State official will leave global-warming effort to work with Turner's UN money
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Nov. 20) -- Global-warming treaty talks begin in Kyoto, Japan, next month, but the head of the U.S. delegation has turned in his walking papers.
Undersecretary of State Timothy Wirth, a former Democratic senator from Colorado, has decided to leave the State Department at the end of the year. He'll instead head up the foundation that will administer the $1 billion that Time Warner executive Ted Turner has pledged to the United Nations.
Turner pledged in September to give the money over the next ten years to support U.N. programs. Time Warner Inc. is the parent company of AllPolitics.
Wirth's departure may make the delicate negotiations more difficult. He has been the United States' lead negotiator on the climate issues, but will probably not lead the delegation to Kyoto given his lame-duck status.
About 160 nations will gather in Japan to hammer out agreements to restrict emissions of greenhouse gases that many believe are causing the Earth to warm.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in a statement that Wirth "will leave a big hole to fill" and said, "It is some consolation that Tim will be working closely with Ted Turner to support and help explain the importance of the United Nations and the causes that it serves."
Speaking to The New York Times, Wirth dismissed suggestions that he was unhappy at State, calling Turner's offer "an incredible opportunity."
"People care a great deal about these new issues, the new global issues, post-cold-war issues," he said, which includes immigration and population growth, the environment, terrorism, narcotics, international crime and the world economy.
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Thursday Nov. 20, 1997
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