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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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New developments in stories we've been following recently.


CURWOOD: Time now to follow up on some of the news stories we've been tracking lately. Some environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy, claiming its use of sonar technology is harming marine animals. The Navy is using sonar tests to estimate the range at which submarines can be detected. But Joel Reynolds, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, says the Navy failed to prepare mandatory environmental impact statements for the waters in which the testing is being done.

REYNOLDS: In dark ocean waters sound is to marine species much like sight is to human beings. And so if we begin to interfere with the ability of these species to hear and be heard, we potentially are interfering with their very survival.

CURWOOD: So far, autopsies of the five whales stranded in the Bahamas found hemorrhaging around the brain and ear bones. The Navy concedes that it is highly likely that the use of sonar is contributing to the whale strandings.

This past July we talked with National Academy of Science’s Paul Portney, chairman of the committee that drafted a report on government fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles. The committee determined that available technologies could improve fuel use by as much as 40% within the next 15 years. Now, auto makers are objecting to the report, claiming scientists on the panel miscalculated. Paul Portney says the committee was under the gun to finish the report.

PORTNEY: We finished it about a month late but even that was hurrying it at a pace that I think I and the other committee members felt was probably too fast for comfort.

CURWOOD: The Academy will hold a public hearing on October 5th that will include auto makers and environmental groups to reconsider recommendations of the July report.

In a new development on the climate change front, Britain has started a national emissions trading plan to curb pollution from greenhouse gases. The program allows companies that exceed emissions reductions to sell credits to other companies. Now, the first trade has been made. Chemical company Dupont agreed to sell 10,000 emissions credits to the Japanese investment company Marubeni. Both have a large presence in the U.K. The trade was handled by Natsource, a firm that broker-deals in energy related products. Jack Cogen, president of Natsource, says that between 50 and 60 companies were in the running for this first trade.

COGEN: What we do as brokers is we find hopefully multiple buyers and multiple sellers and we run actions. Not like a Sotheby’s where you stand up with a gavel, but we're always trying to get sellers to sell at a lower price and buyers to buy at a higher price until the point where they actually meet and agree.

CURWOOD: The final asking price remains undisclosed but Mr. Cogen says this first trade was two months in the making. And that's this week's follow-up on the news from Living on Earth.



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