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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 12, 1998


Acting U.N. Ambassador Peter Burleigh is today signing the Kyoto Protocol on behalf of the United States.

The Protocol, negotiated last December in Kyoto, Japan, is an historic step forward in international efforts to address global climate change. Representatives of more than 160 nations are gathered this week in Buenos Aires to continue the important work begun in Kyoto. Our signing reaffirms America's commitment to work with the international community to turn the broad concepts of the Kyoto Protocol into working realities. It also ensures our ability to continue playing a strong role in completing work on the key issues that remain unresolved.

Signing does not legally commit the United States to implement the Protocol. The Protocol would become binding only with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. President Clinton has made clear that the United States regards the Kyoto Protocol as a work in progress, and that it will not be submitted for ratification without the meaningful participation of key developing countries in efforts to address climate change.

We are encouraged by President Menem's announcement yesterday, in Buenos Aires, that Argentina will take on a binding emissions target under the same timetable as developed countries. Argentina is the first developing country to pledge such action, and we applaud President Menem's leadership and courage.