International

Climate change is a global challenge and requires a global solution. Through analysis and dialogue, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is working with governments and stakeholders to identify practical and effective options for the post-2012 international climate framework. Read more

 

Connecting the Dots: Elements of an International Approach to Climate Change

CONNECTING THE DOTS: ELEMENTS OF AN INTERNATIONAL APPROACH TO CLIMATE CHANGE

SPEECH BY EILEEN CLAUSSEN
PRESIDENT, PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

CONNECTING THE DOTS ON CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE
CALIFORNIA CLIMATE ACTION REGISTRY
DANA POINT, CALIFORNIA

APRIL 20, 2006

Thank you very much. I am delighted to have the opportunity to be with all of you in this beautiful place. So many of the presentations I make are in poorly lit hotel ballrooms that I am practically beside myself having this chance to speak outside.  I think it is quite appropriate to give a talk on climate change and to have the whole thing conditioned on the two words: “weather permitting.” 

I also like your conference theme: “Connecting the Dots on Climate Change,” and it got me thinking..

Connecting the dots on climate change or any other issue that demands long-term, strategic thinking requires that people understand how to draw a straight line. And, in Washington, it is widely believed that a straight line is the shortest distance between two elections. 

But we are in California, and that made me wonder whether you should have called this conference “Connecting the Droughts." Of course, for opponents of action on this issue the preferred approach is “Connecting the Doubts.” But raising questions about the science of climate change is a strategy that doesn’t appear to be working any more, given the widespread consensus among scientists that we have a real problem on our hands. 

Particularly in California. From the California Climate Action Registry to greenhouse gas standards for vehicles to the governor’s emission targets for the state, California is leading the nation toward real action on the issue of climate change. Getting Washington to do the right thing on this issue remains a major challenge. But California, as it often does, is telling the country, “We can do this—and we must.”

But action at the state level, or even the national level, is just one part of the solution, as all of you know very well. While it is true that California’s emissions are equal to those of Brazil, and U.S. emissions as a whole constitute roughly one-fourth of the world total, climate change is a global problem that demands a global solution. And it is in America’s interests, and in California’s as well, to help frame a set of global solutions that bring all of the world’s major economies to the table, developed and developing countries alike.

And so today I want to talk with you briefly about what has been happening globally to address this issue. I also want to provide some new thinking on how we can move the international process forward, based on a recent set of discussions organized by the Pew Center.

Looking back over the past year or so, it is fair to say that we did make some important progress on the climate issue on the international front. The watershed event, of course, was the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. By now, we are all quite familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the Protocol, and I don’t think I need to revisit those here. I will, however, say this: Kyoto establishes the first binding international commitments for limiting greenhouse gas emissions; and it sends a very important signal to the global market that the climate has a value, and that damaging the climate has a price.

That is no small achievement. Meeting Kyoto’s targets will be a major challenge for the countries that have accepted them. But whether they do or not, Kyoto is already a success: it has set them on the path toward serious action on this issue.

But, of course, we still must deal with the bigger challenge: What happens next? Kyoto, as we all know, only takes us to 2012. And, with the United States sitting on the sidelines, and China and India without specific commitments, the Kyoto process is a partial solution at best.

Many of the nations that gathered for talks on this issue in Montreal last November understand this. They understand the need for a process to engage the United States and developing nations in future efforts to reduce emissions; and they understand that the Kyoto agreement by itself is not sufficient.

And so countries agreed in Montreal on a two-track approach to consider next steps. The parties to the Kyoto Protocol began a process to consider a second round of targets for developed countries; and the parties to Kyoto’s parent agreement, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, agreed to initiate a two-year dialogue, which, while explicitly not a negotiation about new commitments, opens a conversation about ways to strengthen and broaden the international effort. The United States adamantly opposed this idea, but relented in the final hours of the negotiation after all the major developing countries signed on and the U.S. found itself isolated. If this dialogue is successful, it may well set the stage for a new round of negotiations down the line.

Of course, the formal negotiations under Kyoto and the Framework Convention are just one part of the international response to this issue. Last year, there was a great deal happening outside of the formal process. At Gleneagles, Scotland, for example. That’s where the G-8 summit was held in June.

Despite the best efforts of British Prime Minister Tony Blair to try and have the G-8 become a force for real action, there were no real breakthroughs. But the Summit did serve to elevate this issue on the international agenda, and catalyzed some very strong statements from the international scientific and business communities urging governments to get serious about climate change. Perhaps the most concrete outcome was the launch of a ministerial-level dialogue—yes, another dialogue—this one among the 20 largest energy-consuming nations. This is the group we need action from, and hopefully the dialogue will lead in that direction.

An additional effort launched last year outside the formal multilateral process was the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. This is an initiative spearheaded by the United States and including five other countries: Australia, China, India, South Korea and Japan. The focus is technology cooperation, with the aim of encouraging public-private partnerships. It made for a good press release at the time, but the proof will be in whether this effort receives any real funding, and whether it results in real accomplishments.

So, if you think about what is happening on this issue at the international level, it is hard to point to anything substantive beyond Kyoto (and, even there, the substance of what is happening is dwarfed by the magnitude and the urgency of the climate challenge).

Climate change is here; it is happening. And every day, it seems, we are learning more and more about how problems such as sea level rise will accelerate in the decades ahead. We need more than dialogue; we need action. And for that, we need real commitments. We need policies and frameworks that put countries on the path to real and long-term emission reduction. And we need to do it in ways that are fair and equitable for all involved.

To figure out just how this might be accomplished, we recently convened a dialogue of our own: the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico. We brought together 25 senior people from government, business, and civil society in 15 different countries for a series of discussions on options for strengthening the international climate effort beyond 2012. Our participants came from the United States, the UK, Germany, Japan, Australia, China, India, Mexico, Brazil, and other countries, and from seven companies, including BP, Toyota, Alcoa, and DuPont.

