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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Kofi Speaks

Air Date: Week of May 25, 2001

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During a commencement address at Tufts University; UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan publicly pressured the Bush administration about its position on global warming. An excerpt from the speech airs.

Transcript

CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood. The international fallout continues over President Bush's decision to abandon the Kyoto global warming treaty. And on May twentieth in Medford, Massachusetts, the diplomatic imbroglio took an unexpected twist.

ANNAN: I want to talk to you today about climate change.

CURWOOD: Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, delivered the commencement speech at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. And in doing so, he took the unusual step of aiming his remarks, in part, at one particular UN member state. He urged the United States to reconsider its stance on the Kyoto negotiations. Here is an excerpt from the Secretary General's speech.

ANNAN: The United States, as you probably know, is the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gases, largely because it is the world's largest and most successful economy. That makes it especially important for it to join in reducing the emissions, and in the broader question, for energy efficiency and conservation. Indeed, there is concern throughout the world about the decision of the new administration to oppose the Kyoto Protocol. Today we face the very real danger that the hard-won global gains in combating climate change will experience a grievous setback. Contrary to popular belief, we do not face a choice between economy and ecology. It is often said that protecting the environment would constrain or even undermine economic growth. In fact, the opposite is true. Unless we protect resources and earth's natural capital, we shall not be able to sustain economic growth. We must stop being so economically defensive and start being more politically courageous.

CURWOOD: United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, delivering his commencement speech on global warming at Tufts University.

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