Argentina endorses U.S. effort to limit greenhouse gases But Menem tells Clinton industrialized nations should pay most of costs

October 19, 1997|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

NAHUEL HUAPI NATIONAL PARK, Argentina -- Framed by the Patagonian wilderness, President Carlos Saul Menem of Argentina appeared with President Clinton yesterday to endorse Clinton's call for developing nations to join the effort to restrict gases that contribute to global warming.

Clinton is seeking to negotiate limits on emissions for all countries, including developing ones. Many of those countries say that industrialized countries that have benefited most from polluting should bear the costs of addressing it.

Menem said, "We agree with the United States when you say that a global problem such as climate change requires a global answer, coming from all countries."

But he also made clear that he expects the United States, the world's leader in emitting greenhouse gases, to bear the greatest burdens. Unless the United States takes on "the greatest of responsibilities," he said, "any achievement arrived at will be of short duration or not deep enough."

Clinton began to sound an alarm over the summer that climate change could cause flooding, drought and outbreaks of disease. He is preparing for a conference in Japan in December at which more than 150 nations plan to negotiate ways to reduce greenhouse gases. Talks to prepare for that meeting are to begin in Germany tomorrow.

Clinton has not completed his proposal on limits, and it is not clear what mechanism he would want to enforce such restrictions. He plans to announce his emissions proposal this week.

During the announcement by the two presidents yesterday in the remote and stunning park, pollution seemed a distant problem. As they stood on a hillside, a blue lake stretched behind them, and all around stood iron-gray Andean crags, joined by razorback ridges and surmounted by snow.

The two leaders issued a declaration stating that "developed countries must meet their obligations, and developing countries must participate meaningfully in this global regime, including by addressing emissions limits for developing countries."

The two countries agreed to enact "joint implementation," under which a company in one of the countries can receive credits for reducing emissions by helping a company in the other to cut greenhouse gases. The program is intended to speed the spread of environmental technologies to developing countries.

In his remarks yesterday, Clinton acknowledged that industrialized countries produce most greenhouse gases. "But emissions from the developing world are expected to grow dramatically," he said. "Forty years from now, they will exceed those of developed countries."

Clinton planned to fly home last night after his weeklong Latin American trip, which was devoted primarily to promoting his goals for free trade in the hemisphere.

Pub Date: 10/19/97

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