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Press Release: New Reports Highlight Opportunities to Curb Growth of Transport Sector Emissions in Developing Countries

For Immediate Release:  
July 20, 2001

Contact: Katie Mandes, 703-516-4146
   Dale Curtis, 202-777-3530

New Reports Highlight Opportunities to Curb Growth of Transport Sector Emissions in Developing Countries

Delhi, Shanghai studies identify low-cost policies that also improve traffic and air quality

(BONN, Germany) - Greenhouse gas emissions from cars and other vehicles are likely to soar in Delhi and Shanghai over the next two decades, but could be substantially curtailed through public and private sector initiatives that would also ease traffic congestion and cut air pollution, according to two new reports released today by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

The reports' authors found that transport-related greenhouse gas emissions could rise as much as fourfold in Delhi, and sevenfold in Shanghai, by 2020. Policies that promote cleaner technologies, public transit and other transportation alternatives could cut the projected emission increases by as much as half, the authors concluded.

"One of the greatest challenges we face in addressing climate change is helping developing countries forge cleaner, more sustainable paths to development," said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center, an independent U.S.-based organization. "These reports identify ways that fast-growing cities like Delhi and Shanghai can meet the demand for high-quality transportation while easing congestion, improving air quality, and protecting the global climate."

The team of experts that produced the Delhi report was led by Ranjan Bose of the Tata Energy Research Institute in New Delhi, and Daniel Sperling of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California at Davis. The Shanghai team was led by Hongchang Zhou of Tongji University in Shanghai and Daniel Sperling.

The Delhi and Shanghai reports are the first in a series of five examining transport-related greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries. Case studies of Chile and South Africa, and an overview report, will be released later this year. Earlier Pew Center reports examined the electric power sectors in Argentina, Brazil, China, India and the Republic of Korea.

Delhi: Challenges and Opportunities

Delhi's high scooter and motorcycle ownership rates show that demand for personal mobility can be achieved even at low income levels. Per capita and aggregate greenhouse gas emissions are relatively low, but are poised to increase dramatically. The projected increase in two-wheeled vehicles and cars threatens to bring rising respiratory illness, more chronic traffic jams, further disenfranchisement of the poor, and greater obstacles to economic development.

Under the report's "business-as-usual" scenario, transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions could increase fourfold between 2000 and 2020. An aggressive effort to encourage environmentally friendly forms of travel could reduce the projected increase to a doubling. Low-cost, incremental policy options include:

  • Building and maintaining more sidewalks, and bicycle and bus lanes;
  • Replacing inefficient, highly polluting engines in scooters and motorcycles;
  • Improving fuel efficiency of cars; and
  • Improving public transit and expanding charter bus services.

T he authors also discuss more fundamental changes that could have deeper, longer-term impacts, including integrated land-use planning and faster introduction of advanced vehicle and information technologies.

Shanghai: Building on Past Success

Shanghai's transportation sector currently generates extremely low levels of greenhouse gas emissions for a city of its size and affluence. But emissions are expected to soar four- to sevenfold due to the city's efforts to reduce its very high population density and the anticipated increase in automobiles following China's accession to the World Trade Organization. City planners project a quadrupling of the number of cars and trucks in operation by 2020.

Shanghai has already established a highly competent transportation system and large investments are being made in new infrastructure and the coordination of transportation modes. The city is investing in rail and bus transit and "intelligent" transportation technologies. To the extent Shanghai can restrain motorization and emissions, it may serve as a model for other cities in the developing world.
Low-emission policies include:

  • Specialized infrastructure for smaller vehicles and bicycles;
  • Promotion of small cars and clean, efficient motorcycles and scooters;
  • More and better express bus service;
  • Greater use of information and communication technologies; and
  • Cleaner engine technologies in conventional vehicles.

T he full text of both reports is accessible on the Internet at The site also offers information on the science and economics of climate change, potential solutions, and the activities of the Pew Center and its Business Environmental Leadership Council.



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.

Transportation in Developing Countries: Greenhouse Gas Scenarios for Shanghai, China

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Transportation in Developing Countries: Greenhouse Gas Scenarios for Shanghai, China

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
July 2001

Hongchang Zhou, Tongji University, Shanghai
Daniel Sperling, Mark Delucchi, and Deborah Salon, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis

Press Release

Download Entire Report (pdf)


Eileen Claussen, President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

The transportation sector is a leading source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide, and one of the most difficult to control. In developing countries, where vehicle ownership rates are considerably below the OECD average, transport sector emissions are poised to soar as income levels rise. This is especially true for China, whose imminent accession to the World Trade Organization will contribute to economic growth and could make consumer credit widely available for the first time. These factors are likely to accelerate automobile purchases, and GHG emissions.

Shanghai is one of China's most dynamic cities. Extremely densely populated, with very low personal vehicle ownership rates for its income level, Shanghai is also home to a nascent Chinese automotive industry. Transportation plans and policies there are designed to achieve broader urban objectives of population decentralization, with an eye to controlling increases in traffic congestion and improving environmental quality. Because Shanghai's transportation system and planning process are so sophisticated, Shanghai may be a 'best case' for controlling transportation sector GHG emissions in the absence of climate change mitigation goals.

This report creates two scenarios of GHG emissions from Shanghais transportation sector in 2020. It finds:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions quadruple in the low-GHG scenario; they increase sevenfold in the high scenario. On a passenger-kilometer basis, the estimated increase ranges from 10 to 100 percent.
  • Providing an array of high-quality options to travelers can help meet the demand for transportation services while keeping traffic congestion in check and meeting other urban objectives.
  • Special lanes and other infrastructure to accommodate vehicles such as buses, minicars, and bicycles can save money and improve traffic circulation.
  • Using clean technology and fuels in motorized vehicles lowers the environmental impact of various transportation modes.
  • Perfecting the use of 'intelligent' traffic control systems through improved coordination will yield higher returns on capital investments.

Transportation in Developing Countries: Greenhouse Gas Scenarios for Shanghai, China is the second report in a series examining transportation sector GHG emissions in developing countries. The report's findings are based on a Lifecycle Energy Use and Emissions Model developed by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California at Davis, which estimates GHG emissions from the transportation sector.

The Pew Center would like to thank Kebin He of Tsinghua University, Feng An of Argonne National Laboratory, Ralph Gakenheimer of MIT, and Michael Walsh, an independent transportation consultant, for their review of earlier drafts. 

Executive Summary

Shanghai is experiencing rapid economic growth. Affluence is motivating dramatic and far-ranging changes in urban structure, transportation, and energy use. This report examines two transportation trajectories that Shanghai might follow and how they would affect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Shanghai’s metropolitan population of over 13 million people continues to grow relatively slowly, but its economy is growing rapidly. The average annual per capita income is $4,000, three times higher than the rest of China, and the Shanghai economy is expected to grow at more than 7 percent per year through 2020.

Massive new transport system investments planned for the next two decades are aimed at lowering Shanghai’s extremely high population density, supporting economic growth, and enhancing the quality of life. The list of new investments is impressive: expansion of the new airport, construction of a deep-water harbor, three new bridges and tunnel river crossings, completion of a 200-kilometer modern rapid transit rail system, expansion of suburban highways, and construction of 2,000 kilometers of new and upgraded urban roads. These investments will improve the city's transportation system, but are costly and threaten greater energy use and air pollution.

A central issue in Shanghai’s development is the role of personal vehicles, especially cars. The city currently devotes little land to roads and has only 650,000 cars and trucks — very few of which are privately owned — placing vehicle ownership levels well below virtually all cities of similar income. Even with this small number of vehicles, Shanghai already suffers from serious transport-induced air pollution and traffic congestion.

Shanghai city planners project a quadrupling of cars and trucks in the city by 2020. This projected increase is premised principally on two factors. First is rapid income growth, which will make car ownership possible for a much larger segment of the population. And second is vehicle prices, which are likely to plummet due to China’s imminent accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Lower prices will result from increased competition, compulsory reductions in vehicle tariffs, and easier access to consumer credit.

These projected increases in vehicle use are not certain.  Even apart from the WTO membership, vehicle ownership and use--and GHG emissions--will be strongly influenced by three interrelated policy debates: industrial policy toward the automotive industry, air quality policy, and transportation and urban growth policy.

