31
Mrz
2004

RICH NATIONS GOBBLING RESOURCES AT AN UNSUSTAINABLE RATE

Source: Copyright 2004, Environment News Service
Date: March&nbsp30,&nbsp2004

OAKLAND, California, March 30, 2004 (ENS) – Excessive consumption by the world’s richest nations is making life even more difficult for the world’s least fortunate, according to a new report by Redefining Progress. The U.S. based research group says the wealthiest nations are depleting global resources at an unprecedented rate – with the United States leading the way – and are mortgaging the future at the expense of today’s children, the poor and the long term health of the planet.

The 2004 Footprint of Nations analyzes the ecological impact of more than 130 countries, demonstrating to what extent a nation can support its resource consumption with its available ecological capacity.

Redefining Progress's prior reports have focused on the dangers of overusing our natural resources and the effect on future generations. For the first time, this year's report documents the current impact of overconsumption on the world's most vulnerable populations.

"This measure speaks for those with the least power in today's world: children, the poor, the environment, and future generations," said Michel Gelobter, executive director of Redefining Progress. "These are groups with little or no voice in the political system or the economy, but whose resources are being compromised. When we ignore their plight, we undermine our collective future."

The report uses ecological footprint accounts to provide a measurable estimate of humanity’s pressure on global ecosystems – to determine an ecological footprint, the organization measures the biologically productive area required to produce the food and wood people consume, to supply space for infrastructure, and to absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide emitted from burning fossil fuels.

The accounts are composed of six factors: energy use, grazing land, pastureland, fisheries, built land and forests.

Redefining Progress expresses ecological footprint in terms of global acres, with each global acre corresponding to one acre of biologically productive space with world average productivity.

Previous reports found that consumption exceeds the Earth’s biological capacity by some 15 to 20 percent – the 2004 update “indicates that the situation has remained fundamentally unchanged except for one notable exception in the case of the United States.”

“In 2000, the United States became the country with the largest per capita ecological footprint on the planet,” according to the report.
The U.S. footprint is 23.7 acres per capita – a sustainable footprint would be 4.6 acres.

The organization measures the global ecological footprint at 5.6 global acres per capita.

The United Arab Emirates ranks second with 22.2 acres per capita and Canada third with 21.1 acres.

Developing countries such as Bangladesh and Mozambique represent the other end of the scale – these nations have footprints of 1.3 acres per capita.

On a per capita basis the average footprint has declined by 1.2 acres over the past 20 years – largely because many areas of production have become more efficient - but this decrease is offset by population growth.

Even a developing nation with a small per capita footprint can have a very large overall footprint when its population grows rapidly.

These problems are compounded as wealthy nations continue to grow their economies by exploiting the resources and economic potential of their impoverished neighbors, the report finds.

Unsustainable consumption and population play a big part in the size of a nation's footprint - much of an industrialized nation's ecological impact is due to the use of fossil fuels. The report details that shifting to renewable energy can dramatically lessen a country's footprint.

Sustainable modes of production and consumption and attention to social equity can help decrease national footprints and improve quality of life around the world, according to the public policy organization.


For Additional Information:
(may become dated as article ages)

Redefining Progress has calculated ecological footprints for more than 130 countries and numerous regions as well as an increasing number of municipalities and businesses. Individuals can calculate their own footprint in seven languages at: http://www.myfootprint.org


Originally posted at:

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/mar2004/2004-03-30-10.asp


http://www.climateark.org/articles/reader.asp?linkid=30579

Air Travel 'Of Enormous Concern' for Global Warming

By Amanda Brown, Environment Correspondent, PA News

The growth of air travel and its impact on global warming is “an issue of enormous concern”, the Government’s chief scientific adviser warned today.

Sir David King, who earlier this year sparked controversy when he said climate change was a more serious threat to the planet than terrorism, told an all-party committee of MPs: “It is not perhaps unusual that the (aviation) industry would like to continue in a relatively unregulated fashion.”

He added that he believed this was “an issue of enormous concern in terms of climate change”.

Sir David also highlighted difficulties with aviation tax.

Aircraft fumes containing carbon dioxide are a major contributor to atmospheric pollution and a worsening of the greenhouse effect with extreme weather conditions such as storms, drought and flooding.