It was a very diverse group, yet in the end we reached consensus on a set of ideas and approaches for moving the international effort forward. Two of the participants in our dialogue were senior staff to Senators Richard Lugar and Joseph Biden, the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The two senators, in fact, hosted the event last November where we released the group’s report. And in February, in an address to the U.N. Security Council, Senator Lugar cited the Pocantico report as a roadmap to a comprehensive international approach to climate change.

The report lays out key objectives and key elements of an effective post-2012 approach. I’d like to briefly share some of those with you today, and in so doing, draw some interesting parallels with the climate efforts now emerging here in California.

First, while we need a fully global approach to this issue, what is absolutely imperative at this stage is engaging the major economies. That is the first objective. Twenty-five countries account for 83 percent of global emissions of greenhouse gases. This is the core group that needs to act. And it includes the United States, China, India, the EU countries, Russia, Japan and others.

But it is important, at the same time, that we recognize the tremendous diversity within this group. Their per capita emissions range by a factor of 14; per capita incomes by a factor of 18. You cannot ignore these statistics in thinking about who is responsible for climate change and to what degree, as well as who must do what to address it.

This leads to a second principal objective: We need a more flexible framework, one that can accommodate different approaches by allowing for different kinds of commitments by different countries. Nations will work collectively to address climate change only if they can take approaches consistent with their national interests, and these will vary from country to country. So we need a framework that allows for different paths, but at the same time gets us all moving together, in the same direction.

So those are two of the objectives identified in the Pocantico report: we need to engage the major economies; and we need a flexible framework. In considering how we achieve these objectives, the dialogue participants identified six possible elements of a comprehensive, multilateral framework. This conference has adopted the theme of “connecting the dots,” and I believe the six elements recommended by our dialogue can be viewed as dots that have to be connected in order to create a fair and effective global approach.

The first of these is an aspirational, long-term goal. California’s goal of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050 is an example of this. The EU has established a different type of goal: limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius.

The Framework Convention establishes the ultimate objective: stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that avoids dangerous human interference with the climate. But what does that mean? Many scientists favor limiting atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to no more than 550 parts per million—roughly double the pre-industrial level. And that, in turn, means we need to reduce global emissions by 55 to 85 percent below what is currently projected. The Pocantico group cautions against trying to negotiate a quantified long-term goal at this stage; getting agreement on a specific number would just be too tough. But the report calls on governments and others to continue articulating their own visions of the long-term goal as a way to informally guide and propel the international effort.

The second element that emerged from our dialogue—our second dot to be connected—is adaptation. We know that no country will be immune from the effects of climate change, but it will clearly have a disproportionate impact on people living in poverty in the developing world. And, as we develop global strategies for adapting, we must target the unmet needs of the most vulnerable as a first priority.

An estimated 97 percent of all natural disaster-related deaths happen in developing countries. These countries need help doing two things: they need help recovering from climate-related disasters; and they need help integrating climate risk into their development planning so that over time they become more climate-resilient. This includes investments in safe drinking water supplies, better sanitation, sustainable farming, safer housing. That is what we mean by adaptation, and it has to be a priority for all nations, both individually and collectively.

Next on the list of six approaches laid out in the dialogue is the use of emissions targets and trading. This is the approach Kyoto takes—setting a target for reducing emissions and then allowing companies (and entire nations) to trade emission credits to achieve their targets as cost-effectively as possible. Trading is also an approach that would do wonders for California as your state weighs how best to meet the governor’s targets for reducing emissions. And I was pleased to see that the California Climate Action Team is considering trading as an important element of a statewide program.

Looking globally, the dialogue participants strongly endorsed market-based approaches as a core element of the international effort, but said we shouldn’t necessarily limit ourselves to Kyoto-style targets setting binding absolute caps. Other options could be intensity targets, or so-called “no lose” targets, which would allow developing countries. to sell credits if they do better than their targets but impose no penalty if they fall short.

The fourth element covered by the dialogue is what we call sectoral approaches. The idea here is to structure international commitments around specific sectors of the economy, such as transportation, power, land use, steel, cement—any sector that is responsible for a big chunk of emissions.

Again, California’s approach clearly includes what we would call a sectoral strategy. In the electricity sector, for example, your state has a target to produce 20 percent of electricity from renewables by 2010. In transportation, California has greenhouse gas standards for new vehicles. And for buildings, the state targets the building sector with the most stringent energy efficiency requirements in the nation.

That is a sectoral approach. At the international level, one advantage of this approach is that it may be possible to achieve significant reductions by engaging a relatively small number of countries. Think about cars, for example. An agreement among 15 countries and an even smaller number of companies would cover most of the global market.

Here is another example of a sectoral approach: you focus on an energy-intensive sector, like aluminum or steel or cement production, and you have the major companies involved agree to a set of objectives for reducing emissions, and those objectives, in turn, are endorsed by the governments where the facilities are located. Yet another example would be to establish a set of goals for increasing, maintaining or slowing reductions in carbon stocks in agriculture or forestry.

The fifth element we have called “policy-based approaches”—we are not talking about quantitative targets here but about having countries commit to specific policies to reduce their emissions. A couple of examples: increasing the use of renewable energy sources; raising fuel economy standards; or expanding the use of cleaner fuels.

The notion here is to encourage countries to integrate climate goals into their development planning and to allow policies to be tailored to specific national circumstances—in much the same way that California has tailored policies such as trading, greenhouse gas reporting, and support for biofuels to this state’s unique objectives and needs. Again, flexibility is key. And California’s embrace of a diverse portfolio of policies could, in fact, be a model for international action.

Last but not least on our list is technology cooperation. While it is clear that existing technologies can give us significant reductions on a global basis, it is also clear that we are going to need new, breakthrough technologies. And there are two ways to do this: first, you use policies and targets to pull climate-friendly technologies to the market; and second, you push the development of new technologies through R&D and related activities. I have talked a lot about the pulling part in my remarks. Technology cooperation starts to get at the need for a push. From fuel cells to biomass, carbon capture and storage, and next-generation nuclear reactors, governments need to work together to coordinate and increase their support for technology development—and to deploy both existing and new technologies in developing countries.

