« PreviousContinue »
would include estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from these countries and the identification of possible measures to mitigate emissions or to adapt to climate change, as well as, in some countries, an assessment of the relative costs and benefits of those possible options. These studies could be used as a basis for national action plans.
We view the development of this convention as one that should be based on a process. The issues are very complex, as I mentioned. It is unlikely we will get broad consensus on specific actions to be taken across the board among all countries, so we need to begin from where we are today, allowing each country to come into the process from its own perspective, taking those measures that make sense within its national context, encouraging all countries to do as much as they can.
There are more details on this in my written statement. I think that rather than go into further details, I will turn now to the other witnesses and come back to some of these later. You have asked some questions in your letter; in my written statement we give some answers to those questions that appear to be particularly relevant to the State Department.
[The prepared statement and attachments of Mr. Reinstein follows. The report entitled “Technology Cooperation Related to Climate Change: A Selected Inventory" has been retained in subcommittee files.)
ROBERT A. REINSTEIN
March 3, 1992
Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee,
Thank you for the opportunity to review with you the status of negotiations on a framework convention on climate change, and to provide you with an update on Administration positions
within these negotiations.
The United States has been an
active participant in the climate change negotiations since the
first session, which we hosted just over a year ago in
We continue to support the negotiations
with the hope that a convention can be adopted in time for it
to be opened for signature during the U.N. Conference on
Environment and Development, which will take place in Brazil
this coming June.
Last Friday we concluded the fifth negotiating session of
the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC), which was
held in New York City at United Nations Headquarters.
session was a positive one.
Delegates were generally pleased
with the constructive and serious manner in which countries
worked together to move the process forward.
Starting with a largely unmanageable working text, we
managed to streamline this document into a revised text that
more clearly reflects the different positions of countries on
key issues such as the objective, commitments, financial
resources, technology cooperation and transfer, scientific
cooperation and institutional arrangements.
Significant differences remain to be worked out.
countries still need to forge a common position on the
commitments they will take with regard to reducing greenhouse
All OECD countries agree that we have a
responsibility to take measures to mitigate climate change.
issue here is whether, in the process, we should address all
greenhouse gases or just CO2, whether implementation should be
carried out by countries acting individually or in cooperation
with others, and whether there should be rigid targets and
timetables or flexible goals.
Strong differences also remain between the OECD and the
G-77 on finances and technology. Developing countries have
called for "compensation" from industrialized countries and a
new and separate fund to meet "the full incremental costs"
associated with implementing the convention.
generally support the revised Global Environment Facility (GEF)
of the World Bank to serve as the financial mechanism for the
On Technology, developing countries continue to insist on
preferential, non-commercial access to technology transfer,
while industrialized countries support a cooperative approach
in which governments would facilitate the commercial process by
which most transfer of technology takes place.
approach would address needs for "soft" as well as "hard
It would also recognize the importance of and
provide for fair and adequate protection of intellectual
It is clear we have a great deal of work ahead of us if we
are to reach agreement and adopt a convention at our final
negotiating session, which will take place in New York City
from April 30-May 8.
We intend to work hard toward this goal.
Toward that end, you are no doubt aware that during the
final days of the fifth session of the INC, the United States
announced its commitment to take action and provide money as an
indication of what we are prepared to do today
not two or
three years from now when the convention enters into force
to respond to global climate change.
In our view, actions
speak louder than words.
For your information, I have attached
a copy of my remarks, including the list of actions we have
committed to in order to update our first climate action plan,
which was published a little over a year ago.
Underlining its commitment to action, the United States
provided this list in keeping with the promise we made in
Geneva last December.
We noted that our national energy
strategy and the recent transportation law, combined with other
initiatives, commit us to action in areas such as:
efficiency, transportation, the use of lower emitting supply
technologies, agriculture and natural resources, and technology
research and development.
As we have stated many times, we do not think scientific
uncertainty related to climate change is a reason for
We need to take steps now that make sense for a
variety of reasons, including responding to climate change.
think the actions we outlined in New York, plus others we
expect to add to the list, make sense.
We also believe that
their effects on the greenhouse gas emissions in the United
States will compare favorably with the effects of actions taken
by other developed countries.
In connection with these
efforts, we have noted 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.
We intend to provide a more exhaustive list of actions,
along with preliminary estimates of what these new actions may