worst pollution problems, and that costs associated with these
gains have been small to date. For example: the production of
chlorofluorocarbons has been reduced by two-thirds in the last
ten years, sulphur oxide emissions have been reduced by a third
since 1980, emissions of lead, soot and carbon monoxide have also
fallen. While jobs have been lost in some industries, such as
mining, the environmental protection industry, worth
approximately $20 billion in 1990, has created jobs in the global
economy. The problems which remain however, including the
reduction of green house gas emissions, will be more difficult
and expensive to solve.
Failure To Curb Emissions Will Cause Dangerous Environmental
Changes, IPCC Says. International Environment Reporter,
January 10, 1996, pp. 3-4.
Climate Report Cuts Call For Strong Policies. Nature, Vol. 378,
December 21-28, 1995.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its
"Second Assessment Report" at the conclusion of its five day
meeting in December 1995. The report acknowledges that global
temperatures are not rising as rapidly as the approximately
three degrees Celsius estimated in the IPCC's 1990 "First
Assessment Report." Experts now estimate the rate at two
degrees Celsius. Despite this, the IPCC report warns of the
serious consequences of a failure to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, and clearly links human activities to global climate
change. The report also includes some policy options. Some
environmental groups have complained that references to strong
policy measures were removed as a result of criticism from oil
exporting countries and the United States. The synthesis and
report summaries are available on the World Wide Web at:
http://www.unep.ch/ipcc-0.html and http://www.wmo.ch/
Naturopa, No. 79, 1995.
In this issue of Naturopa, the Council of Europe has provided an
opportunity for seventeen European non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) to contribute articles on their organization's
objectives, and methods. Contributors are the Foundation for
Environmental Education, Task Force NGO Nature, EUROTER,
Environment for Europe, Regional Environmental Center for
Central and Eastern Europe, the League of Austrian Nature and
Mountain Surveillance Agencies, Valat Tower Biological Research
Station, Herpetological Conservation Trust, Greenpeace-Italy,
IUCN, WWF International Mediterranean Programme, Regional Natural
Area Conservatories (France), The National Trust for Scotland,
BirdLife International, Spanish Ornithological Society/BirdLife,
Swiss Nature Conservation League, and Alp Action.
**US-EU Environment Conference**
Regulatory Reform Would Be On Agenda At Proposed Trans-Atlantic
Conference. Daily Environment News, 5 February, 1996, p. A-1.
Although no conference agenda has yet been established for the
proposed United States-European Union (EU) trans-Atlantic
conference on the environment, EU Commissioner Ritt
Bjerregaard mentioned recently in Washington D.C. that
deregulation would be among the conference topics. As
preparation for the conference, currently slated for late 1997,
the EU plans to arrange for an air quality management workshop to
take place some time this year. Bjerregaard said that primary
issues for the EU in 1996 are environmental auditing,
innovative environmental protection strategies, ecolabeling,
enforcement, and economic compliance incentives.
European Proposal Reopens Debate Over Patenting Of Human Genes.
Nature, December 21-28, 1995, p. 756.
A new draft of a European Commission directive which would allow
patents on human genes and on genetically altered plants and
animals has been prepared under the direction of
Mario Monti, the Commissioner for the Internal Market and
Industrial Affairs. The European Parliament rejected a similar
directive last year because of resistance to the concept of
patenting human genes. Many pressure groups have reacted
unfavorably to the new proposal.
Cleaning Up The River Rhine. Scientific American, January 1996,
Details the successful cooperative efforts of the governments of
Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands to
improve the water quality of the Rhine River. The Rhine, like
the Mississippi River in the United States, is put to many uses
in the surrounding communities: hydroelectric dams, drinking
water, irrigation, water for industrial rinsing and cooling, as
well as transportation. By the early 1970's dozens of fish
species had disappeared from Rhine and use of the river as a
source of drinking water was being threatened as a result of
organic and inorganic pollution. Reclamation efforts began in
1953 when the five nations formed the International Commission
for the Protection of the Rhine against Pollution (IKSR). The
IKSR is responsible for monitoring pollution levels, typically
at the borders between states, and coordinating clean-up and
pollution prevention efforts. Discusses successful efforts to
reduce inorganic contaminants, maintain dissolved oxygen
levels at healthy levels, improve accident response, and monitor
the river's recovery.
