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pollutants will fall by 1 million pounds per year, and volatile organic compound emissions by 2 billion pounds per year.

Air Quality in National Parks. The CAA amendments also cover air quality and visibility in pristine areas, such as national parks. Many national parks are affected by pollution haze that can degrade scenic vistas for park visitors. Building on a 1991 agreement to cut utility emissions near Grand Canyon National Park, the Grand Canyon National Visibility Transport Commission began an assessment in 1992 of visibility conditions at several additional parks and wilderness areas in the West. Recommendations on measures needed to protect these and other scenic resources will be presented to EPA in 1995. Special efforts have been made to involve the public in the commission's activities.

1989 the United States imposed an excise fee on the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs); the fee was increased by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. In 1990 the Clean Air Act Amendments required ozone-depleting substances to be phased out by the year 2000.

In February 1992, acting on scientific evidence that ozone depletion is occurring more rapidly and widely than previously believed, President Bush accelerated the U.S. phaseout deadline for CFCs to the end of 1995, four years ahead of the original Montreal Protocol deadline. To accelerate progress in the near term, the President asked U.S. producers voluntarily to cut 1992 output to half the 1986 levels. In response to the President's call for swifter international action, protocol signatories meeting in Copenhagen in November 1992 agreed to accelerate the international CFC phaseout deadline to the end of 1995.

Currently the United States is ahead of other nations in phasing out CFCs and has a world lead in developing safer substitutes. The nation is also the leading contributor to funds to assist developing nations in reducing reliance on ozone-depleting substances.

Stratospheric Ozone Layer

To slow and eventually reverse ozone-layer depletion, the United States signed the 1987 Montreal Protocol, amended in 1990 in London and again in 1992 in Copenhagen. The Protocol calls for rapid elimination of chemicals that are damaging the ozone layer. In


Greenhouse Gases

In June 1992 the United States signed the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, a binding treaty designed to promote continuing domestic and international actions to address climate change. The U.S. Senate ratified the convention in October 1992, making the United States the first industrialized nation to ratify the treaty. The U.S. government has established a national climate action plan that includes the following elements:

• Measures to reduce greenhouse
gases directly and indirectly and to
enhance greenhouse gas sinks, such
as forests;
• Development of new technologies
to improve energy efficiency and
reduce emissions; and
• The world's most extensive
program of climate change research
to better understand changes in the
Earth's systems and develop
appropriate responses.

Actions included in the U.S. action plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 7-11 percent below levels otherwise projected for the year 2000. For more information on U.S. climate change policy, see the International Issues section.

pational Safety and Health, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The federal government administers indoor air programs under the authority contained in several statutes. For example, Title IV of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) requires EPA to conduct research and disseminate information. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authorize EPA to regulate products that adversely affect indoor air quality.

Among the indoor air pollutants being studied by federal agencies is radon. The U.S. Postal Service contracted with the DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratories to develop a sampling protocol to study radon in postal facilities. After conducting a sampling of postal buildings and evaluating new radon-detection technology, Oak Ridge scientists developed a sampling protocol and guidelines for the Postal Service radon program. The first phase of radon testing, which began in May 1992, focused on 40 postal facilities of different sizes throughout the nation.

Efforts by other federal agencies include research and dissemination of data on the following indoor air quality topics:

• Health effects,
• Building design and control
• Development of nonregulatory
guidance on indoor air quality issues,
• Chemical screening to prohibit or
restrict potentially harmful products,
• Radon testing, and
• Educational and outreach programs
on health risks and prevention

Indoor Air Pollution

Within the U.S. government, 20 federal agencies have responsibilities associated with indoor air quality, either through statutory responsibilities or because they are major property managers. An interagency Committee on Indoor Air Quality (CIAQ) coordinates these activities and includes members from EPA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Department of Energy, the National Institute for Occu



Also see Forestry, International Issues, Private Sector Initiatives, and related tables and figures in Part II.

iodiversity has been defined as mation on the status and distribution of the variety and variability of biodiversity components and the func

life—the diversity of genes, tioning of ecosystems. Most informaspecies, and ecosystems—but it is the tion available focuses on particular interactions between these living com- species, but a recognition is emerging ponents that are of primary concern. regarding the value of data on ecosysDiversity is essential for full ecological tems, communities, habitat, and genetic functioning. For example, genetic diversity. Even for species of current diversity better enables a species to sur- concern, such as those that are declining vive changing conditions. Variation or near extinction or have special value among species is the key to such basic for commerce or recreation, information ecological concepts as the food web. is incomplete, and for thousands of The rich variety of plant and animal species and plant and animal communispecies that exists on Earth is ultimately ties, existing status and trend informathe source of much of the world's food, tion is anecdotal and sketchy. Although clothing, and shelter. Biological sys- numerous sources of information are tems continually recycle air, water, and available, the following elements are land. Humanity disrupts biodiversity at lacking: the risk of limiting its options and quali- • A coordinated biodiversity data ty of life both now and in the future.

reporting or assessment effort;
• An overall scientific consensus on

which statistics are most useful as Conditions and Trends

biodiversity indicators and which

procedures are most useful in Along with other nations, the Unit- comparing and managing ed States lacks full and accurate infor- biodiversity data.

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West Germany Netherlands

Fish %


0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80

Note: Based on environmental data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Source: Executive Office of the President, U.S. Actions for a Better Environment, (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, June 1992), page 19.

National Biodiversity Center

In June 1992 the Bush administration announced its intent to establish a domestic center for biodiversity information. Interagency efforts are underway to develop such a center, whose basic functions would include the following:

Improving Access to Information. The center would serve as a mechanism to locate and provide access to biodiversity information in public and private institutions.

Assessing Biodiversity Information. The center would examine the current state of scientific information on biodiversity to identify gaps.

Improving and Standardizing Methodologies. The center would promote standard methods for data collection, reporting, and management, thus improving the comparability and utility of information.

The diverse global gene pool possesses the potential for vast economic value for humanity. Food products from wild species include fisheries, which in 1989 provided 100 million tons of food worldwide. Domesticated species account for 12-32 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in countries around the world. In addition to providing timber, natural fibers, gums, and oils, nature is a major source of medicinal products for traditional medicine practiced by 80 percent of the people in developing countries. Diverse biota also fuel the development of modern pharmaceuticals. One quarter of all prescriptions dispensed in the United States contain active ingredients extracted from plants, and 3,000 antibiotics, including penicillin and tetracycline, are derived from microorganisms. Biodiversity also attracts recreation and tourism to unique sites throughout the nation and the world.

Convention on Biological Diversity

In 1992 two years of intensive international negotiations concluded with a convention on biological diversity signed by 153 nations at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The convention requires measures to identify biological resources in decline, reasons for such declines, and on-site and off-site measures to address the declines.

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