California, again in the lead on these issues, is initiating a coordinated investment strategy to help accelerate the development of climate-friendly technologies, using its public benefit and pension funds and first class universities. And that is exactly the attitude we need among governments—without picking winners, so to speak, we need policies and investments that are targeted and specific enough to give promising technologies a start down the road toward significant deployment.

Those are the six elements of an international approach—the six dots to be connected, as laid out by the participants in the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico.

They are: 1) an aspirational, long-term goal; 2) adaptation; 3) emission targets and trading; 4) sectoral approaches; 5) policy-based approaches; and 6) technology cooperation.

And it is my hope that, as the other dialogues on this issue move forward (I am talking here about the dialogue under the Framework Convention and the G-8 dialogue as well), they will take these ideas and these conclusions to heart.

In closing, I want to say that it occurred to me as I was putting these remarks together that I completely dispensed with my usual overview of the case for action on this issue. And I suppose that’s because, in the course of our Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, there was very little discussion about the need to do something about climate change. On that point, this diverse group of people from around the world, including senior government and business and civil society leaders, was entirely in agreement.

The major resistance to action on this issue, although much diminished, still resides in the same places where it has always been—places where people feel that their profits or their livelihood or their political support will somehow be threatened by the kinds of changes I have talked about today. But we need to make it absolutely clear to these people and others that the changes we are talking about are not only about protecting the climate; they are also about protecting our economies and our competitiveness in the decades to come. To the extent that we make this clear, we will indeed be connecting the dots on climate change and creating the conditions for real solutions to flourish.

So dots all. Thank you very much.

Congressional Testimony of Eileen Claussen: Trading and International Competitiveness

OPENING STATEMENT

HON. EILEEN CLAUSSEN, PRESIDENT
PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE 

At the Climate Conference of
The Energy and Natural Resources Committee
United States Senate

Panel: Trading and International Competitiveness

Washington, DC
April 4, 2006

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this conference. The Pew Center works closely with a council of forty-one major companies to advance practical and effective climate change policies. 

I would like to address the issue of the comparability of national efforts by disentangling two distinct but related objectives: (1) achieving adequate action by all major emitting countries, and (2) protecting U.S. firms against competitiveness impacts. 

The first of these objectives is best achieved through multilateral commitments engaging all the major greenhouse gas-emitting nations in a fair and effective long-term effort.   Twenty-five countries account for 83 percent of global emissions.  Engaging these major economies requires a flexible framework that allows different countries to take on different types of binding commitments.  We believe the United States should play a leadership role in developing such a framework.        

But ensuring broad comparability at the national level will not necessarily achieve the second objective:   protecting U.S. firms against competitiveness impacts.  It is not the competitiveness of the U.S. economy as a whole that is at issue.  To the degree that there are competitiveness impacts, they will fall on specific sectors: energy-intensive industries whose goods are traded internationally. These sectors might remain vulnerable even if efforts by all major emitters are broadly comparable, because countries could choose to exempt a given sector from controls, giving that sector an advantage over foreign competitors.

At the international level, one way to ensure a level playing field is to establish multilateral agreements along sectoral lines. These could be one element of the framework I mentioned earlier.

At the domestic level, in designing a national cap-and-trade system, we should set the caps at modest levels, allow offsets, and “grandfather” allowances in a way that protects vulnerable firms or sectors. We could also dedicate funds, possibly by auctioning a portion of allowances, to provide technology assistance to affected industries and transition assistance for their workers.

I would like to note in closing that the single most important step the United States can take to encourage stronger efforts by other countries is to begin in earnest to address our own greenhouse gas emissions. I applaud the Committee for advancing this critical debate.

Thank you.


Read related content on the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee's Climate Conference.

Press Release: Agenda for Climate Action

Press Release
February 8, 2006

Contact: Katie Mandes, (703) 516-0606

PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE RELEASES FIRST COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO CLIMATE CHANGE

All Sectors Must Share in Solution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Pew Center on Global Climate Change released the first comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.  The Agenda for Climate Action identifies both broad and specific policies, combining recommendations on economy-wide mandatory emissions cuts, technology development, scientific research, energy supply, and adaptation with critical steps that can be taken in key sectors.  The report is the culmination of a two-year effort that articulates a pragmatic course of action across all areas of the economy.  

The report calls for a combination of technology and policy and urges action in six key areas:  (1) science and technology, (2) market-based programs, (3) sectoral emissions, (4) energy production and use, (5) adaptation, and (6) international engagement.  Within these six areas, the Agenda outlines fifteen specific recommendations that should be started now, including U.S. domestic reductions and engagement in the international negotiation process.  All the recommendations are capable of implementation in the near-term. 

The report concludes that there is no single technology fix, no single policy instrument, and no single sector that can solve this problem on its own.  Rather, a combination of technology investment and market development will provide for the most cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gases, and will create a thriving market for GHG-reducing technologies.  To address climate change without placing the burden on any one group, the report urges actions throughout the economy. 

“Some believe the answer to addressing climate change lies in technology incentives.  Others say limiting emissions is the only answer.  We need both,” said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center.

Emissions in the United States continue to rise at an alarming rate.  U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have grown by more than 18% since 1990, and the Department of Energy now projects that they will increase by another 37% by 2030. 

Joining the Pew Center at the announcement were representatives from the energy and manufacturing sectors.  Speaking at the release were:  David Hone, Group Climate Change Adviser, Shell International Limited; Melissa Lavinson, Director, Federal Environmental Affairs and Corporate Responsibility, PG&E Corporation; Bill Gerwing, Western Hemisphere Health, Safety, Security, and Environment Director, BP; John Stowell, Vice President, Environmental Strategy, Federal Affairs and Sustainability, Cinergy Corp., Ruksana Mirza, Vice President, Environmental Affairs, Holcim (US) Inc.; and Tom Catania, Vice President, Government Relations, Whirlpool Corporation.

Recommendations:

While actions are needed across all sectors, some steps will have a more significant, far-reaching impact on emissions than others and must be undertaken as soon as possible. 

