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Mar/Apr 2001 issue (#50)



'60s Dream Lives On

Party Troopers

Suit Filed Against George W. Bush

"Friends in High Places"

Baby Bush Bombs Baghdad

Don't Put the Utilities Back in Charge

Biblically-Grounded Movements For Progressive Change In Washington

How to Run for City Council

Mad Cow: Coming to the U.S.?

Monoculture and Mad Cows

Itching to Ride Light Rail

Is Work Killing You?

Escaping the Globalized Gym

Seattle's Clattering Poets

A Puppetista Manifesto

Living Outside Empire

Don't Put the Utilities Back in Charge

ACORN's Falling

Social Transformation Explained? Technogod

Spokane Free-speech Battle


Reader Mail


Urban Work

Media Beat

Rad Videos

Do Something!

Reel Underground


Fraud on UN Climate Report?

A forest preservation group says the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is guilty of “intellectual corruption” because a recent report produced under its auspices says industrial tree planting is a good way to offset carbon dioxide produced by use of fossil fuels.

According to the September issue of the Multinational Monitor, a spokesperson for the World Rainforest Movement said the IPCC report was drafted by a panel of nominees chosen by governments that include members of “a rapidly growing sector which seeks to make money out of designing and monitoring projects which use trees to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or selling certified carbon credits to corporations, governments, and individuals.” The IPCC itself is comprised mainly of physical scientists.

The WPM spokesman was quoted as saying these members “‘should have been automatically disqualified from serving on the...panel.” He objected to the report (1) because despite claims by one “carbon shop” that, for example, seven trees equals five London-New York airline flights for one person (moreover the IPCC reportedly did not bother to check the validity of calibrations such as this) (2) it is not possible to equate CO2 output with carbon absorption by trees; (3) because it implies that “if US citizens use 20 times more of the atmosphere for CO2 dumping than their counterparts in India...they are entitled to use 20 times more wooded land in order to compensate”; (4) because “large-scale industrial tree plantations” are “an ecological menace rather than a boon,” causing damage to water tables and biodiversity and displacement of farmers; (5) because tree plantations would allow polluting factories and oil wells, “whose ill effects are felt most strongly by the poor” to continue polluting. The Monitor lists the international financial and business affiliations of the report’s authors. The IPCC report is titled “Special Report on Land use, Land Use Change and Forestry.” The Multinational Monitor is at 1530 P St. NW, Washington, DC 20005; monitor@essential.org.


Largest Wind Farm Coming to NW

(ENS)-Two corporations have announced they will develop and market power from the world’s largest single wind farm along the border of Washington and Oregon.

Located southwest of Walla Walla, with 300 megawatts and 450 wind turbines, the Stateline Wind Generating Project will produce electricity to serve the energy needs of some 70,000 homes each year.

“The Stateline project is just the sort of sustainable solution we need for the region’s energy shortage,” said Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. “The project has the added benefit that it can be brought on quickly to meet our immediate needs.” Gov. Gary Locke said, “Wind powered energy is both cost competitive with gas, and friendlier to the environment.”

Bird migration studies will be conducted to determine location of some turbines. Once in operation, the project will monitor impacts on birds and bats.


Cancer from Diesel School Buses

(ENS)-Children who ride on diesel school buses may be exposed to dangerously high levels of toxic diesel fumes inside the vehicles, according to a new report released by two environmental groups, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the California-based Coalition for Clean Air.

Titled “No Breathing in the Aisles: Diesel Exhaust inside School Buses,” the report found that children who ride diesel school buses may be exposed to as much as four times more toxic diesel exhaust than people riding in vehicles traveling directly behind, or in front of, such buses.

The exposure level on the buses is more than eight times the average ambient air pollution level in California, and as much as 46 times the diesel fumes cancer risk exposure threshold established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the report stated.

“Children are especially sensitive to environmental hazards, yet they’re the ones getting dosed with diesel riding to school,” said a senior scientist with NRDC. “The levels we measured on some of these buses both surprised and worried us. Worse still, we have reason to believe that these high levels are fairly typical.”

More than 23 million children in the United States ride buses to school, the report notes. The majority of the nation’s school bus fleets run on diesel fuel, and many buses are more than 10 years old. Some fleets, including those in California, Washington, and Texas, include buses manufactured before 1977—before federal highway safety standards were even adopted.

Children generally are more susceptible than adults to air pollution because they breathe faster and have less developed lungs and immune systems.

The report urges school districts to replace diesel buses with cleaner alternatives that are widely available. In the meantime, the groups recommend keeping the windows open when possible, and seating children closer to the front of the bus. The full report is available at: http://www.nrdc.org/air/transportation/schoolbus/sbusinx.asp


Ford Plans Higher-mileage SUV

(ENS)-The Ford Motor Company has announced plans to sell an Explorer that gets 27 miles per gallon compared to the current 19 mpg. The Explorer is the nation’s best selling sport utility vehicle (SUV).

Said Daniel Becker, director of the Sierra Club’s Global Warming and Energy Program, “By making a more fuel-efficient Explorer, Ford will help curb global warming, cut America’s oil dependence, and save drivers money at the gas pump....Increasing the Explorer’s fuel economy proves that technology exists to dramatically improve the efficiency of America’s vehicles.”

The New York Times reported that Ford will install devices to turn off the SUV’s gasoline engine when the vehicle is idling and capture some of the energy lost in braking.

“The biggest single step the US could take to curb [carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming] would be to increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to 45 mpg for cars and 34 mpg for light trucks and SUVs,” the Sierra Club said.


Getting There Sans Fossil Fuel

More people are using the Redmond-to-Seattle Sammimish-Burke-Gilman trail for utilitarian purposes, says the Advocate, published by the Bicycle Alliance of Washington. Last year 32 percent of trips were for commuting or utilitarian, up from just 6 percent in 1985. For info, the Advocate 206-224-9252 or bikeinfo@bicyclealliance.org


Dirty Water

Water is the world’s most precious natural resource, but its quality is deteriorating due mainly to polluted runoff, says Marine Conservation News. Runoff includes pesticides; fertilizers; animal waste from farms; and pollutants from roads, logging, and development. Despite 28 years under the Clean Water Act, 40 percent of assessed US waters aren’t fit for swimming or fishing; one third of shellfish beds are off limits; harmful algae blooms have doubled in the last 10 years; there is a 7000-mile dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico; and nearly half of US marine animals are overfished. Center for Marine Conservation: 1725 De Sales St NW, Washington DC 20035; www.cmc-ocean.org

Dirty Magazines

"The magazine industry has one of the worst environmental records of all corporate consumers of wood products," says Co-Op America (1612 K St. NW, Washington DC 20006). The organization says 90 percent of the 4 billion magazines published each year are discarded; nearly 95 percent contain no recycled content; and almost all papers are chlorine bleached, which produces dioxins, one of the most toxic substances on earth. Some groups urge people to write a message on the ubiquitous subscription cards stuffed in nearly every magazine. They suggest writing, "Publisher, please use recycled paper." and putting it in the mail. This might get the publishers' attention.

The Free Press is printed on partially recycled newsprint. Fully recycled newsprint is not yet practical due to paper quality problems.u

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