Saturday, February 10, 2007

U.S. & E.U Agree to Share Environmental Research

U.S. and European Union scientists and researchers plan to work more closely in solving common environmental problems and sharing information on emerging issues - such as nanotechnology - under a new agreement finalized today in Brussels. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson and Director General for Research Jose Manuel Silva Rodriguez of the European Commission (the executive body of the European Union) have signed an agreement entitled “Implementing Arrangement on Environmental Research and Ecoinformatics.” Ecoinformatics, a vague term that had me guessing for a bit, refers to advanced computer systems necessary for environmental research.

Cooperation under the EPA-EC Implementing Arrangement is a bit unclear to me, but seems to include collaboration between U.S. and European researchers and associations; joint sponsorship of conferences, workshops and meetings; mutual participation in peer reviews; and exchanges of and data. Whew, that's a mouthful. Basically government scientists are going to be able to communicate more effectively. We shouldn't take this lightly, this is one area in which the Bush Administration is actually cooperating with other nations rather than bombing the snot out of them.

Among the research topics included in the so-called "Implementing Arrangement" are efforts to address the links between environmental pollution and human health, as well as uses and impacts of nanotechnology in environmental monitoring, soil remediation, and water quality. Other topics include: sustainable chemistry and materials; environmental information systems; development of environmental and sustainability indicators; environmental technologies; air quality management and environmental modeling.

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