U.S. Mercury Turnaround Inspires International Accord

February 23, 2009
Reporting by Roddy Scheer

Representatives from more than 140 countries signed onto a new United Nations agreement which calls for coordinated global cuts in the use and release of mercury. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin associated with industrial activities. Last week’s landmark agreement follows on the heels of the Obama administration pledging to overturn a Bush era plan to allow some U.S. power plants to increase mercury emissions despite the health and ecological risks. According to U.N. insiders, the American turnaround on the issue helped convince China and India, the world’s two fastest developing large nations, to agree with the proposed emissions cuts.

“This is great news for reducing mercury pollution around the world, and shows a commitment from the Obama administration to international environmental issues,” said Susan Egan Keane, a policy analyst for the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the nation’s leading environmental groups. “The United States has taken a leadership role that will chart a new course on mercury protections around the world.”

Representatives from more than 140 countries signed onto a new United Nations agreement which calls for coordinated global cuts in the use and release of mercury. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin associated with industrial activities. Last week’s landmark agreement follows on the heels of the Obama administration pledging to overturn a Bush era plan to allow some U.S. power plants to increase mercury emissions despite the health and ecological risks. According to U.N. insiders, the American turnaround on the issue helped convince China and India, the world’s two fastest developing large nations, to agree with the proposed emissions cuts.

“This is great news for reducing mercury pollution around the world, and shows a commitment from the Obama administration to international environmental issues,” said Susan Egan Keane, a policy analyst for the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the nation’s leading environmental groups. “The United States has taken a leadership role that will chart a new course on mercury protections around the world.”

Tags: Emissions, Energy, Environmentalism, Mercury, Obama, Pollution, UN

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I put the above sentence in bold because I wanted to point out that when the US takes a leadership position, that we can influence other nations. If Bush had committed us to the Kyoto Protocol, there is no telling where we could be today in the way of environmental progress.

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