Gore adviser wants global environmental agency
14 August 2000 17:39 (ET)
Top Gore adviser wants global environmental agency
By MARTIN SIEFF
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
"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
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."
Copyright 2000 by United Press International.
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