U.S.-Japan High-Level Consultations Working GroupsDr. Harlan L. Watson, Senior Climate Negotiator and Special Representative
Remarks to Japanese Journalists at the U. S. Embassy in Japan
March 1, 2002
Thank you for coming to this press conference this afternoon and for the opportunity to address the U.S. climate change policy.
I am delighted to be in Japan and to have chaired the U.S. side at the second meetings of the U.S.-Japan High-Level Consultations Working Groups on Climate Change Science and Technology and on Developing Countries, February 25-26, 2002. These meetings were conducted under the June 30, 2001 agreement of President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to undertake "high-level U.S.-Japan government-to-government consultations to explore common ground and areas for common action on climate change."
The Climate Change Science and Technology Working Group, which met Monday and Tuesday -- February 25 and 26 -- agreed to cooperate on a broad range of joint climate change science and technology research activities. And the Developing Country Working Group, which met Wednesday, February 27, had rich and fruitful discussions on a broad range of developing country issues, and found many areas of common views.
President Bush’s climate change policy announced on February 14, 2002, commits the United States to an aggressive new strategy to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions relative to the size of its economy. The U.S. will do this by cutting its greenhouse gas intensity (GHG) -- how much it emits per unit of economic activity -- by 18% over the next 10 years. This will set the U.S. on a path to slow the growth of its greenhouse gas emissions and, as science justifies, to stop and then reverse the growth of emissions.
As the President stated, it is the common sense way to measure progress. The United States and, indeed, all nations of the world, must have economic growth -- growth to create opportunity and growth to create a higher quality of life for its citizens. Growth is also what pays for investments in clean technologies, increased conservation, and energy efficiency.
By significantly slowing the growth of greenhouse gases, this policy will put the United States on a path toward stabilizing GHG concentration in the atmosphere in the long run, while sustaining the economic growth needed to finance our investments in a new, cleaner energy structure. The U.S. is already improving its GHG intensity; new policies and programs will accelerate that progress, avoiding more than 500 million metric tons of GHG emissions over the next 10 years -- the equivalent of taking 70 million cars, or nearly one out of every three -- off the road.
Rather than making drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that would put millions of Americans out of work and undermine our ability to make long-term investments in clean energy -- as the Kyoto Protocol would have required -- the President’s growth-based approach will accelerate the development of new technologies and encourage partnerships on climate change issues with the developing world.
President Bush’s climate change policy encompasses a comprehensive range of new and expanded domestic and international components, including:
In closing, I want to recall President Bush’s statement that "to address climate change, we need to recognize that economic growth and environmental protection go hand in hand. Affluent societies are the ones that demand, and can therefore afford, the most environmental protection. Prosperity is what allows us to commit more and more resources to environmental protection. And in the coming decades, the world needs to develop and deploy billions of dollars of technologies that generate energy in cleaner ways. And we need strong economic growth to make that possible." Thank you.