2nd Try -- Info on GLOBE Initiative

Thu May 26 08:49:00 CDT 1994

          My apologies for forwarding a binary WP file the first time --
          oops! Thanks to those who let me know. Let's try again...

          The following on the GLOBE initiative may be of interest to this
          list. Please share with other colleagues and lists, and forgive
          any cross-postings. My thanks to Tim Horrigan for finding this in
          the archives.

                               young.steve at epamail.epa.gov
                               US EPA and Smithsonian Biodiversity Program

          Steve Young asked if anyone had the text of VP Gore's
          announcement of the GLOBE Initiative.  I looked through some
          dusty old messages, and I found it!  Here it is:

          ---------cut here------------------

                                     THE WHITE HOUSE

                              Office of the Press Secretary

          For Immediate Release                              April 22, 1994

                                      PRESS BRIEFING
                                   THE VICE PRESIDENT,
                            JIM BAKER, ADMINISTRATOR OF NOAA,
                            DAN GOLDIN, ADMINISTRATOR OF NASA,
                           CAROL BROWNER, ADMINISTRATOR OF EPA,

                                    The Briefing Room

          9:45 A.M. EDT

                       THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, and thank you.  I
          want to acknowledge my colleagues here and then make a brief
          announcement.  Then two of them will have short statements, and
          then we'll respond to your questions.

                       Jim Baker, Administrator of the National Oceanic and
          Atmospheric Administration will make a short presentation after I

          do, as will Dan Goldin, also Administrator of NASA.  We are
          joined by other participants in this program -- Carol Browner,
          Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Neal Lane,
          Director of the National Science Foundation; Madeleine Kunin,
          Deputy Secretary of Education; Elinor Constable, Assistant
          Secretary of the Department of State.  And from the White House,
          Directors of the two White House offices that will be working on
          the GLOBE program -- Katie McGinty, Office of Environmental
          Policy, and Jack Gibbons, Office of Science and Technology Policy
          and Science Adviser to the President.

                       We're announcing this morning a program to link
          students in schools around the world in a worldwide effort to
          monitor changes in the world's environment.  Students will
          monitor such things as temperature and rainfall initially in the
          areas around their schools and each day feed the results into a
          worldwide computer network that is in each case linked to the
          participating school.

                       The information compiled by these students will be
          instantaneously formed into a global image, produced by a
          computer system here in the United States, that utilizes the
          information to portray a graphic representation of what is
          happening in the global environment that day.  It will then be
          displayed with hourly updates in the classrooms of the
          participating schools and made available to news organizations
          and others on an hourly basis.

                       The scientific community is participating in the
          design of the information collection system and is extremely
          interested in obtaining the new data that is simply not available
          today.  For example, they do not have information on the
          distribution of rainfall on continents around the world, or good
          readings of ground-level temperature in large areas of the
          Earth's surface where these students will be supplying that

                       We have built in quality control systems and
          sampling techniques to validate the information as it is
          collected.  And we have put together a team of experts to utilize
          the system for environmental education purposes, and to enable
          the students to communicate among themselves.

                       If, for example, a school in Ecuador comes up with a
          particularly useful approach to the environment, some
          presentation about what they're doing can be made available to
          their counterparts in other schools around the world.

                       This morning I had the opportunity to conduct a town
          hall meeting with students from schools located on every
          continent that talked about the program and, on Earth Day, gave
          us a chance to share in a discussion of aspects of the
          environment in which they are interested.

                       We will begin with 500 schools; by the end of next
          year, we will have 1,000 schools.  It may expand more rapidly
          than that, I might say, because the expressions of interest in
          participating in this program have been overwhelming just in the
          last several days.  And we have formal expressions of
          enthusiastic support, which we'll provide for you this morning,
          from Argentina, Australia, Benin in Africa, Bolivia, Canada,
          Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, India, Israel, Japan,
          Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Papua New
          Guinea, Russia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and the United Kingdom. That
          is the first wave of countries expressing support and
          participating in the program.  We anticipate that many, many
          others will join in this program.

                       Eventually, in later phases of the evolution of this
          program, we anticipate that students will begin reporting on a
          daily basis on efforts to remediate problems in the environment.
          For example, schools may report on how many trees they planted
          this week or this month, or how streams were restocked with fish,
          or whatever.  In addition, we anticipate more complicated
          observations of the environment as the program evolves with
          students participating in activities such as bird counts in
          particular areas -- bird counts during the migratory season
          linking up schools along particular migratory routes.

                       But in the early phases, it will focus on relatively
          more simple observations and the creation of this worldwide --
          this image of the world's environment that they will be able to
          see each day, knowing that they have helped to create that image
          by collecting the information upon which it is based.

                       Now, let me now turn it over to Jim Baker, who is
          Administrator of NOAA.  And NOAA is the host agency here in the
          United States for this program.  And I'd like to ask Jim Baker to
          say a few words, and he will then in turn introduce Dan Goldin.

                       ADMINISTRATOR BAKER:  Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
          The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is pleased to
          be the host agency for the GLOBE program -- the first steps
          towards implementation of a grand vision of both enhancing
          environmental awareness; of educating a broad and diverse
          constituency; of schools about the environment and how to impact
          the environment; and also to provide additional and very valuable
          scientific information which we can add to our environmental data
          bases so we have a better understanding of how the Earth works.

                       This is an international initiative, as The Vice
          President mentioned, and it's also very much an interagency
          initiative.  We have representatives here from NASA, from the
          National Science Foundation, EPA, the Department of State, and
          the Department of Education -- all of whom are playing a very
          strong role and using their resources to help pull this together.

                       We think this is a very exciting initiative.  We've

          been very pleased with the progress that has been made in the
          last few months in pulling this together.  And we're looking
          forward to a major change in human behavior if the program can
          actually be successful.  So we're very pleased to be a part of
          The Vice President's vision, the grand vision that he has.

