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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release January 28, 1999


Today, the American Geophysical Union (AGU), our nation's leading professional society of earth scientists, reaffirmed the findings of previous assessments -- that greenhouse gases are increasing in the atmosphere, impacts could be highly disruptive to society, and there is a compelling basis for public concern.

AGU's report calls for an increase in research and the development of strategies to reduce emissions, sequester greenhouse gases, and prepare society to cope with the impacts of climate change.

Most importantly, the report warns that scientific uncertainty regarding the details of climate change does not justify inaction by policymakers.

President Clinton and I strongly believe that now is the time to take action. That is why we are proposing that next year's budget include expanded research and other programs to better understand and protect our climate, as well as tax incentives for consumers and businesses to purchase energy-efficient cars, homes, and appliances.

We are proposing almost $1.8 billion -- a $105 million increase -- to continue improving our scientific understanding and reduce remaining uncertainties. This year's package includes a new carbon cycle initiative to study the role of farms and forests in capturing carbon and offsetting greenhouse gas emissions. We propose $1.4 billion for R&D -- a 34% increase -- on clean and efficient energy supply and end-use technologies to promote advanced renewable energy technologies, ultra-efficient cars, and "Energy-Smart" Schools. A complimentary package of $3.6 billion over five years in tax incentives will accelerate the development and use of clean technologies. And, our new Clean Air Partnership Fund will provide $200 million to state and localities for innovative cost-effective ways to reduce both air pollution and greenhouse gases.

We have an obligation to act responsibly in assessing potential damages, and to protect our economy and national security by investing in efficient energy technologies. As the AGU reinforced today, the risks of climate change are serious, the costs of potential impacts are large, and the time to act to protect our national interests is now.