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Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, June 23-25

Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, June 23-25, 2003

Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Opening remarks Tyson's Corner, Virginia June 24, 2003

Thank you Mr. Secretary. Welcome to the opening of this inaugural Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum. I am pleased to be joining Secretary of Energy Spence Abraham and Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality Jim Connaughton. Their efforts have been critical in developing and implementing the Administration s forward-looking agenda on energy security and climate change. Mr. Secretary, I applaud your vision, your leadership, and the groundbreaking activities you have launched in this most crucial area. And, Mr. Chairman, your steadfast support has been indispensable to us. This week s activities represent just one element of the Administration s science and technology initiatives.

Earlier this year, Secretary Abraham and I joined together at the Department of Energy -- in the middle of a February snowstorm if I remember correctly -- to unveil the President s Carbon Sequestration Initiative. As part of that initiative, we also announced the creation of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum. Over the last four months, the Department of Energy and the Department of State have worked together closely with your governments to plan what is shaping up to be an extremely productive and effective international meeting of experts, stakeholders and government representatives on this vital issue. As Albert Einstein once stated, the significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.

I am particularly pleased to welcome the official delegations from our international partners. Thank you --those of you who have traveled long distances to be here today. In total, we have delegations from 13 countries and the European Union. The participation of the countries represented here: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, the Russian Federation, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, underscores the importance that the international community places on developing the cutting-edge energy technologies required to meet our growing energy needs and at the same time, reduce the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The United States realizes that addressing global climate change will require a sustained effort involving all nations over many generations. To succeed, we will need to harness the power of markets, enlist the creativity of entrepreneurs, and draw upon the best scientific and technological research. Our shared goal is to enhance energy security and economic development while significantly reducing future greenhouse gas emissions. Without breakthroughs in energy technologies, however, it is difficult to see how we can achieve these objectives. At this Leadership Forum, we intend to have productive discussions on ways to reduce costs through collaborative efforts that will benefit all people.

Affordable, and reliable sources of energy are critical to economic growth around the world. Our common goal to diminish the human impact on the environment, drives our efforts to make sure this energy comes from the cleanest and most cost-effective sources possible. This is a major challenge that we must face together, as a global community. We come here to the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum seeking to meet it. Each country can contribute differently to the success of this effort. For example, some can contribute technological know how; others have established basic research programs and still others have expertise in designing implementation projects. Ultimately, our skills may be different, but our goal remains the same.

Most of us know the statistics -- fossil fuels already account for about 85% of energy use, and will likely remain the dominant source of global energy for the coming decades. Coal is especially abundant. In many regions, including developing countries, coal is both the cheapest and most available source of energy. In the rapidly developing countries of the Asia Pacific region, coal has now surpassed oil as the single largest source of energy. Current projections suggest that world coal use will increase by more than half over the next three decades.

These trends motivate the United States investments in new cost-effective technologies that promote clean fossil fuels. Crucial to these efforts are technologies that will capture, separate, transport and store the carbon emitted by combustion of fossil fuels, to keep it from entering the atmosphere. Diffusion of these technologies will provide an enormous boost to sustainable development in both developed and developing countries alike.

But the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum is about more than looking for ways to capture and store carbon. Rather as the title suggests -- it is about leadership. The Forum offers a new paradigm for addressing energy and environmental needs - one that promotes collaboration between developed and developing countries to create and deploy cutting edge technologies that will benefit all people everywhere. Creating such a paradigm may offer a new way forward, one rooted in seizing possibilities rather than sharing burdens. To that end, the Charter to be signed tomorrow lays out a vision of a better future. It demonstrates our collective commitment to developing the cost-effective technologies for separating and storing carbon dioxide safely for the long term.

In his February statement announcing the Carbon Sequestration Initiative, President Bush proclaimed that our efforts on carbon sequestration will be combined with other energy initiatives like moving toward a hydrogen economy and engaging on nuclear fusion technologies to, provide the American people and the world with advanced technologies to meet the world s energy needs, while improving our global environment for future generations

Nearly 100 years ago the naturalist Gifford Pinchot (Pronounced PIN-SHOW) said that the vast possibilities of our great future will become realities only if we make ourselves responsible for that future . Working together in international gatherings, such as this Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, reinforces our shared commitment to and responsibility for the future and the vast possibilities it holds. Thank you all for participating in this forum. We look forward to getting down to the real work ahead.

[End]

Released on June 25, 2003


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