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US Statement to the Convention on Climate Change

U.S. Department of State Office of the Under Secretary for Global Affairs July 19, 2001

Statement by Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs To the Resumed Session of the Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP-6) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Bonn, Germany July 19, 2001

Thank you, Mr. President:

Distinguished colleagues, I am Paula Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs. I have recently taken up this position and look forward to working with all of you to address the important environmental challenge of climate change. The United States takes the issue of climate change very seriously. We understand the international community's desire to see appropriate and timely action.

President Bush has indicated that the United States will act to address this global problem in a serious, sensible, and science-based manner. We recognize our responsibility and will meet it -- at home, in our hemispheric neighborhood, and in the world. President Bush has pledged that this Administration will play a leadership role in addressing this environmental challenge.

The United States intends to continue to be a constructive and active Party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. In furtherance of the objectives of the Framework Convention, President Bush has already announced a number of new climate change initiatives.

We are moving actively to enhance global understanding of the science of climate change, as called for under the Framework Convention. The United States already leads the world on climate science. We provide more resources for scientific research in this area than any other country -- $18 billion since 1990. Just last Friday, President Bush announced the Administration's latest initiatives -- a new $125 million program to study global carbon and energy cycles. We intend to strengthen our cooperation on climate science with partners around the world and to provide bilateral resources for climate observation systems in developing nations.

The Bush Administration is also acting swiftly to develop innovative, clean technologies to address climate change, as envisioned by the Framework Convention. The President has pledged to strengthen basic research at universities and national laboratories, and to develop improved technologies for measuring and monitoring greenhouse gas emissions. We also intend to help finance demonstration projects of advanced clean energy technologies in developing countries.

In addition, President Bush's Western Hemisphere Initiative -- enhancing climate change cooperation with developing countries in the Americas and elsewhere -- will also strengthen implementation of the Framework Convention commitments. In furtherance of the Framework Convention, the United States has provided $1 billion in climate change-related assistance to developing countries over the last 5 years. The Bush Administration has proposed in its initial budget submission to our Congress that the United States continue its leadership in this area.

These are just examples of initiatives that are underway. Together with past efforts, we are making progress in limiting emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States. We are becoming more energy efficient. In the last decade of tremendous economic growth in the United States, our level of emissions per unit of economic output declined significantly. We are taking significant action. And we will do more.

We recognize that other countries are taking action too. Many countries around the world -- large and small -- are responding to climate change. Some developing countries experiencing rapid economic growth face challenges in abating their emissions and have concerns that limiting emissions will threaten their economic development. The importance attached to sustainable development by developing countries is understandable.

Developed and developing countries must meet the environment and development challenges together. It is that recognition that brings us together today. I look forward to working with the nations assembled at this conference to explore possible new areas of bilateral, regional, and, where appropriate, multilateral action that would be consistent with President Bush's approach to climate change.

While the global community shares a commitment to addressing climate change, it has not yet crafted a new multilateral approach all countries can support. Make no mistake -- an approach that does not accommodate every nation's efforts to pursue sustainable development cannot endure.

Climate change is a problem that requires 100% effort -- ours and the rest of the world's. The problem, decades in the making, cannot be solved overnight. A real solution must be durable, science-based, and economically sustainable. In particular, we seek an environmentally sound approach that would not harm the U.S. economy, which remains a critically important engine of global prosperity. We must seek out innovative market-oriented approaches. We must not limit artificially the ability of the private sector to participate or restrict unnecessarily the helpful role of carbon sequestration in dealing with climate change.

While we do not believe the Kyoto Protocol is sound public policy for the United States, we do not intend to prevent others from going ahead with the treaty, so long as they do not harm legitimate U.S. interests. Colleagues, I look forward to discussing these issues with you over the next few days with the goal of enabling all Parties to achieve their objectives for this conference.

Though the United States will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, we will not abdicate our responsibilities. We recognize that the international community is keen to learn more about our approach to climate change. When we develop further initiatives, we will consult actively with our friends and allies. And we will welcome international views as we develop a science-based, technology-oriented, market-friendly basis to deal with climate change. Our objective is to ensure that our new approach provides a long-term solution that is environmentally effective, economically sustainable, and fair. Protecting the global environment is too important a responsibility for anything less. Thank you.

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