Sir David said mankind has the power to tackle the problem, but politics is a problem as far as air travel is concerned.

He told the Commons Environmental Audit Committee: “The issue of aviation is very important.

“Of course it is complicated but I don’t think because an issue is complicated, we should avoid the consequences.

“Aviation around the world is a continually growing industry and it depends critically on fossil fuel burning.

“So without going into the details, we can see that there is a net negative effect in terms of global warming.

“There are complex factors arising from water vapour production at different levels. But if we just look at carbon dioxide emissions, that in itself is a major contributory factor to our net emissions problem.

“No single country can resolve this problem. If aviation fuel tax were introduced in one country, planes would simply fly off to another to fill up.

“So it is another complex international issue and I’m afraid that as soon as I see a complex international issue, we are up against buffers and longer timescales.”

Sir David said climate change was already “irreversible”, but the Antarctic ice sheet could take about 1,000 years to melt.

He added that while the Greenland ice sheet could melt in between 50 and 200 years, sea levels could rise by six or seven metres, causing flooding over London.

“It is all happening now and it is a process that has already begun. The best way to deal with it is not to test it out. Don’t go there, keep CO2 levels down,” added Sir David.

He said that Europe is “absolutely on target” with its carbon dioxide reductions and should hold on to it without any “weakening of the knees”.

But simply “preaching” to the developing world about the need to cut back on emissions “won’t work,” he said.

©2004 Scotsman.com


Informant: NHNE

BIPARTISAN HOUSE BILL TAKES AIM AT GLOBAL WARMING

Environment News Service
March 31, 2004

http://www.climateark.org/articles/reader.asp?linkid=30615

WASHINGTON, DC. - A bipartisan coalition of 20 U.S. Representatives introduced Tuesday a companion bill to Senator John McCain and Joe Lieberman's Climate Stewardship Act. The bill, cosponsored by Maryland Republican Wayne Gilchrest and Massachusetts Democrat John Olver, would require some sectors of the U.S. economy to enact mandatory reductions of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions -- the leading greenhouse gas.

The bill would set a nationwide cap on industrial emissions of C02 and reduce those emissions down to 2000 levels by 2010 through an emissions trading system.

It does not address the C02 emissions from the nation's automobiles, which represent some 20 percent of the U.S. total.

With roughly four percent of the world's population, United States is responsible for more than 25 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Higher temperatures caused by the increased levels of greenhouse gases are expected to result in rising sea levels, the melting of the polar ice caps, erratic and severe weather patterns, northward migration of tropical diseases and a host of other environmental problems that could have far reaching impacts.

Environmentalists praised the move, even though the legislation has little chance of passing the House of Representatives.

"The announcement of House legislation to limit heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution reflects building momentum in the United States for responsible action to address global warming," said Brooks Yeager of the World Wildlife Fund.

McCain, an Arizona Republican, and Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat, have reintroduced the bill in the Senate. It was defeated in the Senate last October by a vote of 53 to 44, but supporters of the legislation said the vote was a watershed moment in the U.S. debate over the issue of global warming.

It was the first action on the issue by the Senate in six years.

At a hearing on the bill earlier this month, McCain described the legislation as "an incredibly modest proposal. But," he said, "we need a beginning."


Informant: NHNE

EUROPE'S COLD SWEAT OVER KYOTO

Christian Science Monitor
March 30, 2004

http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0330/p08s03-comv.html

The erratic weather of recent years in Europe, from devastating floods to lengthy heat waves, has convinced many on the Continent that human-induced climate change is no mere theory.

Then why are so many European Union leaders getting cold feet about doing something about global warming?

Because despite the change in weather patterns and Europe's green rhetoric, the EU faces a reality check on March 31, the day each member nation must submit a plan for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

The projected costs, as well as the likely loss of economic competitiveness with the United States, has the EU wondering if it can virtually go it alone in implementing the Kyoto Protocols on climate change. The protocol has yet to take effect as a binding treaty since the US and Russia won't sign on, and China and India were given a pass for now.

In Germany, the EU's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the government has been in a crisis over details of its plan. Last week at an EU summit, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder asked the body to slow down implementation but was rebuffed by France. All he won was a request for a cost-benefit study on "environmental and competitiveness considerations" in meeting Kyoto's strict targets.

