Global Briefs~Going Green US Energy Bill Breakthrough and more...
Feb 03, 2008 08:03AM
For anyone who hasn’t heard the cheer ringing coast to coast, President Bush finally signed into law a bill paving the way for a cleaner energy future just as America headed into election year 2008. According to the Care2.com citizen petition site, it marks the first increase in fuel economy standards since 1975. New cars and light trucks now must deliver an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, saving American families $25 billion at the pump (at an annual clip of $700 to $1,000 per family). More, a national renewable electricity standard will collectively save consumers another $13 billion on their utility bills by 2020. Â Supporting measures call for bumping up renewable fuels to 15 percent of utility power, setting new energy efficiency standards on home appliances, and starting in 2012, the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights are now “the done thing”. Â Projections look for the United States to save as much as twice the volume of oil we now import from the Persian Gulf, a 40 percent drop in greenhouse-gas emissions and a minimum 10 percent decrease in electricity use by 2030.
Huge News World Unites for 2009 Global Warming Treaty
The people have spoken and put their governments on notice—in the fight against global warming, we’ll not be spectators. Developing countries have put industrialized nations on notice in declaring that “if you’re not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us [and] please get out of the way.” Â This stunning reversal of roles evident at the Bali Climate Change Summit in late 2007 set the stage for agreement by the 180 countries present to enter into accelerated negotiations as they ramp up to sign a new treaty to confront global warming. They aim to have the new 2009 treaty take over in 2013 when the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period expires. Â The forward-thinking road map sets out guidelines for working on issues dear to developing countries, collectively known as “the G-77 plus China.” It also has Europe’s support. Foremost among these nations’ requirements are widespread adaptation, including an 80 to 95 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by industrial countries, transfer of green technologies and help in establishing necessary financial arrangements. To borrow the operative word from Philip Clapp, deputy managing director of Pew Environment Group based in Washington, the United States, after being roundly booed for its public recalcitrance, “caved!” to the will of the world. Â Sources: The Christian Science Monitor and www.Avaaz.org
Minutes Count Don’t Wait—Meditate
Lisa Hepner of Oregon is intent on helping at least 100,000 of us develop the habit of meditating while waiting. Her nationwide Meditation Challenge counters the argument that people don’t have time to meditate by pointing out that the average American spends 42 to 60 minutes a day waiting for things like appointments, computer downloads, store clerks or traffic to clear. Â “Most people are aware of the benefits of meditation, yet most don’t have a regular meditation practice,” observes Hepner, who regularly asks for a show of hands at her presentations. She’s out to change that by urging folks to join in. The initial goal is to convert waiting rooms in holistic centers nationwide into meditating rooms. To learn more visit www.MeditationChallenge.com.
Ocean SOS A Whale of a Problem
Bowing to world pressure, Japan recently announced that it would hold off on hunting 50 imperiled humpback whales for a year or two. Earlier, Iceland had temporarily backed off of its whale-hunting quotas due to a delayed purchase agreement from Japan and a consequent dip in market demand. But it isn’t enough. Â “Japan’s whaling continues to expand,” comments Patrick Ramage, global whale program manager with the International Fund for Animal Welfare.Â “Japan needs to join the emerging global consensus for whale conservation.” Â Â Currently, the government of Japan is undertaking the largest whale hunt since the International Whaling Commission’s global ban on commercial whaling took effect in 1986.Â In the first quarter of 2008 Japan plans to kill 935 minke whales plus 50 endangered fin whales. Â Â Since 1986 Japan has slaughtered more than 10,000 whales, claiming that it’s for “scientific research purposes.” However, little science has been produced, while the meat from these whales is sold in supermarkets and restaurants. All told, Japan, Iceland and Norway have killed more than 30,000 whales for commercial purposes since the 1986 ban. Â Â Help stop the illegal killing of whales by signing at ThePetitionSite.com/takeaction/990268865. Source: www.StopWhaling.org
Emerging Hope World Forum Supports a New Humanity
Leading world thinkers will gather for this year’s Human Forum of the Alliance for a New Humanity in Costa Rica March 11 through 13. At the top of the agenda is assessing the various forces now changing our world for the better in order to scale up and unite them in a symphony of transformation. Â Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson and others will guide inspiring interactive dialog based on antidotes to the four prevailing myths—that money brings happiness, technology yields well-being, weapons provide security and natural resources are unlimited. The antidotes are corporate sustainability, community-driven quality of life, peaceful resolution of conflict and preservation of a healthy environment. Â For information visit www.ANHGlobal.org. Phone 787-722-7728.
Oxygen Scores 1.5 Billion New Trees Surpass UN Goal
Forestry projects in a dozen countries have exceeded the United Nation’s 2007 goal to get a billion additional trees in the ground, all producing oxygen and helping to eat up rising carbon dioxide levels. Ethiopia was the runaway winner with 700 million trees planted in its national reforestation drive. (Only 3 percent of that country is wooded, compared with 40 percent centuries ago.) Mexico, Turkey, Kenya, Cuba, Rwanda, South Korea, Tunisia, Morocco, Myanmar, Brazil and Indonesia also demonstrated significant progress. China, Guatemala and Spain have announced they’ll join the tree party soon. Source: www.Grist.org