Public Papers

Statement on Signing the Instrument of Ratification for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


Today I have signed the instrument of ratification for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which I submitted to the U.S. Senate for advice and consent on September 8, 1992. The Senate consented to ratification on October 7, 1992. With this action, the United States becomes the first industrialized nation (and the fourth overall) to ratify this historic treaty.

I signed this convention on June 12, 1992, in Rio de Janeiro at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The convention was also signed by 153 other nations and the European Community. Today I am calling on them to join us in ratifying the convention as soon as possible and making a prompt start in its implementation.

The Climate Convention is the first step in crucial long-term international efforts to address climate change. The international community moved with unprecedented speed in negotiating this convention and thereby beginning the response to climate change.

As proposed by the United States, the convention is comprehensive in scope and action-oriented. All parties must inventory all sources and sinks of greenhouse gases and establish national climate change programs. Industrialized countries must go further, outlining in detail the programs and measures they will undertake to limit greenhouse emissions and adapt to climate change and quantifying expected results. Parties will meet on a regular basis to review and update those plans in the light of evolving scientific and economic information.

Since UNCED, the United States has begun to refine its national action plan, based on the U.S. climate change strategy first announced in February 1991 and updated in April 1992. The United States was one of the first nations to lay out its action plan, which will reduce projected levels of net greenhouse gas emissions in the year 2000 by as much as 11 percent.

Through such measures as the newly enacted national energy legislation, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1992, and other programs and policies of this administration, I am confident the United States will continue to lead the world in taking economically sensible actions to reduce the threat of climate change.

The United States is also assisting developing nations with their treaty obligations. Specifically, we are committed to providing million to help such nations fund ``country studies'' that will inventory each country's sources and sinks of greenhouse gases and identify options for mitigating and adapting to climate change. The United States hosted an international workshop from September 14 to 16 at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California to plan these country studies.

We look forward to the December session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, December 7 - 10 in Geneva, to discuss with other parties how best to move forward in promoting the objectives of the treaty.