Office of the Press Secretary
Protecting the Environment and Combating Global Warming
President Clinton and President Putin today announced a new commitment between the United States and the Russian Federation to strengthen joint efforts to combat global climate change. The two nations pledged to work together and with other nations to complete the negotiations necessary to make the Kyoto Protocol a working reality. They pledged to expand cooperation on the measurement and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, and called for strong, transparent international rules that maximize the potential of the Protocol's market-based tools to achieve cost-effective emissions reductions.
Joint Statement on Cooperation to Combat Global Warming: The joint statement reaffirms the commitment of the United States and the Russian Federation to strengthen their cooperation in fighting global warming. It follows a joint statement between the United States and China last month, and a U.S.-India statement in March, pledging stronger cooperation on climate change and other environmental concerns. The statement with Russia outlines a common climate change agenda, including:
Statement Builds Upon Ongoing Bilateral Consultations and Technical Assistance. Today's statement builds upon ongoing cooperation on climate change between the United States and the Russian Federation, which has been coordinated primarily through the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission, under the leadership of Vice President Gore. As a result of this coordination, a variety of ongoing technical assistance programs have been carried out in recent years under the sponsorship of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Energy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Current work includes efforts to:
Global Warming and the Kyoto Protocol: There is broad scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions -- primarily in the form of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels -- are at least partly responsible for an increase in global temperatures over the last century. Under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the world's industrialized nations -- including the United States and Russia -- agreed to reduce their overall greenhouse gas emissions by more than 5% percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. The Protocol, which has not yet been ratified by either nation, also contains important market-based mechanisms to ensure that nations can meet their targets in a cost-effective manner.
Under Kyoto's emissions trading provisions, for example, countries or companies that find it relatively expensive to reduce emissions may purchase additional emissions units from emitters that have already met their targets with room to spare. Economists widely agree that trading will encourage reductions where they can be achieved at the lowest cost, resulting in the greatest reductions for each available dollar, ruble, yen, or euro.
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