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China ramps up subsidies for energy-efficient light bulbs

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China ramps up subsidies for energy-efficient light bulbs

Wed Feb 25, 10:55 am ET

China said it would subsidise the sale of 100 million energy-efficient light bulbs this year to cut energy use and pollution, double the number subsidised in 2008.

The move, also aimed at supporting bulb producers amid the global financial crisis, was announced by the finance ministry in a statement posted on its website late Tuesday.

The government had offered subsidies for 50 million bulbs last year.

The increase will "cushion the impact of the global financial crisis on producers of energy-efficient light bulbs" and "strive for bigger energy-saving and pollution-reduction results," the statement said.

The central government introduced the promotion programme last year, giving out 280 million yuan (40.9 million dollars) for subsidies of 50 percent for retail sales and 30 percent for bulk purchases, it said.

The programme actually helped sell 62 million energy-efficient light bulbs by the end of January, the ministry said. It did not provide comparative figures.

However, it said the 62 million bulbs equalled annual savings of 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and a reduction in carbon dioxide discharges of 3.2 million tonnes and sulfur dioxide discharges of 32,000 tonnes.

The ministry did not specify how much the subsidy will be this year.

China is the largest producer of energy-saving light bulbs, with output in 2007 reaching three billion, accounting for 80 percent of world production, according to official data.

The European Union imposed anti-dumping duties running as high as 66 percent on Chinese-made energy-saving light bulbs from 2001 and extended the duties for one year in 2007 before removing the measures in October 2008.

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AP: EPA chief reconsidering ship ballast permit

Wed Feb 25, 5:59 am ET

The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency says the Obama administration will reconsider rules that critics say do too little to prevent cargo ships from dumping invasive species into the nation's waterways.

The EPA in December released a general permit for cargo vessels entering the Great Lakes or other U.S. waters from overseas that includes rules for 26 types of discharges, such as ballast, oily bilge water and "gray water" from showers and sinks.

Breaking with the Bush administration, EPA head Lisa Jackson said Tuesday the permit "doesn't begin to address some of the concerns that are out there."

"I don't have an answer for you today but I want to you know that's very much on my radar screen," she said during a meeting of the Great Lakes Commission in Washington, D.C.

Ballast water, which keeps vessels stable in rough seas, is a leading pathway for zebra mussels and other aquatic invaders, which have overwhelmed native species and cost billions in economic damage.

The EPA permit requires vessels heading for U.S. ports with full ballast tanks to exchange the water at least 200 miles from shore. Ships with empty tanks must rinse them with salt water to kill freshwater organisms lurking in residual puddles or sediment.

But those measures already had been required by Canada and the U.S. Coast Guard, and critics say they still could let some invasives get through.

Several environmental groups sued EPA last month, saying the permit did not meet requirements of the Clean Water Act. They want shippers to install systems for sterilizing tanks, which the maritime industry says are being developed but remain unavailable.

Activists praised Jackson's promise to revisit the issue.

"She recognizes what everyone in the Great Lakes knows: the permit was nowhere close to good enough," said Jennifer Nalbone of Great Lakes United, a U.S.-Canadian group.

Jackson also told officials and activists from the region the administration would honor President Barack Obama's campaign pledge to pump more federal money into Great Lakes restoration, despite the staggering budget deficit.

As a candidate, Obama proposed a $5 billion "down payment" toward implementation of a $20 billion restoration plan released by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration in 2005.

It includes drinking water and sewage system upgrades, toxic site cleanups, improvements to wetlands and wildlife habitat and continued efforts to keep foreign species out of the lakes.

Jackson said she was optimistic about prospects for progress toward those goals.

"I don't think there's any reason to question the president's continued commitment to the Great Lakes," she said.

Officials expect the region to get nearly $2 billion for wastewater and drinking water system upgrades under the recently enacted stimulus package. Jackson acknowledged more was needed.

"Investment in water infrastructure has tremendous payoffs" in improved water quality and job creation, she said.

Jackson also promised to seek more money for removing toxic sediments from highly polluted harbors and rivers across the region.

The House authorized boosting the program's budget from $54 million to $150 million last fall. But the bill died in the Senate after EPA turned against it.