No EU government had submitted a plan by last week, although seven of the 15 have drafts. Many governments are as troubled as Germany's, with the result that the European Commission sent out a warning that failure to submit a plan on time could result in legal action and fines.

The required plans are only for setting up an official trading system that would allow companies to buy and sell permits to emit greenhouse gases, starting in 2005. Each government would be given emission allowances which could be traded in a market system. A company could either meet a target or else purchase a "credit" from cleaner companies and keep on polluting.

The scheme is designed to meet the EU's promise of cutting greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels by 8 percent of 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

But Europe's auto and electric industries recently warned of a slowdown in growth if they are forced to invest in clean energy technologies. The warnings come as the EU has acknowledged that it's falling further behind in its plan to match the US in productivity, employment, and growth.

Those kinds of warnings about slow growth are what compelled the US Senate, and President Bush, to reject Kyoto. If Europe now backpedals, the global effort to influence climate change will be driven mainly by the market, as car buyers and the auto industry choose to become less polluting. And Europe will lose its claim to global leadership in pushing Kyoto.

It could just be that government inducements, such as tax credits, may be preferable over tough regulation on greenhouse gases. But then, would that pace of change be fast enough to slow down climate change? The science is not clear yet on whether the temperature trend could be reversed even if the whole world went full bore to reaching Kyoto's targets.

At the least, this EU debate over Kyoto's trade-offs will set a useful
precedent for the rest of the world on whether it too can balance economic sacrifice against a collective will to curb human changes to Earth's atmosphere.


Informant: NHNE

Environmental Pioneer Decries Bush Environmental Damage

March 31, 2004

A major new book explains why global efforts have failed to curb the world's most serious environmental threats -- and lays a large share of the blame at the feet of the Bush Administration.

"I think the biggest problem we have in facing these issues is the lack of U.S. leadership. In fact, what we've had is negative leadership," said longtime environmental leader Gus Speth, author of Red Sky at Morning. Now dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Speth offers eight approaches that can deter global environmental deterioration, as well as an analysis of why most efforts thus far have failed.

One of the pioneers of the modern environmental movement, Speth was co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental advisor to President Jimmy Carter, founder of the environmental think tank World Resources Institute, and CEO of the UN Development Programme.

Speth described to BushGreenwatch a pattern of obstructionist policies throughout the Bush tenure that have impeded global efforts to address pressing environmental issues such as climate change, renewable energy development, fossil fuel emissions, population measures and depletion of the ozone layer.

Rather than join with European nations to forge agreements on how nations can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, combat global warming, thwart further depletion of the ozone layer or reduce exposure to toxic chemicals, the Bush administration has chosen policies that curry favor with industry, Speth said.

"I think they've been more concerned about their own future from the outset," he said, "their own political future, rather than the public's future and our country's future. In my judgment this is really reprehensible."

Specifically, Speth criticized the Bush administration for:

-Backing out of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce man's contribution to global climate change, and breaking "his own campaign commitment to a bill that would have regulated carbon dioxide emissions," a major contributor to global warming.

-Opposing multinational efforts to reach goals on renewable energy development at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.

-Attempting to water down an international treaty to strictly limit or eliminate exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and "dragging its feet" on getting the treaty ratified.

-Opposing legislation put forward by Senators McCain and Lieberman that would establish a federal goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

-Blocking support for international population program measures because of pressure from the right to life movement.

-Seeking massive exemptions from a successful international treaty to reduce production of methyl bromide (a potent ozone-depleting chemical). This would reverse U.S. progress on the problem, and has caused international anger.

Perhaps the most egregious acts of the Bush Administration have been in the area of U.S. energy policy and the failure to support the Kyoto Protocol, Speth said. Not only did the U.S. pull out of this historic agreement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but doing so has delayed Russian ratification, and will likely deter European nations from participating in the latter phases of the treaty, he said.

"This is huge in historic terms," said Speth. "We are rapidly losing our chance to prevent extremely serious and costly climate disruption. We haven't acted on this problem, and the U.S. is the biggest culprit. If we don't tackle this problem now we will reap very serious consequences."


http://www.bushgreenwatch.org/mt_archives/000085.php

Wie lange hält unser Planet das noch aus?

