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Federal Water Pollution Control Act

Description: The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. "Clean Water Act" became the Act's common name with amendments in 1977. Under the CWA, EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry. We have also set water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters. The CWA made it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained. EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls discharges. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.
Date: November 27, 2002
Creator: United States. Congress. House

DIVERSITAS Science Plan

Description: This Science Plan is mainly concerned with the current extinction crisis on Earth, which, unlike its predecessors, is occurring at an unprecedented rate, is the direct result of human activities and is occurring at all levels at which diversity is measured - from the genetic diversity of many natural and domesticated species to the diversity of ecosystems and landscapes, through the tremendous richness of species. Current human-induced rates of species extinction are estimated to be about 1,000 times greater than past background rates. Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. Scientists commonly measure and describe this variety at the level of genes, species and ecosystems, but scientific interest in biodiversity goes far beyond describing and measuring it. The DIVERSITAS programme was founded to address the scientific questions that need to be answered in order to understand how biodiversity supports life on Earth, what the impacts of the present loss of biodiversity are for human and ecosystem survival and how humans can sustainably use and conserve biodiversity.
Date: September 2002
Creator: DIVERSITAS

California Assembly Bill No. 1493

Description: The "Pavley" bill requires the registry, in consultation with the State Air Resources Board, to adopt procedures and protocols for the reporting and certification of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from mobile sources for use by the state board in granting the emission reduction credits. This bill requires the state board to develop and adopt, by January 1, 2005, regulations that achieve the maximum feasible reduction of greenhouse gases emitted by passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks.
Date: July 2002
Creator: Governor Gray Davis & Governor Gray Davis

Law of the People's Republic of China on the Promotion of Clean Production

Description: This Law was enacted in order to promote cleaner production, increase the efficiency of resource utilization, reduce and avoid the generation of pollutants, protect and improve the environment, ensure public health, and promote sustainable development of the economy and society.
Date: June 29, 2002
Creator: National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China

Polar Bears at Risk

Description: Satisfactory monitoring information has been obtained for most polar bear populations in recent years, however there is concern about hunting in areas without formal quota systems, such as Greenland. A range of toxic pollutants, including heavy metals, radioactivity, and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are found throughout the Arctic. Of greatest concern are the effects of POPs on polar bears, which include a general weakening of the immune system, reduced reproductive success and physical deformities. The expansion of oil development in the Arctic poses additional threats; for example, disturbances to denning females in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska could undermine recruitment of the Beaufort Sea polar bear population.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Norris, Stefan; Norris, Stefan & Eid,Pål Martin

A Curious Pacific Wave

Description: This brief article discusses about a massive swell of water that was buffeting South America. Kelvin waves are warm bumps in the Pacific Ocean, characterized by a gentle yet massive swell of warm water. Usually not much happens when a Kelvin wave arrives -- beach combers experience a bit of extra rain, perhaps, and slightly warmer surf. Nevertheless, scientists pay careful attention to them because these gentle waves occasionally herald something far more powerful: the next El Niño.
Date: March 5, 2002
Creator: Science@NASA

Habitats at Risk: Global Warming and Species Loss in Globally Significant Terrestrial Ecosystems

Description: This report studies how global warming could affect the planet's "crown jewels" of nature and rates Canada among those most vulnerable. Released by the David Suzuki Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund, the report highlights the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Date: February 2002
Creator: Malcolm, Jay R.; Liu, Canran; Miller, Laurie B.; Allutt, Tom & Hansen, Lara

Endangered Species Act of 1973

Description: The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and the habitats in which they are found. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) of the Department of the Interior maintains a worldwide list which, as of Feb. 20, 2008, included 1574 endangered species (599 are plants) and 351 threatened species (148 are plants). Species include birds, insects, fish, reptiles, mammals, crustaceans, flowers, grasses, and trees. Anyone can petition FWS to include a species on this list. The law requires federal agencies, in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service, to ensure that actions they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat of such species. The law also prohibits any action that causes a "taking" of any listed species of endangered fish or wildlife. Likewise, import, export, interstate, and foreign commerce of listed species are all generally prohibited.
Date: January 24, 2002
Creator: United States. Congress. House

Agreement with Russian Federation concerning polar bear population : message from the President of the United States transmitting Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation on the Conservation and Management of the Alaska-Chukotka Polar Bear Population, done at Washington on October 16, 2000.

