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International Update Volume 41, Issue 16

CLIMATE DEAL OUT OF REACH; POOR NATIONS NEED TO CUT RED TAPE

China, Japan, Russia

There will not be a full climate deal this year, but officials are hopeful that nations can solidify voluntary agreements. A deadlock ensued as developing countries wanted the Kyoto Protocol to be extended until 2012, as Japan, Russia, and China argued for a wider deal. In addition, the United States has argued for a "legal symmetry," placing more in a new deal under which climate targets for China would have equal force to any commitments by the rich.

ENVIRONMENT WORTH "BILLIONS" TO BRITAIN

United Kingdom

Britain's National Ecosystems Assessment released a report last week suggesting that natural resources and a healthy environment were worth billions of pounds to Britain. The report stated that emphasis should be shifted away from producing more food and goods. "Humans rely on the way ecosystems services control our climate--pollution, water quality, pollination--and we're finding out that many of these regulating services are degrading," said Bob Watson, chief scientific adviser to the Department for Environment.

CHINA FACES WATER CRISIS; THREE GORGES DAM A "FAILURE"

China

A Chinese official called the Three Gorges Dam a "failure," saying that the project had failed to consider its impact on the environment and has contributed to lower water levels in bodies downstream. While parts of central and southern China are suffering from severe droughts as water levels continue to fall across the country and fish stocks dwindle, a devastating drought in the north and the pollution of the Yellow River--so thick that the river can no longer serve as a drinking supply--has threatened the nation's farmland.