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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals
Since Earth Day 1993, a number of new initiatives and executive orders have been implemented to establish the federal government as a leader in advancing pollution prevention. Most notably, federal facilities are now required to develop written pollution reduction strategies incorporating source reduction in facility management and acquisition programs. Each agency must begin immediately to minimize the acquisition of the most potent (Class I) ozone-depleting substances and to maximize the use of safe alternatives. Similarly, agencies must also establish a plan and goals for eliminating or reducing the unnecessary acquisition of products containing extremely hazardous substances or toxic chemicals. Federal facilities that manufacture, process, or use toxic chemicals are now required to reduce toxic emissions and report publicly on toxic wastes and releases under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. Energy efficiency in the workplace will be enhanced by government purchase of Energy Star computer equipment (which saves energy by automatically entering a low-power, standby state when inactive) and other energy-efficient products. Also toward this end, agencies are now required to set goals of reducing energy consumption, increasing energy efficient, auditing their facilities for energy and water use, increasing the use of solar and other renewable energy sources, designating ''showcase" facilities, and minimizing the use of petroleum-based fuels. In addition, federal agencies must implement affirmative acquisition programs for products less harmful to the environment when possible, including alternative-fueled vehicles and products containing pre- and post-consumer recycled materials. These and other federal initiatives will help augment the importance of adopting pollution prevention principles at every level of government and throughout the private sector. They are also aimed at encouraging new technologies and building markets for environmentally preferable and recycled products.
Enhanced Regional and International Environmental Cooperation
The United States has taken several steps toward greater cooperation on many of the most pressing environmental challenges facing the world. In addition to its work on a U.S. sustainable development plan, the United States has fulfilled several other commitments that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit. At the Earth Summit, the United States joined other countries in signing the Framework Convention Climate Change, an international agreement whose ultimate objective is to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Since then, the United States has released the "Climate Change Action Plan" (1993), which details the initial U.S. response to climate change, and the "Climate Action Report" (1994), which describes the current U.S. program and represents the first formal U.S. communication under the Framework Convention on Climate Change. In June 1993, the United States