                       Let me now turn this over to Dan Goldin, who is the
          Administrator of NASA, and who has also been a key player in
          pulling together the early planning stages here.

                       ADMINISTRATOR GOLDIN:  Mr. Vice President, I'd like
          to thank you for your vision.  In one of our first meetings when
          we got together, we talked about the priorities for NASA and how
          it might be relevant to this country.  And it became clear that
          Mission to Planet Earth in understanding our environment was

                       You know, when you look down on Planet Earth from
          space you see a ball 8,000 miles in diameter surrounded by a thin
          blue line -- of maybe tens of miles -- bright blue.  And from
          space you get the perspective that no one owns that environment,
          no one country could put up boundaries, and we all share that air
          we breathe -- it nurtures life.

                       And Mission to Planet Earth is the most ambitious
          program set forth to understand that environment.  But it
          shouldn't just be a scientific endeavor, it must involve the
          children of the world, the adults of the world.  And this is
          crucial.  NASA is going to participate in GLOBE to tie together
          our knowledge for Mission to Planet Earth, get zero ground-based
          measurements to correlate with our space-based measurements, and
          more importantly to get dissemination to work properly.  So we're
          really privileged and pleased to participate in this noble

                       Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

                       THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Let me
          say just a couple of other words and then open it up to your

                       The communications system will be a combination of
          the worldwide INTERNET and satellite-based communications systems
          that are currently in existence and others that we anticipate
          will be available within three to four years.

                       Secondly, this is a public-private partnership.  A
          great many private organizations are going to be participating
          actively in helping to provide support for key elements of the
          program, as other countries will be participating in it, as I

                       And may I say that the level of enthusiasm in these
          other countries is difficult to exaggerate.  Prime Minister John

          Major contacted me personally to say he wants to emphasize not
          only the United Kingdom's support but his personal enthusiastic
          support for this.  Prime Minister Keating of Australia, President
          Akayev of Kyrgystan, King Hussein of Jordan -- many other world
          leaders have expressed their personal enthusiasm and support for
          this endeavor.

                       Many individuals in the private sector have been
          very important to our efforts to develop this initiative.  Tom
          Van Sant (phonetic), with the Eyes on Earth program has been very
          helpful in thinking this through and will be participating in it,
          along with many others in the private sector.

                       And the agencies represented here will, of course,
          have particular responsibilities.  In addition to NOAA and NASA,
          EPA is working very hard on coordination with existing
          environmental programs and environmental education programs.  The
          Department of Education is working on educational quality control
          and curricula development.  The National Science Foundation is
          serving as the liaison with nongovernmental organizations, and
          also with curricula development.  The Department of State is
          helping us with the international coordination of program design
          and implementation.  And I'm grateful to them and to the White
          House offices that have worked so hard on this initiative.

                       So, with that, let me throw it open to your

                       Q    Mr. Vice President, to an environmental
          community that seems to be waiting for something dramatic, like
          the energy tax or higher CAFE standards, this may strike them as
          something more along the lines of public relations.  Can you look
          the environmental community right in the eye and say that you are
          satisfied with the progress this administration's made on the
          environmental front?

                       THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Oh, absolutely.  We have turned
          environmental policy around and headed it in the right direction.
          Nobody said it would be easy, but we're making tremendous
          progress.  And you mentioned the energy tax as if we are somehow
          to blame for the fact that the energy tax, or the BTU tax, was
          not enacted.  We proposed it and worked hard for it, and the fact
          that there is not yet sufficient political support in the country
          to convince the Congress to support an initiative like that is
          something that we'll take our share of the blame for; but I'm not
          sure that it's fair to say that having proposed it and fought for
          it that we ought to be blamed for the fact that there wasn't
          sufficient political support to adopt it.

                       We have taken dramatic steps in proposing an
          environmental budget that really, as several environmental
          organizations have said, is an Earth budget.  It's a great
          program.  We have signed the Biodiversity Treaty.  We have begun
          enforcing the requirements to protect endangered species.  We've

          signed the Climate Change Convention and put forward a climate
          action plan.  We have engineered compromises, thanks to Carol
          Browner and others, on the Northwest forest plan and the
          Everglades.  We're taking an innovative new approach to fix
          problems with the Superfund program and to pass an excellent Safe
          Drinking Water Act this year and a Clean Water Act.  We're moving
          forward on every front with energy efficiency and conservation,
          with new public-private initiatives like the new generation of

                       And this initiative is going to start small but
          expand, and I think in the future make a tremendous difference.
          But it illustrates one simple fact:  We've only been here 15-16
          months; we've already brought about the progress that I just
          listed; but we've got a lot of other initiatives that are still
          in progress.  And we want to be judged not on our ability to list
          an agenda or to describe new initiatives, but on the results that
          we produce.  And we feel that we're beginning to produce those
          results and, given a little bit more time, we'll be able to
          produce a lot more results.

                       Q    On CAFE standards, for instance, if your
          voluntary programs on greenhouse gasses don't work, are you going
          to revisit that issue and --

                       THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Oh, sure, of course.  And
          that's always been in the works.  Incremental progress on CAFE
          standards is not put aside while we focus only on the historic
          effort to triple fuel efficiency, which the automobile companies
          are working with us to do.

                       I want to recognize Sandy McDonald in the audience,
          with NOAA, who has done yeoman's work in bringing this project to
          the state that it is now at.

          [irrelevant questions, and answers, cut...]

                       Any other questions on this program?  If not --
          well, thank you very much.  Appreciate it.  Thank you.

                       THE PRESS:  Thank you

                                           END10:11 A.M. EDT

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