Taken from the Union of Concerned Scientists e-list:
ISSUE: President Clinton announced on Wednesday his instructions
to the U.S. negotiators to the international climate
negotiations, now underway in Bonn. Unfortunately, with no
commitment to a specific reduction of greenhouse gases, his
proposal is seriously flawed. The President did announce,
however, some important domestic initiatives.
ACTION: Monitor your local papers and write a
MAIN MESSAGE: While pleased that the President rejected the
"do-nothing" approach advocated by some, his current proposal is
seriously flawed because there is no commitment to a specific
goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
President Clinton's proposal -- announced today, Wednesday,
October 22 -- to curb global warming calls for merely
stabilizing emissions at 1990 levels averaged over the period
2008 and 2012, and for unspecified reductions over the
subsequent five years. While wisely rejecting the no-action
strategy advocated by fossil fuel interests, the
Administration's plan nonetheless falls considerably short of
the critically needed reductions of heat-trapping gas emissions.
In order to prevent dangerous interference with the Earth's
climate, the world's leading scientists have called for
substantial, near-term reductions in emissions below 1990 levels
-- not just stabilization.
The Union of Concerned Scientists is disappointed in the
President's proposal. "This is too little, too late. Unless we
make reductions sooner, we will pass the burden of global
warming on to future generations," said Howard Ris, UCS
Executive Director. "The science demands a more aggressive
approach to the problem."
The international community has been waiting for the U.S. to
bring concrete proposals to the negotiating table. Yet the U.S.
position is modest compared to the Japanese proposal of 5%
reductions by 2010, and is particularly weak in the face of the
European Union's proposal of 15% reductions by 2010. For the
Kyoto talks to succeed, most environmental groups believe the
President must be willing to accept a more aggressive reduction
Last month, a majority of the world's Nobel laureates in science
-- and more than 1,500 senior scientists worldwide -- warned
that without near-term action, the world potentially faces
severe impacts from climate disruption, including droughts,
flooding, heat waves, and sea-level rise. The international
scientific consensus is clear: if efforts to reduce emissions
don't get underway soon, harsher, more expensive measures may be
required in the future.
Scientists have joined together in an unprecedented consensus
on this issue. In addition to the 2,500 scientists who are part
of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) process,
remember that the World Scientists' Call for Action at the Kyoto
Climate Summit complements statements from other parts of the
scientific community -- including more than 2,000 economists on
the Economists' Statement on Climate Change, nearly 1,000
physicians on the International Physicians' Letter on Climate
Change and Human Health, more than 2,400 climate scientists on
the Scientists' Statement on Global Climatic Disruption, and a
special letter to the President from 21 leading ecologists.