Description: This treaty is an agreement between the United States and Russia to work towards a legal and scientific frame work for the conservation and management of polar bears .
Date: 2002
Creator: United States. President (2001-2009 : Bush) & Powell, Colin L.

Atals of International Freshwater Agreements

Description: Water is one of the most widely shared resources on the planet, and the most vital for human survival after oxygen. It has a capacity to unite people that share a source of water, or to incite conflict among them as they compete for it. The latter, reaching the point of ‘water wars’ has become increasingly common in the media, but the contents of this Atlas show that treaties, not wars, are the norm.The Atlas is a step in the consolidation and dissemination of information about shared water treaties. This systematic and thorough compilation of the available historical record of the very many treaties and agreements concluded in regard to the water resources of rivers and lakes shared across international borders offers fresh, compelling testimony to water being an agent of cooperation rather than of conflict. Moreover, the thematic maps featured in the Atlas help understand why this is so, and add new perspective to that of the legal records which make up most of the Atlas.
Date: 2002
Creator: United Nations Environment Programme

Global Solar UV Index

Description: The Global Solar UV Index (UVI) described in this document is a simple measure of the UV radiation level at the Earth’s surface and an indicator of the potential for skin damage. It serves as an important vehicle to raise public awareness and to alert people about the need to adopt protective measures when exposed to UV radiation.
Date: 2002
Creator: World Health Organization

Megadrought and Megadeath in 16th Century Mexico

Description: The native population collapse in 16th century Mexico was a demographic catastrophe with one of the highest death rates in history. Recently developed tree-ring evidence has allowed the levels of precipitation to be reconstructed for north central Mexico, adding to the growing body of epidemiologic evidence and indicating that the 1545 and 1576 epidemics of cocoliztli (Nahuatl for "pest") were indigenous hemorrhagic fevers transmitted by rodent hosts and aggravated by extreme drought conditions.
Date: 2002
Creator: Acuna-Soto, Rodolfo; Stahle, David W.; Cleaveland, Malcolm K. & Therrell, Matthew D.

Our Changing Planet: The Fiscal Year 2003 U.S. Global Change Research Program and Climate Change Research Initiative

Description: This document is a supplement to the President's Fiscal Year 2003 Budget. The report describes the activities and plans of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The report also describes the start-up activities for the U.S. Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI), established by President George W. Bush to accelerate research on climate change. The CCRI supplements the ongoing USGCRP work by providing focus and targeting resources to areas where significant 2 to 5 year improvements in decision-relevant information are possible.
Date: 2002
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program

Ozone

Description: In the stratosphere, ozone is created primarily by ultraviolet radiation. When high-energy ultraviolet rays strike ordinary oxygen molecules (O2), they split the molecule into two single oxygen atoms, known as atomic oxygen. A freed oxygen atom then combines with another oxygen molecule to form a molecule of ozone. There is so much oxygen in our atmosphere, that these high-energy ultraviolet rays are completely absorbed in the stratosphere.
Date: 2002
Creator: NASA Earth Observatory

Ozone

Description: Although it represents only a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, ozone is crucial for life on Earth. Depending on where ozone resides, it can protect or harm life on Earth.
Date: 2002
Creator: NASA Earth Observatory

Ozone

Description: The term "ozone depletion" means more than just the natural destruction of ozone, it means that ozone loss is exceeding ozone creation.
Date: 2002
Creator: NASA Earth Observatory

Ozone

Description: The amount and distribution of ozone molecules in the stratosphere varies greatly over the globe. Ozone molecules are transported around the stratosphere much as water clouds are transported in the troposphere. Therefore, scientists observing ozone fluctuations over just one spot could not know whether a change in local ozone levels meant an alteration in global ozone levels, or simply a fluctuation in the concentration over that particular spot. Satellites have given scientists the ability to overcome this problem because they provide a picture of what is happening daily over the entire Earth.
Date: 2002
Creator: NASA Earth Observatory

UNEP in 2001

Description: The UNEP annual report highlights the various UNEP activities for the year 2001. The report pays particular attention to the Johannesburg (South Africa) meeting on sustainable development.
Date: 2002
Creator: United Nations Environment Programme