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Remarks on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, at the 15th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development

Amanda P. Vockerodt, Foreign Affairs Officer on Climate Change and Sustainable Development
Remarks to at the 15th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development
New York City
May 1, 2007

Climate change is a complex, long-term challenge that requires a sustained global commitment. U.S. international engagement on climate change is rooted in the context of sustainable development. We are a Party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and are doing much to contribute to its objectives. The advantage of discussing climate change in the CSD is this forum's cross-cutting perspective.

The United States believes we can make more progress if we recognize that climate change goals fall within a broader development agenda - one that promotes economic growth, reduces poverty, provides access to modern sanitation and clean water, enhances agricultural productivity, provides energy security, reduces pollution, and mitigates greenhouse gas emissions. Countries do not look at individual development goals in a vacuum, and approaches that effectively integrate both near- and longer-term goals will yield more benefits over time.

Technology binds these development objectives together. By promoting the development and deployment of cleaner and more efficient technologies, we can meet a range of diverse development and climate objectives simultaneously.

The United States believes that we can best pursue our international efforts in a spirit of collaboration and with a true sense of partnership. We are promoting practical solutions with many partners from around the world.

We are working through our climate and energy partnerships to engage the private sector. While the right kind of government-to-government collaboration can pave the way for great progress, the ingenuity, resources and vision of the private sector in developing and diffusing technology will always be a key piece of the puzzle.

The CSD has been at the forefront in promoting partnerships among governments and key stakeholders. The Commission has a clear mandate to focus on the areas where it can add the most value, and the United States believes this value can be found in disseminating and replicating practical energy solutions. Two examples of such solutions the United States is involved in include:

  • The President's "20 in 10" Initiative has set the goal of cutting U.S. consumption of gasoline by 20 percent in the next ten years. This goal recognizes the widespread consensus on the need to increase our fuel efficiency and use of alternative fuels.

  • The world's largest coal-mine methane project—a 120 MW combined heat and power plant—is being built in Shanxi Province, China with financial and technical assistance provided through the Methane to Markets Partnership and other partners, including the Asia-Development Bank.
You can find more information on these climate change activities and more in the USA folders outside of Conference Room 2.

As we have stated earlier, the CSD should not duplicate the work ongoing in other bodies, such as the UNFCCC, the internationally recognized forum for negotiating climate change issues. The United States does not support discussions on a future climate change regime at the CSD or in any other forum outside of the UNFCCC. As a Party to the UNFCCC, the United States looks forward to participating in the subsidiary body meetings in Bonn next week. We must be sure our work here does not encroach on those important deliberations.

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