Volunteer approach to end global warming

It is interesting that Kilaparti Ramakrishna and George Woodwell ("Clarity on global warming," Sept. 14) are questioning the evolving views of two well-known participants in the climate-change debate, James Hansen and Eileen Claussen, seemingly because they are close to positions taken by the Global Climate Coalition.

The GCC has long advocated a climate policy approach that supports technological development and cost-effective voluntary actions to address concerns about greenhouse gas emission. Short-term targets and timetables [for emissions reduction] that exempt most nations are not the right approach to climate policy.

It is time for the United States and other developed nations to consider a common-sense approach to this issue, one we have advocated consistently and long before the Kyoto treaty was negotiated in 1997.

American industry is leading the way by developing new technology that is already addressing emissions issues at home and abroad. Add scores of ongoing voluntary industry actions and partnerships that are increasing efficiency and conserving energy, and you have an approach that can cost-effectively address concerns about the climate without the burdens of the Kyoto treaty.

Glenn F. Kelly Washington Executive director Global Climate Coalition

Who funds The Heritage Foundation?

In your Sept. 18 article "Social Security privatization opponents rally against Bush," you say, "The libertarian Cato Institute and conservative Heritage Foundation have received millions of dollars from various financial institutions for their pro-privatization efforts."

As far as The Heritage Foundation is concerned, the allegation is wrong. We receive little financial support from business and industry and none from financial institutions - or any other industry sector - to back our efforts to help American workers earn a reasonable rate of return on their mandatory retirement taxes.

The story also presents Social Security reform as a partisan, election-year issue. Again, that's not the case. Though the issue is currently bogged down in presidential politics, there is broad, bipartisan support for meaningful reform.

Jim Weidman Washington The Heritage Foundation

UN ideals vs. UN reality

Ann Florini's Sept. 13 opinion piece, "Tools for global management" was dismissive of the United Nations Millennium Summit, saying that "lack of results came as no great surprise."

Yet ironically, much of the article sounds like one of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's speeches.

Florini suggests that "next time leaders gather for a global gabfest," they should say: "We governments recognize that we can't manage everything ourselves.... Within our countries, we will actively encourage the formation of strong civil societies that can connect together across national borders."

But even this time, they resolved "to work collectively for more inclusive political processes, allowing genuine participation by all citizens in all our countries" and "to give greater opportunities to the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and civil society in general, to contribute to the realization of the organization's goals and programs."

Maybe the United Nations does not yet conform to Ms. Florini's ideal. But it is moving in her direction!

Edward Mortimer New York Senior assistant to the Secretary-General United Nations

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