The United Nations (UN), in association with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), has granted an aid of US $153.7 million out of the total US $461.2 million cost of 14 environmental projects in various countries.

Among the projects approved was a US $7.85 million grant to scientifically assess climate change impacts and suggest options for the most vulnerable developing countries. Another us $4.7 million project aims to halve the amount of fish caught in nets of shrimp trawlers in six tropical countries and reduce the accidental killing of sea turtles. The GEF, which is jointly run by the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank, also agreed to help China, the world's third largest energy consumer, to harness wind power and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Rapid economic growth and increasing energy demands in East Asia are causing serious environmental problems, according to Klaus Toepfer, executive director, UNEP. The UNEP's Global Environmental Outlook 2000 report shows that sulphur dioxide emissions from coal burning in Asia could triple in the next 12 years if the current demand continues. "Evaluation of the amount of acid deposition is difficult because monitoring methods differ between countries,' he said. UNEP, however, is also contributing to studies of the implication of alternative energy development on air pollution and acid rain.