RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 3 (Tierramérica).- The National Plan for Climate Change to be elaborated by the Brazilian government is much welcome, though it should have been done and implemented long ago, say activists.
In charge of formulating the plan is a committee made up of representatives from 16 ministries and from the Brazilian Climate Change Forum, an official body with participation by civil society. They have until the end of April 2008.
The initiative is a good thing, but it comes "13 years behind schedule" with respect to Brazil's ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, says Rubens Born, coordinator of the non-governmental group Vitae Civilis, dedicated to climate issues.
There are also other similar bodies, including an inter-ministerial commission that has operated since 1999, he added.
The plan should include "measurable objectives" in order to be relevant, Born said. "The economy has goals, so the environment should have them too."
Fishers Save the Dolphins
CARACAS, Dec 3 (Tierramérica).- Dolphins that are part of the Caribbean seascape of the Venezuelan coastline have won the respect of artisanal and sports fishers, ensuring that these mammals are enjoying good health, biologist María Gabriela Silva, of the environmentalist group Seavida, told Tierramérica.
The probability of spotting a dolphin is 70 percent in these waters, which led Seavida to design strategies to promote ecotourism alongside sustainable fishing in the coastal communities.
For the past six years, youths involved with Seavida observe the area's sea mammals. The species most often seen is the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis), said Silva, before heading to the Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, held in Cape Town, South Africa, ending Dec. 3.
Protecting Pets from Natural Disasters
HAVANA, Dec 3 (Tierramérica).- The Cuban Animal Protection Association and the governmental Cuban Society for Veterinary Medicine will work together to devise ways to protect household pets during natural disasters or war.
The families evacuated because of hurricanes, intense rains or flood, the main causes of disasters in Cuba, "can take with them one pet, but many times they don't know how to, nor do they have adequate means to take care of them in the disaster shelters," Nora García, president of the non-governmental Association, told Tierramérica.
The agreement, signed Nov. 24, "will create the conditions for providing broader protection to those small animals during such emergencies," she added.
The Association promotes sterilization of domestic animals, especially cats and dogs, as "the only ethical method" to fight their overpopulation, and which also helps reduce risks in case of disaster.
Solar Energy for Sao Paulo's Public Buildings
RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 3 (Tierramérica).- Public buildings to be constructed in Sao Paulo, Brazil's most populous state, with 40 million inhabitants, will have solar energy units to heat at least 30 percent of the hot water consumed.
It is the first time that a state has adopted such a measure in this country of more than 188 million people. There are seven cities with similar regulations, including two state capitals -- Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre -- both in the south.
The regulation was approved in November by the state Legislative Assembly and will affect schools, hospitals and government office buildings.
Sao Paulo's leadership is significant because of the state's relative weight nationally, and will serve as an example, Délcio Rodrigues, coordinator of the Solar Cities Initiative, told Tierramérica.
"The energy issue is regulated by the national government, and urbanization by the municipalities," which limits the role of the state in those areas, he explained.
Everyone Against Whale Hunting
SANTIAGO, Dec 3 (Tierramérica).- Government, Parliament and non-governmental organizations in Chile rejected Japan's announcement of renewed hunting of more than 1,000 whales, for supposedly scientific purposes, in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, near the costs of Australia and New Zealand.
In addition, Environment Minister Ana Lya Uriarte announced that the degree of conservation of the six whale and dolphin species of the Chilean coastal waters shall be determined, and an action plan will be drafted next year to protect the cetaceans.
"All of the signs have been positive, with sights on the next meeting of the International Whaling Commission to be held in June 2008 in Chile," Elsa Cabrera, of the non-governmental Center for Cetacean Conservation, told Tierramérica.
But Chile must take other steps, such as creating a sanctuary in its own jurisdictional waters before the ICB meeting, she said. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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