Al Gore Warned on Global Warming: UAW Boss: Labor United against Pact

Article excerpt

A top union leader yesterday said labor is united in opposing the global-warming treaty and that Vice President Al Gore's championship of a treaty imposing deep emissions cuts is hurting his presidential prospects.

"This issue is becoming more and more detrimental to Gore's candidacy" for the Democratic party's 1998 presidential nomination, said Cecil E. Roberts Jr., president of the United Mine Workers of America, at a Media Research Center forum here.

"The environmentalists feel the U.S. is doing too little, but many of us in the labor community feel the U.S. is doing too much" to seal a treaty next month in Kyoto, Japan, despite the harm it could do to the U.S. economy, he said.

Mr. Gore is under pressure from environmentalists, a key constituency, to attend the Kyoto summit, Dec. 1-10. But Mr. Roberts said Mr. Gore will be in a difficult position, buffeted by criticism from European and Third World countries who have proposed even deeper emissions cuts than the United States.

"There's a lot to lose" in the negotiations, and the administration should not be so anxious to give away the store, he said.

The global warming treaty has become a top worry for unions because of its potential to cause widespread job losses, he said, estimating that job cuts would total 1.7 million nationwide in coal-mining, services and other energy-intensive industries under Mr. Clinton's global-warming strategy.

The AFL-CIO's executive council has unanimously approved a resolution against any treaty that would cut jobs and hurt the U.S. economy that way, Mr. Roberts said, particularly if it exempts developing nations from the same deep emissions cuts that would be imposed on the United States.

"I campaigned for the president and vice president. They're friends of labor on many issues. I just think they're dead wrong on this" because they have not been standing up for the best interest of Americans, he said.

"Other countries have been negotiating in their best economic interests," he said, noting that less developed nations such as China know they will benefit if the United States commits itself to emissions cuts. …