Press Release: COP6 Occurs Amid Progress; Goal Is A Workable System For Short and Long-Term Action

For Immediate Release:
November 20, 2000

Contact: Katie Mandes, +44-77-300-52194
             Dale Curtis, +44-77-300-52206
             Juan Cortinas, +1-202-777-3530

COP6 Occurs Amid Progress; Goal Is A Workable System For Short and Long-Term Action

Statement by Eileen Claussen
President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change
Netherlands Conference Center, The Hague

As we enter the second and final week of the Sixth Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP6), everyone involved should keep two points in mind:

First, A great deal of progress has occurred since Kyoto and continues to occur. What do I mean by "progress"?

· While the talks are at a critical juncture, this is a predictable phase of the international negotiating process, and areas of disagreement are narrowing. Even if we get an incomplete result from COP6, some things are almost certain to be decided, and further talks are more likely than a breakdown. Nobody can afford to walk away from this process; too much time and effort has already been spent.

· Second, outright opposition to action in the United States is shrinking as a growing number of businesses join efforts like the Pew Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council. DuPont, ABB, BP, Shell, Intel, Toyota and United Technologies are just a few of the companies working to be a part of the solution. We're also seeing movement in the US Congress, where a growing number of members view climate change as an issue that deserves a constructive response.

· And third, the scientific case for action just keeps getting stronger, as evidenced by the latest information from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Second -- and this is critically important - we need to complete the Kyoto Protocol framework and get it right for the short and long term.

· The Kyoto Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change are about much more than the first round of negotiated targets and timetables for emissions reductions. They will have to be the framework for international action to address the long-term issue of global climate change, a framework that will be needed over decades, not months or years.

· "Getting it right" means resolving the remaining political and technical questions in a way that makes future emissions reductions and political support more likely. Many of the proposals on the table in The Hague would make the treaty more cumbersome and controversial.

· The key areas requiring sensible, workable rules are the Kyoto Mechanisms and carbon storage in forests and soils. The Pew Center has issued research reports that explore each of these issues.

· Finally, all of the issues need to be worked out in a way that moves everyone toward the goal of stabilizing the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere while at the same time maintaining the economic integrity of all nations.

Decision-makers in The Hague should remember that the Kyoto Protocol was designed to be both a first step toward stabilizing the earth's climate system, and a framework for long-term, cost-effective action. If the overall system is to work, it must be environmentally effective, economically efficient, transparent, fair, and as simple as possible. Decisions should be made with these goals in mind.

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 a nonprofit, non-partisan and independent organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, leads the Pew Center.

The Pew Center includes the Business Environmental Leadership Council, a group of large, mostly 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.

An important area of the Pew Center's work is to commission studies on the scientific, economic and policy issues surrounding climate change. Some of those recent studies have explored such issues as the Kyoto Mechanisms, compliance, carbon sequestration, environmental impacts of climate change, and ways to improve the economic analysis of climate policies. A complete list of these reports and downloadable copies of them can be found at www.c2es.org.