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The climate task force was established following the April 1997 revision to the President's Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD) charter. At that time, the PCSD was asked to advise the President on domestic policy options and activities that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions through approaches that maximize societal benefits, minimize economic impacts, and are consistent with U.S. international agreements.
PCSD Climate-Related Documents
Jonathan Lash, World Resources Institute
D. James Baker, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce
Steve Percy, BP America, Inc.
The climate task force is a task force of the whole council, which includes members from business, government, environmental and civic organizations.
Climate Change Task Force Member List
Task Force Coordinator:
The task force decided to focus on four areas of policy development:
- Climate Change Principles. These principles provide the Council with a shared statement on climate change and guide the Council's more in-depth discussions of climate change policies and approaches. View Principles.
- Technology Working Group. This group examined the various types of technologies that are currently available, under development, or anticipated that could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as examined various policies or incentives that could foster the development and dissemination of these technologies in this country and abroad.
Working Group Tri-chairs: General Motors, World Resources Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy
- Working Group on Economic, Regulatory, and Voluntary Measures. This group examined a broad range of economic instruments, regulatory approaches, and voluntary steps that could be taken to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. These could include tradeable permits; tax credits/deductions for investing in improved technologies; carbon taxes; mitigation measures for economic or regional dislocations; partnerships among the investment and insurance communities, government, and industry; various regulatory approaches; and voluntary initiatives.
Working Group Tri-chairs: Environmental Defense Fund, BP America,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- Working Group on Cross-cutting Policies. Policies were identified to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases while also furthering progress in other areas of sustainable development. This working group provided a focus for drawing linkages between the Climate Change Task Force and the Council's other task forces (Environmental Management, Metropolitan/Rural Strategies for Sustainable Communities, and International) and for identifying those policies that may have benefits in more than one area. Other areas of activity include:
- Demonstrating the Implementation of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Policies and Activities
- Public outreach activities including community forums, the creation of a website, providing information to the media, and giving speeches and presentations on climate change policies and activities.
- Working with the Council's Evaluating Progress Working Group to identify indicators and measures for tracking progress in addressing the issue of climate change.
The Climate task force sent a letter to the President in November 1997 (Press Release 11/26/97) outlining its first product: a set of climate principles which were agreed upon to help the task force in its policy deliberations. In the letter, the co-chairs of the Council stated: "This consensus statement about climate policy from industry, environmental, citizen and state and local leaders is, as far as we are aware, the first such agreement on climate policy." The principles call for incentives for early action, international commitments, accountability, flexibility, strong measures to encourage technology, and fairness.
Working group meetings began in February 1998.