Neue Kommunikationstechnologien, die Funkerei und die Schnüffelei auf allen Frequenzen, Elektromagnetische Waffen?! Wie lange hält unser Planet das noch aus?

Nachricht von Gerd Ernst Zesar


Hamburger Abend-Blatt
http://www.abendblatt.de/daten/2004/03/29/278533.html

Mittwoch, 31. März 2004

Aus aller Welt

Gespenstisch - ein Dorf steht unter Strom

Ausnahmezustand: Autos und Möbel brennen, Handys wählen, Fernseher schalten sich ein - alles wie von Geisterhand. Forscher rätseln: Welche geheimnisvolle Energie versetzt Canneto di Caronia auf Sizilien in Angst?

Von Andreas Englisch

Canneto di Caronia - Es ist nichts Außergewöhnliches zu sehen oder zu hören an diesem Abend an der sizilianischen Nordküste zwischen Messina und Palermo. Und doch geschieht Unglaubliches. Exakt um 21.16 Uhr fährt Antonio Siracusano mit seinem Fiat Fiorino über die Küstenstraße 113 an dem Dorf Canneto di Caronia vorbei. Als der Wagen in die Via del Mare einbiegt, beginnt das Auto plötzlich ohne jede Erklärung zu hupen. Antonio Siracusano hält an und steigt aus, um nachzusehen, was geschehen ist. Das rettet ihm sein Leben. Augenblicke später steht der Wagen in Flammen und explodiert.

Zur gleichen Zeit will Nino Pezzino etwa 500 Meter entfernt seinen Fiat Punto in der Nähe der Via del Mare parken. Bevor er den Motor abstellt, hat er gerade noch Zeit, sich darüber zu wundern, dass das Navigationssystem in seinem Auto seltsame Töne von sich gibt. Dann fährt eine Stichflamme aus dem Gerät. Nino Pezzino erleidet Verbrennungen. Die Windschutzscheibe zerspringt durch die Hitze.

Um 21.18 Uhr an diesem Abend registriert die Zentrale der italienischen Telecom, dass im Gebiet um Canneto di Caronia alle dort zugelassenen Handys beginnen, nicht existierende Telefonnummern zu wählen. Die Handys senden dabei über Frequenzen, die Mobiltelefone normalerweise gar nicht benutzen können.

Um 21.20 Uhr geht Paolo Pizzuto mit seinem Hund Edmondo in der Nähe der Via del Mare am Strand entlang. Er wundert sich plötzlich über einen seltsamen Geruch, dann erschrickt er zu Tode: Seine mit Metalldrähten verstärkten Schuhe stehen in Flammen, das rechte Hosenbein brennt. Pizzuto erleidet schwere Verletzungen. Für seinen Hund endet der Abend tragisch: Er läuft am Strand entlang und fällt plötzlich tot um. Der Tierarzt diagnostiziert später einen Herzinfarkt.

Um 21. 24 Uhr ereignet sich vor den Augen des Physik-Professors Giuseppe Maschio, einem Beauftragten für Katastrophenschutz der italienischen Regierung, das rätselhafteste Ereignis seines Lebens. Er baut gerade in einem Haus in der Via del Mare, dessen Stromversorgung unterbrochen wurde, batteriegetriebene Messgeräte in einem Raum auf, der bis auf einen Stuhl mit Metallsprungfedern völlig leer ist. Plötzlich ist das Zimmer hell erleuchtet, der Stuhl steht in Flammen und ist wenig später ein Haufen Asche.

Was um Himmels willen geht in Canneto di Caronia vor sich? Treibt dort ein Poltergeist sein Unwesen?

"Da draußen ist irgendetwas", sagt Professor Maschio - und deutet aufs Meer, während die Kameras des italienischen Fernsehens ihn an diesem Tag filmen. "Irgendetwas da draußen sorgt dafür, dass sich hier ein unfassbar starkes Magnetfeld aufbauen kann, ein Feld, das so stark ist, dass ich nicht für möglich gehalten hätte, dass es auf diesem Planeten Erde existiert."

Die Autowerkstätten von Canneto di Caronia haben am nächsten Tag viel zu tun: Autofahrer kommen nicht mehr in ihre Fahrzeuge, weil die Fernbedienungen für ihre Türschlösser von allein ihren Funk-Code geändert.

