§ Mr. Llew Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what matters were discussed and what decisions taken during his recent visit to Washington and California to meet the new American Administration and others.
§ Mr. Howard
I visited Washington from 28 February to 2 March. I met Vice-President Gore, Interior Secretary Babbitt, EPA Administrator Bowner and several other members of the Administration and members of Congress. We discussed international environmental matters, including the attitude of the new administration to the 533W biodiversity convention, the climate change convention, UNEP, the Sustainable Development Commission and the global environment facility. We also discussed the administration's position on other environmental issues including energy taxes and endangered species. The exchanges were constructive and useful to both sides, but it was not the purpose of the meetings to take decisions.
I have not yet visited California. When I do go, one of my main objectives will be to study the Californian initiatives in seeking reductions in pollution through economic instruments, and in particular tradeable permits.