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Fact Sheet
Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Washington, DC
November 29, 2007

U.S. Global Climate Change Policy

Climate change is a serious challenge, the scale and scope of which will require a global response. The United States is committed to doing its part, working at home and abroad on a range of initiatives to strengthen energy security and effectively address climate change. We are fully engaged in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and we are committed to developing an environmentally effective and economically sustainable post-2012 framework to address climate change. The United States is working with our partners, including Major Economies, to advance adoption and deployment of innovative technologies and reach consensus on a new framework under the UNFCCC by 2009.

The Major Economies Process: The United States convened 17 of the world's major economies and the United Nations for an inaugural Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change in September 2007. The meeting resulted in a useful exchange of views on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide for energy security, and support economic prosperity. By working together constructively, the United States believes the Major Economies will make a detailed contribution toward reaching agreement on a post-2012 framework under the UNFCCC by 2009. Plans are underway for the second Major Economies Meeting.

Our climate policies are part of a broader sustainable development agenda: Countries in the developing world are justifiably focused on economic growth and providing for the health, education and other needs of their citizens. The United States believes that climate policies should recognize and complement these priorities and has launched and participates in dozens of partnerships designed to alleviate poverty and spur economic growth in the developing world by modernizing energy services. The world community must produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions and must do so in a way that promotes economic growth and helps nations deliver greater prosperity for their people.

Ambitious near term domestic measures: From 2000-2005, the population of the United States grew by 5 percent (14 million people) and GDP grew by 12 percent (about $1.2 trillion) while our GHG emissions increased by only 1.6 percent. Latest estimates show that from 2005-2006, our economy grew 2.9 percent, but greenhouse emissions decreased 1.5 percent. This compares favorably to many countries that have cap and trade programs. We have a diverse portfolio of policy measures including dozens of mandatory, incentive-based, and voluntary programs to address our domestic emissions including:

  • The ENERGY STAR program reduced emissions by 135 MMTCO2E in 2006;

  • Domestic Methane Programs reduced 2005 methane emissions to 11% below 1990 levels;

  • Fuel Economy Increase from Light Trucks will save103 MMTCO2E over the life of vehicles subjected to the new rules; and

  • The President's proposed "20 in 10 Plan" will slow and potentially stop the growth of CO2 emissions from cars, light trucks, and SUVS by using alternative and renewable fuels.


Unmatched investments in science and technology: The United States is leading the development of advanced technology options that have the potential to reduce, avoid, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions. The President has requested and Congress has provided substantial funding - $37 billion since 2001 - for climate-related science, technology, observations, international assistance and incentive programs. The main vehicles for this funding are:


  • The Climate Change Science Program (CCSP): CCSP, established in 2002 to oversee public investments in climate change science, coordinates and integrates scientific research on climate change sponsored by 13 participating departments and agencies; and 

  • The Climate Change Technology Program (CCTP): CCTP was created to accelerate breakthroughs in transformational technologies, such as solar energy, biofuels, hydrogen, advanced batteries, near-zero-emissions coal, nuclear power, and carbon sequestration that will allow us to power a cleaner future. Between 2003 and 2006, we have invested nearly $3 billion annually in climate change technology programs, with a proposed investment of $3.9 billion in Fiscal Year 2008.


Innovative international approaches: The United States is actively pursuing a range of solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy security and cut harmful air pollution through collaborative public-private partnerships with practical, targeted results. In addition to our 15 bilateral and regional climate change partnerships launched since 2002, the United States works in partnership in key sectors such as: Low Carbon Power Generation, including clean coal and advanced nuclear technologies; Transportation, with such innovations as bio-fuels, batteries and hydrogen for vehicles; Energy Efficiency for both industrial and residential deployment; and Land Use which encompasses illegal logging and promotes sustainable forest management. Examples of these partnerships include:

  • The Methane to Markets Partnership (M2M): With 20 partner nations and the European Commission, as well as an extensive project network of over 600 private sector and other government and nongovernmental members, M2M could recover up to 183 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually by 2015.

  • The Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF): CSLF, which includes 21 nations and the European Commission has approved 19 carbon capture and storage projects as well as a technology roadmap to provide direction for international cooperation on carbon sequestration. 

  • The International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE): IPHE's 16 partner nations and the European Commission are working to advance research, development, and deployment of hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies, while also developing common codes for hydrogen use.

  • The Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP): This Presidential initiative engages the governments and private sectors of the seven partner nations (Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, and the United States) to enhance deployment of clean energy technologies and address their energy, clean development, and climate goals. Examples of APP successes include:

    • New Energy Efficiency labels used in China, similar to those in the U.S. ENERGY STAR program, are expected to encourage Chinese consumers to use more energy efficient appliances. This APP coordinated activity is projected to bring about an annual carbon emission reduction of 17.7 million tons of CO2, the equivalent of removing three million cars from the road for just one appliance, television set-top boxes.

    • Solar Turbines, an APP private sector partner, has worked with Chinese partners to identify and setup units that provide 35 megawatts of clean energy technology to the coking industry in China. Initial projections indicate an annual savings of approximately 410,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent when all units are operational.

Looking Ahead: The United States is taking action at home and abroad to develop and implement practical solutions for the challenges of climate change and energy security. We support developing a "Bali Roadmap" and, with the Major Economies Process, we are helping to build international consensus under the UNFCCC for a new post-2012 framework on climate change by 2009. Additional information about the U.S. approach to climate change is available at: http://www.state.gov/g/oes/climate

2007/1039


Released on November 26, 2007


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