Vice President Al Gore, accompanied by MIT President Charles M. Vest, announced the Clinton administration's National Environmental Technology Strategy last week at a Fall River hazardous waste recycling plant.
"We are committed to promoting a new generation of innovative environmental technologies that will give us a healthier environment, a greater market share for US companies, and more jobs for American workers," the Vice President said.
The administration plan is to work with industry, states, communities and workers to help build the US economy while solving environmental problems. Environmental businesses are adding jobs to the economy at twice the rate of the economy as a whole, and the US is a world leader in most environmental technologies, although trailing Europe in nuclear waste storage and disposal.
The plan proposes a national goal of generating 40 to 50 percent less waste and using 20 to 25 percent less materials per unit of gross domestic product by Earth Day 2020. Another goal is for the US to produce sufficient energy to support an additional 30 to 40 million people with fewer toxic emissions than in 1995.
One part of the plan emphasizes disseminating information on innovative environmental technologies to potential users in the US and abroad, and working with universities and community colleges to improve environmental education and research.
Dr. Vest said, "We are beginning to come together-from government, industry and universities-to work toward our common goals. It is time to accelerate our national efforts to undergird environmental policy with sound science and engineering solutions. The private sector is absolutely essential to this effort. Universities are absolutely essential to this effort.
"We need concerted efforts on the part of both large, mature industries and innovative new start-up companies if we are to develop the economically sound and competitive technologies required to do the job," Dr. Vest added.
"The nation's research universities need to keep at the work of developing the science and technology, and educating the engineers, scientists and policy experts who are required to do the job."
The ceremony took place at a plant operated by Molten Metal Technology Inc., a firm co-founded by a graduate of MIT.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 26, 1995.