The city's decision about vehicle use will be critical in shaping Taiwan's future.
This report addresses the forces about to transform the transportation system of Shanghai, and examines policies and strategies that that direct it toward greater economic, social and environmental sustainability.

The two transportation scenarios draw upon extensive interviews with decision-makers and experts in Shanghai and Beijing.  One scenario is premised on rapid motorization, the other on dramatic interventions to restrain car use and energy consumption, resulting in lower GHG emissions.  Neither is the "business-as-usual" scenario, since this characterization is meaningless in a time of massive investments and policy shifts.  Instead, these scenarios are meant to estimate likely upper and lower bounds of greenhouse gas emissions from Shanghai transport in 2020, taking as given the projected strong economic growth.  If the economy grows more slowly, emissions will likely be lower than the scenarios indicate.

The rapid motorization scenario is based on the projected quadrupling of cars by 2020, coupled with a substantial increase in population.  It results in a seven-fold increase in GHG emissions.  The restrained scenario results in a four fold increase in GHG emissions.  In this restrained scenario, almost all emissions growth is due to increase in travel, not increases in energy intensity or GHG intensity of the travel.  Emissions per passenger-kilometer increase only about 10 percent the restrained scenario compared to a doubling in the rapid motorization scenario.

Caution is urged in generalizing the findings of this report to other cities in developing nations.  Shanghai is not a typical Asian city, given its surging economy and its world-class planning capabilities.  However, the conditions for alternative transportation options are more propitious here than perhaps any other megacity in the world.  If the city is effective at restraining growth in vehicle use (and GHG emissions), Shanghai may serve as a model for other cities in the developing world. 

Daniel Sperling
Deborah Salon
Hongchang Zhou
Mark Delucchi

Making Collaboration a Matter of Course: A New Approach to Environmental Policy Making

Making Collaboration a Matter of Course: A New Approach to Environmental Policy Making

Speech by Eileen Claussen, President
Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Society of Environmental Professionals Meeting
Washington, DC

June 25, 2001

Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be here with a group of environmental professionals from around the country. And I must say I am glad you have all gathered here in Washington. Judging from what's been going on over the last several months—and, indeed, over the last several years—this town could certainly use a few more environmental professionals.

Allow me to begin my remarks with a little bit of equal-opportunity criticism of the two political parties' approaches to these issues. In the White House, it seems we have an administration that believes environmental policy-making consists entirely of deciding which of the environmental policies of the previous administration to keep in place, and which to unceremoniously send away to the local landfill. And, among the Democrats on Capitol Hill, the idea seems to be to charge an enormously high political "tipping fee" for the dumping of established policies, regardless of their merit.
I suppose you could sum up the Bush administration's approach to environmental policy by using the EPA's three R's for managing solid waste: reduce, reuse and recycle. As in, reduce environmental regulation while reusing and recycling proposals from the past. The Democrats, meanwhile, have their own three-R strategy for dealing with the environment and other issues: recruit recalcitrant Republicans.
Seriously, all of you are to be commended for your commitment to the environment and for advocating on behalf of sound and responsible environmental policies. In my remarks today, I would like to talk a little bit about how sound and responsible policies can and should be crafted in a world that is very different from the one that greeted the heyday of U.S. environmental policy making in the 1970s. And I want to tell you a little bit about how two organizations I am affiliated with—the Pew Oceans Commission and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change—are trying to adopt a new, cross-sector approach to getting things done.
But first a little history. My own career as an environmental professional began in the 1970s, when I joined the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency. I worked at EPA for more than 20 years and dealt with issues from hazardous waste and energy efficiency to acid rain and the depletion of the ozone layer. And let me assure you that this was a real education for someone whose academic degrees are in English literature.
From EPA I moved onto the National Security Council and then the Department of State, where I was responsible for developing and implementing policy on such international issues as climate change, chemicals, fisheries and wildlife conservation, and more. I left the Clinton Administration in mid-1997, created the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in 1998 and, in 2000, helped launch the Pew Oceans Commission.
The reason I offer you this quick resume is not because I am looking for a job, although I can provide references if you would like. Rather, I simply want to make the point that I have been in the environmental policy arena very literally since the first Earth Day. And, in that time, I have had the opportunity to gain an up-close-and-personal view of the U.S. government's role in these issues. It all began when federal policy makers carved out a very assertive and, in many respects, unilateralist role for Washington in the protection of our natural environment.
This role was spelled out very clearly in the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. This is the law in which Congress boldly declared its intent to "create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony," and to "assure for all Americans safe, healthful, productive, esthetically and culturally pleasing surroundings." (Sort of the chicken in every pot approach to environmental policy.)
During the 1970s, our national policymakers took this vision of strong government action on the environment and made it real. NEPA and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency were just the start of it. There was the Clean Air Act of 1970, the Clean Water Act of 1972, the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, and much more.
Former New York Times reporter Philip Shabecoff, in his recent book about American environmentalism, Earth Rising, had this to say about environmental policy making in the 1970s:

"In its totality, the explosion of congressional activism that produced these landmark environmental statutes must be considered one of the great legislative achievements in the nation's history."

