Page images
PDF
EPUB

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.

Thank you.
[Testimony resumes on p. 72.]

[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.)

TESTIMONY OF

ROBERT A. REINSTEIN
DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE

for
ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH, AND NATURAL RESOURCES

March 3, 1992

Mr.

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

Chantilly, Virginia.

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.

The

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.

- 2

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.

OECD

countries still need to forge a common position on the

commitments they will take with regard to reducing greenhouse

gas emissions.

All OECD countries agree that we have a

responsibility to take measures to mitigate climate change.

At

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.

OECD countries

generally support the revised Global Environment Facility (GEF)

of the World Bank to serve as the financial mechanism for the

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

- 3

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.

This latter

approach would address needs for "soft" as well as "hard

technology."

It would also recognize the importance of and

provide for fair and adequate protection of intellectual

property rights.

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.

- 4

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:

energy

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

inaction.

We need to take steps now that make sense for a

variety of reasons, including responding to climate change.

We

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

« PreviousContinue »