"Clearly, to me, this climate change issue is one of the principal challenges that we face -- a challenge that, if we meet it, will ensure the continued vitality of our small planet and the continued success of the United States throughout another hundred years; a challenge that should we fail to meet it, could imperil the lives of our children and, if not our children, our grandchildren on this planet -- how they live, how they relate to others and whether they are able to continue to pursue their dreams in the way that our generation has."-- President Clinton, October 1, 1997
The President invited over 100 broadcast weather forecasters from across the country to the White House today for a briefing on climate change. The weather forecasters began their day at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) where they received extensive briefings by scientists and independent experts. The President and Vice President addressed the group at the White House and discussed the four principles guiding the Administration's response to the challenge of global climate change:
1. The science behind climate change dictates action: The scientific evidence of climate change is solid. While more research is needed, what we already know is more than enough to warrant responsible action. The overwhelming majority of the world's climate scientists have concluded that if we don't cut our emissions of greenhouse gases, temperatures will rise and we will disrupt the global climate. In fact, many believe this process has already begun. Such climate disruption could increase heat-related deaths and lead to the spread of infectious diseases.
2. As a world leader, the United States must commit to realistic and binding limits on our emissions of greenhouse gases. As the nations of the world meet this December in Kyoto, Japan, we must be prepared to commit to realistic and binding limits on our emissions of greenhouse gases. With 4% of the world's population, the United States produces more than 20% of its greenhouse gases. The President believes that we must cut back.
3. The Clinton Administration supports flexible, market-based approaches to our efforts to cut back on greenhouse emissions: The Administration embraces solutions to this problem that will allow us to continue to grow our economy, while at the same time, honoring our global responsibilities. The plan that the United States will bring to Kyoto will emphasize flexible, market-based approaches and technologies that can make energy production much more efficient.
4. Both industrialized and developing countries are part of the solution: We must ask all the nations, both industrialized and developing, to participate in this effort to reduce greenhouse gases. Economic development increases energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, emissions from the developing world will likely eclipse those from the developed world by 2035. The industrialized world cannot take on this responsibility alone. In Kyoto, the United States will press for meaningful, equitable commitments from all nations.
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