And, as we all know, it was an explosion of activism that produced very real results—two-thirds of the nation's waters now safe for fishing and swimming, up from one-third in 1970; dramatic improvements in air quality due to reductions in carbon monoxide, lead, ozone, particulates and other pollutants.
In spite of these successes, however, government began to see its role a little differently as the years went by. Rather than requiring the best available control technologies and adopting a prescriptive approach to environmental protection, we began to see a still-strong government experimenting with the notion of setting objectives and then allowing industry and the market to figure out how best to meet them.
A perfect example of this performance-based approach was the Acid Rain Program created under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. These provisions require significant reductions in emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from electric utilities, but the law set out to accomplish this objective in a new way.
Rather than saying here's what the utilities have to do, the implementing regulations established a cap on national emissions while allocating pollution allowances to individual sources for trading. The results are now well known: in the first year of compliance in 1995, U.S. SO2 emissions dropped by a very impressive 3 million tons. And there have been even greater improvements in the years since, along with sharp declines in acid deposition. Perhaps most importantly, the costs of the new requirements have been far lower than anticipated. The acid rain cost projections were estimated at over $900 per ton. They are now selling for less than $150.
A flexible, market-based approach to reducing emissions was not the only innovation we tried under the Acid Rain Program. To successfully implement the program, EPA followed the guidelines of the Federal Advisory Committee Act and established an Acid Rain Advisory Committee. This group included 44 individuals representing a wide range of organizations and interests, from large and small utilities to environmental organizations and state air agencies.
Bear in mind that this was not a window-dressing committee. It actually did a lot of good, hard work. Over a six-month period, this group (and I chaired it) became actively involved in formulating solutions to problems and offering critiques of various regulatory options. Not only did this ensure that potential problems were identified early on, but it also helped smooth the way for implementation of the new rules. The reason: there was a cadre of individuals who already were very familiar with the program and the thinking behind it, and who were committed to making it work.
So over the years our government has moved from prescribing what industry should do, to establishing performance standards for industry to meet, to beginning to involve stakeholders directly in the formulation of new policies and regulations. When you dig beneath the surface, however, the success of the Acid Rain Advisory Committee is the exception to the rule. All too often, our government's outreach to industry and other sectors is doomed from the start because these partnerships and collaborations often lack a clear sense of mission and goals. They also often lack a clear definition of roles and responsibilities. Adding to the problem, government entities are notoriously reluctant to relinquish control of the policy process to others. And this, I believe, must change.
My point is that environmental threats such as rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions, the deteriorating health of our oceans, and the wasteful destruction of natural resources will pose serious and mounting problems for both the United States and the world in the decades ahead. And we will not be able to deal effectively with these problems without a better system of environmental governance—governance that includes an active and appropriate role not just for government but for business, nongovernmental organizations, scientists, citizens and others.
The world is very different today than it was in the 1970s—this despite the recent return of such 70s icons as Charlie's Angels, Fleetwood Mac, bell-bottoms and the entire administration of President Gerald R. Ford. It is even a different world today than it was in the early 1990s, at least with respect to the power and capacity of government to unilaterally shape the nation's environmental policies.
So what has changed? The answer is a number of things, starting with the government itself. Between 1968 and 2000, the United States had a divided government for all but six years—and, as of last month, it was divided yet again. While in the 1970s you saw a unique consensus emerge among Republicans and Democrats alike around the importance of strong action on the environment, today the issue is much more partisan in nature—and the result is a lack of sustained leadership. Like many other issues in today's highly competitive political arena, the environment is used far too often as a way to score political points—and not often enough as a way to bring Americans together behind an agenda for action.
At the same time that environmental issues have become more polarized and politicized, we also have seen a devolution of authority away from the federal government and towards the states and localities. This happened in part because the environmental laws enacted in the 1970s were designed to build capacity at the state level. And the fact is, they did precisely that. Devolution has not necessarily meant less environmental protection. But it has meant that the states are increasingly interested in adapting national objectives to individual state circumstances. And the result is a patchwork of policies, some of them stronger than others and all of them serving as a collective reminder that Washington is no longer the policy making force it once was on the environment.
Among the other factors that have contributed to Washington's declining capacity to make and enforce strong environmental policy are budgetary pressures that are sure to persist in the wake of the tax cut approved by Congress in May. And then there is the state of environmental science. Recent years have seen the emergence of a sizeable body of scientific consensus supporting the need for action to address most of the environmental problems we face. Nevertheless, as time has gone on, our ability to understand the uncertainties in the science has also improved.
And this has meant a tendency in the political arena to focus on uncertainties rather than certainties—making it difficult for policy makers to take strong or effective action on these issues. The unfortunate result is that science—which is the necessary underpinning for action—too often is employed in the cause of those who wish to take no action at all.
At the same time that we have seen our government become weaker and more inclined to inaction on the environment, we have seen nongovernmental organizations become ever-stronger. The 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, to cite one example, was largely the product of NGOs throughout the world coming together around a common concern and persuading world governments to take action. In the environmental arena, we have seen nongovernmental organizations enter the mainstream of society. Twenty or thirty years ago, these groups essentially operated on the fringe of politics and governance, advocating for sound environmental laws and suing the government to make sure that the laws were implemented. Today, however, these groups have developed into sophisticated and, dare I say it, "corporate" organizations that act not only as advocates but as lawyers, communicators, educators, and policy analysts.
These changes in the not-for-profit sector have been accompanied—perhaps not coincidentally—by a growing sensitivity to environmental concerns in the private sector. Many businesses in the United States and throughout the world no longer view environmental concerns as a threat to their very existence. Rather, progressive business leaders (and not all business leaders are progressive) accept that something must be done to address these concerns, and they understand that the smartest approach for industry is to help shape solutions instead of having solutions imposed by others.
Both independently and in response to pressure from government, NGOs and the communities where they operate, many companies have now embedded social and environmental ethics into their management structures. This makes the blatant disregard of the environment far more difficult, and it opens the door to a more constructive role for the private sector in identifying and solving environmental problems.
So there you have it. Our government is weaker, NGOs are stronger, and industry is more attuned to the environmental consequences of its actions. Looking at these trends, and coupling them with the ease of modern communications and the growth of the internet, you start to see the outlines of a new approach to environmental policy making.
Some have argued for greater self—policing by the private sector-based on the belief that it is in industry's best interests to deal aggressively and responsibly with these issues. But I am talking about something different. I am talking about a governance model that requires a heightened level of interaction and cooperation among government, NGOs, industry and others—an approach that draws on everybody's strengths, interests and expertise to forge solutions that everybody can support.
Can this approach work to achieve progress on other issues from cleaning up our air and water to reducing the risks of climate change and protecting the health of the oceans? My answer is yes. At the Pew Oceans Commission, we have sought to assemble government, fishing industry and NGO representatives—together with scientists, economists and others—to recommend a series of policy measures designed to restore and sustain the health of the marine environment. This is a bipartisan, multi-sector group that includes members from all of the coastal regions of the nation, as well as federal, state and local governmental perspectives.
And we are not stopping there in our efforts to reflect a truly national, cross-sector consensus on these issues. In a continuing set of workshops and other convenings throughout the country, we are inviting the public to share its concerns about ocean issues. And we are hearing from local commercial fishers, business people from tourism and agriculture, and regional officials and scientists about ways to improve ocean management and conservation.
The result of all this will be a set of policy recommendations that we will present to Congress in 2002. Our intention is for these recommendations to be substantive, bold and visionary rather than a watered-down list appealing to the lowest common denominator. And we believe that by working through these issues together, with all of the stakeholders at the table, we will make a real and substantive contribution while raising the profile of ocean issues among the American public.
At the same time that the Pew Oceans Commission is applying a new governance model to the making of ocean policy, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change is reaching out in different and more targeted ways. We now have 33 major companies that are part of the Pew Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council. This is a group of industry leaders who have come together based on the belief that we know enough about the science of climate change to begin taking concrete steps now to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. And that is precisely what these companies are doing — they are reducing their emissions, some very substantially, and they are playing a constructive role in the domestic and international policy debates on this issue.
In addition to working with our Business Environmental Leadership Council, the Pew Center is collaborating with top scientists and other experts to produce authoritative analyses of the environmental impacts of climate change, as well as the economics and the public policy issues involved. And, we are working with government representatives and other NGOs, both here in the United States and throughout the world, in an effort both to move the dialogue on this issue forward and to forge innovative policy solutions.
The more I work at both of these efforts—the Pew Oceans Commission and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change—the more I am convinced that very little can be accomplished today in the environmental policy arena without the active participation and support of businesses, NGOs, scientists and others. And one of the principal reasons for this is the sheer size and complexity of the environmental agenda today.
Think about it. Included among the issues that demand the attention of government, industry, NGOs and others is a wide range of topics that touch on virtually every aspect of our relationship with the natural environment. On a global scale, we're seeing problems and potential crises involving the atmosphere, oceans and biodiversity. And, at the national and regional levels, the issues include everything from air and water pollution to water and land use issues, toxics, the destruction of forests, and more.

To see how the prevailing model of environmental governance is not delivering the results we need, one has only to take a cursory look at where things stand today on the two issues that are currently the focus of my work.
First there is the issue of climate change. Most of the world's best scientists now agree that the global climate is changing in important and alarming ways, and that these changes have serious consequences for the environment and human life. But we have yet to show that sustainable international and national regimes for mitigating climate change can get off the ground.
With respect to the actions of the current Administration, allow me to state very clearly that it does no good to flat-out reject one approach to this issue—and, equally important, an approach that reflects years of hard work and consensus building among the world's governments—before considering what a better approach might be. That said, our inability to develop a responsible and thoughtful national policy on the issue of climate change is a problem that dates to well before the current President. While the Clinton administration agreed to a tough emissions reduction target in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, it never put forward anything approaching the kind of domestic strategy that would be required to meet it.
And then there are the oceans. Overfished and polluted, our seas are in trouble. Approximately 70 percent of commercially important fish stocks are fully or over-exploited. And every year, 27 million tons of fish, marine mammals and birds are caught unintentionally and thrown back dead or dying into the sea. We have several pieces of national legislation addressing these issues, and a handful of institutions and treaties are in place at both the regional and global levels. But none of these efforts has yet been able to respond effectively to the problems of unsustainable fishing practices, pollution, and other threats to ocean ecosystems and marine life.
So the bottom line is this: what we have done until now is not working to address the environmental problems of today. Despite high-profile events such as the 1992 Earth Summit, and despite such groundbreaking achievements as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and the Montreal Protocol, our environment is still very much at risk. And what needs to happen now is for all of us to come together—governments, businesses, NGOs and others—and to form new collaborations, new models of environmental governance.
What are the ingredients that will make these collaborations successful? Let me list a few. First, we need a vision of where we are going and where we must go. Second, all the major stakeholders have to believe that the problem is real and needs to be addressed. Third, those who do good voluntarily shouldn't be penalized if doing good becomes mandatory down the line. Fourth, all the players have to be willing to take risks. Fifth, business has to put what it knows on the table, since the private sector generally has the most useful information. And, last but not least, NGOs have to buck the heat and say that compromise is acceptable.
In closing, I would like to tell you all a joke I recently heard. A Little League baseball game is under way, and one of the coaches pulls one of his young players aside to ask a question.
"Do you understand what cooperation is? What a team is?" the coach asks.
The little girl nods in the affirmative.
The coach then asks another question: "Do you understand that what matters is whether we win together as a team?"
The little girl nods yes.
"Do you understand," the coach continues, "that when a strike is called, or you're out at first, you don't argue or curse or attack the umpire. Do you understand all that?"
Again the little girls nods yes.
"Good," says the coach. "Now go over there and explain it to your mother."
Just like that little girl and her mother, all of us in the environmental arena need to understand anew what cooperation means and what it means to work together as a team. There is no other way, I believe, to achieve true progress in meeting the many environmental challenges we face today.
Thank you very much.

