Announcing the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean DevelopmentDeputy Secretary Robert Zoellick
July 28, 2005
10:30 a.m. (Local)
DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Thank you very much Minister Downer. Let me start by thanking all of you for joining us today. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to be here with my five colleagues for the release of this vision statement on a new partnership on clean development and climate. As my colleagues have emphasized, we view this as a complement, not an alternative, to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Treaty. I supervised the U.S. delegation in 1991 and ‘92 when we created the U.N. convention and it was exactly this type of idea that we hope that the convention’s flexibility will enable us to pursue because it is absolutely vital to bring developed and developing countries together on these topics.
As Minister Downer mentioned, the six countries at this table represent over half of the world’s economy, population, energy use, also green house gas emissions. From the experience that I had in the past four years working with the World Trade Organization, it is very clear to me that it is vital to be able to build on mutual interests of developed and developing countries together if one is going to take on global challenges and in doing that one has to be careful to listen to one’s developing country counterparts to have a sense of how one can develop mutual interests if one is going to be able to solve a problem.
So, this vision statement begins by recognizing those mutual interests. It focuses on the interests of energy, both energy security, but also energy efficiency. It focuses on the vital role of energy in development and it also focuses on the issues of climate change. It opens up the possibilities for developing, deploying, and transferring cleaner, more efficient technologies. There are some that are ready to go now, dealing with clean coal, liquid natural gas, methane capture and use, renewable fuels, but there’s also a longer term agenda, in terms of reducing green house gas intensities, topics such as hydrogen, fusion, advanced biotechnology, and nanotechnology. So I want to thank our colleagues from Australia in particular for agreeing to host the ministerial later this year at beautiful Adelaide, which I had an opportunity to visit with the minister in the late 90’s. I think the key is the flexibility that this vision outlines because our goal here is to try to complement other agreements and activities with practical solutions to problems. I think others and we will need networks and partnerships like this one so we can try to customize work on issues of energy security and efficiency and also green house gas emissions. Thank you.
QUESTION: (Amy Kasmin, Financial Times): How much money is being committed to carry out these activities? What are the obstacles now to the deployment and diffusion of innovative technologies in this area?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Amy, just to briefly answer your first part, if my memory serves I think the United States devotes over 5 billion dollars a year to climate change issues and a large part of that is technology development. There’s also information that goes into scientific analysis and research. But this partnership is a good example that while the United States is devoting a very large sum to that, we have to use a series of networks to be able to expand the availability of that knowledge and transfer it into practical forms. So as to go to your second question, part of this can be market mechanisms, it depends on the pricing. Some of this depends on the availability of business networks to be able to bring the products and make them available. But part of it is also simply the knowledge transfer, which can happen in scientific circles, can happen in academic circles. But one key part about bringing developed and developing countries together is that I think that some of the developed countries that have put a lot of energy into this, and I know Japan has made huge investments as well, for us to learn how to be able to expand the use of this technology we have to listen to our developing country colleagues about some of their particular problems. India and China in particular both have huge development challenges of which energy is a critical component, so part of the nature of this partnership is not just for us to roll out technology; its also for them to get a better understanding of some of the challenges they face, some of their development plans, and try to see how we can connect that together in an effective network.
QUESTION: (AP): If the commitment is nonbinding, how do we expect to fulfill this, and you said that it’s a partnership and not an alternate, that it will complement and won’t be an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol. How will it be a complement when you’re not in the Kyoto Protocol yourselves?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Just briefly, I agree with what Alexander said, is that as for your first question, I think the logic of this group is that we’re going to be more effective in dealing with these combined challenges on energy, the environment, climate change, if we do so in a way that takes account of mutual interests and incentives. We have some major development issues here related to energy and again I just draw my development experience on the trade side. One can’t just command other parties to do things. You can try, but it’s not going to be effective, so you need to try to develop interests and incentives. The United States is a member of the global climate convention, as I mentioned, the agreement that was done in ’92. We’ve stated our differences with the Kyoto Treaty, but just to give you a sense of our own commitment to this overall process, the United States under the Bush Administration has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 0.3% in the first three years and just to set a contrast, the carbon dioxide emissions in all the other G-8 countries increased during this period. For example the EU of 15 by 3.6%, the EU of 25 by 3.4%, so we’re committed to trying to address this effort. We think that there’s a better way to do it than the requirements of the Kyoto Treaty, but we respect those who have pledged to those requirements and we understand their interest in trying to achieve them.
Let me give you a specific example that I touched on. One of the ideas that we’ve been trying to develop is a methane-to-markets initiative. I referred to CO2 emissions, but obviously the second most frequent green house gas emission is methane. There are some very interesting possibilities here to use methane to help meet countries’ energy needs, particularly developing countries’ needs and that would otherwise be a gas that would go and contribute to the overall increase in global climate change. So it’s a good example of trying to find a win-win combination of meeting energy needs but also dealing with the climate possibility. The clean coal technology, if you look at China’s energy development, it’s still very, very dependent on coal. China’s economic growth is important for reducing poverty, development, its important for the growth of the world as well as the region. But we’ve discovered some very strong interest on the Chinese side in clean coal technology development. So this is an example of, at least we believe, ways in which this activity can compliment commitments that others have made but also further our common interests in trying to intersect the energy issues with development issues with climate change issues.
Released on July 28, 2005