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September 24, 1997
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~.31~~-cam (b)(1) (b)(3) Internatit~nal Environmental Intelligence Brief DCI Environmental Center 24 September 1997 .Contents Articles Page War Hits Con o's National Pa China Hooked on Coal Solomon Islands: Bri hter Pros ects for Tro ical Forests. Brazil Stra lin to Lirnit Amazon Ex loitatio Environmental Issues Na Chilean Government Factors Dr. ivin Ja an's Environmental Aid to Chin APPROVED FOR RELEASE DATE: 17-May-2011 Articles US gases Draw Environmental Scrutin in Panazn 10 France's New Government Gives Boost to Environm ental 11 Polic Finland and Russia Join Forces to Protect K areliyan 12 Forest Seekin Consensus in Kuala Lumpur on Hazardous Waste 13 Trad Calendar Factors Driving Japan's Environmental Aid to China The generous aid package announced during Hashimoto's recent visit to China is evidence of Tokyo's increasing interest in cooperation to alleviate Chinese environmental problems, a trend in aid policy that began in the early 1990s. According to press reports, the package includes loans for the installation of _ desulfurizationegoipment atcoal-burning power plants and the establishment of a model city--possibly in Dalian-where all industrial and residential waste would be recycled. --The 0.75-percent interest rate-less than one-third of Tokyo's usual concessional loan rate of about 2.S percent underscores the importance Japan attar_hes to the package; it also will extend the loan for 40 years, 10 years longer than The aid package also addresses, over th_e longer term, Tokyo's growing concern about environmental damage in Japan from acid rain originating in China. Irr a major speech delivered on the eve of his China trip, Hashimoto cited the "direct effect" of acid_ rain from China as one of the major reasons for offering assistance to Beijing on environmental issues. A Japanese Government-affiliated research institute recently produced computer simulations showing that pollutants from not only northeastern but also southern China eventually can end up in Japan Tokyo also has commercial motives for pursuing environmental projects in China. Although the Loans are untied, Japan's highly developed environmental technology industry stands to reap large benefits. Hashimoto has a personal interest in this industry's performance, having once headed a Diet group set up to promote opportunities for Japanese business in international environmental projects. Sec War Hits Congo's National Parks Poor internal security and refugee flows have taken their toll on Kinshasa's national parks and wildlife, including- several endangered species. Looters stole vehicles, radios, and firearms from three national parks in the eastern part of the country eartier this year, leavin ran ers ~werless against poachers -Sudanese hunters have killed at least seven of the remaining 31 white rhinoceroses and decimated other species in Garamba National Park, at el ast four en angere mountain gore as have been killed in recent months. The World Wildlife Fund says poachers have slaughtered 90 percent of the park's hippopotamuses population in the past year. -Fleeing Hutu refugees seeking food probably contributed to the decimation of the park's wildlife. Congo's new Environment 1Vlinister publicly pledged to seek government support for _ _ conservation efforts after discussing the plight of the parks with Ambassador Simpson last month. Kinshasa's inability to pay civil servants and the military, however,. suggests conservation funding will be scarce. -Provincial officials and local villages are conducting surveillance patrols to thwart hunters and are implementing other ad hoc antipoaching measures, --- NGOs and local populations are unlikely to reduce the risk to protected wildlife without significant govern- ment or external assistance. the government will use the ma ttary to suppress poaching. Park rangers will be rearmed after receiving proper training. The Congolese.military, however, has its hands full with insurgencies and insecurity in the east and is unlikely to provide short-term relief to the parks. China plans to rely on its abundant and cheap coal reserves to s~xppiy its fast-growing demand for energy, based on official projections. Coal consumption-1.3 billion tons last ear-is projected to nearly triple by 2015. Although there are potential substitutes for coal, these face resource, infrastructure, and technological constraints that would increase China's capital costs and dependence on imported fuels while yielding only a modest environmental benefit, according to a CIA analysis. Beijing, however, has not found sufficient proved reserves to increase production of oil or gas substantially. -China already is pursuing the most. economically feasible hydropower