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Public Papers - 1992 - May

Statement on Attending the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


I have just informed President Collor of Brazil, U.N. Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali, and Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), that I will attend the Rio Conference in early June. Today's environmental problems are global, and every nation must help in solving them.

As the U.S. has demonstrated over more than two decades, protecting the environment and encouraging economic growth can go hand in hand. In fact, it is our conviction that they must go hand in hand. In the early 1980's, we phased out leaded gasoline. Other countries are now looking to follow suit. We phased out aerosol propellants as early as 1978, and this year we announced that we will phase out all CFC's by the end of 1995. In the last 3 years, we have worked to extend that record, signing a new Clean Air Act and an Oil Pollution Act, placing a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in areas off our coasts, investing in our national parks, launching a program to plant a billion trees a year, and enforcing our environmental laws to make the polluter pay.

Abroad, the U.S. has worked hard to promote responsible environmental policies through our bilateral aid programs and through the World Bank and the U.N. system. I believe our decades-long experience in developing and implementing economically sound policies can help others in improving the environment.

In Rio, world leaders will have before them a number of documents. One of those documents will be a framework convention on climate change which was concluded successfully this past weekend. We are pleased with the outcome, and I congratulate the negotiators for joining together in taking this historic step. This framework convention would not impede economic growth and our ability to create new jobs.

Climate change is only one subject to be addressed at Rio. It is vitally important that progress be made as well in protecting our oceans and living marine resources, in promoting openness and public participation in environmental decision-making, in promoting sound management and protection of the world's forests and biodiversity, and many other areas.

I look forward to discussing how all nations, working together, can ensure that we hand over to our children and grandchildren a healthy and safe planet.

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