Clinton, Menem find common ground on global warming
October 18, 1997
Web posted at: 8:34 p.m. EDT (0034 GMT)
BARILOCHE, Argentina (CNN) -- President Bill Clinton and Argentine President Carlos Menem agreed Saturday to a series of commitments on global warming that could serve as a model for similar agreements between the United States and other developing countries.
Argentina agreed that developing countries share with industrialized nations the responsibility to abide by specific limits on so-called "greenhouse gasses," which are believed to be responsible for the phenomenon of global warming.
Menem thus became the first leader of a major developing country to embrace the U.S. view that international efforts to set limits on greenhouse gasses should be applied across the board, not just on the industrialized world.
"We agree with the United States when you say that a global problem such as climate change requires a global answers from all countries," said Menem, standing with Clinton amidst the beauty of Nahuel Iluapi National Park, with the snow-capped Andes in the distance.
"This is clearly a global problem in which we must all do our share," Clinton said. "The strategy we embrace today does not ask developing nations to sacrifice the legitimate aspirations of their people for economic growth."
After the ceremony, the two leaders played a leisurely round of golf in this Andean resort. Saturday evening, Clinton was to leave Argentina, the last stop on his week-long South American tour, for Washington, arriving early Sunday morning.
While agreeing to the concept of limits on greenhouse gases, neither the United States nor Argentina are saying what those specific limits should be. Europeans are pressing for a cap on emissions 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2010, which American officials say is unrealistic.
Many developing counties say that these tough caps will hamper their struggle for economic growth. During his South American sojourn, Clinton was unable to get either Venezuela or Brazil to make the same pledges on greenhouse gas that Menem made for Argentina.
In December, representatives from more than 150 countries will meet in Kyoto, Japan, to hammer out an agreement on greenhouse gas targets.
The Argentine and American presidents also signed agreements on space and environmental cooperation. The accords provide that two satellites will be launched on a U.S. space shuttle to track migrations of endangered whales in the southern hemisphere and to monitor pollution.
Reuters contributed to this report.