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POLICY ON GLOBAL WARMING ISN’T LIKELY UNTIL NEXT YEAR

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President Bush's science adviser said Friday the administration probably won't be ready for a year to set policy on limiting global warming.

White House science adviser Allan Bromley told the Senate Commerce science subcommittee that there is insufficient scientific evidence to justify action.He said the White House wants to wait on reports due late next year from United Nations task forces headed by the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union.

Bromley heads a White House working group that is scheduled to meet Monday to develop a final administration position on an international conference on global warming. It will be in the Netherlands Nov. 6-7.

One goal of the conference is to gain commitments from participating nations to freeze emissions of carbon dioxide at current levels by the year 2000. The gas, a byproduct of the combustion of oil and other fossil fuels, is believed to contribute to global warming from the "greenhouse effect."

In a White House meeting a week ago, William Reilly, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, failed to convince others in the administration that the United States should promise to consider such an emissions freeze, according to administration sources.

Subcommittee Chairman Albert Gore Jr., D-Tenn., charged that the Bush administration's delay "threatens to leave our nation drifting on global environmental issues."

Scientists agree that increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases threaten to raise global temperatures, which in turn could lead to coastal flooding and drought in agricultural regions. But scientists don't agree on how fast temperatures will rise or what consequences they might have.

Bromley noted that a recent change in calculating the impact of clouds had caused one group of English scientists to lower their forecast from a temperature increase of six to seven degrees Fahrenheit to three or four degrees over the next few decades.

Bromley said Bush also "believes strongly" that the nation needs to understand "the substantial economic consequences" of reducing greenhouse gases before the administration proposes any action.