Americans Link Hurricanes and Heat Wave to Climate Change

UTICA, NY, Aug. 24, 2006 - As Americans recover from this summer's heat wave and mark the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, an overwhelming majority say they are more convinced that global warming is happening than they were two years ago, and they are also connecting intense weather events like hurricane Katrina and heat waves to global warming, according to a new Zogby America telephone poll.

The survey, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, was conducted Aug. 11-16, and included 1,018 respondents. It carries a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

Nearly three of every four – 74% – are more convinced today that global warming is a reality than they were two years ago, the survey shows. Dramatically, it is a sentiment shared by a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and political independents. While many more Democrats believe in global warming (87%), 56% of Republicans concur. Among independents, 82% think we are experiencing the effects of global warming. These numbers indicate a shift in the momentum of global warming believers.

Asked what influence global warming has had on specific weather events, 65% said they believe it had an influence on this summer's heat wave that baked the U.S., and 68% said they think it was a factor in development of more intense hurricanes like Katrina. Similar numbers are seen for other weather phenomenon including droughts, wildfires and snowfall.

"While the findings in this survey are not proof that intense weather events are linked to global warming, it is clear that Americans are making that connection," says pollster John Zogby. "It is also clear that there is a desire among Americans across the political spectrum to see steps taken to reduce greenhouse gases."

The survey also indicated there is strong support for measures to require major industries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to improve the environment without harming the economy – 72% of likely voters agreed such measures should be taken. That sentiment was consistent across a wide age spectrum of respondents, but there was some split along party lines. Among Democrats, 81% agreed major industries should be required to cut greenhouse gas emissions, while 61% of Republicans agreed. Among independents, 73% said major industries should be required to decrease certain emissions.

USDA Designates 20 Biobased Items for Federal Procurement

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2006- The U.S. Agriculgure Department has announced two proposed rules under the Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program, designating 20 items that must receive special consideration by all federal agencies when making purchases.

"The designation of these 20 biobased items is a major step in advancing the federal preferred procurement program for biobased products," said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. "When finalized, 1,500 biobased products will be given procurement preference by federal agencies, generating new economic opportunities for biobased product producers and U.S. farmers and ranchers, while providing new choices for U.S. consumers."

The Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program is authorized under Section 9002 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. USDA published the first final rule designating six items for preferred procurement in March 2006. Federal agencies must give preference to designated biobased products in government purchases within one year of publication of the final designation rule.

The two proposed rules to be published in the Aug. 17, 2006 Federal Register designate 20 items, which are generic groupings of biobased products. The new items include: adhesive and mastic removers, insulating foam for wall construction, hand cleaners and sanitizers, composite panels, fluid-filled transformers, biodegradable containers, fertilizers, metalworking fluids, sorbents, graffiti and grease removers, two-cycle engine oils, lipcare products, biodegradable films, stationary equipment hydraulic fluids, biodegradable cutlery, glass cleaners, greases, dust suppressants, carpets, and carpet and upholstery cleaners.

Technical information to support each proposed rule is available at the web site for the Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program at www.biobased.oce.usda.gov. USDA encourages interested parties to submit comments on the proposed rules during the 60-day public comment period following their publication. The web site also contains a catalog listing the qualifying biobased products that manufacturers have posted under each designated grouping of products.

The two proposed rules announced today are part of a series of rules that will be issued designating biobased items. USDA has identified about 170 items for which it is collecting test data needed for the additional designations of items that will extend preferred procurement status to include all qualifying biobased products.

USDA has previously issued final guidelines for the biobased procurement program and developed a model procurement program of training and education to help Federal procurement officials and users of biobased products identify and purchase qualifying biobased products. Information on the guidelines and the model program are available at www.usda.gov/biobased