Environmental Protection At Gatwick, Britain's Second Largest
Airport. Warmer Bulletin, 48, February 96, pp. 8-9.
Gatwick Airport, the eighth largest airport in the world, has
adopted a variety of methods of dealing with the 22 tons of waste
it creates every day. These methods include increasing
recycling, plans to decrease the quantity of waste going to
landfill by 10% a year until 1998, recovering waste oil, and
looking into improving public transportation so future passengers
will be able to leave their cars at home. The airport has also
implemented a wastewater treatment program using a reed bed
system for water purification to handle the airport's
hazardous substances, such as de-icing chemicals and aviation
Britain Goes To War Against The Car; Environmental Concerns Spark
Uprising. U.S. News and World Report, 120:3 (January 22, 1996),
There is a growing movement in Great Britain opposing new
road-building projects. Controversy erupted, for example, over
a proposed bypass for the town of Newbury. The protestors want
to preserve the countryside, nature reserves, and historical
sites. The British government has responded with a new plan to
reduce spending on roads by more than 60 percent (while leaving
the Newbury scheme intact). Protestors fear, however, that, in
these lean times, the British government will not redirect the
savings into public transportation.
America's Trees Are Dying,. Charles E. Little. Earth Island
Journal, Fall 95, pp. 24-26. (Adapted from Little's new book,
The Dying of the Trees: The Pandemic in America's Forests)
The trees are dying. From the cedars of Alaska to the palms of
Florida, the maples of New England to the pines of the Sierra
Nevada, the epidemic is everywhere. Trees are all around
us, but if one really "looks" they will see a world of dying
trees. This widespread destruction is the result of pests,
fungi, too much ozone in the troposphere and not enough in the
stratosphere, clearcutting of neighboring trees, industry, and
changing weather patterns. Even if we took significant radical
measures to save the trees, such as controlling the growing
population of the earth, it would take at least a century for
environmental repair to occur.
On Amazon, Christopher Stands Up For Environment. The Washington
Post, March 5, 1996, p. A9.
Secretary of State Warren Christopher has adopted protection of
the environment as a fundamental component of U.S. foreign
policy. "I am here because the United States recognizes that
protecting the environment is essential to the health, security
and prosperity of not only the American people but peoples all
around the world," he said during a recent trip to the Amazonian
rain forest in Brazil. Christopher's actions enhance President
Clinton's earlier work to incorporate environmental concerns into
national security issues.
Hog Heaven--And Hell; Pig Farming Has Gone High Tech, And That's
Creating New Pollution Woes. U.S. News and World Report, 120:3
(January 22, 1996) pp. 55-59.
Huge, corporate hog farms are replacing small, independent, hog
producers. The "hog factories" are maximizing their profits by
utilizing industrial-scale operations, highly-efficient
technology, and mass production methods. Swine farming on this
scale, as this article points out, creates many serious
environmental problems. Pollution problems include water
contamination, spillage from waste lagoons, and strong,
persistent odors that threaten the health of nearby residents.
Moving Forest Trees Into The Modern Genetics Era. Science,
February 9, 1996, pp. 760-761.
"Trees are uncooperative experimental organisms," according to
David Neale of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Institute of
Forest Genetics. Despite this, ongoing international research
has produced advances in gene mapping techniques in the last five
years that are enabling scientists to surmount various problems
with using trees as genetic engineering subjects. Among the
difficulties are the large size of a tree genome, and the lengthy
generation time of trees. New procedures have been developed for
identifying genetic markers, which can then be easily mapped.
These procedures will also allow scientists and breeders to
screen for markers at every stage of tree development to
determine if desirable traits have been passed on. Eventually,
the markers will allow for the identification of genes
carrying desirable traits for cloning and use in genetic
engineering. This research has the potential for a variety of
commercial benefits including faster growing trees, improved
disease, cold and drought resistance varieties, as well as
improved fruit and fiber content.
Ambio, Vol. XXIV, No. 7-8, December 1995.
