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"I want to tell you that I am grateful for many things as President. I'm grateful for the opportunity that the Vice President and I have had to finally put to rest the bogus idea that you cannot grow the economy and protect the environment at the same time."

President Clinton
State of the Union Address
January, 2000

The Clinton-Gore Administration is putting global environmental issues where they belong: in the mainstream of American foreign policy. The state of the global environment profoundly affects our national interests. A clean environment and a growing economy go hand in hand. Challenges such as climate change, toxic pollution, natural resources conservation and ocean dumping transcend borders and threaten the health, quality of life and jobs of American citizens. Economic development and environmental protection go hand in hand.

  • Negotiated the historic Kyoto Protocol, an international framework that establishes a strong, realistic and legally binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an environmentally strong and economically sound way. Led the scientific and technical process necessary for long-term inclusion of forest and agricultural sinks and innovative mechanisms like emissions trading in the international response to climate change.
  • Ensured that U.S. efforts to expand trade reflect a strong commitment to promoting environmental protection worldwide. Signed an Executive Order requiring careful assessment and written review of the potential environmental impacts of major trade agreements so environmental considerations can guide the development of U.S. positions in trade negotiations. Concluded the Jordan Free Trade Agreement, the first such text to include environmental obligations in the body of the agreement.
  • Fostered strong environmental standards at U.S. export agencies, the World Bank and other international financial institutions, including targets for clean energy lending. Led the fight for the recent G-8 commitment at the Okinawa Summit to common environmental guidelines for export credit agencies by 2001.
  • Raised annual USAID spending on tropical forest and biodiversity conservation to $100 million for FY 2001. At the U.N. Millennium Summit in 2000, announced contribution of the first ever comprehensive set of satellite images of the world's threatened forests to a ground-breaking international scientific assessment of global ecosystems.
  • Directed the development of key recommendations for strengthening Federal oceans policy for the 21st century and appointed a high level National Security Council/Council on Environmental Quality task force to oversee the implementation of those recommendations. Convened a National Oceans Conference in June 1998 that brought together government experts, business executives, scientists, environmentalists, elected officials and the public to examine opportunities and challenges in restoring and protecting our ocean resources.
  • Called for and then led the successful global negotiations for a new treaty to phase out 12 of the most dangerous, persistent organic pollutants such as PCBs and DDT that threaten health and safety around the world.
  • Successfully phased out CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) by 1996 and other major ozone-depleting substances by 1994. Approved the introduction of more than 300 alternatives to ozone-depleting substances. Invested more than $300 million a year in research on atmospheric chemistry and stratospheric ozone depletion. Strengthened international efforts to protect the ozone layer through ongoing negotiation of amendments to the Montreal Protocol.
  • Led the negotiation and completion of a ground-breaking treaty among Latin American countries to protect endangered sea turtles. Led international efforts to protect endangered whale species and curb illicit trade in products derived from endangered species, such as rhinos and tigers.
  • Led the world in calling for a global ban on ocean dumping of low-level radioactive waste at the London Convention in 1993. The United States was the first nuclear power to advocate the ban, and successfully convinced the rest of the world to follow our lead.
  • Helped forge a historic consensus at the 1994 Cairo Conference for a global program to empower women and slow population growth.
  • Worked hard to secure a legally binding August, 1995 international treaty to protect migratory fish stocks. Leading an international effort to create negotiations in the WTO leading to the elimination of environmentally-damaging subsidies that promote over capacity in fishing fleets.



Commitment by the G-8 in Okinawa to common environmental guidelines for export credit agencies. Agreements with India and China to cooperate on clean energy and climate change. At U.N. Security Council, President Clinton announces U.S. contribution of major new satellite data to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Final agreement on a global treaty on hazardous chemicals called persistent organic pollutants.


Issuance of Executive Order 13141 mandating environmental review of major trade agreements. President Clinton's speech on the global environment in Christchurch, New Zealand.


President Clinton speaks at and participates in environmental events during foreign travel to China and Botswana.


Personal involvement by President Clinton and Vice President Gore in
international negotiations on climate change that led to the Kyoto Protocol; President Clinton speaks to United Nations special session on environment/sustainable development.


Vice President Gore attends sustainable development conference in Santa Cruz,

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