February 28, 2007
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Global Climate Change Digest
A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 10, NUMBER 11, NOVEMBER 1997
In an attempt to convince Americans of the need to control greenhouse gas
emissions, the Clinton Administration invited over 100 television weather
forecasters to the White House October 2, 1997, urging them to spread the
word to their viewers. This was followed on October 6 by a White House
Conference on Climate Change at Georgetown University, which was
broadcast to more than 30 locations across the country. Speakers and
panelists from various sectors of society discussed the scientific,
economic, technological and international aspects of climate change.
On October 22, President Clinton announced that the U.S. will seek
binding commitments in Kyoto to reduce emissions to 1990 levels between
2008 and 2012, and to make further (unspecified) reductions after that. It
will insist that developing countries also make commitments to reduce
emissions, and seeks the creation of domestic and international emission
trading markets within 10 years.
To reduce U.S. emissions, the government will encourage more efficient
energy use rather than taxing consumption, and has proposed nine immediate
actions. Foremost is a package of tax cuts and research and development
spending totaling $5 billion over five years, beginning in fiscal year
1999 (regardless of the outcome of Kyoto). The government will also work
with industries on plans to reduce emissions, and will provide incentives
for early reductions.
The willingness of Americans to reduce emissions remains to be seen. A
public opinion poll conducted in August for the World Wildlife Fund
determined that they support emission cuts even if means higher energy
prices. (See Nature, p. 531, Oct. 9, 1997.) But a poll of 24
countries by Toronto-based Environics International suggests that
Americans are the most skeptical of the need for drastic steps.
(Associated Press, Nov. 9.)
Fact sheets and other information on the U.S. proposal appear on the
White House Web site (http://www.whitehouse.gov);
click on Global Climate Change Initiative. A feature on the Weathervane
Web forum (http://www.weathervane.rff.org/)
analyzes the proposal. For information on recent Congressional hearings
and resolutions see the Moderating Change section of Global
Change Electronic Edition (http://www.globalchange.org/current.htm).
See Intl. Environ. Rptr. (Oct. 29, 1997) and Global Environ.
Change Rep. (Oct. 24) for detailed printed discussions; also Time
(pp. 64-68, Nov. 3, and p. 36, Oct. 13). A skeptical commentary, "Bill
and Al's Global Warming Circus," appears in the Nov. 3 issue of Forbes,
and on the Web site of the Cooler Heads Coalition (http://www.globalwarming.org/),
which also has treaty developments and related material.
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