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Remarks at Nahuel Huapi National Park in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

October 18, 1997

President Menem, distinguished members of the Argentine Government, Governor Verani, Mayor Miguel, Dr. Varotta, Director Suarez, and Colonel Cabana, thank you very much.

Mr. President, let me begin by thanking you for your wonderful hospitality to Hillary, to me, to all of our team from the Cabinet and the American administration. We're very grateful to you. We are also grateful for our broad and deep partnership with Argentina. From peacekeeping missions around the globe to our cooperation in the far reaches of outer space, from expanding trade to extending its benefits to all our people, from the peaceful use of nuclear power to the fight against terrorism, over the last 2 days we have worked hard to deepen our cooperation to benefit all of our people.

For the children in this audience, our partnership to protect the environment of our nations and the entire globe is perhaps the most important part of what we must do together.

Eighty-four years ago this month, two visionaries of the Americas arrived together in this place where nature and civilization meet. One was Theodore Roosevelt. No American President had spent more time thinking about the New World as a community of democracies; no American President had done more to preserve and protect our natural environment. His traveling companion was Perito Moreno, the man who founded this magnificent domain, Nahuel Huapi National Park, a remarkable gift to future generations.

Mr. President, it is up to us now to act with the foresight and in the spirit of Roosevelt and Moreno in dealing with today's great environmental challenges: how to bring the blessings of global growth to all nations and still protect not just our national environments but the planet itself.

One of our severest challenges clearly is climate change. The evidence is compelling that increasing emissions of greenhouse gases are leading to the warming of our planet and that global warming could lead to profound and destructive changes in the way we lead our lives. Among the consequences will be the more rapid spread of diseases, the rising of the oceans, flooding lowlands on various continents and islands in the oceans, and more frequent and severe weather events in all continents, including more severe droughts and floods.

Five years ago, the nations of the world began to address this challenge at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. This December, when more than 150 nations gather in Kyoto, Japan, we can make, and we must make, more progress toward a solution. Our goal must be to set realistic and binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions and then to create a blueprint to guide us for the future.

In meeting the challenge of climate change, clearly the United States and the rest of the developed world must lead. For today, industrialized nations produce most of the greenhouse gases that go into our atmosphere. But emissions from the developing world are expected to grow dramatically. Forty years from now, they will exceed those of developed countries. Since the issue is how to stabilize and reduce greenhouse gases in the entire atmosphere, this is clearly a global problem in which we must all do our share.

I applaud the leadership of President Menem in Argentina in affirming today that developing as well as developed nations should have emissions targets. And we have agreed to pursue joint implementation, an important tool that will allow the United States and Argentine businesses to adopt the most cost-effective emissions reductions. We have seen clearly in the United States over and over again that we solve our environmental problems more quickly when we work together with technology and markets through the private sector.

I want to make it clear that the strategy we embrace today does not ask developing nations to sacrifice the legitimate aspirations of their people for economic growth. Instead, it offers an important opening to chart a new energy course that is consistent with growth but makes sure that today's progress does not come at tomorrow's expense.

This endeavor will require sustained, committed partnership. The United States is committed to providing a billion dollars to help developing nations find alternative energy sources and use them more efficiently. Next year at the Summit of the Americas in Santiago, we hope to make sustainable development a cornerstone of a new era in inter-American cooperation.

As you have heard from the previous speakers, technology, science, and education are important allies in preserving the environment. Here in Bariloche, Argentina is building satellites that NASA will launch. And then from high above the Earth's atmosphere, they will help us to keep an eye on our planet's changing contours, including surveying the forest in Chaco and Mesopotamia, predicting agricultural patterns in La Pampa, monitoring the deserts in Patagonia, even tracking endangered whales in the south Atlantic.

And the GLOBE program is using the Internet to teach students here and in over 50 other countries that a solid grasp of science and ecology is indeed the first step toward a cleaner world. Today I am pleased to announce that working with Argentina, we're establishing a new GLOBE program at a school in a very special place, Antarctica, a treasure held in trust for every person on Earth. I'm also pleased that the United States National Park Service and the Argentine National Parks Administration has signed an agreement for a 5-year program of cooperation.

If you look at the national park around us here and its power to renew the soul, it certainly gives evidence to the truth of what the Argentine writer Victoria Ocampo wrote, when she said, "We possess only what we really love." Well, this land belongs to everyone. It is protected by the Government, but we must all love it.

Yesterday, Mr. President, Hillary and I had a chance to walk through the magical Arrayanes Forest. It was an experience we will never forget. And it gave us a renewed dedication to work with you to preserve our planet for these children and those whom they represent, the world over.

At the dawn of a new century, let us resolve not only to give our children remarkable new economic and educational opportunities but to preserve our hemisphere and our Earth and to give new meaning to the words Nuevo Mundo.

Thank you, Mr. President.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:05 a.m. at the Llao Llao Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to President Carlos Menem of Argentina; Gov. Pablo Verani, Rio Negro Province; Mayor Cesar Miguel of San Carlos de Bariloche; Conrado Franco Varotta, Executive Director, Argentine National Commission for Space; Carlos Suarez, executive director, Institute of Energy Economics, Bariloche Foundation; and Col. Robert D. Cabana, USMC, NASA astronaut.

William J. Clinton, Remarks at Nahuel Huapi National Park in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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