GreenBits: Briefs for the Week of Sept. 8, 2000

GreenBits: Briefs for the Week of Sept. 8, 2000

Highlights from the world of business and the environment: Asian Ministers Deepen Environmental Cooperation ... Australia Powerline Considers $56 Million IPO ... Toxic Chemicals Linked to Health Problems in Children

Asian Ministers Deepen Environmental Cooperation

KITAKYUSHU CITY, Japan, Sept. 4, 2000 – An Asian ministerial conference held once every five years to assess the state of the environment and sustainable development policies is taking place through Tuesday in Japan. Based on this review, the outcome may be a regional action program for 2001-2005, followed by a commitment by the ministers for its implementation through a declaration. Timed to coincide with the ministerial meeting is another high level environmental conference also in Kitakyushu, the Environment Congress for Asia and the Pacific. The two concurrent meetings are expected to lead to deeper discussions on environmental issues, strengthen cooperation among nations in the region to combat environmental problems, and promote environmental policies. Conference delegates addressed such issues as the deteriorating quality of urban air, declining quality and quantity of fresh water resources, overloading of wastes due to unsustainable lifestyles and consumption, loss of biodiversity, diminishing coastal resources, and exposure to hazardous chemicals and wastes. The United States boycotted the meetings to show its disapproval of Japanese lethal whale research which this year added sperm and Bryde's whales to the usual minke whale targets.

Australia Powerline considers $56 Million IPO

MELBOURNE, Australia, Sept. 5, 2000 – Energy company Powerline Systems Pty Ltd. said yesterday it planned to raise $56 million through stock exchange listings to fund manufacturing of its micro co-generation units. Powerline managing director Colin Chambers said Salomon Smith Barney had been appointed to look at floating the company on the Australian Stock Exchange and on the U.S. based Nasdaq exchange, possibly around April or May next year. The micro co-generation units produce a total 11.5 kilowatts of energy and are being tested by Powerline and TXU Australia Pty Ltd. Units have been installed at The Alpine High School at Mt. Hotham in Victoria and the new Mt. Hotham Airport. "These are systems which are about the size of a small bar fridge and these will replace the way you get energy for your home or your business, or work in conjunction with the grid system that exists," Chambers said. The co-generation units are fired by natural gas or liquid petroleum gas and have greenhouse gas emission benefits compared to using brown-coal fired baseload generation. Chambers said there was potential for some 500 MW generation to be deployed and Powerline was working toward a deal with TXU Australia that could be worth $560 million over three years.

Toxic Chemicals Linked to Health Problems in Children

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2000 – The 24 billion pounds of developmental and neurological toxins released into the environment of the United States each year are linked to millions of cases of developmental disabilities in children, charges a new report released today. The report ranks toxic emissions state by state. Data reported by industries shows that Louisiana and Texas emit the most developmental and neurological toxins to air and water. Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida are also major emitters. The report by the National Environmental Trust, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Learning Disabilities Association of America is the first to comprehensively examine the scope and sources of toxic chemicals with known links to health and development problems in children. "Polluting Our Future: Chemical Pollution in the U.S. that Affects Child Development and Learning" reveals that U.S. industries reported just five percent of estimated total emissions of developmental and neurological toxins -- 1.2 billion pounds -- to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "This is the first complete snapshot we’ve ever had of toxic pollution in this country that can affect the way that children’s bodies and brains develop," said Jeff Wise, NET policy director. The report is available at