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Bush plugs new plans to study global warming

BALTIMORE, Maryland (CNN) -- President Bush Friday announced several multi-million dollar steps his administration will take to study the causes of climate changes, just days before he is to meet with European allies angry about his rejection of an international global warming treaty.

Bush also said the United States is sending representatives to the latest global climate change meeting, which gets under way Monday in Bonn, Germany.

"I am pleased to report on specific initiatives that have been advanced in the past month by my Cabinet-level climate change working group," the president said in a written statement.

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"They are designed to increase our scientific understanding of climate change, to tap the enormous promise of technology in addressing greenhouse gas emissions, and to promote further cooperation on climate change with our partners in the Western Hemisphere and beyond," he said.

The White House said NASA will spend $120 million over the next three years to study the role carbon dioxide, clouds, vapor and aerosols play in climate change to help reduce "uncertainties" identified in a recent National Academy of Sciences report.

The science group said in the report that although global warming is getting worse, it is not clear how much of the problem is caused by human activity. Greenhouse gases, which come mainly from burning fossil fuels, are thought to cause rising temperatures.

Under the deal struck in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, industrialized nations agreed to cut carbon dioxide emissions by an average 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2012, but the United States has since abandoned the deal for economic reasons.

After Bush angered European allies by opposing the treaty, the president pledged to come up with alternatives.

Bush has said he opposes the Kyoto treaty in part because it does not include less-developed countries that collectively are significant consumers of fossil fuels and because it could have a negative impact on the U.S. economy.

He has said he believes more research needs to be done to determine what is causing global warming before the United States and the world community can figure out the best way to deal with it.

The White House on Friday announced $25 million in grants to develop new technologies to capture and store carbon dioxide, including an agreement with a team of energy companies -- BP-Amoco, Shell, Chevron and Texaco -- and a contract with the Nature Conservancy, the world's largest private international conservation group.

Bush also announced a joint venture with Japan, the European Union and other countries to develop "state-of-the-art" climate modeling to help isolate the causes of climate change.

The United State on Friday played host to the first in a series of meetings with Japan to find ways to work together on global climate change, said the administration.

The White House further announced the Treasury Department had reached a debt relief agreement with El Salvador, freeing up $14 million to conserve tropical forests.

White House aides said the president's working group on global climate change is continuing to look for ways to reduce global warming.

Bush will take the initiatives with him when he leaves Wednesday for his second trip to Europe, which is scheduled to include a visit with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in England and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Genoa, Italy, during the summit of the major industrialized nations next weekend.

• Dismay as U.S. drops climate pact
March 29, 2001
• Bush, EU downplay Kyoto divisions
June 14, 2001
Developing countries encouraged to curb greenhouse gases
June 18, 1999

• Bush statement on environment

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