January 19th, 2005

Climate lawsuit against US Development agencies/UK Chief Scientist stalked by US fossil lobby

Climate lawsuit against US Development Agencies

The first climate lawsuit is being prepared, plaintiffs including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and a few US cities, relies on local rules to US-assisted projects abroad. This is a handy lever for environmental or human rights causes within many countries, not just within the US. Often projects have to qualify under certain criteria in order for it to either receive assistance in financing, or be underwritten by the sponsoring government.

"The lawsuit, slated to be argued in U.S. District Court in San Francisco in April, seeks to require two U.S. development agencies to conduct environmental assessments on coal, natural gas and petroleum projects they financed in developing nations, including China and Mexico.

Under the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act, U.S. government agencies are required to conduct such assessments on taxpayer-funded projects in the United States."

If the case succeeds, it will leave the District Court at loggerheads with the US government over climate change.

UK's Chief Scientist hunted by American groups

According to the Independent, Sir David King has stated that he "was being followed around the world by people in the pay of vested-interest groups that want to cast doubt on the science of climate change."

"You have a group of lobbyists, some of whom are chasing me around the planet, which I'm chuffed about because it means they are worrying about what I'm saying, and these lobbyists stand up after I've given an hour's talk and say, 'There are scientists who disagree with you'," Sir David said.

"I always say, 'Which bit of the science that I've just presented to you are you challenging'? I don't get the answer."

Italians ban cars

The Associated Press reported that the Italian government banned cars in several cities for five hours (interestingly with the exception of football fans going to the game) in order to cut air pollution. "Romans and tourists alike taking advantage of a sunny day and lack of traffic for walks, bike or horseback rides" When events show people are willing to accept a breath of fresh air, perhaps there is hope for us with a larger solution.