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Clinton to sign Earth pact.

In an address commemorating Earth Day, President Bill Clinton pledged to sign the United Nations convention popularly known as the biodiversity treaty, In the April 21 speech, he also promised to reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the year 2000.

At last year's Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, George Bush drew criticism from environmentalists for refusing to sign the biodiversity pact. Among other things, the agreement obligates signatory nations to share benefits from the commercial use of the world's plants and animals. At the time, Bush said he feared that these provisions would undermine the U.S. biotechnology industry by endangering patent rights to new products derived from species harvested in other countries (SN: 6/20/92, p.407).

After consulting with environmentalists and industry representatives, Clinton pledged to include with his signature on the treaty an "interpretive statement" addressing industry's concerns. Consequently, says Carl B. Feldbaum, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization in Washington, D.C., "the main uncertainty [over patent protection] has been cleared up to everybody's satisfaction."
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Title Annotation:Pres Bill Clinton to sign United Nation's biodiversity treaty
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 8, 1993
Words:176
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