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 You are in: Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs > Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs > Releases > Remarks > Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Remarks 2006

Making Progress at the Twelfth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change (COP-12)

Dr. Harlan L. Watson, Senior Climate Negotiator and Special Representative and Alternate Head of the U.S. Delegation
Remarks to COP 12 Press Conference
Nairobi, Kenya
November 6, 2006

The United States is focused on making progress under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change at COP 12 — held in parallel with the second meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol here in Nairobi. We are a Party to the Framework Convention and are doing much to contribute to its objectives.

President Bush and his Administration are firmly committed to taking sensible action on climate change, which is a serious, long-term challenge. The Administration’s climate change policy is science-based, encourages research breakthroughs that lead to technological innovation, and takes advantage of the power of markets to bring those technologies into widespread use.

Our growth-oriented strategy encourages meaningful global participation through an integrated agenda of practical actions that address the interlinked objectives of improved energy security, improved air quality and public health, and reduced greenhouse gas intensity in ways that will help ensure the continued economic growth and prosperity for our citizens and for citizens throughout the world. Economic growth provides the resources that enable investment in the technologies and practices we need to address the rise in greenhouse gases. Economic growth is also essential for reducing the poverty plaguing hundreds of million of people around the globe.

In 2002, the President set an ambitious goal to reduce the U.S. economy’s greenhouse gas intensity by 18% by 2012 as a first step toward a long-term effort to slow, and as the science justifies, stop and then reverse the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

To meet help our intensity target, further our understanding of climate science, and help reduce our emissions in the long term, the Administration has committed nearly $29 billion for climate change related activities since 2001. The President’s 2007 Budget for climate change includes an additional $6.5 billion an increase of 12 percent from the previous year. Because of this aggressive strategy, we are well on our way to meeting our target, and we are reducing both our emissions growth and emissions intensity at a faster rate than most countries covered by the Kyoto Protocol.

Domestically, we have in place more than 60 mandatory, incentive-based, and voluntary Federal programs designed to help meet the President’s greenhouse intensity goal, which would reduce emissions by more than 500 million metric tons of carbon-equivalent through 2012, an amount equal to taking 70 million cars off the road. We are also laying the foundation for technologies that will be sustainable and successful over the long term. We will spend more than $3.9 billion this year — far more than any other country — to accelerate the development and deployment of key technologies, such as renewables, energy efficiency, clean coal, nuclear, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, highly fuel efficient hybrid and clean diesel vehicles; and renewable biofuels.

Internationally, the United States is implementing bilateral and multilateral climate change partnerships. Bilaterally, we have partnerships with 15 countries and regional organizations, and we are working with our partners on hundreds of activities in the areas of climate change research and science, climate observation systems, clean and advanced energy technologies, and policy approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We also continue to assist many developing country efforts to build the scientific and technological capacity needed to address climate change.

The United States has also initiated six multilateral climate change science and technology initiatives, including the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) on advanced nuclear energy, the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF), the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE), and the Methane-to-Markets Partnership. We are also pleased to participate in the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP), the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), and the implementation of the G8 Gleneagles Communiqué and Plan of Action.

We have also initiated the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP), which includes Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United States. This group of six countries, which accounts for about half of the world’s population and more than half of the world’s economy and energy use, has a critical role in ensuring that global development in the coming decades is clean and sustainable. On October 31, the Partner countries announced their endorsement of nearly 100 individual projects as part of the first phase of the APP. Public and private experts from all six member countries have worked to develop sector-based Work Plans focused on action-oriented, practical approaches to meet energy and environmental goals in an integrated way. These projects span the most energy-intensive sectors of every Partner’s economy, power generation, steel, cement, aluminum, mining, and buildings and appliances,  and focus on sharing best practices, identifying legal, regulatory and market barriers, and research and development and demonstration programs. Through these projects, the Partnership will promote ways to make power plants run more efficiently; identify opportunities to reduce powerful non-carbon dioxide gas emissions in aluminum processes; advance deployment of solar power, hydro and other renewable technologies; work to reduce air emissions from coal mining, cement and steel production; construct greener buildings and manufacture and use more energy-efficient appliances.

Here in Nairobi, we look forward to working with other Parties and the Kenyan Presidency to help make COP 12 a success, particularly in the high-priority areas of adaptation and technology transfer. This conference can also be useful in understanding and responding to African priorities. We also look forward to participating in the Convention Dialogue on Long-Term Cooperative Action.  We see its focus on sustainable development and market-friendly approaches as a useful way of broadening the way in which climate issues are seen, and building on the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate and the G8 Gleneagles Communiqué and Plan of Action.

Thank you for your attention.  I will be happy to respond to any questions you may have.

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