Op-Ed: Moving Forward at Home and Abroad

Climate Change: Moving Forward at Home and Abroad

Eileen Claussen
Joint Center Policy Matters

June 2001

There has been much argument in the United States over whether the Kyoto Protocol is an appropriate first step in the effort to find a global solution to the challenge of climate change. But the question of Americas rightful role in the fight against global warming extends far beyond the diplomatic realm. The real hurdles are on the domestic front, for truly addressing climate change will require serious and sustained effort across virtually every sector of the U.S. economy. Ultimately, what the United States can deliver internationally hinges on what it can and is prepared to do at home. For the United States—and hence, the world—to effectively combat climate change, it is critical that our domestic and diplomatic strategies proceed in tandem.

So far, unfortunately, they have not. While the Clinton administration agreed to a tough emissions reduction target in Kyoto, it never put forward anything approaching the kind of domestic strategy that would be required to meet it. In fact, while we have had some discussion in the United States on what other countries should do, we have not had a serious debate about what we ourselves are willing to do. What we need is a national dialogue, with serious arguments about costs, benefits, and fairness. Only if we achieve something approaching a national view, broadly supported by the American people, our legislative representatives and our President, can we successfully address this issue.

In assessing how the United States could or should proceed domestically and, in turn, internationally, it is important to recognize certain defining characteristics of the climate challenge, and what they imply for the effort required to meet it. First, climate change is truly a global challenge: Averting the worst consequences of global warming ultimately requires action by all major emitting nations. Second, it is a long-term challenge. Reducing emissions to the levels necessary to prevent serious climate disruption will take many decades because it essentially requires a new industrial revolution—one enabling the broad introduction of low-carbon technologies to power a growing global economy.

Much as some would like to believe otherwise, it will be extraordinary difficult if not impossible to muster the kind of global, sustained effort that is needed without the force of legally binding commitments. There is little incentive for any country—or any company—to undertake real action unless, ultimately, all do, and are in some manner held accountable. Markets, of course, will be instrumental in mobilizing the necessary resources and know-how; market-based strategies such as emissions trading also can help deliver emissions reductions at the lowest possible cost. But markets can move us in the right direction only if they are given the right signals. In the United States, those signals have been neither fully given nor fully accepted.

So what would constitute an effective domestic program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? To date, efforts to reduce U.S. emissions have been limited almost exclusively to voluntary activities at the federal, state, local and corporate level. Spurred on by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to which the United States is a party, a number of these efforts have resulted in significant emission reductions. Some companies, for example, have cut emissions 10 percent or more from 1990 levels. And while technology has enabled the energy intensity of products and processes to decrease over the last 50 years, the increased efficiency has been outpaced by increased demand driven by economic expansion, population growth, and changing consumer preferences. In the aggregate, voluntary efforts have not ended overall growth in U.S. emissions. Indeed, U.S. emissions grew approximately 12 percent over the past decade. The lesson here is clear: voluntary programs can make a contribution but will not, on their own, be enough.

What would? To effectively address climate change, we need to lower carbon intensity, become more energy efficient, promote carbon sequestration, and find ways to limit emissions of non-CO2 gases. This will require fundamentally new technologies, as well as dramatic improvements in existing ones. New, less carbon-intensive ways of producing, distributing and using energy will be essential. The redesign of industrial processes, consumer products and agricultural technologies and practices will also be critical. These changes can be introduced over decades as we turn over our existing capital stocks and establish new infrastructure. But we must begin making investments, building institutions, and implementing policies now.

Three decades of experience fighting pollution in the United States have taught us a great deal about what works best. In general, the most cost-effective approaches allow emitters flexibility to decide how best to meet a given, binding emissions limit; provide early direction so targets can be anticipated and factored into major capital and investment decisions; and employ market mechanisms, such as emissions trading, to achieve reductions where they cost least. To ease the transition from established ways of doing business, targets should be realistic and achievable. What is important is that they be strong enough to spur real action and to encourage investment in development of the technology and infrastructure needed to achieve the long-term objective.

A good first step is to get our house in order by immediately requiring accurate measurement, tracking and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions. Current efforts lack rigorous reporting standards and verification requirements. Public disclosure of the reported data, similar to what is required for certain pollutants under the federal Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) program, would encourage companies to hunt for ways to reduce their greenhouse emissions.

There are other ways we can and should spur companies to act ahead of any mandatory requirements. One is for the government to enter into voluntary enforceable agreements with companies or sectors willing to commit to significant reductions—either in process emissions, or those from the use of products they make (e.g. automobiles or washing machines). In exchange for its commitment to cut emissions, a company or sector should be guaranteed that it would not be bound by subsequent mandates for greenhouse gas controls over the same time period. A similar approach could encourage companies, particularly in the electric utility sector, to cut carbon emissions as they undertake air pollution reductions required by existing law––a more cost-effective way to achieve multiple environmental objectives.

While such efforts can help get the United States on track, the long-term emission reductions needed can be achieved only with a far more comprehensive—and binding—strategy. Alternative approaches should be closely studied, and the results publicly debated. But much of the analysis thus far suggests that a “cap-and-trade” system—which sets an overall cap on emissions and establishes a market in carbon credits—can provide the private sector the flexibility and incentive to achieve emission reductions at the least possible cost. As yet, no economic model can accurately account for factors such as the rate of technological change that are key to assessing the long-term costs and benefits of a serious climate strategy. However, the best analyses to date suggest that the costs are reasonable, particularly when weighed against the serious and significant costs of not acting.

Ideally, a domestic climate strategy, particularly one employing emissions trading, would be coordinated with those of other countries under the aegis of a binding global framework. And this brings us back to the question of a constructive, credible U.S. position in the international negotiations set to resume in July in Bonn.

In broad terms, an international climate agreement must meet three fundamental criteria if it is to be effective: It must be environmentally sound; it must be cost-effective; and it must be fair. To be environmentally sound, an agreement must ensure that emissions actually are reduced over time to levels that achieve safe, stable atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. This, again, will require economically achievable binding targets. And any agreement should include a strong compliance mechanism to ensure that the targets are met.

To be cost-effective, an agreement must allow nations to meet their targets flexibly and at the least possible cost. International emissions trading and other market-based mechanisms can help direct capital toward least-cost reductions. Other flexible approaches—such as allowing credit for sequestration of carbon in trees and soils, and measuring all greenhouse gases, not just carbon dioxide—also can help achieve reductions where they are most cost-effective. While the Kyoto Protocol includes all these provisions, there is still no agreement on the rules for implementing them. Bad rules—for instance, an arbitrary cap on the portion of a nation’s target that could be met through emissions trading—could drive up cost, with no environmental benefit.

Fairness could prove the trickiest of the three criteria. An international agreement will not work unless, in time, it entails binding commitments by all major emitting countries. The Framework Convention, signed by Bush the elder and ratified by the U.S. Senate, rightly commits developed countries to taking the lead. And as a practical matter, developing countries will not (and as a matter of principle, they should not be asked to) make binding commitments until the developed countries demonstrate real progress in reducing their own emissions. Ultimately, the parties must decide when—and in what manner—developing countries will be required to act. But for the moment, the best that can be hoped for is some formal acknowledgement by all parties that those issues will be squarely faced by a date certain.

