WTO and the Environment

Gary Gallon (gallo@supernet.ca)
Fri, 9 Apr 1999 15:38:21 -0400 (EDT)

THE GALLON ENVIRONMENT LETTER
Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment
506 Victoria Ave., Montreal, Quebec H3Y 2R5
Ph. (514) 369- 0230, Fax (514) 369- 3282
Email cibe@web.net
Vol. 3, No. 9, April 8, 1999

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CANADA CANADA CANADA CANADA
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INTERNATIONAL SPECULATION IN CURRENCY
HARMING THE ENVIRONMENT
USE THE TOBIN TAX

When newly industrialized countries (NIC's) like Brazil,
Indonesia Malaysia, and Mexico bring their emerging economics
into the centre stage of the world economy, they begin to invest in
cleaning up their environment. When currency speculators in major
banks and brokerage houses begin to trade and/or sell short billions
of dollars a day in those countries' currencies, it can exacerbate
conditions leading to the devaluation of those currencies. These countries
suffer a lose in their ability maintain their economy and their ability
to pay for their environmental clean up. The speculators make billions
in profits for the banks. But the countries' ability to take care of their
people and to clean the environment are left debilitated. This is exactly
what happened several years ago in Mexico, when the peso was devalued.
And again in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand when their currencies were
devalued. All suffered from excessive and frivolous currency speculation.
According to many Canadian environmental companies, those countries
have had their environmental programs seriously hampered by the speculation
and currency devaluation. It is hard enough for these countries to weather
genuine recession. It is harder when their currency are pounded for speculators.
A "Tobin Tax" providing a small assessment on every trade made in currencies
would stop much of the frivolous and damaging trading in vulnerable currencies.

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TOBIN TAX WOULD PROTECT ECONOMIES AND
AND HELP PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT

The Tobin Tax, named after Nobel Prize-winning US economist,
James Tobin, calls for a modest (about 0.1%) tax on the roughly
$1 trillion that crosses borders everyday. The tax would discourage
short- term capital flows that have destabilized many developing
countries, while at the same time providing much needed funds for
governments world wide.In 1995, Canada's Minister of Finance, Hon.
Paul Martin, came out in support of the Tobin Tax. Organizations in
Canada that support the initiative include, the Canadian Council for
International Cooperation (CCIC), CUSO, the Ecumencial Coalition
for Economic Justice, Inter-Church Committee on Africa, Inter-Church
Committee on Human Rights in Latin America, North-South Institute,
Oxfam, RESULTS- Canada, Sierra Club of Canada, Social Affairs
Office -- Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Social Justice
Committee of Montreal, World Interaction Mondiale

For additional information contact Gordon Walker of the Halifax
Initiative at (613) 225- 1986 or Coalition Coordinator, Pam Foster at
ph. (613) 789- 4447. Or call ph. 613-241-4611 (Ottawa), email
halifax@web.net, or visit the Halifax Initiative website at
http://www.sierraclub.ca/national/halifax

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CANADA'S PRIVATE MEMBER'S BILL ON A TOBIN TAX
PASSED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS

NDP MP Lorne Nystrom introduced a private members motion in
Canada's House of Commons (M-239) on the Tobin Tax. It states,
"That, in the opinion of the House, the government should show
leadership and enact a tax on financial transactions in concert with
the international community." Finance Minister Paul Martin's
Parliamentary Secretary Tony Valeri has endorsed the motion,
sending a strong signal to the rest of the Liberal party. The NDP
put the motion forward and the Bloc Quebecois is supportive.
Supporters of the motion released an "An Open Letter to Members of
Parliament" that was signed by a number of prominent individuals and
faculty from nineteen universities and colleges. Here is an excerpt
"Currency speculators, people who gain wealth without productive work,
are gambling with futures - our futures. Leading thinkers around the
globe are calling for measures to control speculative capital which has
become a global "wrecking ball", knocking over one economy after
another." The bill passed in the House of Commons. It can now be
acted upon by the Government of Canada.

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ENVIRONMENT BUSINESS IN CANADA TOPPED $22 BILLION IN 1997
SAYS STATISTICS CANADA REPORTS

Statistics Canada reported that the total supply of environmental
goods and services from companies, municipalities and governments
in Canada reached C$22.2 billion in 1997. It was reported that 5,647
environmental companies are operating in Canada. Tough regulations
in the 1970's and 1980's resulted in Canada developing a mature
environment industry with strong technologies. As a result, Canadian
companies were able to 88% of the $22.2 billion in environmental
improvements, where only 12% was imported. For more information
contact Environment Accounts and Statistics Division, Statistics Canada.
Or go to Statistics Canada Website at http://www.statcan.ca/english/Pgdb/

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CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL EXPORTS INCREASE 10%
TO $827 MILLION, STATISTICS CANADA

Exports of Canadian environmental goods and services increased 10%
from C$754 million in 1996 to $827 million in 1997. About 58% of
the exports went to the United States, $475 million, with $108 millon
going to Europe, $70.7 million to Asia, and $68 million to South
America.