Die Vorgänge, die sich an diesem Abend des 19. Februar ereigneten, lassen der Regierung in Rom keine andere Wahl mehr: Sie verhängt über das Dorf Canneto di Caronia den Ausnahmezustand. Die Häuser der betroffenen Zone werden geräumt, die Straßen abgesperrt, die Bewohner in Notunterkünften untergebracht. Ein Untersuchungsausschuss muss sich mit der Frage beschäftigen: Was passiert in Canneto di Caronia?

Begonnen hatten die rätselhaften Vorgänge bereits am 24. Januar: In der Wohnung von Nino Pezzino an der Via del Mare stand plötzlich der Sicherungskasten in Flammen. Noch am selben Tag ersetzte die italienische Stromgesellschaft den ausgebrannten Apparat durch eine moderne Sicherungsanlage. Doch noch am Abend, gegen 20.30 Uhr, brannte auch diese aus. Gleichzeitig fingen elektrische Geräte in 29 Häusern in Canneto di Caronia Feuer.

Die Stromgesellschaft versuchte tags darauf alle Schäden zu reparieren. Doch der Spuk hörte nicht auf: In den kommenden Tagen bis zum 8. Februar brannten immer wieder elektrische Geräte. Dann wusste sich die Stromgesellschaft Enel nicht anders zu helfen und schaltete in dem Dorf den Saft ab. Fachleute der Enel untersuchen die Häuser ohne Strom. Dabei filmten sie ein unfassbares Phänomen: Fernseher schalteten sich ein, Stereoanlagen begannen, laute Musik in die Gassen der dunklen Stadt zu dröhnen, Glühbirnen leuchteten auf, bis der Glühdraht durchbrannte - und das alles ohne Strom.

Am 9. Februar sicherte eine Einheit des Zivil- und Katastrophenschutzes das Dorf. Sie sollte die Frage klären: Was geht hier vor? Am 11. Februar trafen von Rom beauftragte Fachleute ein: Physik-Professoren der Universitäten Palermo und Turin. Sie bauten in dem Dorf große Messgeräte auf. Eine Sonderabteilung der Forschungsstation des nahe gelegenen Vulkans Ätna untersuchte, ob Phänomene aus dem Inneren der Erde die seltsamen Ereignisse in Canneto di Caronia auslösen. Die Wissenschaftler kamen aber zu keinem Ergebnis.

Der Chef der Untersuchungen der Universität Palermo, Giovanni Gregori, glaubt, es handle sich um ein Phänomen ähnlich dem Nordlicht, nur tausendfach stärker. Gregori: "Es kann ein Phänomen sein wie das Sankt-Elms-Feuer oder etwas, das einem Kugelblitz ähnelt. Aber besonders plausibel ist das zugegebenermaßen nicht."

Die Hochschule Turin widersprach prompt. Der Astrophysiker Gianni Comoretto, Experte für elektrische Ladungen, sagte: "Es gibt auf der Erde kein Nordlicht, das so stark ist, dass es einen Stuhl in Brand setzen könnte. Wissenschaftlich ist nie bewiesen worden, ob so etwas wie ein Kugelblitz überhaupt existiert."

Die Staatsanwaltschaft Messina ermittelt gegen unbekannt und schaltete den militärischen Abschirmdienst Sismi ein. Aber auch die Militärs haben keine Erklärung, nur einen Verdacht: Kann irgendeine Nation der Welt heimlich eine gewaltige Maschine gebaut haben, eine völlig neue Art U-Boot, das über einen neuen Antrieb verfügt, der ein gigantisches Magnetfeld aufbaut? Aber was sollte diese Maschine dann immer wieder ausgerechnet an der Küste von Canneto di Caronia wollen? Ist der Grund, dass dort unten Süßwasserquellen am Meeresgrund entspringen?

Strahlungsforscher Giuseppe Maschio von der Uni Messina: "Sicher ist nur, dass dieses Magnetfeld, woher immer es kommen mag, so stark ist, dass es die Gesundheit der Menschen gefährdet. Vielleicht muss Canneto di Caronia ganz geräumt werden."

erschienen am 29. März 2004 in Aus aller Welt

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