  • A program to cap emissions from large sources and allow for emissions trading will send a signal to curb releases of greenhouse gases while promoting a market for new technologies.
  • Transportation is responsible for roughly one-third of our greenhouse gas emissions, and this report addresses this sector through tradable emissions standards for vehicles.
  • Because energy is at the core of the climate change problem, the report makes several recommendations in this area: calling for increased efficiency in buildings and products, as well as in electricity generation and distribution.  Incentives and a nationwide platform to track and trade renewable energy credits are recommended to support increased renewable power.  In recognition of the key role that coal plays in U.S. energy supply, the report calls for the capture and sequestration of carbon that results from burning coal. Nuclear power currently provides a substantial amount of non-emitting electricity, and is therefore important to keep in the generation mix. The report recommends support for advanced generation of nuclear power, while noting that issues such as safety and waste disposal must also be addressed.
  • While most of the recommendations focus on mitigation efforts, the report acknowledges that some impacts are inevitable and are already being seen. As a result, it proposes development of a national adaptation strategy to plan for a climate-changing world. 
  • Finally, despite the importance of efforts by individual countries on this issue, climate change cannot be addressed without engagement of the broader international community.  The report recommends that the U.S. participate in international negotiations aimed at curbing global greenhouse gas emissions by all major emitting countries.

Other recommendations include: long-term stable research funding, incentives for low-carbon fuels and consumer products, funding for biological sequestration, expanding the natural gas supply and distribution network, and a mandatory greenhouse gas reporting program that can provide a stepping stone to economy-wide emissions trading. 

The full text of this and other Pew Center reports is available at http://www.c2es.org.  

###

The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States’ largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment.  The Pew Center is an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change.  The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

Senator Lugar Praises Our Dialogue

In a major address before the UN Security Council on February 6, 2006, Senator Richard G. Lugar (R-Indiana), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for the United States to return to negotiations under the Framework Convention on Climate Change to achieve a comprehensive international approach to global warming. He said a "roadmap to this outcome" is contained in the recent report of the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico convened by the Center.

Excerpt from Senator Lugar's address:

"...[Fossil fuel] dependence also presents huge risks to the global environment. With this in mind, I have urged the Bush Administration and my colleagues in Congress to return to a leadership role on the issue of climate change. I have advocated that the United States must be open to multi-lateral forums that attempt to achieve global solutions to the problem of greenhouse gases. Climate change could bring drought, famine, disease, mass migration, and rising sea levels threatening coasts and economies worldwide, all of which could lead to political conflict and instability. This problem cannot be solved without international cooperation.

The time is ripe for bold action by the international community because much has changed since talks first began in 1992 on what became the Kyoto treaty. For one, China and India, who won exemptions from the treaty’s emission-cutting requirements, have enjoyed rapid growth. They are now much greater sources of greenhouse gases than anticipated, but also far stronger economies, more integrated into the global system.

Our scientific understanding of climate change has also advanced significantly. We have better computer models, more measurements and more evidence -- from the shrinking polar caps to expanding tropical disease zones for plants and humans -- that the problem is real and is caused by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide from fossil fuels.

Most importantly, thanks to new technology, we can control many greenhouse gases with proactive, pro-growth solutions, not just draconian limitations on economic activity. Industry and government alike recognize that progress on climate change can go hand in hand with progress on energy security, air pollution, and technology development.

A roadmap to this outcome is contained in a recent report from the Center, a non-partisan organization, which assembled representatives from China, India and other countries and from global industrial companies, as well as from the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff. This diverse group agreed on the need for fresh approaches beyond Kyoto. They said the U.S. must engage all the major economies at once, including India and China, because experience has shown that countries will not move unless they can be sure their counterparts are moving with them.

The United States, the world’s richest country and the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, should seize this moment to make a new beginning by returning to international negotiations in a leadership role under the Framework Convention on Climate Change. I believe that the United States is prepared to do that. Our friends and allies should embrace this opportunity to achieve a comprehensive international approach to global warming...."

Full text of Senator Lugar's address to the Security Council

More on the report of the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico

Additional resources on international climate policy, including text of the Sense of the Senate resolution, S. Res. 312 (pdf), proposed by Senator Lugar with Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-Delaware), calling for U.S. participation in international negotiations under the Framework Convention on Climate Change

International In Depth

Climate change is a global challenge and requires a global solution. Greenhouse gas emissions have the same impact on the atmosphere whether they originate in Washington, London or Beijing. Consequently, action by one country to reduce emissions will do little to slow global warming unless other countries act as well. Ultimately, an effective strategy will require commitments and action by all the major emitting countries.

The international response to climate change was launched in 1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, with the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Convention established a long-term objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere "at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system". It also set a voluntary goal of reducing emissions from developed countries to 1990 levels by 2000 - a goal that most countries did not meet.

Recognizing that stronger action was needed, countries negotiated the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which sets binding targets to reduce emissions 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. The Protocol entered into force on February 16, 2005, which made the Protocol's emissions targets binding legal commitments for those industrialized countries that ratified it (the United States and Australia have not ratified it). In addition, the market-based mechanisms established under the Protocol, including international emissions trading and the Clean Development Mechanism, became fully operational with the Protocol's entry into force.

Attention now is turning to strengthening the international framework for the years following the Kyoto Protocol's initial commitment period (2008 - 2012). The overriding challenge is to forge an agreement that includes all major emitting countries - both developed and developing - and begins signficant long-term reductions in global emissions. In 2003, we engaged more than 100 experts, policymakers, and stakeholders from nearly three dozen countries to address this issue. This initiative continues with the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, a series of off-line discussions among 25 senior policymakers and stakeholders from 15 countries exploring options for next steps in the international climate effort. The final report of the Pocantico dialogue was released on November 15, 2005.

For more information:

International Policy

What's Being Done

COP 11 and COP/MOP 1 Montreal

Eleventh Session of the Conference of the
Parties to the UN Framework Convention on
Climate Change (COP 11)

and

First Meeting of the Parties to the
Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 1)

Montreal, Canada
November 28 - December 10, 2005

In two weeks of talks, delegates to the UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal concluded the decade-long round of negotiations that launched the Kyoto Protocol and opened a new round of talks to begin considering the future of the international climate effort.