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CANADA LOSES ITS WASTE TECHNOLOGY CENTRE (WTC)

The Government of Canada had established the Wastewater Technology
Centre (WTC) in the 1970's to support development of new technologies
to clean up lakes and rivers across Canada. Based in Burlington, Ontario
on the shores of the Great Lakes, WTC helped developed numerous
technologies that helped Canada clean up its waters. These same
technologies gave Canada a competitive advantage in the US $350
billion annual international environmental market. However, as a part of
a massive 1/3 cut to the federal environment budget, Canada appears to have
ended the life of WTC.

Earlier in the 1990's the federal government privatized WTC
which changed its name to Water Technology International
(WTI). In the early 1990's WTI was operated by the dynamic
duo of Dr. Bruce Jank and John Neate, along with a staff of 80
scientists, engineers and technologists. WTI was supported with
large research and technology development contracts from Environment
Canada. Several years ago WTI was sold to Conor Pacific Environmental
Technologies Inc., in Vancouver, B.C. Conor Pacific purchased WTI,
changed its name to Water Technology International Corp., with the
understanding that it would continue to service the federal government
under major contracts.

However, Conor Pacific said WTI has not been able to renegotiate its
research, development and consulting contract from Environment
Canada on favorable terms. As a result, the contract will be terminated,
and the remaining 45 WTI staff released with some of them being picked
up by Conor Pacific for its other operations. WTI/WTC as we knew it
will no longer exist. Source of basic information is from Dow Jones & Co.,
Inc. You can contact, Bob Nowack, Chairman and CEO, or Barry
Greenwood, President, Conor Pacific Environmental Technologies Inc.,
Tel: (604) 669- 3373.

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DESCRIPTION OF HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS IN CANADA

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
(CCOHS) has produced a CD-ROM reference document
containing a comprehensive resource of chemical hazard
information covering transport of hazardous materials;
descriptions of chemical toxicity; and fact sheets and
profiles on the hazards and safe use of industrial
chemicals and environmental contaminants. It has also
produced documents on regulatory compliance which
includes a complete text of all Canadian jurisdictions
environmental and occupational health and safety legislation
exactly as it appears in the original legal sources. For more info
contact, Eleanor Irwin, CCOHS, 250 Main St East, Hamilton,
Ontario L8N 1H6, ph. 1- 800- 668- 4284, email eleanori@ccohs.ca
Website http://www.ccohs.ca

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CANADIANS OPPOSED TO TAXPAYER SUPPORT FOR
MORE CANDU NUCLEAR SUBSIDIES

While the taxpayers of Ontario are about to absorb more than $15
billion in unpaid nuclear borrowing by Ontario Hydro, the
Government of Canada is planning to use taxpayers money to
subsidize the construction of another Canadian CANDU nuclear
power plant in Romanian. Concerned about more corporate welfare
being provided for the uneconomical CANDU nuclear plants has been
raised by 160 Canadian members of parliament from all political parties --
a majority of Mps. They signed a petition to oppose federal government
financial support for a second CANDU reactor to be constructed at
Cernavoda in Romania. As well, 42 senators have taken a similar
position. Opponents of the deal include all opposition leaders as
well as Liberal members of parliament. Endorsers of the position
against federal government financial support for Romanian reactor
include 50 M.P.'s from the Liberal Party, 38 Reform, 35 Bloc
Quebecois, 19 from the P.C. Party, and 18 NDP.

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and its Italian partner
Ansaldo are seeking over $1 billion (Cdn) in financial assistance
from the Export Development Corporation (EDC) to allow the
Romanian state electrical utility RENEL to complete construction of
a second reactor at Cernavoda. For more information contact Dave
Martin, Research Director, Nuclear Awareness Project (Uxbridge,
Ontario) ph. 905- 852- 0571, Kristen Ostling, Coordinator,
Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout (Ottawa), ph. 613-789- 3634, Marc
Chenier, Centre d'analyse des politiques energetiques (Montreal)
ph. 514- 527- 2712. Email nucaware@web.net

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INTERNATIONAL INTERNATIONAL INTERNATIONAL
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U.S. EPA MOVING AHEAD WHILE ENVIRONMENT CANADA STIFLED

Environment Canada has had its budget slashed 30%. It's enforcement
capabilities are lacking. And many of it's power have been handed to
the provinces. Yet in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) is being supported by Cabinet and President Clinton in continuing
to forge ahead. In a report in the latest "Saxe Letter", Dianne Saxe,
a renowned Canadian environmental lawyer, reported that, "in March 99,
the EPA released a series of reports on its successes in fiscal year
1998. Enforcement is at near record highs." 266 new criminal cases
and 411 civil cases were launched in 1998. $92.8 million US in
criminal fines and $91.8 million in civil penalties were assessed,
plus $230 million in Superfund settlements. In addition, EPA reports
that its enforcement actions have lead to substantial pollution reductions.