We stand at a critical juncture, and whether nations can agree on a common path forward depends heavily on decisions now being weighed at the White House. The United States bears a special responsibility here, because we account for roughly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions and also because our economy is the largest and most vibrant in the world. If the United State wishes to be a leader in this global effort—rather than sit on the sidelines as other nations push ahead with the Kyoto Protocol—it must come forward with a credible proposal that provides a basis for further negotiation. To be credible, though, the United States must demonstrate that it is prepared to back up commitments abroad with real action at home. This requires a comprehensive climate policy that moves us forward, in a coordinated fashion, on both the domestic and the international fronts. We must close the gap between what we promise and what we can deliver.

— by Eileen Claussen

Op-Ed: Global Warming Creates Rift Over North-South Waters

Global Warming Creates Rift Over North-South Waters

Elliot Diringer; Malik Amin Aslam
Elliot Diringer is director of international strategies at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
Malik Amin Aslam is executive director of ENVORK, a research organization based in Islamabad, Pakistan

Los Angeles Times - Home Edition

July 13, 2001

The diplomatic uproar over U.S. rejection of the Kyoto Protocol has played largely as a drama between Europe and the United States. Yet there's a deeper worry: deteriorating prospects for ever enlisting the rest of the world, in particular developing nations, in the fight against global warming.

President Bush contends that any climate agreement binding the U.S. but not developing countries like China and India is unfair.

It is true that annual greenhouse gas emissions from developing nations will soon rival those of the industrialized nations. But the president's notion of fairness obscures physical and geopolitical realities that are far more complex.

First, global warming is not the product of gases put in the atmosphere today, yesterday or even last year. It results from the buildup of carbon dioxide and other gases over a century or more. A fair approach starts with an honest accounting of who is responsible for these emissions; that is, who has benefited most from the soaring energy use and industrial output that produced them. The answer is no surprise. Experts calculate that nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere over the past century as a result of human activity originated in industrialized countries, nearly a third in the U.S. alone.

This legacy was understood a decade ago when nations set out to negotiate a global climate agreement. That is why the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change signed by President Bush's father at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro commits developed countries to "take the lead in combating climate change." They have yet to deliver on that. Until they do, developing countries will not take on binding commitments of their own.

That is not to say that developing countries are not acutely aware of the risks posed by climate change. Indeed, they face a far graver risk of flooding, drought, disease and crop failure and the forced migrations that could follow. For some, particularly small island countries, survival itself may be at stake. And these nations cannot easily divert scarce resources to build sea walls or otherwise "adapt" to a warming climate.

Still, although not prepared to commit to binding limits, many developing countries are taking steps to reduce or avoid emissions, including market reforms, the phase-out of fossil-fuel subsidies and dramatic improvements in energy efficiency. Although these changes are more often motivated by concerns other than climate change, they have the effect of slowing the growth of emissions.

Take China. Through the 1990s, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, China's emissions grew just 8.4%--a rate one-third lower than that of the United Sstates. From 1997 to 1999, China's emissions dropped a remarkable 17%. The latest U.S. data, meanwhile, suggest a surge in emissions despite a slowing economy. It is no longer so clear that China will surpass the U.S. as the world's largest emitter any time soon.

Steps to further curb greenhouse emissions can pay multiple dividends for developing countries. They can help combat smog and other local environmental threats, for instance, while encouraging sustainable development. There are benefits for industrial countries as well. Big profits can be made promoting clean technology to help developing countries meet their energy needs.

This commonality of interest is no guarantee that developing countries will move quickly or aggressively, just as compelling science and moral obligation are no guarantee that industrialized countries will do as they should. Sovereign nations will take real, sustained action only when bound by legal commitments. And no international climate agreement can be truly effective unless, in time, commitments extend to major developing nations as well.

But President Bush's strategy--rejecting the Kyoto Protocol, committing to no concrete measures to reduce U.S. emissions and equating the near-term responsibilities of the world's wealthiest and poorest nations--only delays the day when developing countries are ready to even contemplate binding emissions limits. Through his actions and words, the president is deepening the rift between developed and developing nations, a rift that will be far more difficult to bridge than the one between Europe and the U.S.

Copyright © 2000 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Friday, July 13, 2001— by Elliot Diringer and Malik Amin Aslam

Transportation in Developing Countries: Greenhouse Gas Scenarios for Delhi, India

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Transportation in Developing Countries: Greenhouse Gas Scenarios for Delhi, India

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
May 2001

Ranjan Bose and K.S. Nesamani, Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI)
Geetam Tiwari, Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi
Daniel Sperling, Mark Delucchi, and Lorien Redmond, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis
Lee Schipper, International Energy Agency

Press Release

Download Entire Report (pdf)


Eileen Claussen, President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries are increasing most rapidly in the transportation sector. Even people with low incomes are meeting their need for mobility, and projected income growth over the next two decades suggests that many more will acquire personal modes of transportation. How this will affect the earth's climate is a great concern.

In Delhi, India, transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions are expected to soar. There are policy and technology choices that could significantly lower the emissions growth rate while increasing mobility, improving air quality, reducing traffic congestion, and lowering transport and energy costs. To realize these benefits, vision, leadership, and political will must be brought to bear. Delhi has high vehicle ownership rates for the city's income level, increasing congestion, poor air quality, poor safety conditions, and insufficient coordination among the responsible government institutions. Travelers in Delhi desire transportation services, reflected by the increasing numbers of inexpensive but highly polluting scooters and motorcycles.

This report creates two scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions from Delhi's transportation sector in 2020. It finds:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions quadruple in the high-GHG, or business-as-usual, scenario; but only double in the low scenario.
  • Transportation policies are readily available that will not only slow emissions growth, but also significantly improve local environmental, economic, and social conditions.
  • Improved technology would maximize the efficiency of automobiles, buses, and other modes of transportation and could play a key role in reducing emission increases.
  • Keeping many travel mode options available - including minicars and new efficient scooters and motorcycles - will help individuals at various income levels meet their mobility needs.
  • The time to act is now. The issues facing Delhi represent opportunities for improvement, but the longer authorities wait to address transportation inefficiencies, the more difficult and expensive it will be to produce a positive outcome.

Transportation in Developing Countries: Greenhouse Gas Scenarios for Delhi, India is the first report in a five-part series examining transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries. The report findings are based on (1) a regression model developed by TERI to forecast future increases in vehicle ownership and travel by different modes and (2) a Lifecycle Energy Use and Emissions Model developed by the Institute of Transportation Studies at U.C.-Davis which estimates greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

The Pew Center gratefully acknowledges Anita Ahuja of Conserve, Ralph Gakenheimer of MIT, and Michael Walsh, an independent transportation consultant, for their review of earlier drafts. 

Executive Summary

Delhi, India is a rapidly expanding megacity. Like many other cities its size, Delhi faces urban gridlock and dangerous levels of air pollution. Vehicle ownership is still a fraction of that in industrialized countries, but remarkably high considering the population's relatively low income. Worldwide, energy use is increasing faster in the transport sector than in any other sector, and fastest of all in developing countries. From 1980 to 1997, transportation energy use and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased over 5 percent per year in Asia (excluding the former Soviet Union) and 2.6 percent in Latin America, compared to one percent growth in greenhouse gases from all sectors worldwide.

Delhi faces the same transportation, economic, and environmental challenges of other megacities. Population, motor vehicles, pollution, and traffic congestion are all increasing. Air pollution levels greatly exceed national and World Health Organization health-based standards, and transportation is by far the largest source of pollution. In the past 30 years, Delhi's population more than tripled and the number of vehicles increased almost fifteenfold.

By 2000, Delhi had about 2.6 million motor vehicles - 200 for every 1,000 inhabitants, a rate far higher than most cities with similar incomes. Most of these vehicles are small, inexpensive motorcycles and scooters, rather than automobiles. This proliferation of vehicles in a relatively poor city indicates the strong desire for personal transport - a phenomenon observed virtually everywhere. Delhi is an example of how that desire can now be met with relatively low incomes.

Delhi is expected to continue growing at a rapid rate. Its population is expected to surpass 22 million by 2020. Motor vehicles, including cars, trucks, and motorized two- and three-wheelers, are expected to grow at an even faster rate. The domestic auto industry is predicting car sale increases of 10 percent per year. With an extensive network of roads and increasing income, there is every reason to expect vehicle sales and use to continue on a sharp, upward trajectory. 


