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Remarks at Breakfast Briefing on the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP)

Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs
Washington, DC
July 17, 2008


Good morning and welcome to this inaugural breakfast briefing on the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. I’d like to take this opportunity at the outset to thank Barry Worthington and the U.S. Energy Association for facilitating today’s breakfast. One of the keystones of the APP is its foundation on partnership between the public and private sectors, so it is fitting that USEA and other associations and NGOs should come together as part of this effort to further expand the already robust American participation in the APP.

The APP is a great initiative, representing exactly the kind of creativity and pragmatism we need in the fight against climate change. In the relatively brief period since it was conceived, the APP has established a track record of meeting, and exceeding, the expectations we had in 2005. Before elaborating on the APP’s successes, I’d like to place the partnership in the context of recent events.

President Bush has repeatedly stressed that his goal is to reach agreement on a realistic global plan for reducing emissions that is both environmentally effective and economically sustainable. To get there, it is essential that major emerging economies like China and India join developed countries in combating climate change. That’s why the Asia-Pacific Partnership is so important.

Last week’s Major Economies Leaders Meeting in Japan was a very important step in the right direction. For the first time, leaders from 17 of the world’s largest economies sat at the same table to tackle the tough issues that will be essential for a new global climate regime.

We all acknowledged our leadership role on this issue and set out some important details on what we will do in the long-term, mid-term, and near-term. In the near-term, it’s worth noting that Major Economy leaders called for “voluntary, action-oriented international cooperation” in key sectors, endorsing exactly the approach we are pursuing through the APP. Day in and day out, and sector by sector, the APP is complementing our international negotiating agenda with practical on-the-ground activities.

Comprising seven of the world’s largest economies – Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United States –APP countries account for more than half of the world’s economy, population, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Through the APP, policy makers and implementers craft realistic, workable solutions aimed at translating Partners’ political commitment into concrete results. It is not only national governments, but also regional and municipal governments throughout the Pacific region that will be effecting change, and the APP is engaging them as well.

It’s not just governments either. Having the private sector and NGOs on the APP team greatly accelerates our chances of commercializing and deploying cleaner technologies.

The APP’s projects inspire the imagination. For example, the APP is partnering California with the Indian state of Maharashtra to help the latter alleviate its 5,000 megawatt energy shortfall. Two U.S. businesses -- American Electric Power and the Southern Company -- have been working with Chinese electricity producers to move them closer to U.S. levels of efficiency and lower rates of pollution. And, in the area of energy conservation, APP members are working jointly to increase the quality and quantity of compact fluorescent light bulbs across Asia.

Think for just a moment about the potential outcome of cooperation like this. Almost a century ago, the famous red tin roofs of China came about as the result of resourceful people recycling Shell oil cans. As populations have boomed and energy sources diversified, imagine the skylines of a Chinese city lighted by energy-conserving bulbs. Through cooperation of the sort fostered by the APP, this is possible.

To date, the United States has contributed over $70 million to the APP. In his budget request for the coming fiscal year, the President has asked for $26 million additionally, and I am pleased to report that the APP enjoys broad, bi-partisan support in the Congress. For America, this is a sound investment.

Others are matching our levels of engagement. Projects funded to date are expected to leverage $521 million in private sector funds, in-kind contributions as well as monetary and in-kind contributions from trade missions and multilateral development banks. And we are managing the partnership jointly. India hosted an APP ministerial conference last year, and China will host the next ministerial in 2009.

The APP has accomplished a lot thus far, and we look forward to building on its successes in the months and years ahead. Through outreach initiatives such as these briefings, we want to invite more participation from NGOs as well new public and private sector partners. In an effort to broaden awareness about the APP, I am pleased to announce that the U.S. Government is this morning launching a website, www.app.gov, that will serve as a one-stop registry for getting involved with the partnership and its network. Please visit us at app.gov and join us in getting the word out.

Before I conclude, I want to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of our interagency colleagues. The APP is a collaborative effort that depends on the active engagement and support of a wide range of U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the White House, both the National Security Council and the Council on Environmental Quality. Many of these agencies are represented here today, and I thank them for their contributions.

There is much more to tell about the power of public-private partnerships, and we are joined by APP task force members as well as representatives from the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the World Resource Institute to help demonstrate what remarkable achievements ensue from creative collaboration. Working together, as APP’s young history has begun to show, we stand a greater chance of promoting clean development and fighting climate change across the globe. Thank you.

Released on July 18, 2008

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