Office of the Vice President
Our signing today of the Kyoto Protocol reaffirms America's commitment to meeting our most profound environmental challenge -- global climate change.
U.S. leadership was instrumental in achieving a strong and realistic agreement in Kyoto -- one that couples ambitious environmental targets with flexible market mechanisms to meet those goals at the lowest possible cost. At the close of the Kyoto conference, President Clinton and I made clear his intention to sign this historic accord. In the eleven months since Kyoto, the evidence of global warming has grown only stronger, and so has our resolve. The recent budget agreement provides more than $1 billion for our domestic climate change efforts -- a 25 percent increase. And a growing number of leading corporations are pledging voluntary cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions.
With talks now under way in Buenos Aires to continue the vital work begun in Kyoto, our signing of the Protocol underscores our determination to achieve a truly global solution to this global challenge. We hope to achieve progress in refining the market-based tools agreed to in Kyoto, and in securing the meaningful participation of key developing countries.
Signing the Protocol, while an important step forward, imposes no obligations on the United States. The Protocol becomes binding only with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. As we have said before, we will not submit the Protocol for ratification without the meaningful participation of key developing countries in efforts to address climate change.
We are confident that in time the nations of the world will arrive at a course that maintains strong and sustainable economic growth, respects the needs and aspirations of all nations, and protects future generations from the threat of global warming.
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