Equity and Global Climate Change Conference

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
The Pew Center conference on Equity and Global Climate Change will bring together experts from a variety of disciplines and nationalities to explore how best to ensure fair and reasonable actions by all countries in addressing climate change.

April 17-18, 2001 - Washington, DC

Conference Press Release

The Pew Center conference on Equity and Global Climate Change will bring together experts from a variety of disciplines and nationalities to explore how best to ensure fair and reasonable actions by all countries in addressing climate change. Given critical differences among nations -- in their economies, their historic and projected emissions, and their vulnerability to climate change impacts -- achieving equitable international commitments is an extraordinary challenge. Speakers and panelists will examine the underlying economic, cultural, and ethical issues and how they influence this crucial debate. Through this conference, the Pew Center hopes to stimulate an ongoing international dialogue leading to the better understanding of equity concerns and solutions that all parties believe are fair.


Approaches to Equity

Equity concerns are at the very core of the climate change debate: Who bears the greatest responsibility for climate change? Who is at greatest risk? Who is best able to act? Even if we agree that equity is a goal, how do we define "equitable"? Many approaches to conceptualizing and addressing equity in the context of climate change have been advanced, including: per capita emission rights; various forms of "grandfathering;" allocating reductions according to ability to pay; sharing costs according to historic emissions; and combinations of these and other critiera. This panel will explore some of these approaches and will ask whether, ultimately, equity is more feasibly addressed through a political bargain than through a given principle or formula.

Economic Considerations

At the root of many equity concerns are stark economic realities. Countries face widely divergent costs in addressing climate change - both the direct costs of mitigation, and the opportunity costs of diverting scarce capital from other social needs. The stakes of not acting also vary widely; and those facing the greatest costs from flooding, drought and other climate change impacts may be those with the fewest resources to spare. While some developed countries are concerned about competitiveness impacts if other nations do not act, developing countries are reluctant to assume obligations that may jeopardize their economic development. This panel will explore these differing perspectives, and will examine opportunities to address economic inequities through technology transfer, capacity building, clean energy investment, and other climate change strategies.

Ethical, Moral, and Cultural Considerations

Equity concerns are also shaped by differing ethical, religious, and cultural perspectives. Some cultures and traditions place a higher priority on meeting collective needs and those of future generations. Some argue that developed countries must be willing to sacrifice the comforts of an energy-intensive lifestyle. Some hold more strongly than others to the creed of market efficiency. While these differences can exert a powerful influence on national perspectives, they are typically overshadowed by pure economic concerns. This panel will explore how these differences color the climate change debate, and how a better understanding of other cultures and traditions can lead to stronger international cooperation against climate change.

Fair and Reasonable Action: First Steps

The Kyoto Protocol attempts to address equity concerns in at least two respects: it sets binding emissions targets only for developed countries, reflecting broad agreement that it is their obligation to act first; and among developed countries, it sets differentiated targets reflecting differences in national circumstance. How equitable are these decisions? Negotiations over rules to implement Kyoto raise another set of concerns: How is fair representation on the body overseeing the Clean Development Mechanism ensured? What must developed countries do to fulfill their commitments on finance and technology transfer? This panel will examine the underlying rationale for agreed-upon measures such as differentiated targets, and explore ways to resolve other equity issues that arise within the existing climate framework.

Fair and Reasonable Action: The Path Forward

Ultimately, it will be impossible to achieve safe, stable atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases by addressing only developed country emissions. There is growing pressure in the United States and elsewhere for developing countries to take stronger action against climate change. Developing countries want greater recognition for efforts already underway and are unwilling to commit to stronger action, insisting that industrial countries first demonstrate real progress toward achieving their emission targets and fulfilling their commitments on finance and technology transfer. This panel will explore differing perspectives on this central issue, and consider when and how a real dialogue on developing country commitments can or should begin.

Press Release: Thinkers and Leaders From 40 Countries Debate What's "Fair" in Fighting Climate Change

For Immediate Release
April 17, 2001

Contact: Katie Mandes, 703-919-2293 (4/17 only)
Dale Curtis, 202-246-5659
Justin Kenney, 703-283-0384 (4/18 only)

Thinkers and Leaders From 40 Countries Debate What's "Fair" in Fighting Climate Change

Jan Pronk, Sam Brownback and Robert Watson Among Featured Speakers

Washington, DC -- At a time of rising international debate over climate change, leading figures from some 40 countries gather in Washington this week to explore how nations can work together to ensure they all do their fair share in the fight against global warming.

Nearly 300 government leaders, experts, advocates and businesses are expected at a conference on Equity and Global Climate Change, sponsored by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, today and tomorrow at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington.

A central issue at the conference will be how to arrive at an international agreement that ensures fair and reasonable action by both industrialized countries, whose past emissions of greenhouse gases are largely responsible for rising global temperatures, and developing countries, whose emissions are projected to surpass those of industrialized countries by 2015-2020.

"An effective international response to climate change must be not only environmentally sound and cost-effective - it must be fair, too," said Pew Center President Eileen Claussen. "Industrialized countries must take the lead and deliver real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. But ultimately developing countries will have to step up their efforts as well. Through this conference, we hope to stimulate an honest dialogue that helps lead to climate change solutions that all parties believe are fair."

Key speakers include Jan Pronk, current chair of the UN-sponsored climate negotiations and Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning, and the Environment of The Netherlands, who will deliver the keynote address at lunch today (1:15 p.m.). Following the Pew conference, Pronk heads to New York to chair a meeting of environmental ministers from around the world aimed at putting international climate negotiations back on track.

Other key speakers include:

  • U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, R-Kansas - 8:30 a.m. Wed.;
  • Robert Hill, Australian Minister for Environment and Heritage - 9:15 a.m. Tues.;
  • Svend Auken, Danish Minister of Environment and Energy - 4:00 p.m. Tues.;
  • Ra·l Estrada-Oyuela, Special Representative for International Environmental Affairs of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and chair of the climate negotiations that led to the 1977 Kyoto Protocol - 8:45 a.m. Tues.;
  • Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme - 8:00 p.m. Tues.; Robert Watson, a World Bank senior official and Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - 9:45 a.m. Tues.

In addition, panels will examine competing proposals for achieving equitable climate change commitments; underlying economic issues, such as competitiveness and the need for developing countries to grow their economies and address other pressing concerns; and ethical, religious, and cultural perspectives that color the climate change debate.

"There are critical differences among nations-in their economies, their historic and projected emissions, and their vulnerability to climate change impacts. Achieving equitable commitments is an extraordinary challenge," said Claussen. "But failure to do so will undermine any effort to address climate change, because an agreement that is perceived to be unfair will never be fully implemented. And that, in turn, would result in the most inequitable outcome of all: Those with the fewest resources will bear some of the most severe effects of a warming planet."

A complete conference program and keynote speeches can be found on the Pew Center website at A summary of the conference by IISD, publisher of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, will be available at the Pew site starting Friday.

The Pew Center also offers research reports on various aspects of global climate change, including the science, economics, policy solutions and international policy issues. The reports can be accessed via the Pew Center's web site.

# # #

About the Pew Center
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.

The Pew Center includes the Business Environmental Leadership Council, which is composed of more than 30 largely Fortune 500 corporations, all working with the Pew Center to address issues related to climate change. The companies do not contribute financially to the Pew Center -- it is solely supported by contributions from charitable foundations.

Press Release: Can Nations Form A Strategy to Ensure They All Do Their Fair Share Against Global Warming?

For Immediate Release:
April 10, 2001

Contact:  Katie Mandes
  Dale Curtis:
  Juan Cortiñas:

Fighting Fair Against Climate Change: Can Nations Form A Strategy to Ensure They All Do Their Fair Share Against Global Warming?

In recent weeks, global climate change has emerged as a front-page issue in United States and abroad. Next week, leaders and experts from around the world gather in Washington to explore one of the thorniest issues in the climate change debate: how to ensure fair and reasonable action by all nations, both rich and poor. Join the Pew Center on Global Climate Change for a timely conference on Equity and Global Climate Change.

