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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

News Follow-up

Air Date: Week of

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TOOMEY: Time now to follow up on some of the new stories we've been tracking lately. In a rose garden press briefing, President Bush acknowledged that climate change is a big problem, but he remained adamant that the Kyoto Protocol is not the best way to deal with greenhouse gas emissions.

BUSH: Kyoto is in many ways unrealistic. Many countries cannot meet their Kyoto targets. The targets themselves were arbitrary and not based upon science. For America, complying with those mandates would have a negative economic impact, with layoffs of workers and price increases for consumers. And when you evaluate all these flaws, most reasonable people will understand that it's not sound public policy.

TOOMEY: President Bush pledged to invest more money in climate change research, but in sharp contrast to many European nations, he did not propose any mandatory steps to reduce greenhouse gases. Mr. Bush recently conferred with European union leaders in Sweden. After the meeting, the current EU president said his organization and President Bush agreed to disagree about the Kyoto treaty. Jan Pronk, Chair of the Kyoto Protocol negotiations unveiled a new document which may persuade some countries to ratify the treaty even without the U.S. Key elements in the paper include a concession to Japan regarding carbon sinks. It would give that company greater ability to count carbon absorption by its farms and forests in order to achieve its emissions reduction target. Negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol will resume in Bonn in mid-July.

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TOOMEY: Last year we reported on protests against U.S. bombing on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. Now the Navy has announced plans to stop using the island for military exercises and bombing practice by May, 2003. Manuel Rodriguez is a former senator in Puerto Rico. He says, protests will continue on the island especially since the next round of Navy training is set to begin soon.

RODRIGUEZ: The idea is not that the Navy should leave in 2003. The idea is that it should stop the bombing and the abuses against the island of Vieques now.

TOOMEY: Activists contend that the island has been contaminated with heavy metals, depleted uranium, and other carcinogens.

(Theme music intro)

TOOMEY: Further news on possibilities for a green afterlife. How about sleeping with the fishes, literally. Now you're cremated remains can be mixed with cement and cast into a giant dome-like structure. The company offering the service says the so-called "reef-ball" is dropped into the ocean in a marine sanctuary or recreational area. Then you become part of an artificial reef, soon to be colonized by marine life.

(Music up and under)

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



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