David Ferry reads from Of No Country I Know: New and Selected Poems and Translations, on Wednesday, March 28, at 7 p.m., Barnes & Noble Reading Room

Vol. IV No. 27   ·   23 March 2001 


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A story in the March 15 Boston Globe reports that U.S. and European environmentalists are accusing President George Bush of ignoring a major finding by more than 3,000 international scientists: that the buildup of greenhouse gases is one of the main causes of global warming. Bush's recent decision not to support regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants is buttressed by the fact that the Clean Air Act does not consider carbon dioxide a pollutant. European leaders say that Bush's announcement could seriously harm efforts to enforce the Kyoto Protocol, a worldwide pact to limit the amount of global warming gases emitted by nations. Cutler Cleveland, CAS associate geography professor and director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, says in the article, "If this happens on enough key issues, it's worrisome. Getting us anywhere close to the Kyoto Protocol already is a Herculean task. Now to have him [Bush] backpedal away from an earlier statement -- is there a word for something more than Herculean? Because that is what we are facing. There is no silver lining to it." Bush's abandonment of his campaign pledge to propose regulating carbon dioxide emissions probably will have limited impact in New England, because the region is less dependent than elsewhere on power plants fired by coal or oil.

"We've known forever that increased travel and trade are likely to bring people in contact with new diseases," MED Pathology Professor Daniel Shapiro says in a USA Today story on March 14 about the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Europe and Argentina. Experts are increasingly concerned about the difficulty of containing the infectious disease as global trade and travel increase. "In an age when we're only a day's travel from any part of the world, and when way more people are moving around," says Shapiro, "the unforeseen consequences are incredible." Foot-and-mouth disease, a debilitating illness that affects cows, pigs, sheep, and other cloven-hoofed animals, has not been a problem in the United States in more than 70 years. As a precaution, the USDA has added inspectors at international airports and shipping ports, and together with Customs Service officials, they are more intently questioning travelers and inspecting cargo from Great Britain, where more than 160,000 animals have been slaughtered and burned or earmarked for destruction.

In upstate New York, a battle is being waged between General Electric Company and the Environmental Protection Agency over cleaning up the Hudson River. The EPA wants G.E. to remove the PCBs that its factories leaked or dumped into the water in the decades after World War II. G.E. has launched a public relations campaign targeted at residents of the area, meant to highlight G.E.'s noble history and its claim to be one of the most admired corporations in the world. SMG Assistant Professor Andrew Hoffman says in the March 4 New York Times, "It's a testament to how much times have changed that a company can even float a campaign like this. In the early days of environmental regulation, corporate public relations efforts mostly focused on damage control, like Exxon's strategy after the Valdez oil spill, or Union Carbide's after the chemical disaster in Bhopal, India."

"In The News" is compiled by Mark Toth in the Office of Public Relations.


23 March 2001
Boston University
Office of University Relations