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Clinton to announce position on global warming

Clinton October 22, 1997
Web posted at: 5:33 a.m. EDT (0933 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In a statement likely to please few, President Clinton is expected to announce the U.S. position on "greenhouse gas" emissions Wednesday.

Carbon dioxide and other pollutants are believed to contribute to global warming, but the debate has already raised the political temperature in Washington.

Administration sources tell CNN Clinton will pledge that the U.S. will return emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants to their 1990 level by about 2010. His new proposal, sources say, is for a staggered process that will level out between 2008 and 2010.

They also say Clinton will propose economic incentives to U.S. industries to begin the process earlier. He will also propose $5 billion in U.S. government spending to promote new clean fuel technologies.


Clinton will also call on developing nations including China, India and Mexico to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions; but sources say he will stop short of demanding they accept specific targets.

Clinton is unveiling his stance as negotiators from around the world meet in Bonn, Germany, to begin the process of coming up with a new global treaty designed to reduce global warming. The treaty is supposed to be completed in Kyoto, Japan, in December.

In contrast to the Clinton position, the Europeans are pressing for a level 15 percent below 1990's emissions by 2010. The Japanese are proposing a 5 percent below 1990 level to be achieved between 2008 and 2012.

In 1993, President Clinton said he was committed to reaching the 1990 level by the year 2000 but has since backed away from that.


White House officials are bracing for an angry reaction from most quarters. Environmentalists will likely say the president is not going far enough in taking steps to eliminate global warming.

Industrial and labor groups, on the other hand, are expected to argue that the proposal goes too far and does not demand enough concessions from developing nations. The U.S. Senate is already on record as promising it won't ratify any treaty that doesn't force developing nations to make deep sacrifices as well.

The push for a new international agreement comes in the wake of a treaty signed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The treaty did not contain any enforcement provisions and has been ignored by most of its signers.

Senior White House Correspondent Wolf Blitzer and Correspondent Sharon Collins contributed to this report.


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