Who:Political leaders, experts, advocates and businesses from some 40 countries. Featured speakers include:
  • Jan Pronk, current chair of the international climate change negotiations and Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning, and the Environment of The Netherlands;
  • Robert Watson, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);
  • Robert Hill, Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage;
  • Raúl Estrada-Oyuela, Special Representative for International Environmental Affairs of the Argentinean Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme; and
  • Sam Brownback, United States Senator from Kansas.
When:Tuesday, April 17th and Wednesday, April 18th beginning at 8:00am.
Where:The Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Metro: Farragut North

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. The Pew Center includes the Business Environmental Leadership Council, which is composed of more than 30 largely Fortune 500 corporations all working with the Pew Center to address issues related to climate change. The companies do not contribute financially to the Pew Center -- it is solely supported by contributions from charitable foundations.

Climate Change After COP 6: The Prospects for U.S. and Global Action

Climate Change After COP 6: The Prospects for U.S. and Global Action

Speech by Eileen Claussen, President
Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Environmental Finance Conference
Implementing JI & CDM:
Project Finance in a Carbon Economy
New York, NY

February 27, 2001

Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be here as your keynote speaker, although I must say that I found the topic a little daunting, considering the (at least temporary) breakdown of negotiations in The Hague last November. On my way to New York from Washington, I was thinking about your gathering here to discuss the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and trying to figure out what I could compare it to. And I thought of a few other conference topics that would appear equally problematic, if a tad optimistic at this precise moment in time. These include:

  • "Dot-Com Investments That Will Make You Rich"
  • "The Ins and Outs of Securing a Presidential Pardon" (this one is open to fugitive financiers only)
  • "U.S.-Iraq Policy: Toward Better Bilateral Relations"
  • And, last but not least, "Opportunities in the Cattle Export Business in Great Britain"

O f course, I am only joking. I believe it is important, if not essential, to continue thinking in serious ways about how to implement such Kyoto provisions as joint implementation and the Clean Development Mechanism. In my view, these mechanisms will prove essential to the success of the global effort to reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. And, figuring out how to make them work is a task we must be addressing with conviction right now.

That said, I would like to address three topics in my remarks today-and I hope I will also do so with conviction. The first is what happened in November in The Hague and why. The second is the prospect for progress on the climate change issue under President Bush. And, last but not least, I want to talk about the need for what I refer to as a second industrial revolution that entails an incremental and yet dramatic shift in worldwide energy use over the decades to come.

Reflections on COP 6

So let's begin by recalling those heady and propitious days last summer and fall, when a lot of people believed that the world might finally get serious about addressing the challenge of climate change at a November meeting in the Dutch capital. Nobody was expecting miracles, but there was hope that agreement could be reached on the key issues that needed to be resolved in order to allow countries to begin the process of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. As the President of COP 6, Jan Pronk of the Netherlands, observed on the eve of the meeting:

"This is the chance for the industrialized countries to demonstrate that they take the issue of climate change very seriously."

As we all know, however, the industrialized countries missed their chance when the talks broke down over such sticking points as how to account for the role of forestry and land-use practices in keeping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. There was also no agreement on whether to place limits on how much of a country's emissions reductions can be achieved by actions taken abroad-the so-called supplementarity issue. Nor was there agreement on some of the critical issues involving the developing countries-such as technology transfer or funding for adaptation.

But the standoff in The Hague should not have come as a complete surprise. I know it is not considered polite to say "I told you so," but in a series of articles and speeches in the weeks and months before COP 6, I managed to raise a red flag about two of the three issues that I believe contributed to the meeting's demise. Of course, in hindsight, all three should have been perfectly obvious-a little like the instructions on the box containing a hotel shower cap: fits one head. Or, better yet, the instructions on a bag of airline peanuts: open packet, eat nuts.

But you didn't have to be nuts to see that the negotiators in The Hague were trying to do too much. This was the first red flag that I raised before the meeting. And, sure enough, when the two-week conference convened, negotiators were sweating over approximately 275 pages of text covering the full spectrum of tough political and technical issues. And the result, inevitably, was failure.

The second red flag I raised about the agenda for the meeting in The Hague was that everyone was too focused on the treaty's targets for emissions reductions and how they could be met in the 2008-2012 timetable. Countries went into the meeting knowing they had committed to reducing their emissions by a certain percentage, and what they wanted were provisions that would allow them to do this.

My point for some time has been that this approach gets it backwards. What we need to focus on is not the targets but the overall framework. And the goal should not be to structure the framework in such a way that it enables countries to meet targets to which they are already committed. Rather, it should be to create a framework that can stand the test of time-something that makes sense for both environmental and economic reasons. It may prove necessary-once that framework is fully formed-to reconsider whether the targets negotiated in 1997 are still viable. In fact, it may even make sense for the Parties to agree now that they will be prepared to revisit the targets and timetables if necessary once the framework is completed. That would free negotiators from the fixation on targets that made it so difficult to reach agreement in The Hague. I believe it was a mistake in Kyoto to set targets with no clear notion of what could be counted toward meeting them. Our goal now must be to avoid compounding that error.

Moving on to the third reason for the failure of the meeting in the Hague, I will admit that it was one I did not raise flags about. (Alas, nobody can be right 100 percent of the time). The reason was this: People simply were not prepared well enough to deal with the issues on the agenda. I suppose this could be related to the fact that negotiators were dealing with too many issues at once. But I think there is more to it than that. At The Hague, we saw a remarkable amount of confusion on the part of the negotiators about basic questions and negotiating positions. Was it possible to sequester carbon in trees and soils, and then accurately account for that sequestration, some asked? And, in a scene that was reminiscent of the War of the Roses, the members of the European Union engaged in very public spats over negotiating positions that should have been agreed well before the meeting.

The result was an ugly end to a meeting that could have provided another very important stepping stone on the path toward a successful international framework for addressing climate change. What we are left with instead is uncertainty about what happens next. As all of you know, new talks are being scheduled for late June or early July. These were originally scheduled for May but have been put off so that President Bush's administration could establish its policies and priorities.

However, my fear yet again is that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for this new round of talks to deliver the breakthrough that some are hoping for. Right now, countries still are sorting through the rubble from the November negotiations and trying to figure out exactly what was resolved, if anything, and how. This will take some time. It also will take time for the EU to gather its wits and figure out exactly where it stands on some of these issues. My point is that the United States is not alone in having to engage in some serious soul-searching.

But the United States does face a special challenge. Right now, late June is exactly four months away, and I do not have any sense that the Bush Administration has yet had the time to devote any serious thought to the issue of climate change. (I am still waiting in vain for the state of the climate to be one of the President's "issues of the week," along with such concerns as education, tax cuts and health care. I guess you could say I am adopting a faith-based approach. But to no avail.)

Even when the President and his advisors do start formulating a position, they will need time to think it out, get reactions, present it and take other steps to build support. And, considering that this Administration's position is bound to be different than the position of its predecessor, all of this is going to take time-more time, I believe, than there is between now and June or even July. In addition, other countries will need time to digest a new position from the United States, and then to work with the Bush Administration to find common ground and reach a deal. Expecting all of this to happen in the next few months is like expecting an on-time flight out of LaGuardia. Sure, it can happen, but the facts suggest you'd be smart to plan for alternative scenarios-perhaps including overnight accommodations.

So instead of setting ourselves up for another disappointment over the summer, I say that everyone involved in this discussion has to be more realistic about what we can achieve and when. This means not rushing into a high-profile, high-stakes negotiation that is bound to fail again but exploring areas of potential agreement and chipping away, little by little, until we start seeing the form that an international framework might take. In other words, the meeting this summer should not be viewed as a decision meeting.

Prospects for Progress Under President Bush

What the future holds for the Kyoto Protocol, of course, depends to a significant degree on the actions of the United States-and, more specifically, on the new administration of President Bush. As we all know, the President stated very clearly during the presidential campaign that he believed climate change was a serious issue. He also stated very clearly that he did not support the Kyoto Protocol.