The meeting was a historic first – it served both as the 11th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 11), and, following Kyoto’s entry into force in February, as the 1st Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 1). 

Key outcomes of the Montreal conference included decisions by the COP/MOP finalizing the Kyoto “rulebook” and strengthening the Clean Development Mechanism, and a pair of decisions to consider next steps – one under the Protocol, launching negotiations toward new binding commitments for Kyoto’s developed country parties; and another under the Framework Convention, opening a nonbinding “dialogue on long-term cooperative action.”

While the two decisions on next steps are not formally linked, the negotiations around them were closely intertwined.  The European Union, Japan and Canada, obligated under Kyoto to begin considering new commitments, strongly favored a parallel process under the Convention as a way to engage both the United States and developing countries in future efforts.  Some developing countries also actively supported a new Convention process and others agreed on the condition it would not “open any negotiations leading to new commitments.”  The United States, not a party to the Protocol, insisted throughout the negotiations that it opposed any new process under the Convention.  But in the final hours, as the major developing countries lined up behind the decision, leaving the United States isolated with Saudi Arabia, U.S. negotiators relented.

One notable shift in Montreal was a greater willingness among developing countries to discuss stronger developing country efforts.  Several called for new mechanisms or agreements supporting voluntary developing country actions with market or other incentives.  Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica won support for a new process to consider approaches to reduce emissions from deforestation.  Brazil called for “positive incentives” for forest conservation and other steps to reduce emissions.  South Africa, while rejecting absolute targets for developing countries, advocated a “Kyoto-Plus regime” in which developing countries “do our fair share.”  Mexico suggested “voluntary commitments” such as national policies and measures or sectoral emission targets.

For many governments, reengaging the United States remained the higher priority.  Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, in the midst of a campaign to keep his Liberal government in power, spoke for many when he pointedly criticized the U.S. position to the press, saying “there is such a thing as a global conscience, and now is the time to listen to it.”  Former President Bill Clinton, meanwhile, was warmly received when he delivered an unusual surprise address on the final day of negotiations.  Clinton, without explicitly addressing the negotiations or the U.S. position, emphasized the economic opportunities in addressing global warming and urged that the same precautionary approach driving the war on terrorism be applied to climate change.

The last-minute shift in the U.S. position may also have reflected mounting pressure from Congress for stronger U.S. engagement in the multilateral climate effort.  Two weeks before the conference, Senators Richard Lugar and Joseph Biden, the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced a resolution calling for U.S. participation in negotiations under the Convention to establish mitigation commitments for all major greenhouse gas-emitting countries.  As the talks were underway, a bipartisan group of 24 Senators wrote President Bush urging that the United States, “at a minimum, refrain from blocking or obstructing” discussions about next steps under the Convention.

Following are summaries of key decisions. Full text of the COP 11 and COP/MOP 1 decisions is available at the UNFCCC website.

Negotiating New Kyoto Targets

As required under Article 3.9 of the Kyoto Protocol, the COP/MOP initiated a process to “consider further commitments” for Annex I (developed) countries for the period beyond 2012, when the first round of Kyoto emission targets expire.

The decision establishes an ad hoc working group open to all Kyoto parties but sets no specific deadline for completing the negotiations.  It calls for the process to begin “without delay” and to conclude “in time to ensure that there is no gap between the first and second commitment periods.”  The first meeting of the working group will be in May 2006.

The final negotiations on the decision went through the night as Russia, unhappy with how its views had been received in the informal “contact group,” continued to argue in plenary for a procedure allowing non-Annex I countries to take “voluntary commitments.”   As a compromise, Russia accepted text in the COP/MOP conclusions referencing its proposal and inviting the President to undertake consultations and report back at COP/MOP 2.  

Dialogue on Long-Term Cooperative Action

The COP, in a separate decision, launched a two-year dialogue “to analyse strategic approaches for long-term cooperative action to address climate change.”

At COP 10 in Buenos Aires, parties agreed to hold a one-time Seminar of Governmental Experts to discuss ongoing implementation and future action.  The seminar, convened in May, provided the first space within the Convention process for parties to discuss future steps but made no formal report to the COP.  The new dialogue advances the conversation to the next stage.  It will be a series of up to four workshops led by two co-facilitators, one from a developed and one from a developing country.  The facilitators will report to both COP 12 and COP 13.

The dialogue has four broad areas of focus: sustainable development, adaptation, technology, and market-based opportunities.  Its aims are to support implementation of existing commitments under the Convention; support “actions put forward voluntarily by developing countries”; and “enable Parties to continue to develop effective and appropriate national and international responses to climate change.”  The dialogue explicitly “will not open any negotiations leading to new commitments.”

The United States did not engage on the text until the final day, then agreed with only minor revisions, such as substituting “market-based opportunities” for “market-based mechanisms” and noting in the preamble that “there is a diversity of approaches to address climate change.”          

Adoption of Marrakesh Accords

An essential task of COP/MOP-1 was to formally adopt the detailed rules for the operation of the Kyoto Protocol, which had been provisionally agreed at COP-7 as part of the Marrakesh Accords.   Formal adoption of the Kyoto rules completed a cycle of negotiations initiated by the 1995 Berlin Mandate, which called for an agreement establishing quantified emission limits for developed countries. 

The COP/MOP adopted all 19 decisions recommended by COP-7, including:

  • Operating rules for the Protocol’s three flexibility mechanisms – emissions trading, joint implementation (JI) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
  • Rules for crediting of domestic sink activities, including reforestation, forest management and agricultural management.
  • A compliance regime to review countries’ eligibility to use the Protocol’s flexibility mechanisms, and to impose consequences for non-compliance with a party’s emissions target.
  • A detailed system for reporting and review of national emissions.

For further background on the Marrakesh Accords, see our reports on COP 6 bis and COP 7.

