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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Climate Change Roundup

Air Date: Week of July 26, 2002

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New developments in stories we’ve been following recently with a focus this week on climate change.

Transcript

CURWOOD: You’re listening to NPR’s Living on Earth.

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CURWOOD: Time now to follow up on some of the climate change stories we’ve been tracking lately.

The Air Resources Board in California must now figure out how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks.
California became the first state to regulate tailpipe emissions linked to global warming when Governor Gray Davis signed the measure into law July 22nd. At a ceremony to mark the occasion, the governor spoke of resistance to the new law, largely on the part of automakers.

DAVIS: And opponents will say the sky is falling. They said the sky was falling about unleaded gasoline. They said it about the catalytic converter. They even said it about seatbelts and airbags. My friends, the sky is not falling. It’s just getting a lot cleaner. [APPLAUSE]

CURWOOD: California is looking at technologies including variable valve timing, extra gears, low friction oils and tires, as well as hybrid engines. Automakers must meet the new standards by model year 2009.

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CURWOOD: The federal government’s lack of nationwide greenhouse gas regulations is frustrating 11 state Attorneys General. This month, the 11, all Democrats, sent a letter to President Bush urging a strong national approach to deal with greenhouse gas emissions. Maryland Attorney General Joseph Curran is one of the signers.

CURRAN: This is a serious problem. And it cannot, in my judgment, be dealt with on a state-by-state basis. California is doing something, I’m happy to say. Massachusetts has done something. And New Hampshire has done something. But, you can’t have a hodgepodge from state to state to state. It’s got to be a national policy.

CURWOOD: The AGs recommend mandatory federal carbon emissions caps to give industry a uniform standard.

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CURWOOD: Some young Americans are also trying to catch the attention of President Bush on the issue of climate change. SustainUS is an organization that will represent United States youth at the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The group has placed a bet that it can reduce its collective carbon emissions 20,000 tons by the end of July. Anyone under 26 can logon to a website to pledge personal changes like eating one less beef meal per week or drying laundry on a clothes line. Monika Kumar is a SustainUS member who says, so far, President Bush hasn’t placed his bet.

KUMAR: So far, it’s not a good response (laugh). Like we have not heard anything from him at all. We feel that he’s not taking the youth seriously, and he does not take the environment seriously.

CURWOOD: The bet says that if the youth win, President Bush will take five young SustainUS representatives to the World Summit. And if SustainUS loses, its members will help Mr. Bush reduce his own emissions by carting him around in a bicycle rickshaw for a week.

And that’s this week’s follow-up on the news from Living on Earth.

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Links

Visit SustainUS and take the pledge!">

 

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