It seems to me that in addition to making the state of the climate an issue of the week (one can always hope), the new administration should undertake a very careful and thoughtful assessment of how best to deal with this issue, both globally and nationally. That the problem of climate change must be addressed is beyond question. And that it must be addressed rationally also is beyond question. Why? Because the downsides of not addressing climate change, or of addressing it in a dishonest or cavalier fashion, are far too large and too costly.

But, at the same time that there should be no illusions that we can somehow ignore the problem, no one should underestimate the complexities of the issue, nor the difficulties of reaching a strategy that will benefit both our environment and our economy and, at the same time, be politically acceptable both at home and abroad.

So let's look for a moment at some of the factors that might prompt President Bush to take a fresh look at this issue and chart a course for U.S. action.

First, there is the science. The Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), recently approved by scientists in Shanghai, shows more clearly than ever that a long-term global warming trend is occurring and is being driven by human actions. The IPCC now expects the global average surface temperature to rise by between 2.5 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the course of the 21st century, a much greater increase than that projected just five years ago, with disturbing increases in sea level rise, droughts, floods, and ecosystem destruction. The United States will not be immune from these changes. In fact, temperature increases in the United States are expected to exceed global averages. If we need a reason to act, this latest science certainly provides one.

A second factor that should cause the Bush Administration to pay attention to climate change is international diplomacy. A majority of governments around the world-led by our allies in Europe and Asia-view this issue seriously and will expect the United States to do the same. Indeed, if the international rules for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are not agreed to by the middle of 2002, President Bush will likely face some difficult moments with world leaders at the "Rio+10" meeting scheduled for July 2002 in South Africa. As with many other global issues, the United States can either lead the way in a constructive, consensus-building fashion, or it can turn its back on the world and go its own way, which would only invite other countries to challenge our leadership and national interests more vigorously.

The third factor that argues for greater attention to this issue from the White House is the logic of business and economics. While in the past, U.S. industry was uniformly opposed to seriously addressing climate change, today many leaders in the business community support the call for action. Many major companies affiliated with the Pew Center have accepted the science and have established ambitious emissions reduction targets. These include BP, Shell, DuPont, Intel, Toyota, United Technologies, and many more. In fact, I am happy to announce today that five new companies are joining the Pew Center: Trans Alta, Interface, Waste Management, California Portland, and Cummins Engine. What all of these companies have in common is that they recognize that addressing this issue will help make their businesses more efficient, more competitive and more attractive to investors over the long term. What they want is certainty about the rules under which they will operate internationally. And what they hope to see are the kind of market-oriented rules that will only come about if the United States takes an active role in the negotiations.

A Short-Term Agenda for the New Administration

What can and should President Bush and his Administration be doing to move this issue forward and address climate change in a constructive, moderate way? As I see it, the White House can take three steps over the short term:

The first step is to send a clear signal that this issue will not be ignored. During the campaign, then-Governor Bush conveyed a mixed message, saying that climate change is an important issue that deserves an active response, while arguing that we mustn't rush into unwise actions while the science is still evolving. The former message is credible and in tune with the realities of what we know about the science. As for the second message, no one would want this country or any other to rush into "unwise" actions. But act we must. And the challenge that the Bush Administration must confront-and head on-is how to take significant steps that will protect the environment in a way that will allow for a growing global economy.

The next step the President can and should take is to speed up the pace of domestic action. The President's campaign platform called for tax credits for electricity produced from renewable and alternative fuels, as well as legislation requiring electric utilities to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. These are sound ideas, and as the 107th Congress takes up farm, energy and tax legislation, there will be additional opportunities for the President to propose creative, bi-partisan solutions.

Last but not least, the President needs to show leadership on this issue globally. Candidate Bush condemned the Kyoto Protocol as "inadequate" and "unfair" to America. But he should resist the advice of those who would have the United States walk away from the pact. A better (and more practical) approach would be to engage in the discussions with the goal of making this international agreement into one that works - for the United States, for the rest of the world, and for the global climate itself.

As the Bush Administration ponders its next moves on climate change, it can take heart in knowing that these kinds of actions will be supported by the science, by key allies across the globe, and by a growing number of leaders in business, Congress and the states.
A New Industrial Revolution

Of course, government responses to the challenge of climate change, whether undertaken domestically or internationally, will not work without the cooperation and active involvement of industry. Global climate change, in fact, calls for no less than a second industrial revolution. It will be a revolution spurred on not just by environmental concerns but by other forces as well--including new technologies, the emergence of economically viable alternative energy sources, and the relentless drive in business for new efficiencies and new sources of income and growth.

Energy industry leaders already are coming to terms with a future that will be markedly different from the industry's past. In a series of articles in The Economist earlier this month, Mark Moody-Stuart of Shell made what I consider to be a remarkable statement coming from an oil industry executive. When asked what the future holds for his company, he said: "We want to meet our customers' needs for energy, even if that means leaving hydrocarbons behind."

Of course, no one is predicting that hydrocarbons will be left behind tomorrow, but we already are seeing important shifts in the energy sector's priorities and investments. And I believe we are only in the first phase of what I see as a three-phase process-I suppose you could call it an "incremental revolution." During the first phase, companies are coming to terms with the environmental consequences of their business practices and investments. And many are taking significant steps to reduce emissions and minimize the impact of their operations on the environment. By increasing their energy efficiency, for example, companies are reducing short- and long-term costs while taking measures that, when broadly applied, will have important effects on the carbon intensity of our economy and, of course, on climate change. And, by exploring carbon sequestration and emissions trading, companies are setting themselves up to succeed in an environment where these practices will form key parts of the backbone of national and global climate regimes.

The second phase in this process is something we are seeing already; there will clearly be some overlap among the three phases of this incremental revolution. Phase Two entails farther-reaching strategies to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy sector and the economy as a whole-primarily by moving to cleaner-burning fossil fuels. We all know that natural gas demand has surged in the last decade. According to the International Energy Outlook for 2000, natural gas remains the fastest growing component of world energy consumption. Between 1997 to 2020, gas use is projected to more than double worldwide-with environmental concerns as an important driver. In addition to natural gas, I believe we will see shifts in this second phase to hydrogen as a fuel source, but primarily in those cases where the existing fossil fuel infrastructure can still be used.

This brings me to the third and final phase in the incremental revolution that will change our global energy future. And it is in this phase that the term "revolution" is, as the British would say, spot on. As I see it, the capital-intensive and carbon-intensive technologies of the 20th century will give way in Phase Three to an economy that is increasingly driven by hydrogen. But here we are likely to see not a fossil fuel infrastructure, but one that is driven mostly by renewables.

Of course, this revolution will not take place tomorrow, and it will certainly not be free. But we are beginning to see industry leaders making serous commitments to everything from solar energy to biomass to fuel cell technology. Is there a role for government in ensuring a smooth transition? Of course. In order for the transition to work, we will have to manage our short-term needs (whether they are related to energy supply, availability, price or demand) while at the same time planning thoughtfully for the future. Government can and must play an active role in that process. It is for governments to provide the objectives that we have to meet, the framework for industry to innovate, and the incentives for newer, cleaner energy supplies, all of which will be necessary as we move toward an increasingly carbon-free economy.

But let me say clearly that in discussing the long-term, I am not saying that nothing can be achieved in the short term. Rather, our short-term strategy should be to focus on such priorities as increased efficiency, increased use of cleaner-burning fuels, carbon sequestration, emissions trading and the Clean Development Mechanism-steps that make it cost-effective to take action to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases now. We should also focus on encouraging maximum participation in any international climate regime we establish by developing realistic targets and timetables that can then be tightened as time goes on.

Then, looking ahead, we need a framework for action that will accommodate-and in many ways, encourage-the dramatic shifts in the energy sector that I have discussed. All of this will require the world's governments to make a serious commitment to collaboration, compromise and, most of all, progress.

In the same issue of The Economist that I mentioned earlier in my remarks, the magazine observes that it may take "25 or 50 years, or even a century" for hydrogen to become the world's dominant energy source. But however long it takes, according to the article, "it is clear that the world already is beginning to move beyond the age of fossil fuels and towards the hydrogen era." The article closes with four words that I will leave you with today: "Let the revolution roll."

I thank you very much for your time, and I would be delighted to answer any questions you may have.

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