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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

News Follow-up

Air Date: Week of November 15, 2002

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New developments in stories we’ve been following recently.

Transcript

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CURWOOD: Time now to follow up on some of the news stories we’ve been tracking lately. Last week, we reported on moves to resume the international trade in ivory. The United States has opposed ivory trading since 1989. But in the latest round of discussions at the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, the U.S. has reversed its longstanding opposition. It now supports a proposal to let the African nations of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa make a one-time export of 60 tons of ivory. Theresa Telecky works with the Humane Society of the United States and opposes the sale.

TELECKY: When we put legal ivory into international commercial trade it stimulates markets for ivory. This is going to lead to increased elephant poaching and increased illegal ivory trade.

CURWOOD: International trade in ivory was banned in 1990 with U.S. support due to illegal poaching that wiped out more than half of Africa’s elephants.

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CURWOOD: This past May we reported that low levels of the herbicide atrazine caused significant sexual deformities in male frogs in the laboratory. Now, new research has found similar effects on frogs in the wild. Tyrone Hayes is author of the study at the University of California at Berkeley. He says atrazine contamination is widespread in the U.S.

HAYES: You go into counties in Nebraska where they don’t use atrazine. It’s still there. You go into Iowa where they do use atrazine but you go into a wildlife refuge where there’s no direct application and you still find it.

CURWOOD: Professor Hayes says atrazine could be a factor in the general decline of amphibian populations across the United States.

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CURWOOD: Even though the United States has refused to join the Kyoto Protocol, individual states are making their own commitments to reduce carbon emissions. So far, nine states have adopted plans to reduce their greenhouse gas contributions. Barry Rabe wrote a report on local climate action for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

RABE: I don’t think anyone would have hypothesized two, three, four years ago that we would see such robust state activity at a time when the federal government in the U.S. has backed away and some European nations have even begun to back away from some of their Kyoto commitments.

CURWOOD: To meet their target commitments, Wisconsin will implement carbon trading, Texas will increase renewable energy and Nebraska will promote farming practices that sequester carbon.

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CURWOOD: And finally, what would Jesus drive? That’s the slogan for a new evangelical television and radio campaign to encourage Christians to abstain from purchasing SUVs. In an effort to establish moral relationship for climate change, religious leaders preach that Christ himself would rather take the bus than drive a gas-guzzler.

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

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