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 Home > News & Policies > July 2001

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 13, 2001

President's Statement on Climate Change
Statement by the President

Last month, I announced the fundamental principles to guide a scientifically sound and effective global effort to reduce the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. As I said then, my Administration’s climate change policy will be science-based, encourage research breakthroughs that lead to technological innovation, and take advantage of the power of markets. It will encourage global participation and will pursue actions that will help ensure continued economic growth and prosperity for our citizens and for citizens throughout the world.

Today I am pleased to report on specific initiatives that have been advanced in the past month by my Cabinet-level climate change working group. These initiatives represent important steps in putting our principles to work through partnerships with other nations, industry and non-governmental organizations. They are designed to increase our scientific understanding of climate change, to tap the enormous promise of technology in addressing greenhouse gas emissions, and to promote further cooperation on climate change with our partners in the Western Hemisphere and beyond.

To advance the science of climate change, the Secretary of Commerce has convened an interagency work group charged with developing a federal research plan that will prove vital to increasing our understanding of the dimensions and dynamics of climate change. Prominently, NASA will invest over $120 million in the next three years in research on the natural carbon cycle, climate modeling, and the link between atmospheric chemistry and climate to help reduce uncertainties in the science highlighted by the recent National Academy of Sciences report requested by my Cabinet-level working group.

To advance technological innovation, the Department of Energy has just signed agreements to begin two significant new projects to study carbon sequestration. The first agreement is with The Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest private international conservation group, to study land use and forestry practices for storing carbon more effectively in Brazil and Belize. The second is with an international team of energy companies – BP-Amoco, Shell, Chevron, Texaco, Pan Canadian (Canada), Suncor Energy (Canada), ENI (Italy), Statoil Forskningssenter (Norway) and Norsk Hydro (Norway) – to develop a new set of technologies for reducing the cost of capturing carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion plants. Grants for six other sequestration research projects have also been awarded under this $25 million initiative that leverages an additional $50 million from the private sector and foreign governments.

To further cooperation in the Western Hemisphere and beyond on climate change, the Department of Treasury yesterday entered into a $14 million “debt for forest” agreement with the Government of El Salvador under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act. By funding tropical forest conservation in that country, the agreement will secure important benefits of carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation.

Fostering further scientific cooperation on climate change among nations in our hemisphere, the Department of Commerce is bringing together more than one hundred scientists from the United States, Mexico and South America to study the regional impacts of climate change, another important area of uncertainty highlighted by the National Academy of Sciences study.

My Environmental Protection Agency Administrator also met with the Canadian and Mexican environment ministers on June 29 and pledged to jointly consider “market-based approaches for carbon sequestration, energy efficiency and renewable energy in North America.” Today, the United States will host a meeting with the Japanese Environment Minister at which they will focus on opportunities for bilateral cooperation on climate change, including enhanced, joint climate modeling research.

Finally, in keeping with my commitment to engage internationally, the United States has participated and will continue to participate constructively in international discussions on climate change, including in the upcoming Sixth Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-6) that begins this Monday in Bonn, Germany.

These initiatives illustrate the efforts my Administration will continue to encourage strongly. These partnerships leverage resources to achieve tangible results. In many cases, their scope is international, reflecting the fact that both the problem and solutions for climate change extend beyond the borders of any one nation. And they represent the kind of investments in scientific and technological knowledge on which real progress on this long-term challenge must be based. I am pleased that those who are signing agreements with us or who have otherwise pledged to pursue joint research with our government share our vision of enhancing our knowledge and making progress on this important issue.