"The EPA under the previous administration took the position that current funding was sufficient and they were content to move cautiously," Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry said. "It sounds like Administrator Jackson is going to be more aggressive."

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Thursday, February 26 2009
General Environment News
Nigeria : Réunion Des Acteurs De L'environnement En Mars A Banjul
PANA (Lagos) : Un atelier de trois jours des acteurs de l'environnement de la Communauté économqiue des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (CEDEAO) et du Tchad se tiendra le 2 mars à Banjul, en Gambie, pour valider le programme d'action sous-régional destiné à réduire la vulnérabilité de l'Afrique de l'Ouest aux effets des changements climatiques. Un communiqué du Secrétariat de la CEDEAO indique que lors de la réunion, les responsables de l'environnement, des ressources en eau et de l'agriculture des Etats membres, les organisations inter-gouvernementales et non-gouvernementales régionales, les partenaires au développement et les experts en charge du secteur vont examiner le document de référence relatif à l'exposition de l'Afrique de l'Ouest aux changements climatiques et aux stratégies de riposte. Le document donne un aperçu des défis environnementaux pour les pays d'Afrique de l'Ouest et le Tchad, des efforts régionaux d'adaptation au changement climatique et une évaluation des possibilités pour faire face au défi.
En outre, le plan d'action présente la stratégie et le plan d'action sous-régional visant à réduire les risques ainsi que la vision stratégique et la voie opérationnelle du progrès dans l'adaptation aux changements climatiques au niveau régional. Toutes ces actions entrent dans le cadre des recommandations de la Conférence internationale sur la réduction de la vulnérabilité du système naturel, économique et social aux changements climatiques, tenue en janvier 2007.
Mali : Un Ministre Malien Avertit Sur Les Risques Environnementaux En Afrique
PANA (Bamako) : Le ministre malien de l'Environnement et de l'Assainissement, Alassane Ag Aghatam, a déclaré mercredi à Bamako que d'ici à la fin du siècle l'Afrique pourrait perdre entre 25 et 40 pour cent de ses habitats naturels à cause des changements climatiques. S'exprimant au cours de la cérémonie d'ouverture d'un atelier régional sur l'adaptation des changements climatiques, il a affirmé que la montée au niveau de la mer pourrait détruire près de 30 pour cent des infrastructures côtières africaines tandis que les sécheresses et les inondations se multiplieront, entraînant, entre autres, des pénuries d'eau et des risques de famine.
Selon les experts, un Africain de l'Ouest est responsable de l'émission de 300kg de gaz carbonique par an alors que pendant la même période un Européen en rejette huit tonnes et un Américain 20 tonnes. L'un des objectifs de la rencontre de Bamako est de trouver les voies et moyens d'un financement adéquat pour la mise en œuvre de projets identifiés par les programmes d'action nationaux.
Gambia: 25 Environmental Journalists Undergo Training
Foroyaa (Banjul): A three day training workshop for 25 environment journalists has started on Monday, 23 February, at the Gambia Press Union headquarters in Bakau New Town. Speaking at the opening session, Mr. Madi Ceesay, Director of Media Agenda, said his media house attaches great significance to building the capacity of journalists. He said it is an important element yet the area has not been navigated well. According Mr. Ceesay, the Gambia is one of the very few countries in the sub region that does not have a media training institution and that most of those practicing journalism today have their training on the job, through the experienced ones they are working with.
"It is against this background that the Media Agenda, which was founded in 2006, focuses on training. Colleagues, as the last group of trainees, we would like you to seriously take this training workshop seriously so that we prove our detractors wrong" said the Media Agenda Director. Mr. Ceesay appealed to the National Commission for UNESCO/NATCOM to closely look at the provision of long media training for the Gambian journalists in the form of medium Certificate Courses to Diploma. He said that when this happened, the graduates from those courses can, in the future, feed the faculty of journalism at the University of The Gambia. He thanked UNESCO/NATCOM for coming to the aid of the media in The Gambia. This workshop marks the end of a three months long training project sponsored by UNESCO/NATCOM in partnership with the Media Agenda, at a tune of four hundred and forty-one thousand dalasi (441,000).
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Wednesday, February 25 2009
General Environment News

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