projects, including the Three Gorges Dam. -China relies heavily on foreign equipment for its few nuclear and renewable energy projects. The l~iigher costs for alternative energy and Beijing's reluctance to rely on foreign energy sources probably rule out a ___ .substantial change in China's energy plans in the near term. Signs that Beijing may be willing to implement a modest coal- substitution plan would include movement _ to achieve market prices for energy supplied to state enterprises, easing of restrictions on foreign equity involvement in energy development and equipment sales, and changes in environmental policy. s~ Solomon Islands: Brighter Prospects for Tropical Forests? The recent election by the legislature of Bartholomew Ulufa'alu as the Solomon Islands' new Prime Minister could lead to reforms needed to curb the rapid depletion of the islands' tropical forests. Ulufa'alu's possible choice of Manase Sogovare, locally regarded as a straight shooter, as finance minister already has logging interests worried. (logging interests may purposely reduce exports in the coming months to reduce government revenue and rom t a vote of no confidence. The election results'may reflect, in part, growing popular discontent with the former debt-ridden administration's questionable forestry golicies and officials' alleged corrupt business dealings with loggin com anies. -The Mamaloni government was unable to enforce the code of logging practices the country adopted early this year. - - - -- _ - Solomon Islands Development Trust, an indigenous NGO, has taken_an increasingly high- profile political stance to complement its environmental activism ~SIDT has been conducting polls and pu is campaigns to increase citizen awareness of government corruption and illegal logging practices. Falling tropical timber prices-spurred by consumer preference for softwoods, the devaluation of Asian currency, and the need to regain foreign aid the country lost because of its failure to adopt sustainable logging practices-could force a more serious look at reforms. resources. -Conversely, mounting financial problems could push the incoming government deeper into the arms of foreign logging companies for instant financial gratification, at the expense of its rapidly shrinking forest Brazil Struggling to Limit Amazon Exploitation President Cardoso has tapped the Brazilian Environmental Agency (iBAMA) to implement his controversial forestry decree announced last month. The measure allows firms to buy five-year concessions to harvest up to 5,000 hectares of_timber :followed by a 30-year moratorium to allow reforestation. Brasilia plans to extend similar concessions to 26 additional Amazon national forests. The decree enables IBAMA to gain greater federal control over Limber extraction; the government reports that less than 1 percent of forests under exploitation is subject to congressionally required management procedures. IBAMA appears ill-suited to handle its expanded mandate. Even before assuming new missions the agency was understaffed, underfunded, and had begun selling off properties to finance its restructuring efforts, The president of IBA1VlA has accused his subordinates of overlooking environmental abuses and falsifying environmental impact statements in exchange for bribes. IBAMA's enforcement capabilities are notoriously weak. Last year it collected only 0.2 percent of the environmental fines it levied. To boost their sagging efforl:s, Brazilian officials plan to use President Clinton's trip in October to press for enhanced -- cooperation. IBAMA officials are hoping to secure the loan to several C-130 aircraft from NASA to boost monitoring capabilities in the Amazon. IBA A resi ent uar o artins-t e ninth director in five ears-is a dedicated environmentalist, In a controversia interview ast mont , he claimed that the administration's environmental efforts are accomplishing little, and he lamented the lack of support for IBANXA in Congress. Environmental Issues Nay Chilean Government Smog emergencies before and during _ Congressman Gephardt's recent visit _ highlight Santiago's difficulty in grappling with domestic and international expectations for improved environmental performance. Officials in Santiago-listed by the WHO as the world's third-most-polluted city-admit that they lack the resources t:o adequately enforce their environmental laws Chile prefers that environmental provisions be laid out clearly in any US-Chile trade accord so that they do not arise later as nontaxiff barriers. Chile is under growing pressure from environmental NGOs and other interest groups to mitigate pollution and_better manage natural resources before negotiating a free trade accord with the 1;JS Santiago has e~ dared more than 13 smog emergencies this winter, and public outrage over pollution-rela__ted _ illnesses has led to