TCS Daily


Remarks to Resumed Sixth Conference of Parties (COP-6) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

By Paula J. Dobriansky - July 23, 2001 12:00 AM

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States came to this global Conference on climate change to work constructively to enhance international cooperation on an important environmental challenge. We welcome the cooperative spirit present throughout this Conference and, in particular, we thank you, Mr. President, and the Executive Secretary and staff, for your tireless efforts. In fact, after several sleepless nights, I recognize how hard all of you have worked over the past few years to achieve this outcome.

We believe progress has been made on several important matters. We have identified areas for cooperation among developed and developing countries under the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Actions in these areas can increase the capacity of developing countries to respond to climate change, help facilitate exports of advanced clean energy technologies, and stimulate other actions that will help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions abroad. The United States looks forward to partnering with developing countries through bilateral and regional programs, as well as pre-existing multilateral financial mechanisms. The United States has a strong tradition of assisting developing countries with their climate change priorities, and we intend to maintain our leadership in this area.

Beyond issues relating to the Framework Convention, countries viewed this Conference as an opportunity to complete the rules for the Kyoto Protocol. We note that the Conference recognized that all its conclusions on funding issues were adopted in the context of moving forward on the Kyoto Protocol. As a result, there is a complete segregation of funds called for under the Kyoto Protocol from funds used to implement the Framework Convention. Given the expanded Convention funding mandate, it is also recognized that the United States will not be expected to make financial contributions beyond its preexisting commitments as set forth in the Framework Convention. In furtherance of the Framework Convention`s objectives, we welcome input from developing countries as we explore creative international initiatives during our climate change policy review.

Regarding the adoption of rules elaborating the Kyoto Protocol, although the United States does not intend to ratify that agreement, we have not sought to stop others from moving ahead, so long as legitimate U.S. interests were protected.

At the same time, the United States must emphasize that our not blocking consensus on the adoption of these Kyoto Protocol rules does not change our view that the Protocol is not sound policy. Among other things, the emissions targets are not scientifically based or environmentally effective, given the global nature of greenhouse gas emissions and the Protocol`s exclusion of developing countries from its emissions limitation requirements and its failure to address black soot and tropospheric ozone. The decisions made today with respect to the Protocol, in addition, reinforce our conclusion that the treaty is not workable for the United States.

Moreover, there are many areas in which the Kyoto Protocol and the rules elaborating it contain elements that would not be acceptable if proposed in another negotiating context in which the United States participates. Those elements which we do not support include, for example: an institution to assess compliance with emissions targets that is dominated by developing country members without targets, more favorable treatment for Parties operating within a regional economic integration organization relative to other Parties, and rules that purport to change treaty commitments through decisions of the Parties rather than through the proper amendment procedure.

The United States came to this Conference to engage with other governments on the pressing global climate change problem. We have benefited from the opportunities to explain the Bush Administration`s approach, to listen to the views of others, and to better understand different perspectives. Many other governments share some of the priorities we have identified, including an interest in: developing and promoting use of innovative energy technologies, advancing climate science and modeling, promoting carbon sequestration, and developing market-friendly approaches to environmental protection. We look forward to continuing productive discussions on these and other related topics at future COP meetings. The Bush Administration takes the issue of climate change very seriously and we will not abdicate our responsibilities.

Mr. President, thank you again for your many contributions to this process. I request that my entire statement be included in the official report of this meeting.

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