This Ambio special issue on Research and Capacity Building for
Sustainable Coastal Management presents the results of some of
the research supported by the Swedish International Development
Cooperation Agency through bilateral assistance and a regional
scientific program in Eastern Africa. Much of the research
focuses on complex management problems related to fisheries,
aquaculture, pollution, environmental degradation, and erosion.
Current Trends In Environmental Education And Public Awareness In
Guyana. Paulette Bynoe and Walter Leal Filho. Environmental
Education and Information, Vol. 14 (4), Oct.-Dec. 95, pp. 351-360.
Guyana, the only English speaking country in South America, is a
country of numerous natural resources. At present environmental
education is being introduced at the primary and secondary levels
of the education system. In 1990 the Guyana Agency for Health
Science's Education, Environment and Food Policy (GAHEF) launched
an environmental education program to develop greater awareness
of the environment and increase community participation. Other
contributors to the environmental education movement are
described, but despite these, the level of environmental
education and public awareness in Guyana remains quite low.
Educating For Sustainable Development: An Overview Of
Environmental Education Programmes In The Caribbean.
Calvin A. Howell. Environmental Education and Information,
Vol. 14 (4), pp. 419-432.
Discusses some of the programs implemented in English-speaking
Caribbean to promote awareness and positive behavior towards the
environment. These include formal education programs as well as
non-traditional approaches to promote proper management of
natural resources. However, formal curricula changes to include
environmental courses have not been fully accepted. Progress has
been made in the non-formal sector, resulting in increasing
levels of public awareness and appreciation for the environment.
The Billion-Car Accident Waiting To Happen. World Watch,
January-February, 1996, pp. 24-33.
Although the world's population has doubled since the 1950s, the
number of cars on the planet has increased tenfold. Current
predictions estimate that within 25 years there may be one
billion cars in use. "Automania" is being fueled by improving
living standards in populous countries. Car ownership is
commonly considered to be a symbol of wealth, even in countries
where the infrastructure may not include parking lots or paved
The environmental impact of maintaining so many cars could be
disastrous as the air becomes more polluted and as more arable
land is used for parking lots instead of agriculture. The
author posits that governments should invest in mass transit
instead of highways and roadways, making mobility and freedom
available to citizens without requiring them to buy cars.
Governments should also do all they can to make cars
unaffordable, perhaps taxing cars, fuel, and highways, and should
invest in urban planning schemes that allow people to conduct all
the activities of a day within a short distance from home.
UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES
Notices regarding the following international
conferences have been sent to INFOTERRA during the last few
months. Notification is received through the mail and over
the Internet. The list below is not comprehensive; INFOTERRA
maintains a fairly large file of conference announcements. If
you have any questions abut the conferences listed below,
or would like to consult our conference file, please contact the
INFOTERRA office at (202) 260-5917 or send an email request to:
First Annual "Environment on the Net" Conference
Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, Washington
May 9-10, 1996
This conference is being organized by Law Seminars
International and the Environmental Industry Web Site. Its
purpose is to provide a forum for creative ideas for use
of the Internet for environmental collaboration, outreach, and
research. There is more information available at the
Environmental Industry's web site:
United Nations Conference on Human Settlements: HABITAT II
June 3-14, 1996
The purposes of HABITAT II are to promote new strategies for
urban management and to underscore the investment opportunities
in infrastructure and services. The involvement of local
authorities in conference activities is being solicited.
Seventh International Conference on Statistical and Mathematical
Models in the Environmental Sciences
Sao Paulo, Brazil
July 22-26, 1996
Organized by The International Environmetrics Society
(TILES), the Institute of Mathematics, and the Institute of
Advanced Studies of the University of Sao Paulo, the scope
of this conference includes application of various statistical
and mathematical methods to environmental issues such as climatic
change, water and air quality, waste management, environmental
economics, and education in environmetrics.
Sixteenth Symposium on Chlorinated Dioxins and Related Compounds
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
August 12-16, 1996
DIOXIN '96 will focus on the necessity of further reductions
in exposure to dioxins. The symposium will address well known
sources of dioxin, such as chlorinated dioxins and
biphenyls, but also related compounds: halogenated pesticides
and herbicides, terphenyls, naphthalenes, chlorophenols,
chlorobenzenes, chlorobenzyltoluenes, and toxaphenes.