calls for more government action, according to press reports. - -The environmental agency?CONAMA is asking the government to lower legal thresholds of airborne particulates-already three times higher than acceptable US levels-and to establish more stringent rules to -Most political leaders, however, are likely to resist imposing new policies, such as proposed gasoline taxes that industry and consumers would view as too costly. strains public health services. the private sector $500,000 and severely At the same time, pollution-related costs are mounting. CONAMA estimates that each smog emergency costs the government and Public controversy over hydroelectric and forestry projects, as well as concerns about sovereignty, have added to the debate over environmental policies. In June, for example, activists occupied government offices to protest the planned $S00 million Ralco Dam on the Bio Bio River. - Santiago is still trying to smooth things over with US investors after Chile's Supreme Court last spring overturned the government's approval of a major sustainable logging project =in southern Chile. - Environmental groups hailed President Frei's decision to permit a US citizen to turn private land holdings info a nature preserve, but logging firms and nationalist groups claim it undermines Chile's sovereignty and will discourage development of the country's natural resources, according to press reports. combat smog by next April, US Bases Draw Environmental Scratiny in Panama The Panamanian press is focusing on - unexploded ordnance at firing ranges, the alleged presence of chemical weapons and depleted uranium, and contamination of the US World War II site of San Jose Island. Participants at a recent environmental conference demanded that Washington either pay cleanup costs or compensate Panama for the diminished value of contaminated lands: ---The government has proposed a memorandum of understanding asserting that Washington's responsibility to clean up former military sites will extend beyond 31 December 1999, when US troops are scheduled to leave. -Panama City also wants to establish anew bureaucracy to monitor environmental issues and remediation efforts. Possible contamination of the reverting areas ? stirs nationalistic feelings among many Panamanians, and the issue could become a significant bilateral irritant. Unexploded ordnance in the Canal operating areas would be particularly troublesome as the treaties stipulate that all parts of the Canal be turned over "in operating condition." France's New Government Gives Boost to Environment Policy Jospin has demonstrated a strong interest in _ environmental issues by approving the various initiatives of Environment Minister and Green Party member Voynet. Since the June election, for example, 'Voynet has closed the Super-Phenix fast breeder reactor program, which has been the target of broad public criticism for oar mana ernent and cost overruns -She halted construction on the Rhine Rhone canal in response to criticism that the project would remove whole villages in its path, according to press. reports. -She responded to pollution alerts in major French cities this summer by promoting an "eco-tax" on private auto emissions; revenues would go toward expanding public transport_ In addition, Voynet has taken steps indicating the Jospin government has decided on a more positive approach to EU environmental actions than its predecessor. In Brussels, for example, she endorses the EU's program for stricter fuel specifications on gasoline and diesel emissions, according to press reports. _ -EU legislation on lower emissions-which the previous French Government did not fully support-is expected t:o be read for implementation by 1 Januar Voynet probably will advocate in the EU Environment Council that France join Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK in pressing for a 10-percent cut by 2010 in the 19901eve1 of carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion. The previous French Government was reluctant to enforce carbon emission reductions because of expected public opposition. Even with Jospin's support, formidable political, bureaucratic, and financial obstacles to Voynet's policies remain. Historically, the French public is not as closely tuned to environmental issues as the Germans and Dutch because government programs lack specific standards and procedural mechanisms that would bring these issues closer to home ---The government's environmental functions reportedly are scattered across a number of agencies, and there is no intermini.sterial council to coordinate policy. -The Environmental Ministry is weak as compared with other ministries such as the Infrastructure, Transport, and Housing Ministry, which is 20 times the size of the Environment Ministry and receives a substantially larger _ .share of government