[GRRN] [earthsystems.org News] August 22, 2000

From: Shay Mitchell (shay@earthsystems.org)
Date: Tue Aug 22 2000 - 15:59:10 EDT

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    earthsystems.org news Volume 2 Issue 33

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    Water at the North Pole: This weekend a Harvard oceanographer
    reported that on a recent trip to the North Pole he discovered water
    where sheets of ice 6 to 9 feet deep should be.

    (Also see story below)


    Do you think the discovery of water at the North Pole signals
    climate change accelerated by human activities?




    For the first time in perhaps 50 million years, the thick ice
    covering the North Pole has melted, opening up an ice-free stretch of
    ocean about a mile wide, according to scientists who recently visited
    the scene. The melting is being seen by many as further evidence
    that climate change is upon us. James McCarthy, a Harvard
    oceanographer and scientist with the Intergovernmental Panel on
    Climate Change, reported the news after serving as a lecturer on a
    tourist cruise aboard an icebreaker earlier this month. On a similar
    cruise six years ago, McCarthy says the ship plowed through ice six
    to nine feet thick at the North Pole. The Arctic Sea ice cover has
    shrunk by about 40 percent since the 1950s. Iceland and other
    Sub-Arctic regions are also warming noticeably.

    straight to the source: New York Times, John Noble Wilford, 08.19.00


    straight to the source: Washington Post, DeNeen L. Brown, 08.20.00


    straight to the source: San Francisco Chronicle, Colin Woodard, 08.21.00


    On the first Tuesday of every month, hundreds of "Ciclistas
    Furiosos," or enraged bicyclists, take to the streets of Santiago,
    Chile. Riding as slowly as possible, waving flags, and blowing
    whistles, they tangle up traffic to protest the city's dirty air,
    caused in large part by cars. The group, which began seven years ago
    and now boasts 5,000 members, emulates similar movements in the U.S.
    and Europe and aims to get people out of their cars. The cyclists
    are hopeful that Chile's new Socialist president, Roberto Lagos, will
    be more receptive to their calls for bike paths and car-free days
    than the previous administration of Eduardo Frei.

    straight to the source: Christian Science Monitor, Jessica Alexander, 08.16.00


    General Motors and ExxonMobil announced yesterday what they called a
    breakthrough in fuel-cell technology for automobiles. The companies
    have developed a new system that converts gasoline into hydrogen that
    is used to run a fuel cell, which in turn produces electricity to
    power a car or truck. According to the companies, the system is
    twice as efficient as conventional gasoline-powered engines and emits
    50 percent less carbon dioxide and significantly less carbon monoxide
    and nitrogen oxides than standard engines. GM and ExxonMobil plan to
    put the system into a test car within 18 months and predict that it
    will be used in hundreds of thousands of cars, trucks, and buses
    within 10 years. "This technology is a bridge between today's
    conventional gasoline-powered vehicles and where we believe we are
    eventually headed, which is hydrogen-powered vehicles that will be
    fueled by hydrogen refilling stations," said GM Vice President Larry


    straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Terril Yue Jones, 08.11.00


    straight to the source: USA Today, David Kiley, 08.11.00


    read it only in Grist Magazine: Fuel speed ahead -- the story of the
    fuel cell -- in our Books Unbound section


    The world population, which surpassed 6 billion last year, is
    expected to hit 8.9 billion by 2050, according to median estimates
    from the U.N. Population Fund. Average fertility worldwide has
    fallen dramatically in recent decades, from five children per woman
    in the 1960s to 2.7 today, and the fertility in 61 countries,
    representing 44 percent of the world's inhabitants, is below the
    replacement rate of 2.1 live births per woman. But the overall world
    population continues to rise steadily, in part because global life
    expectancy has climbed over the past five decades from 46 years to 66
    years. Most of the coming population growth is expected to take
    place in the poor, developing countries that are least able to
    support it.

    straight to the source: South Africa Independent, Agence France-Presse, 08.10.00


    ABC News yesterday reprimanded reporter John Stossel and suspended
    producer David Fitzpatrick for one month for their roles in a "20/20"
    report that questioned the safety and benefits of organic food, two
    days after the network acknowledged that the story contained false
    information. The report, broadcast in February and rerun in July,
    claimed that tests conducted for the network indicated that
    non-organic produce does not necessarily have more pesticide residue
    than organic produce, but in fact the tests were never conducted.
    Stossel has also been ordered to apologize on the air on this
    Friday's "20/20," a correction that may run several minutes, an
    unusually long time, which would seem to be an acknowledgement by ABC
    that the segment harmed the organic food industry, as critics have
    claimed. The Environmental Working Group, which has called for
    Stossel to be fired over the incident, said the punishments aren't
    strong enough.

    straight to the source: New York Times, Jim Rutenberg, 08.10.00


    straight to the source: USA Today, Peter Johnson, 08.10.00


    The global rate of deforestation seems to be slowing, according to a
    preliminary study by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization
    (FAO). In some regions, most notably the tropics, destruction of
    forests declined by as much as 10 percent from the 1980s to the
    1990s. Major causes of forest loss include large development
    projects that lead to resettlement, such as those in China, as well
    as excessive logging and grazing, rapid expansion of subsistence
    agriculture, and fires. The FAO warned against complacency, noting
    that forests are still being lost too quickly. "These preliminary
    results do not mean that the battle against deforestation is over,"
    said Hosny El-Lakany of the FAO.

    straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, 08.09.00


    read it in Grist Magazine: Things are getting worse more slowly --
    is this cause for celebration? -- by Donella Meadows


    Environmentalists and other concerned citizens in Thailand are waging
    a fierce fight against a proposed coal-fired power plant along the
    shore of the Gulf of Thailand, a project that they say could harm a
    coral reef and the fishing grounds that provide livelihoods for many
    of the 10,000 locals. They also worry that the plant's emissions and

    ash waste would pollute the air and land, and that the area's
    burgeoning tourist industry would be hurt. Bitter disputes over the
    project have led to violent protests and assassination attempts
    against activist leaders. This type of grassroots activism was
    unheard of in Thailand even a few years ago, but a constitution
    adopted in 1997 requires public hearings on major projects like the
    power plant and has opened the way for average citizens to demand a
    say in decisions affecting their lives.

    straight to the source: San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner, Associated
    Press, Denis D. Gray, 08.13.00


    Environmentalists in Vietnam are battling a national highway project
    which they say threatens endangered wildlife. Construction began in
    April on the Ho Chi Minh Highway, which is planned to run for more
    than 1,000 miles from near Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City in
    the south, following parts of the legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail. Five
    environmental groups, including the World Wildlife Fund, released a
    statement yesterday warning that the highway construction could harm
    10 protected areas, including national parks and nature reserves, and
    threaten two critically endangered species of langurs, or monkeys, as
    well as tigers, elephants, and other animals.

    straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, David Brunnstrom, 08.15.00


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