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mean for limiting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, prior to the
final INC negotiating session. This is in keeping with our bottom-up approach to controlling emissions : We believe
countries should identify actions to be taken in keeping with
their own particular national circumstances and then estimate
the impact of these actions on emissions, aiming for the best
If the INC adopts the approach to the
convention that we favor, we will establish a broad based,
global process that will focus countries on the development of
national action plans, which will then be shared with and
commented on by Parties to the Convention.
transparency and comparability resulting from agreed upon
common methodologies will help ensure that each Party does its
very best to take significant actions to control greenhouse
gases and to adapt to climate change.
The United States continues to oppose rigid, quantitative
targets and timetables, whether for CO2 or all greenhouse
gases. We, as well as a number of important OECD countries, believe that a degree of flexibility regarding emissions
reductions is essential.
Achieving targets depends on factors
beyond our control, e.g., population and economic growth rates
and the relative prices of fuels.
We cannot, nor should we,
legally bind this country to a commitment whose feasibility is
We will only commit to obligations we
are certain we
can carry out.
I would now like to turn to some of the questions you asked
us to address that have not been covered in may remarks above:
With regard to actions that the United States could commit to that would earn us money, or be free, or cheap: I would respectfully suggest that some of our sister agencies are better suited to respond to this question than the Department of State.
Commenting specifically on what other countries are doing
Since the beginning of the negotiations, our interagency negotiating team has maintained close contact with the business community, as well as the environmental community, in an effort to remain sensitive to their concerns. We have sought to involve them in contributing to our action plan and engaged them in discussions as to how the private sector might contribute to technology cooperation.
We interpret technology in the broadest sense, including not only "hard" technology but also "soft" technology techniques, practices and "know-how." We also recognize the essential role of the private sector in the technology cooperation process. In most cases, it is industry rather than government that can provide existing technology. It is also industry that has the greatest capacity to develop the new technology that will be needed to meet the challenge of climate change over the longer term.
We seek an approach under the convention that focuses on
To this end the United States has committed $25 million dollars over two years to support country studies. (See U.S. statement attached.) To further support this approach, last Saturday in New York we sponsored, in conjunction with the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a one-day seminar on "Technology Cooperation for Energy and the Environment: Needs and Opportunities". A copy of the agenda and participants list for the seminar is attached.
I believe our technical agencies are in the best position to respond to technical questions related to targets and timetables, particularly questions related to our measurement and reduction capabilities.
The United States believes that we should use the revised Global Environmental Facility (GEF) of the World Bank, as the financial mechanism for certain costs associated with implementation of the climate convention. It would be wasteful and inefficient to do otherwise, given added administrative costs and the interlocking nature of most global environmental issues such as climate, biodiversity, ozone protection, and international oceans issues.
In response to developing country concerns, we seek a
We do not have authoritative figures on how much money the
Issues related to the reform of the World Bank are beyond
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to provide you
with the Administration's views on these important matters.
will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
U.S. Statement on Commitments
INC V, February 27, 1992
New York City
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Commitments are the heart of this convention. A number of countries have expressed concern over what they perceive to be a lack of commitment by developed countries, particularly certain developed countries, regarding actions to mitigate or adapt to climate change and to assist other countries in doing the same. I would like to put on record what the United States is prepared to do today not in two or three years when this convention enters into force or at some point subsequent to that date, but today.
First, the United States recognizes the need to provide financial resources to enable developing countries to participate fully in global efforts to address climate change and other issues of a global nature. For this reason, we are committing to contribute $50 million to the core fund of the revised Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the World Bank, UNEP and UNDP, which we believe is the appropriate financial mechanism for providing such resources. This is in addition to the $150 million in parallel funding which we have already committed to the GEF.
Second, the United States is unilaterally committing $25 million over the next two years to be used for country studies to enable developing countries to prepare national inventories of greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with any reporting requirement in the Convention. Such studies would be carried out cooperatively, drawing on resources provided by donor countries. Country studies could also examine what options might be available to the host country to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change. We hope that other developed countries might make similar commitments on resources for this purpose. In this regard, we will need to consider how the needs and resources of recipient and donor countries can best be matched and how such a process should relate to this convention.
Third, the United States is committed to addressing the issue of technology. We are currently examining how to promote a result-oriented approach to technology cooperation, including technology transfer. We believe such an approach should focus on identifying the needs that developing and other countries (including countries with economies in transition) have for mitigation and/or adaptation technologies, as well as the resources which might be mobilized to address these needs.
In this context, we interpret technology in the broadest sense, including not only "hard" technology but also "soft" technology -- techniques, practices and "know-how." We are examining specific ways to involve the private sector in this effort. The private sector is crucial because, in most cases, it is industry rather than government that can provide existing technology, and it is industry rather than government that has the greatest capacity to develop the new technology that will be needed if we are to meet the challenge of climate change effectively over the longer term.
Finally, the United States is committed to taking actions to mitigate climate change actions which we believe will have significant results. We think these actions and their effects on greenhouse gas emissions in the United States will compare favorably with those of other developed countries.
In keeping with the commitment we made in Geneva last December, the United States has begun to update its climate action plan, which was first published a year ago this month. I will not take the time of this Committee to elaborate on all of the actions we have taken in the United States since the announcement of our first plan in Chantilly last year, but we will make them available as an attachment to these remarks for interested members of the INC. In connection with these efforts, I should note that many private sector interests and state and local governments are also contributing to help ensure we have the most comprehensive and effective approach possible as we confront this global problem.
Since last February, the United States has begun implementing a National Energy Strategy which defines a new, more efficient energy path for the United States. We have also passed a new transportation law that will greatly improve the efficiency of moving people and goods by autos, rapid transit, and other means. Our new energy strategy and the transportation law, combined with other initiatives, commit us to action in areas such as: energy efficiency, transportation, the use of lower emitting supply technologies, agriculture and natural resources, and technology research and development.
We intend to provide a more exhaustive list of actions, along with preliminary estimates of what these new actions may mean for limiting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, prior to the final INC negotiating session.