Climate Change is a growing threat to the United States and all nations. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which represents the work of more than 2,000 of the world's leading climate scientists, estimates that global temperatures will rise by 2 to 6.5 degrees Fahrenheit this century. (By way of comparison, the last ice age was only 5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit colder than today). Recent studies by the National Climatic Data Center indicate that worldwide temperatures have been rising very rapidly--at a rate of .35 degrees Fahrenheit per decade over the last 20 years.
Even small average temperature increases are likely to have significant consequences. A draft report regarding possible impacts of climate change on the U.S. finds an increased potential for extreme weather events like storms and droughts, adverse impacts on many natural ecosystems, coastal flooding on much of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, possible water shortages (particularly in the West), and many other potentially serious impacts.
The causes of global warming are also becoming clearer. Scientists increasingly believe that greenhouse gas emissions--from automobiles, power plants and other devices that rely on the burning of fossil fuels--are at least partly, if not primarily, to blame for rising world temperatures.
To help address these issues, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have developed and implemented an aggressive and comprehensive series of initiatives to fight global warming. For fiscal year 2001, the President's budget includes more than $4 billion for research and development of clean energy sources and technologies, energy efficient and other measures to help reduce greenhouse emissions while maintaining strong economic growth. The President has also proposed $4.1 billion in direct tax incentives over five years for consumers who purchase energy efficient products and for producers of energy from renewable sources to help spur development of these clean technologies.
In addition, President Clinton has issued a number of Executive Orders to address the climate change problem. On Earth Day 2000, the President issued two Executive Orders that instructed the government to become more energy efficient. One directive aims to make the Federal vehicle fleet significantly more fuel efficient; another orders agencies to offer public transportation incentives to Federal workers. These measures are in addition to Executive Orders issued by the President last year to promote development of fuels and products from plant matter and to increase the energy efficiency of all Federal buildings and installations.
Many Americans are beginning to take action to fight climate change and its consequences. A growing number of state and local governments and private companies are stepping forward to address climate change with prudent, creative, cost-effective stategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
At the same time, it is clear that U.S. action alone is not enough. Global warming is a global problem that requires a global solution. The U.S. is engaged in serious negotiations with the world's nations to develop a cost-effective and fair approach to reducing the threat that greenhouse gases pose to our climate. The President and Vice President believe that in the long term an international agreement must be reached to check the growth of greenhouse gases that threatens us.
In his State of the Union message in January 2000, the President called global warming "the greatest environmental challenge of the 21st century." The President and Vice President urge all Americans to help find solutions to this urgent problem.
The Administration's Climate Change Program
FY2001 Climate Change Budget
Meeting the Challenge of Global Climate Change
New Climate Change Initiatives
Ongoing Domestic Climate Change Programs
Executive Orders on Climate Change Issued by President Clinton
The Administration's Economic Analysis of the Kyoto Protocol
The U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory
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