Kyoto Compliance

The only element of the Marrakesh Accords revisited by the COP/MOP was the legal means by which to establish the Protocol’s compliance mechanism.  Under Article 18 of the Protocol, any compliance procedures entailing binding consequences must be adopted as an amendment to the Protocol.  Prior to the meeting, Saudi Arabia proposed such an amendment.  After discussion, however, the COP/MOP decided to initially at least establish the compliance mechanism by decision rather than amendment, and referred the Saudi proposal to the Subsidiary Body on Implementation, which is to report back at COP/MOP 3.  Parties also elected members of the facilitative and enforcement branches of the newly established Compliance Committee.

Clean Development Mechanism

A major goal in Montreal was strengthening and streamlining the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, which allows credits from emission reduction activities in developing countries to be applied toward developed countries’ emission targets.

Responding to concerns from business and from host countries that projects are moving too slowly through the CDM process, the COP/MOP approved steps to clarify rules, speed the development of methodologies, strengthen governance, and provide more funding for the CDM Executive Board.  On crediting for early action, the decision allows for projects initiated between 2000 and late 2004 to receive retroactive credits if registered with the Executive Board by the end of 2006.  To support the Board’s operation, the decision established a levy on CDM proceeds to cover administrative expenses, and a number of developed countries announced additional voluntary pledges totaling nearly $8.2 million.

The COP/MOP also opened the door for a broader range of potential CDM activities beyond those that are strictly project-based.  While specifying that local or national policies or standards do not qualify as CDM projects, the decision allows project activities falling under a “program of activities” to be registered as a single CDM project, provided there are appropriate baseline and monitoring methodologies.  This could allow for a so-called programmatic approach, crediting a range of activities such as energy efficiency improvements across a series of entities or an entire sector.

Deforestation

Responding to calls from a number of developing countries, the COP initiated a new process under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) to consider possible approaches for reducing GHG emissions from deforestation.

The decision was prompted by a submittal from Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica stressing the importance of the issue and putting two ideas on the table: an “optional protocol” involving a group of developed and developing countries; and expansion of the CDM to permit crediting of activities to reduce deforestation, which is not now allowed.   The submittal was supported by Bolivia, the Central African Republic, Chile, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. 

The COP invited parties to submit views on issues such as additionality, leakage, permanence, and monitoring, and directed SBSTA to report back in two years.

Carbon Capture and Storage

Spurred by a new IPCC Special Report on Carbon Capture and Storage, both the COP and the COP/MOP took steps to consider ways to advance capture-and-storage technologies.

In its guidance to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which administers assistance to developing countries, the COP asked the GEF to consider and report back on whether and how activities related to capture and storage could be integrated into its funding programs.   The COP/MOP asked the CDM Executive Board to consider proposals for new methodologies to allow capture-and-storage projects under the CDM, with a view to presenting recommendations at COP/MOP 2.  A workshop will be held at the next SBSTA meeting, in May 2006. 

Adaptation Work Program

At COP 10, parties decided to develop a five-year work program on adaptation to be carried out by SBSTA.  The five-year program adopted by the COP in Montreal aims to assist parties to improve their understanding of adaptation, impacts, and vulnerability, and to make informed decisions on practical actions and measures.  These efforts are to consider not only climate change, but also natural climate variability, a point pressed by the United States.

To help parties better assess their vulnerability, the program is to promote improved vulnerability assessment tools, climate monitoring and projections, and understanding of variability and extreme events.  To support adaptation planning and action, the program is to promote analysis and sharing of adaptation measures, research on adaptation technologies, and development of economic diversification strategies.  The work will be carried out primarily through workshops, expert groups, and technical papers.

Adaptation Fund

The COP/MOP adopted initial guidance for the new Adaptation Fund established under the Marrakesh Accords, but deferred a decision on who will manage the fund until its next meeting.

Unlike other funds in the climate regime, which are supported solely by developed country contributions, the Adaptation Fund is financed in part by a “share of the proceeds” from the CDM.  The issues in Montreal concerned governance – in particular, whether the fund will be managed by the GEF.  Developing countries argued that the GEF’s management arrangements reflect its donor basis and therefore are not appropriate for a fund financed through the CDM.  The COP/MOP agreed to hold a workshop this spring to consider governance issues and to adopt further guidance at its next session.


Consult additional resources on international climate change policy.

 

Press Release: Group Urges New Approaches to Engage Major Economies in Stronger International Climate Effort

Press Release
November 15, 2005

Contact: Katie Mandes, (703) 516-0606

GROUP URGES NEW APPROACHES TO ENGAGE MAJOR ECONOMIES IN STRONGER INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE EFFORT

Pew Center Dialogue Includes Participants From 15 Countries, 7 Major Companies

Report to be Released with Senators Lugar and Biden

WASHINGTON, D.C. Senior policymakers and stakeholders from around the world offer options and recommendations for engaging major economies in strengthened international climate change efforts in a report to be released today by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

The report outlines the conclusions of the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, a group of 25 from government, business, and civil society brought together by the Pew Center for a series of discussions exploring options for advancing the international climate effort post-2012. It will be formally released at an event in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations hearing room hosted by Senator Richard G. Lugar (R-Indiana) and Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Delaware), the committee Chairman and Ranking Minority Member.

In their report, dialogue participants call for a more flexible international framework allowing countries to take on different types of climate commitments. As a step toward that, the report urges the convening of a high-level political dialogue among major economies to begin scoping out post-2012 strategies. The report comes two weeks before the start of climate negotiations in Montreal where governments will consider launching a new process to consider next steps in the international climate effort.

"The clear message from this very diverse group is that we need to move urgently and we need all the major economies engaged," said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center and co-chair of the Pocantico dialogue. "We must broaden the international effort with new approaches that give countries more flexibility and produce real results. The place to start is Montreal."

Dialogue members convened four times from July 2004 to September 2005. The participants, who took part in their personal capacities, included policymakers from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Malta, Mexico, Tuvalu, the United Kingdom, and the United States; senior executives from Alcoa, BP, DuPont, Eskom (South Africa), Exelon, Rio Tinto, and Toyota; and experts from the Pew Center, The Energy and Resources Institute (India), and the World Economic Forum.

