Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer

The James S. Brady Briefing Room

1:04 P.M. EDT, June 5, 2002

"Q Ari, if I could change subjects for a second. This morning you said that the President quoted a speech, indicating that the President believes that human activity is largely responsible for the increase in greenhouse gases. But I'm wondering if he also agrees with an EPA report which indicated that human activity is likely the cause of global warming?

MR. FLEISCHER: Let me just read from the President's statement of June 11th on global warming, and let me read from the recent report the EPA submitted to the United Nations. And I think you'll hear that on the key issues, they really sound very, very similar. This is the President on June 11th in the Rose Garden, in a speech where he announced his global warming policies.

"Concentration of greenhouse gases, especially C02, have increased substantially since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. And the National Academy of Sciences indicate that the increase is due in large part to human activity." That's the President himself speaking.

Here is from the report, page 4, that was just submitted to the United States by the EPA: "Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth's atmosphere as the result of human activities, causing global mean surface temperature and subsurface ocean temperature to rise. While the changes observed over the last several decades are due most likely to human activities, we cannot rule out that some significant part is also a reflection of natural variability." And I think what you're hearing is the same thing.

Q I'm glad you make the connection explicitly, since the President addressed greenhouse gases, but not specifically global warming. Does the President agree with the conclusion that human activity is likely the cause of global warming?

MR. FLEISCHER: That's what the President said in his speech in June.

Q That's not exactly what he said. He does agree with it?

MR. FLEISCHER: When the President cites the National Academy of Science as saying that the National Academy of Science indicates that the increase is due in large part to human activity, I don't know how the President could say it more specifically than that.

Q He hasn't changed his mind at all?

MR. FLEISCHER: No. Here's -- the bottom line for the President is, number one, he has made a proposal that he believes is a proposal that not only can reduce the problem of greenhouse gases and global warming, but also protects the American economy, so the American economy can lead the world in technological and scientific advances that also have an effect in reducing pollution.

The President has said, citing the National Academy of Sciences, that the increase is due in large part to human activity. The President has also continued, citing both, now this report the EPA has sent to the United Nations, previous evidence from the National Academy of Sciences, that there's uncertainty -- and the recent report notes that there is considerable uncertainty. That's the state of science, and the President agrees with it. I don't think people dispute that."