About 46% of the civil settlements required violators to change
the way they manage their facilities or reduce emissions; the rest
required violators to improve their environmental management
systems, avoid future non-compliance, or enhance the public's
right- to- know. Polluters spent over $2 billion dollars to correct
violations, protect the environment, and clean up Superfund sites --
over $200 million more than in the previous year. Results: Pollutant
Emissions reduced by CFCs five million pounds carbon monoxide
188 million pounds nitrogen oxide 23 million pounds. Access to
environmental information has sharply improved, focussed on the
EPA's popular web site http://www.epa.gov. It now gets more than
40 million hits a month. Source, Dianne Saxe, 355 St. Clair Ave.
West, Suite 1506, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5P 1N5, email
dsaxe@envirolaw.com. Website http://www.envirolaw.com

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ZERI A NEW WAY TO REACH ZERO EMISSIONS

ZERI is a practical approach to satisfy human needs for water, food,
energy, jobs, shelter, and more, in an environmentally sustainable
manner, by applying science and technology and involving
government, business and academia. Zero emissions envisages all
industrial inputs being used in the final products or converted into
valu added inputs for other industries or processes. In this way,
industries will reorganize into "clusters" such that each industry's
wastes and by proudcts are fully matched with the other companies'
input (source) requirements, and that the integrated whole of the
industrial unit produces no waste of any kind. ZERI was highlighted
in a previous "Gallon Letter", however, there were reports that the
website didn't work. ZERI's effective website is http://www.zeri.org/theory.htm
The address is, ZERI Foundation, Geneva Executive Center, 11 13
Chemin des Anemones, CH 1219 Geneva, Switzerland, ph. 41.22.9799.205
fax 41.22.9799.083. Gunter Pauli, Director, email pauli@zeri.org

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BUSINESS ALLIANCE MEETS IN STATE OF MARYLAND

The Maryland Environmental Business Alliance (MEBA) will hold
AN annual Business Exchange Event in Baltimore, Maryland, April
22 to 23, 1999. Some 100 Maryland environmental companies will
be attending the meeting, which is also open to Canadian environmental
companies. This was made possible by the excellent work of Kathryn
Aleong at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. The meeting is
open to a limited number of Canadian firms. Contact, Kathryn Aleong,
Trade Commissioner, Canadian Embassy, Business Development Section,
501 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20001, Tel. (202) 682- 7745
or fax (202) 682- 7619, email <kathryn.aleong@dfait-maeci.gc.ca>

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DR. NORMAN MYERS TO SPEAK ON ECONOMIC SUBSIDIES

Dr. Norman Myers of Oxford is a world renown environmental
scientist who has written a detailed book on the negative economic
impacts of subsidies to energy, agriculture, and resource extraction.
He will be giving the inaugural address for Georgetown University's
Environmental Studies Dept. Friday, 9 April 1999, at 3: 15 pm at
Georgetown University's Reiss Building 103, Washington, D.C. The
topic of his talk will be "The Environmental Impacts of Perverse
Subsidies". His book "Perverse Subsidies" is the latest in many including
"Ultimate Security" and "Primary Source". To attend contact Juliette
Acker email ACKERJ@gunet.georgetown.edu

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EMISSIONS TRADING OF SULFUR DIOXIDE GENERATES US $53 MILLION

The Chicago Board of Trade said sulfur dioxide emission allowances
sold at an auction in the United States for a record U.S. $53 million at
the Environmental Protection Agency's annual emissions auction. A
total of 150,010 spot allowances, which can be used immediately, were
sold at an average price of US $207.03. The auction is held as part of EPA's
plan to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide by permitting utilities that cut
their emissions below the number of allowances they hold to trade or sell
the allowances. Each allowance permits the utility to emit one ton of sulfur
dioxide. Utilities can reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide beyond allowable
limits by installing scrubbers on their boiler smokestacks at a cost of $200 to
$400 per ton of sulfur dioxide removed. Source, "Credits to Emit Sulfur Dioxide
Fetch Record US$53 Million at Annual EPA Sale." Wall Street Journal,
March 29, 1999.

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REGISTER ON AUSTRALIA ENVIRONMENT INDUSTRY DATABASE

The Environment Industry Expertise Database is a detailed list of
Australian companies and government organisations providing
technologies, instrumentation, monitoring equipment, and consulting
services including engineering, information technology, and legal
services relating to environmental issues and problems. The Environment
Industry Expertise Database is part of EnviroNET Australia. Your companies
in Australia are urged to register with the database. It is run by the
Environment Protection Group, Environment Australia, 40 Blackall
Street, Barton Act 2600, Australia, Ph. 61 2 62741781, Fax +61 2 62741640
Website http://www.environment.gov.au/net/environet.html

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WORLD POPULATION WILL BE 8 BILLION IN 2026

WASHINGTON (AP) - The world's population, currently nearing
6 billion people, will climb to 8 billion by 2026, the U.S. Census
Bureau reports. And the total will reach 9.3 billion by 2050, the
agency projected in a report released Friday. "The growth of human
population has been, is now, and in the future will be almost entirely
determined in the world's less developed countries," the Census
report said. It concluded that 99% of natural increase - the difference
between births and deaths - occurs in the developing regions of Africa,
Asia and Latin America. By early in the next century deaths will exceed
births in the more developed nations and all of the net growth will be in
developing countries, the report added. See the full story at
website <http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2559027545-7ce>

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Copyright (c) 1999 Canadian Institute for
Business and the Environment, Montreal
All rights reserved.
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