Guardedly Green

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NEW YORK: Shrugging off its tree-hugging past like a youthful indiscretion, the Clinton Administration plans to show this week's U.N. Earth Summit that green is now the color of dollar-denominated economic booms, not just campaigns to halt global warming. In a welcoming speech strangely at odds with his onetime reputation as the Clinton Administration's fiercest environmental warrior, Vice President Al Gore conceded that action on global warming is needed, but steered clear of specifics. "It's a big capitulation to industry," says TIME's Dick Thompson. "What's driving the U.S. economic expansion is greenhouse gases." Case in point: the Senate's recent refusal to ratify an international global warming treaty without the participation of China and other developing countries. "It's just smoke, so they can dodge responsibility for rejecting the treaty by saying 'Everyone else has to go along,' notes Thompson. "But when you're responsible for one-fourth of the world's pollution, a lot of people feel there's some moral responsibility."