Remarks at the Major Economies MeetingTreasury Secretary Paulson , U.S. Treasury Department Office of Public Affairs
September 27, 2007
Washington, D.C.— This evening marks the half-way point of two important days. President Bush has convened senior officials from the world’s major economies to launch the necessary next phase towards achieving our common objective of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The nations that produce more than 80% of the world’s emissions are here. This broad participation is evidence that collectively we take our stewardship responsibilities seriously and recognize that addressing climate challenge is a global public good. Our work is intended to support and contribute to a global agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. If the major economies can agree on a way forward, that could accelerate the prospects of a broader agreement on a way forward in the UN.
I am particularly honored to have the chance to speak with you tonight because I care deeply about the protection of our planet. Over time, my love of nature has grown into appreciation for how fragile our environment is and how urgent is the need to protect and conserve it. And so I laud the President’s leadership that began the major economies meeting process.
Last May, he asked the world’s major nations to work to develop a post-2012 framework that will encompass the environmental, energy security and economic aspects of climate change. The purpose of the President’s initiative is to make sure all the major economies, not just a select few, work together as equals to develop a way forward.
In this regard, I am especially pleased to see our friends from the large, emerging economies here --- particularly China, Brazil and India --- since we will accomplish this effort only if we all take an active part. Pitting the developed and the developing countries against each other will not lead to economic development and environmental sustainability.
Cost effective policy tools are needed to provide incentives for the necessary building blocks for reducing emissions. These include deployment of advanced technologies, increased energy efficiency, investment in research and development, market-based solutions and eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers.
Governments can and should do more to work together to advance the adoption of clean technologies. We need strong research and development incentives for commercialization of new technologies. But we must realize the vast scale of our challenge.
The International Energy Agency has estimated that between 2005 and 2030 the world will need to invest $20 trillion in energy-supply infrastructure. Public sector investment will matter only to the extent that it leverages clean technology investments by the private sector, where most of this investment will occur. This will mean working closely with the private sector and adopting market-based solutions to increase the adoption rate for proven, cleaner technologies. Under UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s leadership, the United Nations is addressing the important issue of climate change and we look forward to working with him on these critical issues.
Progress requires the rapid development and deployment of clean and efficient energy technology across the globe. Developing countries today have access to technologies that didn’t exist a century ago when we in the industrialized world developed. We must tear down artificial barriers that impede the spread of today’s clean technologies. There is no moral or economic reason for tariffs or non-tariff barriers on environmental goods or services. Countries need to act quickly to eliminate these trade restrictions and increase access to these crucial environmental technologies --- technologies that will allow nations to pursue a path that embraces both economic growth and clean energy development.
The future will be built by leaders who recognize that economic growth and responsible environmental stewardship are not incompatible. Just as America recognizes that our prosperity is linked to the strength of your economies, we also recognize that the long-term environmental health of our planet depends on the success of the actions each of our nations take to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Globalization and interdependence are here to stay, so we all have a role to play protecting our environment for our own children and the children of the world.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.
Contact: Brookly McLaughlin, (202) 622-2920