The Pocantico dialogue brought committed companies together with seasoned climate negotiators to look for solutions that are practical, politically viable, and effective, said dialogue co-chair Ged Davis, a Managing Director at the World Economic Forum, the Geneva-based organization that sponsors the annual Davos economic summit. It is critical that business stakeholders be closely engaged as governments move forward and consider next steps in the international effort.

Other speakers at today's event will include Michael J. Flannigan, Vice President, Government Affairs, at Rio Tinto Services, Inc.; Elizabeth Anne Moler, Executive Vice President, Government and Environmental Affairs and Public Policy, at the Exelon Corporation; and Jake Siewert, Vice President, Environment, Health, and Safety, at Alcoa.

The report, International Climate Efforts Beyond 2012 » Report of the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, describes several elements or policy approaches and ways they could be linked to one another under the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change. The elements include:

  • Emission targets and trading, with targets varying in form, stringency, and timing;
  • Agreements negotiated across the power, automotive, or other key sectors;
  • Policy-based approaches committing countries to steps advancing both climate and development objectives without binding them to fixed emission limits;
  • Stronger cooperation to develop long-term 'breakthrough' technologies and to deploy existing and new technologies in developing countries; and
  • New assistance to help highly vulnerable countries cope with urgent adaptation needs and support the development of comprehensive national adaptation strategies.

While multiple approaches could be pursued in parallel, the report says, a stronger overall effort may be possible only if they are linked in an integrated framework, giving countries the opportunity to negotiate across tracks and take on different types of commitments.

The report says that a high-level dialogue among major economies seeking broader political consensus on future multilateral efforts may be most productive if convened outside the formal negotiating process, but that any formal agreements should be negotiated under the Framework Convention.

"We won't make real progress in the negotiations until we have a stronger political consensus among the major players, including the United States and key developing countries," said Claussen. That requires work on many fronts. But it also requires a genuine dialogue among leaders on how to take this effort forward beyond 2012.

Governments will gather in Montreal on November 28-December 9 for the Eleventh Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention and the First Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP 11-MOP 1). Under Kyoto, parties to the Protocol must initiate consideration this year of commitments for the period beyond 2012, when the existing Kyoto commitments will expire. Some governments favor a parallel process to consider new steps under the Convention.

Meetings of the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico were held at the Pocantico Conference Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in Tarrytown, New York. The dialogue was supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the U.N. Foundation, the Wallace Global Fund, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

The full text of this and other Pew Center reports is available at http://www.c2es.org.

###

The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States' largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment. The Pew Center is an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

International Efforts Beyond 2012 - Report of the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico

Climate Dialogue at Pocantico

International Climate Efforts Beyond 2012:
Report of the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico

November 15, 2005

Download the entire report in English (pdf).

Now Available in Chinese (4 MB pdf), French (pdf), and Spanish (pdf).

This major report outlines options and recommendations for advancing the international climate change effort post-2012. The report is from the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, a group of 25 senior policymakers and stakeholders from 15 countries convened by the Pew Center.

Press Release

Background on the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico.

The Climate Dialogue at Pocantico was convened by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change with the generous support of The Pew Charitable Trusts, the United Nations Foundation, the Wallace Global Fund, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

From the Chairs

Some eighteen months ago, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change brought together a select group of policymakers and stakeholders from around the world in the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, a series of discussions exploring options for advancing the international climate change effort. It was our privilege to chair this group, and it now is our pleasure to present this report of our deliberations.

We do so with a deepened sense of the global challenges we face-and with renewed hope for shared solutions. In our four dialogue sessions, discussion ranged from the intricacies of policy design to more fundamental issues of political and social change. The aim was not a definitive blueprint for action, but rather consensus around a set of approaches that the group as a whole believed worthy of consideration by the broader community. This report, we believe, fulfills that aim. 

Of the many valuable ideas in the pages that follow, two, we believe, are paramount:

  • First, there is ample scientific justification for much stronger action now, and in coming decades, to stem the causes and prepare for the consequences of global climate change.
  • Second, this requires that the world's major economies accept their responsibility to agree and act on fair and effective approaches to curb global greenhouse gas emissions.

Our dialogue concludes at a critical moment. The Kyoto Protocol's recent entry into force is an historic achievement-finally setting governments and markets to the task of addressing climate change. Yet the continued divide over Kyoto bespeaks the extraordinary challenges ahead. Broadening and strengthening the international effort beyond 2012 will require creative new policy approaches building on efforts already underway. It will call as well for far greater resolve from all in protecting the global climate. There is no better time or place to begin than next month in MontrTal, where governments have a crucial opportunity to launch a process toward a new multilateral agreement.

We take heart from the spirit and success of our informal exchange. Participants brought to the dialogue a diverse range of experience and expertise spanning diplomacy, business, policymaking, and analysis. They brought as well a sincere interest in discovering common ground and possible paths forward. By speaking openly and listening, we all learned a great deal from one another, and collectively, our views were broadened and enriched.

As co-chairs of this rich discourse, we are grateful to the participants for their time and for their insights. We also would like to thank JosT Marfa Figueres for his early contributions to this effort. On the group's behalf and ours, we commend this report to you in the hope that it contributes now and in the years ahead to a vigorous and sustained multilateral climate effort.

 

Eileen Claussen
President
Pew Center on Global Climate Change
Ged Davis
Managing Director
World Economic Forum

Report Summary

Global climate change represents a profound long-term challenge for governments, business, and society at large. The onset of global warming has made the dangers ever more apparent, and the need for action all the more urgent. There is clear scientific justification for stronger action now, and over coming decades, both to avert the gravest potential consequences of climate change and to prepare for adverse effects that cannot be avoided. The critical question is how best to engage nations and their peoples in a long-term effort that fairly and effectively mobilizes technology and resources to protect the global climate and sustain economic growth.   

FRAMING THE FUTURE EFFORT
Climate change is inherently a global challenge and should be met with a global response. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) establishes a foundation, and fundamental guiding principles, for such a global approach. To effectively advance the climate effort beyond 2012, the international framework must:

Engage major economies—The immediate imperative is successfully engaging the world’s major economies. Twenty-five countries account for 83 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, 71 percent of global population, and 86 percent of global income. There is tremendous diversity within this group. While all should be prepared to commit to stronger action, an equitable approach must be consistent with the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.”

