Public Papers - 1992
Statement on Signing the Framework Convention on Climate Change
I have today signed the Framework Convention on Climate Change on behalf of the United States of America. This landmark agreement is a major step forward by the international community in taking action to address global climate change. It requires countries to formulate, implement, and publish national programs for mitigating climate change by limiting net emissions of greenhouse gases.
The Framework Convention is comprehensive, covering all sources and sinks of greenhouse gases. It provides the flexibility for national programs to be reviewed and updated as new scientific information becomes available. These are important and desirable features.
The United States already has been working to develop plans that are responsive to the requirements of the convention. In February of 1991, and again in the spring of this year, my administration published a detailed program of specific measures that the United States was prepared to undertake to address climate change. The administration also provided detailed estimates of the emissions effects of these measures. The U.S. plan stresses energy efficiency, cleaner air, new technology, and reforestation. It is estimated that our plan will reduce annual net greenhouse gas emissions by 125 to 200 million tons below projected levels in the year 2000.
Many of the items contained in the U.S. action agenda are already being implemented. Some were contained in the Clean Air Act of 1990. Some energy efficiency measures, such as EPA's Green Lights program, are being pursued under existing authority. Others, such as elements of the national energy strategy, have been proposed by the administration and are awaiting final action by the U.S. Congress.
No effort to address climate change can be successful without the participation of the developing countries. We have pledged support for country studies, for the Global Environmental Facility, and for various other programs to help these countries begin the process of developing action programs.
I have today invited the other industrialized nations who have signed the Framework Convention to join me in a prompt start on its implementation. I have proposed that our countries meet by January 1st to present and review our national action plans. We look forward to cooperating with the other developed nations in this regard and to seeing what specific measures they propose to undertake.