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 You are in: Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks, Testimony, and Releases from the Under Secretary > 2002

Climate Change and Sustainable Development

Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs and Head of the U.S. Delegation
Remarks to the High-Level Segment Roundtable on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, 8th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-8)
New Delhi, India
October 31, 2002

The United States congratulates Conference President Baalu for holding this roundtable. Understanding the link between the challenges of climate change and sustainable development is vital for effective long-term climate change policies.

President Bush underscored this point when he announced America’s climate change policies earlier this year. He noted:

"The hope of growth and opportunity and prosperity are universal. It’s the dream and right of every society on our globe. The United States wants to foster economic growth in the developing world, including the world’s poorest nations. We want to help them realize their potential, and bring the benefits of growth to their peoples, including better health, and better schools and a cleaner environment."

Economic growth, social advancement, and development of democratic institutions go hand-in-hand with environmental stewardship. As nations develop, their peoples demand -- and can afford -- a cleaner environment. Poverty destroys life and hope. It also ravages the environment. In Johannesburg, we agreed that "eradicating poverty is the greatest global challenge for sustainable development, particularly for developing countries."

Building upon the conferences in Doha and Monterrey, we also reaffirmed in the Plan of Implementation in Johannesburg that all countries have co-responsibility and co-accountability in fostering conditions that enable their citizens to realize their aspirations. These conditions include, as we discussed: good governance, the rule of law, anti-corruption measures, sound economic policies and investing in the needs of people -- in their health, in education. Moreover, in Johannesburg, we agreed that "change in the Earth’s climate and its adverse effects are of common concern to humankind." In fact, we agreed that "we remain deeply concerned that all countries, particularly developing counties, including the least developed countries and small island developing states, face increased negative impacts of climate change and recognize that, in this context, the problems of poverty, land degradation, access to water, and food and human health remain at the center of local attention."

It is in this broader context that we see our efforts to address climate change. Consequently, the United States has adopted a climate change policy that is both ambitious and practical. We are committed to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of our economy 18% over 10 years. This climate change policy will challenge the American people, our businesses, and our society without stalling our economy.

Critically, if our climate change policy is not grounded in sound economic policies, Americans will not be the only people in the world to be impacted, as our economy provides opportunities for growth and development globally through trade, economic assistance, and private foreign investment.

The United States is devoting an unprecedented level of resources to this effort. Our budget devotes $4.5 billion to addressing climate change; this is an historic commitment. In fact, since 1990, we have spent some $18 billion on climate research.

What we are doing at home is only part of the U.S. commitment. We are fully engaged internationally, especially in helping developing countries address and adapt to global environmental problems. Some examples include:

  • We are spending over $220 million to provide climate technology assistance to developing countries;
  • $68 million for the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) to help developing countries mitigate their emissions and to invest in energy technologies;
  • $500 million over the next 4 years for the Global Environment Facility to help developing countries address environmental problems that have a global impact; and
  • $40 million for forest conservation, which includes a program to allow developing countries to redirect debt payments toward tropical forest protection.

In conclusion, we are committed to a climate change policy -- one that is predicated upon the basic idea that economic growth is key to environmental progress, because it is growth that provides resources for investment in clean technologies, in increased conservation and energy efficiency. Developed countries partnering with the developing world toward this end will enable all of us to meet our common environmental and economic goals and certainly, better our future generations. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Released on October 31, 2002

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