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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

News Follow-up

Air Date: Week of December 13, 2002

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Developments in stories we’ve been following.

Transcript

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

Just as NASA was announcing that 2002 is the second-warmest year on record, the Canadian parliament voted to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Environment Minister David Anderson says Canada will urge citizens and businesses to adopt more energy-efficient technologies and practices. He also says that the decision puts pressure on Canada’s southern neighbor.

ANDERSON: It’s an indication that one of the countries within the North American Free Trade Agreement is willing to take these measures. We expect the United States to do likewise in the future.

CURWOOD: Now that Canada has given its okay, eyes are on Russia. If Russia ratifies Kyoto next year, as it has pledged, the Protocol will become international law.

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CURWOOD: The oil tanker Prestige has leaked tens of thousands of tons of oil since it sank off the coast of Spain nearly a month ago. Now Spain and 14 other nations of the European union have banned from their ports single-hull tankers, like the Prestige, that carry heavy fuel oil. Peter Swift is managing director of Intertanko, international association that represents independent tanker owners. He says the ban goes too far.

SWIFT: It’s very much a global business and legislation at national level, at local level unilaterally is not a very desirable format for regulating the industry.

CURWOOD: Meanwhile, the EU is planning to set up safety zones to prevent ships that it considers “poorly constructed” from coming too close to the continent’s coastline.

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CURWOOD: Southern California has established the first ban in the nation of the dry-cleaning solvent perchloroethylene. Owners of the region’s dry cleaners have until the year 2020 to do away with old machines that emit the toxic chemical, which is a probable human carcinogen.

Jill Whynot of the South Coast Air Quality Management District says the southern California ban is just the beginning.

WHYNOT: Based on the successful use of the technology here and in Europe I think it’s likely that more areas will enact a similar regulation.

CURWOOD: The state agency has set aside $2 million dollars to help dry cleaners make the switch to alternative technologies.

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CURWOOD: And finally, even tree sitters can’t escape the dentist. John Quigley has been sitting in a 400-year-old oak tree for more than a month to protest development in Santa Clarita, California. When he recently chipped a crown on a granola bar and refused to abandon his tree, Dr. Ana Michel made a tree call. She quickly repaired the crown but warned that when Mr. Quigley finally does come down from his perch, the next place he’ll be sitting is the dentist chair for a root canal.

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

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