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 You are in: Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs > Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs > Releases > Remarks > 2004

Mitigation of Climate Change: Policies and Their Impacts

Ms. Judith Ayres, Assistant Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Tenth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, December 6-17, 2004
Buenos Aires, Argentina
December 16, 2004

Thank you, Chairman.

Our efforts to address climate change will take place over many decades. It is important that they be both practical and sustainable. We believe it is vital for our actions to be in harmony with broader efforts to achieve prosperity for all nations. To this end, the United States has established, and is committed to, a comprehensive program that seeks practical near-term reductions, while investing in the technologies that will enable us to achieve our objectives, over time.

The U.S. has put into place a broad range of initiatives to achieve the President’s goal of reducing our nation’s greenhouse gas intensity 18% by 2012:

  • Through our Climate VISION program, managed by DOE, U.S. agencies are working in partnership with industrial economic sectors which represent 90% of U.S. industrial emissions—to develop and implement cost-effective strategies to reduce emissions, advance deployment of new technologies, and report progress on meeting voluntary commitments.
  • EPA’s Climate Leaders program works with over 50 companies, such as General Motors and Alcoa, to develop long-term, comprehensive climate change strategies. Our partners are setting ambitious corporate-wide GHG reduction goals and the systems to measure their progress.
  • Further, EPA’s Green Power Partnership promotes the purchase of electricity generated from renewables, and the SmartWay Transport Partnership promotes greenhouse gas reduction opportunities in the freight shipping industry.
  • These voluntary programs are new additions to our successful suite of ENERGY STAR programs, which prevented emissions of more than 48 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, in 2003, equivalent to preventing the emissions of more than 30 million automobiles.

These are just some of the numerous voluntary, regulatory, and incentive-based programs initiated, to meet the President’s goal.

We also support over $4 billion in energy tax incentives to promote greenhouse gas emission reductions. These include credits for the purchase of hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles, residential solar heating, electricity produced from alternative sources, and combined heat and power systems.

Further, we are also partnering with other countries to promote cost-effective greenhouse gas reduction strategies:

  • Last month, the U.S. hosted the first meeting of the Methane-to-Markets Partnership, which involves 14 countries. The Partnership will work closely with the private sector to target methane currently escaping from oil and gas systems, coalmines, and landfills, potentially achieving reductions of 50 million tons of carbon equivalent, annually, by 2015.
  • EPA’s Integrated Environmental Strategies program assists other countries in assessing the local pollution and health benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Technical support for renewable energy development is also provided through programs such as the Wind Power Toolkit, which provides information on procurement and financing.

These short-term efforts are a key component of the comprehensive long-term strategy to achieve deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions while still growing the world’s economy. In this respect, the roundtable on technology complements our discussion on mitigation.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Released on December 17, 2004

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