funding, according to press reports. .Finland and Russia Join Forces to Protect Kareliyan Forest Finland and Russia late last month agreed to work together to improve logging practices in Russian Kareliya and to protect the relic forests along the Russia-Finland border. The two countries plan. to set up a joint commission as part of aFinland-financed biodiversity program. --The commission will define boundaries of sites where timber felling will be restricted or forbidden, foIlowthrough, and corruption among Kareliyan officials Critics say it will take years for a comprehensive environmental consciousness to develop in Russia, and vast forest stands ma.y well be lost by then. a Russian forestry industry inspection commission in July reported that Russian, Finnish, and Swedish logging companies have been logging illegally in the Kareliyan forest. -Finland contributed roughly 25 percent of the Kareliyan environment ministry's budget Iasi year. Finland's efforts to prorriote forest ~--~ -- protection and sustainable logging practices in Russia stem from commercial interests and security concerns, in addition to historical and cultural sentiments. Kareliyan timber is big business for Finland's wood 'industries. -Last year, 80 percent of Finland's timber exports were birch pulpwood from Russian KareIiya,~ Helsinki considers the potential for environmental disaster in Russian Kareliya to be its chief security threat. Finland expects slow progress on cooperative efforts with Russia because of_ resource ownership disputes, inconsistent loggers have been understating the amount of timber they harvest, falsifying documents, and dodging taxes. Actual logging is reportedly at least 140 percent more than what loggers report. Seeking Consensus in Kuala Lum ur on Hazardous Waste Trad The Basel Convention's Technical Working Group appears ready to submit at the Conference of Parties i_n Kuala Lumpur next month a final list of wastes that will be banned for export starting in January and those that can still be exported for recycling. If the parties adopt the list, they will end a debate that began in 1994 when the Basel parties-at the urging of the Nordic countries, China, and much of the__ __ G-77--agreed to ban irnmediateIy all hazardous waste shipments from OECD countries to non-OECD countries for disposal and to ban wastes exported for recycling by next year. The debate has centered on whether to include in the ban wastes such as scrap metals, plastics, and paper considered by the US and many other OECD countries to be recpverable _ _ commodities. -' - ~: -At the last Conference of Parties in 1995, some developing countries-led by Brazil, Chile, South Korea, and South Africa-broke ranks with the G-77 on the grounds that a total ban would deprive them of cheap secondary materials and contravene WTO free trade rules. The OECD to non-OECD country ban still stands, but a growing number of parties want to Incorporate the_ TWG's waste lists into the legal framework of the Basel Conventian as soon as possible. At a meeting of the Basel Implementation Committee in June, Chile and the EU, among others, said they su adoption of the waste lists, These countries, along with Canada and Japan, argue such an amendment would limit the scope of the ban and end ambiguity over which wastes are banned from being traded. As a nonparty to the convention, the US still will be required to develop bilateral agreements in order to export or import waste for recycling. Such agreements exist with Malaysia and Singapore, and one is being negotiated with Brazil. (there is growing support for codification of the Convention's Article 1 I that would perrrlit bilateral hazardous waste trade agreements to continue even after the trade ban takes effect in January. Selected International Environment-Related Meetings Date Forum 29 September-10 October First Conference.of Parties to the Rome Desertification Convention I-3 October First Organizational Session of the New York Intergovernmental Forest Forum 6 October White House Conference on Climate Washington Change 7-14 October Fifth Conference of Parties to the Basel Kuala Lumpur Convention 13-17 October Ad Hoc Expert Group Meets on Biosafety Montreal 13.22 October Eleventh World Forestry Congress Turkey 20.24 October UNECElLRTAP Working Group Geneva Meeting on Persistent Organic Pollutants 20-31 October Preparatory Session on Climate Change Bonn NATO Committee on Challenges .,. to Modern Society (CCMS), Fall Plenary Nineteenth Meeting of Parties to the 1972 London London Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Waste Dumping APEC Workshop on Environmental Osaka Technology Exchange 25-29 November AFEC Summit.. _ Vancouver 30 November Defense Minuisterial of the Americas .Cartagena 1-12 December Third Conference of Parties Kyoto to the Climate Change Convention -