Unshocked And Definitely Not Awed, Obama Administration Flips Mercury Man On His Back

Mercury: one of the invincible metal men. Image credit:Comic Book Periodic Table Of Elements, Metal Men, ChemComics

A quote from PR Newswire does Mercury Man justice:- "To a surprised audience at the UN Environment Program Governing Council meeting in Nairobi today, the U.S. delegation strongly endorsed negotiations for a new global treaty to control mercury pollution, to begin this year."
Question:- Mercury Man, how did you get in our sea food?
Answer:- You put me there compliant flesh being!

For background, see Mercury In Fish: A Global Health Hazard (pdf file downloadable here).

See the Mercury Policy Project for what helped bow Metal Man to the good guys. Before you do that, we suggest you scan the US' Proposal to the UN. And after that, see related posts for ideas about how this could affect "Clean Coal."Proposed Decision on Mercury

United States of America

Recalls the findings of the 2002 Global Mercury Assessment that mercury is a chemical of global concern specifically due to its long range transport, its persistence in the environment once introduced, its ability to bioaccumulate in ecosystems, and its significant negative effects on human health and the environment;

Acknowledges the progress made within the United Nations Environment Program to provide information and data on mercury and provide a forum for consideration of globally coordinated actions;

Commends the Executive Director and UNEP Global Mercury Partnership members for their progress in developing and implementing the UNEP Global Mercury Partnerships as a vehicle for immediate action on mercury and welcomes the progress made by the Partnerships to create an Overarching Framework for action in the priority areas identified in GC 24/3;

Welcomes the report of the Ad-Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on Mercury;

1. Agrees to further international action on mercury, including a legally-binding instrument, to reduce the risks to human health and the environment;

2. Requests the Executive Director to prepare and convene an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee with a mandate to prepare a globally legally binding instrument on mercury based on the mandate set forth in paragraph 8 of this decision. Participation in the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee should be open to Governments and relevant intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations consistent with United Nations rules;

3. Requests Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to commence its work in 2009 with the goal of completion prior to the 2012 GC/GMEF;

4. Requests the Executive Director as a priority action, to provide the necessary support to the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, and UNEP Mercury Program and Partnership;

5. Calls upon countries to financially support the UNEP Mercury Program and Partnership and Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee;

6. Requests the Executive Director to conduct, concurrent with the work of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, a study to inventory facilities in sectors including coal-fired power plants, cement production, and non-ferrous metals mining and production in major mercury-emitting countries. For all sectors, but especially coal-combustion, the study should include analysis of the levels of existing emissions controls, and the potential to achieve further mercury emission reductions. The study should also assess the costs and effectiveness of alternative control strategies, considering mercury-specific controls, and reductions that can be achieved as a co-benefit from conventional pollution control measures as well as the relationship with actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report should be prepared to inform the work of the second meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, and the Executive Director should report the findings of the study at the 2010 GMEF;

7. Further requests the Executive Director to conduct interim studies, coordinating as appropriate with Governments, international government organizations, stakeholders and the Partnership, concurrent with the work of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, including:

a. Enhancing capacity for mercury storage;

b. Reducing supply of mercury from primary mining;

c. Conducting awareness raising and pilot projects in key countries to reduce mercury use in artisanal small scale gold mining;

d. Reducing mercury use in products and processes;

e. Raising public awareness and supporting risk communication.

8. Agrees the mandate of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee is a comprehensive approach to mercury including provisions to:

a. Reduce the supply of mercury and enhance capacity for its environmentally sound storage;

b. Reduce the demand for mercury in products and processes;

c. Reduce international trade in mercury;

d. Reduce atmospheric emissions of mercury;

e. Address mercury-containing waste and contaminated sites;

f. Increase knowledge through awareness raising and scientific information exchange.

9. Further agrees the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee should take into account the need for this instrument to:

a. Contain flexibility to allow countries discretion in selecting measures to implement obligations aimed at achieving common goals;

b. Apply approaches tailored to the characteristics of specific sectors, and utilize transition periods and phased implementation for proposed actions, where appropriate;

c. Set priorities to focus actions on major sources of emissions;

d. Consider possible co-benefits with conventional pollutant control measures and greenhouse reduction strategies;

e. Include provisions to assist countries, as appropriate, in meeting their obligations under a legally binding instrument.


More from our archives on Mercury Man's immutable virtues.
Coal Released Mercury Ruins Fishing and Duck Hunting
Coal's Other Major Pollutant: Mercury
Mercury From Chinese Coal Use Pollutes Oregon's Willamette River ...
Pennsylvania, A Major Coal Producing State, Considers Stringent ...
Martin Drake Power Plant In Colorado Tests New Coal-Plant ...

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