Provide Flexibility—To broaden participation, the multilateral framework must be flexible enough to accommodate different types of national strategies by allowing different types of commitments. Each country must be able to choose a pathway that best aligns its national interests with the global interest in climate action.

Couple near-term action with a long-term focus—Near-term action is urgently needed on three fronts: achieving immediate, cost-effective emission reductions; fostering the development of breakthrough technologies to achieve deeper reductions in the future; and strengthening resilience to the adverse effects of a changing climate. These efforts should be guided to the degree possible by a common view of the long-term objectives.

Integrate climate and development—Countries can contribute to the international effort through actions that serve their development goals while simultaneously delivering climate benefits. In developing countries, efforts will be most successful if complemented by assistance, investment, and access to clean technologies.

Address adaptation—The impacts of climate change are being felt already and are certain to intensify, even if immediate steps are taken to dramatically reduce emissions. These impacts fall disproportionately on the poor, particularly in developing countries. Fairness demands that they be assisted.

Be viewed as fair—A new global bargain on climate change will be possible only if each participating country perceives it to be reasonably fair. This assessment is ultimately a political one. Each country will judge fairness in terms it believes it can defend both to its own citizens and to the global community.


OPTIONS FOR STRENGTHENING MULTILATERAL ACTION
Approaches that might serve as elements of the future international effort include:

Aspirational Long-Term Goal—Rather than attempt to negotiate a quantified long-term target, governments and others should continue to articulate their own visions of a long-term objective. In time, these may coalesce into a more concrete common view informally guiding the international effort.

Adaptation—New assistance could support the development of national adaptation strategies and help highly vulnerable countries cope with urgent adaptation needs. Further steps are needed to discourage investments increasing climate vulnerability and promote those strengthening climate resilience.

Targets and Trading—Emission targets coupled with international emissions trading should remain a core element of the multilateral effort. Future targets could vary in time, form, and stringency. In addition to binding absolute targets, other types could include intensity, “no-lose,” or conditional targets. Other market-based approaches could include a mechanism crediting policy-driven emission reductions in developing countries.

Sectoral Approaches—Commitments structured around key sectors such as power, transportation, or land use could take a variety of forms: emission targets, performance- or technology-based standards, or “best practice” agreements.

Policy-based Approaches—Countries could commit to broad goals integrating climate and development objectives, then pledge national measures to achieve them and report periodically on implementation and results.

Technology Cooperation—Governments could coordinate and increase support for research and development of long-term technologies. Stronger cooperation also is needed to facilitate the deployment of clean technologies in developing countries.


FORGING NEW APPROACHES that draw on these elements will pose extraordinary political, design, and negotiating challenges. Meeting them may require new forms—and new forums—of engagement:

A Dialogue Among Major Economies—On the political front, leaders of the major economies should convene an informal dialogue to seek consensus on the general nature and scope of multilateral efforts post-2012. While this dialogue could be convened within the UNFCCC process, it may be more practical and productive to convene it outside the process, with the understanding that formal agreements would be negotiated under the Framework Convention.

Linking Approaches—Multiple approaches could be pursued in parallel as different groups of countries engage with one another along different tracks. Such efforts could launch action on multiple fronts and yield valuable lessons to guide future steps. But an ad hoc assemblage of initiatives may not produce an overall effort that is sufficiently timely or robust. A more integrated approach could produce a stronger outcome. By linking and negotiating across tracks, governments may arrive at an arrangement flexible enough to accommodate different approaches and reciprocal enough to achieve higher levels of effort. It may help to agree at the outset that certain countries will negotiate within designated tracks appropriate to their circumstances.

 

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Pocantico Report Release

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
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International Climate Efforts Beyond 2012

Report of the

Climate Dialogue at Pocantico

**Now available in Chinese, English, French, and Spanish.**

On November 15, 2005, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change announced the release of a major new report outlining options and recommendations for advancing the international climate change effort post-2012.  The report is from the Climate Dialogue at Pocantico, a group of 25 senior policymakers and stakeholders from 15 countries convened by the Pew Center.

The report was formally released at an event in the US Senate Foreign Relations hearing room, hosted by Senator Richard G. Lugar (R-Indiana) and Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-Delaware), the committee's Chairman and Ranking Minority Member.

At the event, Senators Lugar and Biden announced the introduction of a joint Sense of the Senate resolution, S. Res. 312, calling for the United States to participate in negotiations under the Framework Convention on Climate Change to establish mitigation commitments by all major GHG-emitting countries.

  • Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.'s press release on S. Res. 312 (pdf).

Climate Dialogue at Pocantico: Supporting Statements  (all pdf format)

Background on The Climate Dialogue at Pocantico

Eileen Claussen Statement on Lugar-Biden Climate Change Resolution (S. Res 312)

Statement of Eileen Claussen, President
Pew Center on Global Climate Change

November 15, 2005

The Pew Center enthusiastically welcomes the climate change resolution introduced by Senator Lugar and Senator Biden calling for the United States to participate in negotiations under the Framework Convention on Climate Change to establish mitigation commitments by all major greenhouse gas-emitting countries.

The timing of such a clear message from the leadership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is especially important coming on the eve of the Montreal climate negotiations, where governments will decide on launching a process to consider next steps in the international effort. Parties to the Kyoto Protocol are obligated to begin considering post-2012 commitments for those developed countries with commitments under the Protocol. It is critical that a parallel process be launched under the Framework Convention, which includes the United States, to consider a broader range of possibilities that can engage all major economies. We urge the Administration to support such a process as a step toward a more inclusive and effective international climate effort.

The current U.S. policy on climate change, both domestically and internationally, is wholly inadequate. The Lugar-Biden resolution is an important complement to the Bingaman resolution passed earlier this year by the Senate calling for mandatory market-based limits on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. It is critical that as we move forward to establish a meaningful domestic effort, we also work with other nations to strengthen the international framework and ensure that all other major emitting countries also contribute their fair share to this global effort.

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