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To realize the domestic requirements of the President's commitment, preparations have begun to identify a plan to identify steps we can take to return U.S. emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. This will be the focus of our efforts in developing the August Plan.
Under the Climate Conventions Article 12, developed country parties must report on their actions within 6 months of the Convention's entry into force, which is expected by late 1994. The August Plan will be the cornerstone of that report, but we anticipate that the next full version of the U.S. National Action Plan will be developed after August in time to meet our Convention commitment.
In developing the August Plan, the administration intends to identify and pursue what we believe are numerous cost-effective actions which may bring us closer to our commitment of returning U.S. emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. The government has received a host of these kinds of measures as part of the public comment period established for the Bush administration draft Action Plan issued last December.
But these measures alone may not be enough to meet the longerterm goal of continuing the downward trend in emissions. If we are to accomplish that, we will need to look more broadly at a wide array of actions. More importantly, we will need to establish a framework for identifying new options for our action agenda as we come to grips with the long-term nature of addressing global warming. As we do so, we will need to identify those actions that are most cost-effective.
Shortly, the administration will announce how we will develop the plan to fulfill the President's commitment. This policy development will involve the executive office of the President and all relevant agencies. We will encourage instructive discussions from stakeholders and will expect to hear some new ideas and fresh thinking about how Federal policy can enhance markets for energy efficient technology and make our economy more competitive while reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases.
The essential difference between the Clinton administration and the previous administration on climate change is that we are developing a domestic climate change policy and will use that policy to play a leadership role in promoting an effective global response. Our policy development process will represent a significant departure from that undertaken by the Bush administration when it produced a draft action plan in December.
Let me briefly speak to the problems with that first iteration, particularly through the public comment process.
Although the Bush plan met the letter of the requirement established by the "Prompt Start" Resolution, it was not adequate to the task before us: meeting a national commitment to reduce our emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000 and continuing our efforts over the long term. We learned from that plan and hope to constructively build upon it.
Here are a few examples. The first draft extensively discussed our national circumstances but didn't set forth how we can best tailor our actions to reduce emissions to take account of those circumstances.
The first draft had a section on emissions inventories, but it didn't set forth clearly and concisely the baseline numbers or provide detailed descriptions of which gases are produced inside which sectors; all critical information for reducing emissions.
Much of this we learned again, Mr. Chairman, from the comment section when the Bush plan was submitted late in 1992. It was out, as you know, for public comment, and much of what we have learned is public comment on that as well as our own analysis of the plan.
The draft was incomplete on the measures that can be taken to mitigate the effects of climate change. It failed to state clearly what projected U.S. emissions levels would be either with or without the actions identified in the draft. The draft addressed emissions by the year 2000 but avoided any mention of trends beyond that date. In fact, there was virtually no discussion of steps that would be critical to develop a longer-term strategy, in particular, to develop low-emitting technologies and to engage the private sector.
And it is our intent to deeply engage in this process of setting up the plan to also deeply engage the private sector and as much of the nongovernmental organization sector as we possibly can.
In more than 40 sets of comments received on the Bush draft plan, one prominent theme was the number of activities underway in the private sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
For example, in 1992, Pacific Gas and Electric, the Nation's largest utility company, through its own more than 50 conservation programs, was able to prevent the release of 280,000 tons of carbon. But the first draft did not include discussions of programs like PG&E's. Much more like that was being done in the private sector and should be acknowledged and credited.
The country has reached out and taken major steps in the private sector, and we want to incorporate that as thoroughly as we possibly can. If we are going to deal seriously with the threat of global climate change, we must find ways to harness the dynamism and creativity of our private sector and put market forces to work in support of environmental goals. It is the administration's expectation that the new plan will address these critical needs more fully.
Our actions alone, even as large as we are, will not be enough to reverse the overall trend in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. So we must establish a partnership with other countries, as suggested in Congressman Roth's opening comments. Sources of emissions are spread globally, and action to reduce emissions anywhere on the planet has global significance.
The United States currently contributes about 20 percent of global net emissions, although our share of the population is about 6 percent. Although our share of global emissions is declining, developing countries represent an increasing share of the total emissions; about 40 percent today and perhaps rising to 60 percent by the year 2030.
To make a significant contribution to protecting the climate, the United States must first demonstrate its own resolve and then leverage our example in encouraging efforts to reduce emissions the world over.
Within the scope of our limited resources, the United States must promote a partnership approach between developed and developing countries. Such an approach must reconcile different but compatible interests in environment and development. That these are compatible is clear. Assistance that we provide to developing countries will meet both of our needs; ours with respect to the strong concern that we have for the preservation of the global environment and creation of domestic jobs and environmental technologies, and theirs both for their own environmental concerns and for the concomitant requirement to continue along the path of environmentally sustainable economic growth.
To begin resolving this issue, industrialized countries will have to take the lead in implementing the Convention's commitments as agreed in the Convention language itself and encourage developing countries to follow.
In my view, such leadership will be linked to the quality of our national response as well as to the extent of financial and technical assistance we and other industrialized nations will provide to the developing world.
We have begun to demonstrate our concern for addressing the longer-term global effort. We are providing $25 million to the U.S. country studies initiative to provide analytical and institutional foundation from which countries may develop appropriate measures and actions to address climate change. Študies enable countries to address vulnerabilities to climate change, measures to limit net greenhouse gas emissions, or both.
It is very clear that these country studies are very important, Mr. Chairman. And we are dedicated to working with other countries to help them identify baselines, identify what they are doing, and overall, with them, given a parallel set of data, to develop a stronger partnership. And we are very encouraged by the response of countries working with us on these country study efforts.
