|The Week That Was
August 5, 2000
The Week That Was August 5, 2000 brought to you by SEPP
Apropos our recent false virus alarm, here is amends:
"You have just received the "Honor Virus"
And talking about viruses
WEST NILE VIRUS RETURNS TO NY
And we are having such a cold summer. NY is spraying against mosquitoes with exotic pesticides, abandoning Malathion after last year's enviro protests. But several groups have already filed lawsuits. Last year, seven died; if there are more deaths, public opinion may turn against the enviros.
EU TO DETERMINE COMPLIANCE REGIME
European Union ministers recently announced that countries would face financial penalties unless greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets are met. Negotiations will take place later this year to determine the rules for complying with the Kyoto Protocol.
The Kyoto Protocol mandates that industrialized countries cut GHG emissions, specifically carbon dioxide (CO2), by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by between 2008 and 2012. Right now, concern for how this commitment is going to be enforced is mounting among international officials. The penalty for non-compliance will be decided by the parties to the United Nations climate change convention COP-6 in The Hague in November.
In a recent statement after a meeting in Luxembourg, the ministers said that the EU is searching for a compliance regime that will discourage non-compliance and will compensate for damage to the Environment. The compliance regime will include fines for non-compliance, with the money collected through fines to be paid into a fund to support projects to reduce GHG emissions.
Officials said the negotiations are difficult because the United States and other countries are pushing for a less stringent approach to emissions reductions.
GORE'S ENERGY INITIATIVE
Gore's new proposal would create an "Energy Security and Environment
Trust," setting aside $68 billion of the budget surplus to finance
clean energy projects by power companies, such as new technologies for
cleaner-burning coal-fired power plants.
The vice president said his plan "will offer a menu of financial
mechanisms such as tax incentives, loans, grants, bonds, or other financial
instruments to those power plants and industries that come forward with
projects that promise to dramatically reduce climate and health-threatening
But Philip E. Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust, was
more skeptical. "Incentive plans are fine, but it is essential that
the Clean Air Act be strengthened with clear standards to guarantee that
Americans are protected from the serious health problems caused by air
pollution, like the rise in rates of childhood asthma," Clapp said.
Many environmentalists have endorsed legislation offered by Rep. Henry
Waxman, D-Calif., and Sen. James Jeffords, R-Vt., that would set new limits
on emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, mercury and carbon dioxide,
the four primary pollutants of concern emitted by power plants.
ENVIROS OUT IN THE COLD?
Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader is wooing the Sierra Cub and Friends of the Earth (which federal law permits to endorse candidates). According to Inside EPA, FOE alleges that Gores campaign staff threatened to deny them access to the White House and policy discussions with top environmental officials under a Gore administration if they do not support his campaign. (In the primary race, FOE supported Gore opponent Bill Bradley.)
Apparently, threats do work. The Sierra Club has decided to endorse Gore. He is now wooing Friends of the Earth, which endorsed his rival Bradley earlier.