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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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Developments in stories we’ve been following.



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

The U.S. State Department is softening its previous declaration that global warming is largely a result of human activities. The original Climate Action Report was sent electronically to the United Nations in May. President Bush later criticized the report as a product of "the bureaucracy."

In the printed version issued September 11th, the State Department highlights uncertainty regarding the effects of global warming, and downplays the report’s scientific findings. Jeremy Symons is the manager of the Climate Change and Wildlife Program at the National Wildlife Federation.

SYMONS: What they essentially did is they put a big warning label at the front of the section on science, sending the signals that the administration looks more to the uncertainty in the projections than what the actual effects will be on Americans and our quality of life.

CURWOOD: A State Department official told Living on Earth that no new language was added to the nearly 300-page report, and that such changes are routine and minor.


CURWOOD: In a continuing effort to reduce energy use in California, Governor Gray Davis has signed a mandate that all residential washing machines be energy efficient by 2007. The law pushes manufacturers to make use of energy-saving technology already in use at many commercial laundromats. Mary Nichols is Secretary for Resources in California.

NICHOLS: By coming up with a more efficient washing machine, we are going to be helping the state with its electricity problems and its water problems, and doing it in a way that the customer is going to get a better machine.

CURWOOD: An energy-efficient washer costs about $500 more than a conventional laundry machine, but can save 7,000 gallons of water per year.


CURWOOD: Delegates who attended the recent Earth Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg shouldn’t expect to attend another World Summit anytime soon. The United Nations is putting a hold on future summits until participating governments follow through on promises made at past meetings. Jan Vandemoortele is a senior advisor for the United Nations Development Program.

VANDEMOORTELE: The heads of governments come to global meetings, sign off on very noble declarations, and then very little happens on the grounds at home.

CURWOOD: Forty countries plan to file environmental progress reports. And the UN hopes it will hear from every nation by 2004.


CURWOOD: And finally, a trailer park in Los Angeles could soon be declared an historic monument. That’s right. The Monterey Trailer Park in Pasadena measures a scant 1.7 acres. But it’s history dates back to the time of the Model T and the start of long road trips. It’s now home to 30 people and 20 motor homes. The LA City Council will put the monument designation to a vote in the next few weeks. And that’s this week’s follow-up on the news from Living on Earth.



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