President Carter appealed to the nations of the world to forestall the dire consequences of current population, resource, and environmental trends revealed in the Global 2000 report. He announced a presidential task force on global resources and environment to guide action by the United States.
Secretary of State Edmund S. Muskie, at a press conference, criticized Congress for making "pitifully small" contributions to solving the global problem and noted that so far this year the annual foreign aid bill has not passed.
Dr. Nostafa K. Tolba, executive director of the United Nations environment program, hailed the report as "one of the most significant publications of this most worrying decade."
Gus Speth, chairman of the President's Council on Environmental Quality, noted at a briefing the special difficulty of population control, which lies at the heart of most of the forthcoming terrestial problems. He acknowledged that "tribal, social, and religious resistance" make family planning difficult but urged that it continue.
In his formal statement President Carter emphasized international cooperation. He expressed immediate concern about the revelation that tropical forests -- vital in many ecological systems -- are being lost to encroaching population. He established an interagency task force to report on the subject.
On the larger issue the President said:
"There are less than 20 years left in our 20th century. The time to look forward to the world we want to have in the year 2000 and leave to succeeding generations is now.
"It is my firm belief that we can build a future in which all people lead full, decent lives in harmony with a healthy and habitable planet.
"And I believe that the skills, experience, vision, and courage of the American people today make the United States a natural leader in charting and guiding humanity's course toward a better world tomorrow."
The Carter environmental drive appears to be the second great international campaign that President Carter has launched, the first being his crusade for human rights which became a major point in his foreign policy when he took office.The new drive requires a coordination of a dozen or more federal departments and bureaus and their extension into the international field. This could draw a line between the Carter administration and the philosophy of a possible Reagan administration.