Environmental Management: Tracking Progress Linking Environment
and Economy through Indicators and Accounting Systems
University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
September 30-October 3, 1996
The purpose of this conference is to bring together
stakeholders and experts in measuring environmental change
through both biophysical and economic analysis.
Conference discussions will focus on "environmental indicators
and accounting techniques at national, state, regional and local
levels as well as at the level of individual
companies/organizations and industry sectors."
APO Conference on Green Productivity: In Pursuit of New
Strategies for Better Quality of Life
October 4-6, 1996
Organized by the Asian Productivity Organization and the
Development Academy of the Philippines, some of the objectives of
this conference include: clarifying the roles of various
promoters of green productivity; encouraging the dissemination of
cost-effective pollution prevention and control techniques, and
discussing the implications of ISO14000 on green productivity.
Second International Symposium on Environmental Software Systems:
Delta Whistler Resort, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
April 28-May 2, 1997
The symposium will discuss progress and trends in the
development of environmental software systems. Topics will
include monitoring measurement networks, applications methods,
waste management remote sensing, modeling and simulation, global
changes, and ecosystem research.
UNEP PRESS RELEASES
Biodiversity Secretariat Open for Business in Montreal
--Montreal, 15 February 1996. The secretariat for the
Convention on Biological Diversity moved in February from Jakarta
to the World Trade Centre in Montreal. The secretariat is now
preparing for the September 2-6 session of the Subsidiary Body on
Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) and the
November 4-15 meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the
Convention (COP-3). These two meetings must try to find common
ground on issues such as requiring member governments to monitor
genetic resources, encouraging sound environmental technology,
and determining how to measure the movement of each country
toward its commitment to the treaty.
The Convention on Biological Diversity was first negotiated
in 1992, and currently 139 countries and the European Union are
parties to it. Other agenda items for 1996 include research into
the transfer, handling, and use of biogenetically engineered
Danish Agency to Sponsor UNEP Innovative Education Programme in
Asia and Pacific
--Bangkok, 20 February 1996. The Danish Cooperation Agency
for Environment and Development (DANCED) is sponsoring a two-year
project to encourage innovation in teaching and research on
environment management (TREM) at approximately 60 universities
in Thailand and Malaysia. Established through NETTLAP, UNEP's
Network for Environmental Training at the Tertiary Level in Asia
and the Pacific, the project's purpose is to create an
inter-university TREM network in Thailand and Malaysia. NETTLAP
currently links over 200 institutions active in environmental
training and education in 36 countries in the Asia-Pacific
Did You Know...?
INFOTERRA supports environmental awareness programs around
the world. For example, we recently provided the Flemish Centre
for Best Available Technologies (BBT) with a number of EPA
publications which will supplement their newly established
environmental information disseminatino program.
The Flemish government established the BBT on January 1,
1995. The goal is to collect and disseminate information about
currrent clean technology to both the government and industry.
This three year project is being carried out by VITO, the Flemish
institute for technological research. In conjunction with the
Centre, VITO is also responsible for the establishment of the
Energy and Environment Information System (EMIS). EMIS will
collect and disseminate information about energy and
environmental issues to the government, industry, and the
population at large. The EMIS database is linked to the
International Energy Agency's bibliographic database, the
International Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDE). In
addition to bibliographical references, however, EMIS will
include other databases, such as Organization Profiles, Events,
Legislation, Programmes, and the EMIS Bulletin Board. For more
information, consult INFOTERRA's vertical file, under
Are YOU involved in EPA's efforts to improve the global
The EPA frequently responds to requests from around the
world for information and expertise on all aspects of
environmental protection. If your office is working with a
foreign government or international organization to improve the
state of the world's environment, you can publicize your
activities in International Update. Send your submissions or
suggestions to INFOTERRA at mail code 3404, or via e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please
call (202) 260-9357.
INFOTERRA is located in the EPA Headquarters Library. We
are open from 10-2, Monday through Friday. Our reference desk
may be reached from 9-3, Monday through Friday, at (202) 260-5917
or by fax at (202) 260-3923. Any e-mail correspondence should be
sent to email@example.com.
Head Librarian: Linda Nainis
Reference Librarians: Terri King; Linda Tripp
EP3 Librarian: Joy Siegel
CONAMA Librarian (Acting): Linda Nainis