Top Gore adviser wants global environmental agency

Monday, 14 August 2000 17:39 (ET)


Top Gore adviser wants global environmental agency



 LOS ANGELES, Aug. 14 (UPI) - Vice President Al Gore is likely to push hard

to create a Global Environmental Agency with the same sweeping powers over

the environment that the World Trade Organization already has over

international trade, Gore's top economic adviser said Monday.


 Laura Tyson, former head of President Clinton's Council of Economic

Advisers, said Monday at a news conference at the Staples Center - site of

this week's Democratic National Convention - that a Gore administration

would consider setting up such a GEA to deal with international

environmental and labor issues.


 "One possible way to go is to imagine the creation of a Global

Environmental Organization,": she said at the sparsely attended briefing.


 Afterwards, speaking to a handful of reporters, Tyson elaborated on her

comments and made clear that such an organization had been seriously

discussed and was supported by an inner circle of top Gore environmental and

economic advisers.


 "In all honesty, I have proposed this," she said.


 There is no reference in the Democratic National Platform published July

29 to any such body.


 The platform merely notes the controversial 1997 Kyodo Protocols to reduce

emissions of greenhouse gases around the world and then says, "We are

working to develop a broad international effort to take action to meet this



 However, Tyson's proposal for a Global Environmental Agency was floated

earlier this year in the January-February issue of the prestigious journal

Foreign Affairs by herself and several other Gore advisers, said Tyson, who

has also served as the dean of the Haas Business School at the University of

California, Berkeley.


 Tyson said she and other Gore advisers believed the creation of a separate

global environmental super-agency was preferable to handling international

environmental issues through the WTO.


 The WTO isn't really prepared to do that," she said.


 There was a danger that raising major international environmental concerns

through the existing machinery of the WTO would dissipate or dilute the

impact of such initiatives since the WTO's primary concern was with

straightforward trade matters, Tyson said.


 She said such an organization would function as a "sister", "counterpart"

or "complementary organization" to the 135-nation WTO.


 Tyson said Gore had not yet taken any decision ion whether or not to push

for a separate GEA.


 When asked what Gore thought of the proposal, she answered, "I don't



 "It's a little bit of a prediction," she added.


 But Tyson then said she was convinced the idea of a GEA which could serve

as an international Environmental Protection Agency was likely to be a major

and priority issue for Gore to consider if he won the presidential election

in November and indicated that she expected him to strongly support should a



 "Clearly this is going to be a major issue for him (Gore)"as he moves into

the presidency if he wins the election, Tyson said.


 She then added, "The vice president  .. front and center" on environmental

issues Think of the vice president as absolutely committed to working on

multilateral basis on the (environmental) issues," Tyson said.


 Tyson said she believed there would be widespread support for such an

international environmental policing organization in the United States and

other advanced industrial nations.


 "I think that there is a great concern about the environment in the United

States and in Germany, Japan (and other nations)," Tyson said.


 However, she did not suggest that India, China or any of the more than 100

other countries in the developing world favored the idea.


 At the WTO 135-nation summit in Seattle last November, these nations

opposed U.S. and European global environmental and labor rights initiatives

as likely to hold back their own efforts at industrialization and building



 Tyson said she was speaking her own opinions and not those of Gore or any

formal body of his advisers.


 "You can take this as my idea," she said.


 But she added that it was not her idea alone.


 "It is an idea which has come up among economists who think (a great deal)

about the international system," she said.


 Lori Wallach, director of Global Trade Watch, a project of the grassroots

group Public Citizen, told UPI Monday that Tyson's idea has merit, but it

would not resolve the underlying problems of the WTO.


 "There has been a push to find a way to move the environmental issues out

of the WTO, but you've got to fix the WTO first," Wallach said.


 Wallach agreed that an international environmental organization could help

resolve major environmental concerns. But she warned, "It's of no use unless

the WTO is revised," because the WTO rules would still allow economic or

trade rules to overrule environmental regulations.


 Wallach added, "Some members of the European Union put forward a proposal

like this about a year ago, and the U.S. rejected it."




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