The country studies initiative coordinated through a State Department committee is operated by DOE, EPA, and AID.
Finally, a comment on potential modifications of the Convention and questions about that.
Under the provisions of the Climate Convention, all parties are called upon to formulate and implement programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with developing countries taking the lead. There is a broad agreement about the first step in this effort. Countries are aiming to return their emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000.
To move forward, I believe that our work under the Convention must focus on even a longer term. Once all countries have ratified the Convention and the State Department will be beginning a campaign to encourage this
we must evaluate the obstacles to its implementation and work to overcome them.
As I noted earlier, the preponderance of future emissions are most likely to come from the developing countries. We must, therefore, begin now to develop appropriate responses to help those countries reduce their emissions while continuing in the path toward economic prosperity, a response that is sure to involve the development and commercial exchange of new environmentally sound technologies.
One of the charges that has, in the past, been leveled against those who have advocated a strong environmental policy such as the one required to address global warming is that economic growth and environmentalism cannot coexist. I couldn't disagree more strongly. I strongly believe that a sustainable and environmental future is economically imperative. We must think about the long-term nature of the environment we pass down to our children. And, simultaneously, we must also concern ourselves with the present welfare of our country. Investment in environmental technology is one way to reach this goal.
As President Clinton noted in his Earth Day speech, there will be, by the end of this decade, a $300 billion market for environmental technologies; and the United States must capture as much of that market, and the tens of thousands of jobs it will create, as possible. This in an area in which the United States can and must continue to be a leader. We must continue to build our technological markets both at home and abroad.
These are the kinds of programs that this administration will support in our efforts to address climate change.
As adopted, the Climate Convention is but one piece of the international policy framework that can help us redirect our thinking. The task before us is to the take the
next step. I look forward to working with you as we move ahead. The administration welcomes your input, support, and your involvement throughout this process.
Thank you very much. And I hope that my full statement will, Mr. Chairman, be included in the record. And I look forward to getting into discussions with you and members of the committee.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Wirth appears in the appendix.] Mr. GEJDENSON. Thank you.
And again let me express not just for this committee but for other Members of the House-and I am sure as well for the Senate—that your appointment has given us great confidence in the administration's seriousness towards addressing these issues.
I would like to focus on two areas to begin with, and both of which you have touched on. The first is how important this is from a survival point of view.
I remember discussions on Nuclear Winter by Professor Sagan and others that only a 1- to 3-degree change in ambient year-round temperature would destroy much of the grain growing areas in the United States today. Those regions would be able to produce the grain that feeds a large portion of the world. Therefore, what we do here, while it does provide significant opportunities and is important simply from an environmental perspective and the quality of life issues, also contains an element of survival. If we are lax in our concern for the environment, we could see much of the world's productive land laid to waste.
It seems to me that the United States has a great opportunity to help ourselves, and the world as well, to gain economically.
In Massachusetts, the utilities are now looking at purchasing additional power. However, they are not using the traditional bidding process where several major companies are asked to build a 600or 1,000-megawatt cool, nuclear, or gas plant, and then try to subsequently figure out the problems with it. Rather, they look at all the options so that to find the best means possible to produce 1,000 megawatts of power through conservation while maintaining environmental standards. They do not necessarily clean up every last bit that comes out of the smoke stack, but they do augment the type of clean-up conducted naturally by the tropical rain forests.
So they are looking at nontraditional options.
Beyond that, of course, the many clean-up systems which the States, for years, have demanded of industry are actually methods that could be transplanted across the globe.
Is the administration looking at that end of it through the responsibilities of your Department? Or would it be more in the jurisdiction of the Commerce Department to try to find ways to spread this technology that would obviously benefit both the developing world and American manufacturers?
Mr. WIRTH. Clearly the Commerce Department has the lead role in promoting the export of U.S. technologies. We all together realize how enormously important and promising this is.
One has to only look at China. They have a rapidly growing economy. The Chinese gross national product is 7 percent per capita as that of the United States of America. It is growing rapidly. Where are they going to get fuel for that economy? Clearly right now they are going to depend upon their coal reserves, which are effectively very high sulfur, dirty brown coal.
The Chinese have come to realize that they have some major environmental problems coming along with that, and there are opportunities to work with the Chinese on clean technologies and ones that are more cost effective are significant.
The Japanese have recognized this market. In Agenda 21, which the Japanese have put together a remarkable document talking about opportunities in the 21st century in which, Mr. Chairman, they refer to the environmental technologies in the 21st century as being as promising for the Japanese economy as consumer electronics and automobiles were in the 20th century. That is a pretty stark contrast. And here is an economy that looks long term, effectively long term and, I think, provides, again, a kind of a challenge to us that we want to be prepared to pursue.
This administration is dedicated to that task. You know how much Senator Gore, now Vice President Gore, has put into this. And there is a push on this on a steady basis.
Mr. GEJDENSON. I think it is terrific what you are doing. There is no question from my perspective that the economic opportunity is there.
I was talking to a physicist who was meeting with some of the corporate entities from Japan recently, and there was one man sitting in the corner of the room and he said to him, "What is your job?" And he said, “My job is to see what is coming between 2010 and 2020.” And at first he thought he was joking, and he said, "Whose job is that between now and 2010?” And he said, “That is somebody else's job.”
They are taking the long-term view. And it is clear that if it is the Pacific Rim or China, as these emerging economies start to gain wealth, they are going to want a better standard of living and want to end the pollution that has often been scarring their environments.