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Gore Pledges 'Flexibility' At Climate Summit

KYOTO, Japan (CNN, Dec. 8) -- U.S. Vice President Al Gore today pledged that Washington would show "flexibility" in trying to agree on an international treaty to curb greenhouse gases. But Gore did not specify how far the United States might go in trying to reach a compromise with its critics at the climate conference in Kyoto.

Gore told delegates from 160 nations the U.S. negotiation team would "show increased negotiating flexibility" in order to reach an agreement on how best to control emissions of greenhouse gases, which many scientists say are contributing to global warming.

Gore said that "a review of all issues is in the new flexibility," including proposals for the size of U.S. emission cuts.

The size of the U.S. curbs and a commitment by developing nations to fight the problem have become key issues holding up a possible accord.

Gore said he had observed "some movement" in developing nations' agreeing to give commitments to join the fight against global warming. He insisted, however, that an international treaty must set "realistic targets" and timetables.

"Our first step should be to set realistic and achievable, binding emissions limits, which will create new markets for new technologies and new ideas that will, in turn, expand the boundaries of the possible and create new hope. Other steps will then follow. And then, ultimately, we will achieve a safe overall concentration level for greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere," Gore said.

Gore says pact shouldn't 'promise what we cannot do'

The United States is the largest producer of so-called "greenhouse gases," created by the burning of fossil fuels. The initial U.S. position is to agree to reduce its levels of greenhouse gas emissions, to their 1990 levels by the year 2012.

The United States also has insisted that major developing countries, such as China, India, Brazil and Mexico, among others, also accept some limits on the level of greenhouse gases they emit.

"The imperative here is to do what we promise, rather than to promise what we cannot do," Gore said.

Gore described himself as "optimistic" that the delegates meeting in Kyoto this week can come up with a workable solution to the problem of global warming. But even if the conference fails to reach an agreement, Gore pledged that the United States unilaterally "will take concrete steps to help meet this challenge."

"President Clinton and I understand that our first obligation is to address this issue at home," he said. "I commit to you today that the United States is prepared to act and will act."

In Other News:

Monday Dec. 8, 1997

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Hatch Asks Freeh For Independent Investigation
Gore Pledges 'Flexibility' At Climate Summit
Cemetery Chief: Lawrence Probably Qualified Anyway
White House Nears Decision On Lee
White House AIDS Director Defends Clinton's Record
GOP Investigators Claim New Money-Laundering Evidence Against Trie

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