Statement: Wrap-Up of COP6 Global Climate Change Negotiations

For Immediate Release:
November 27, 2000

Contact: Katie Mandes (+1-703-516-4146)
Dale Curtis (+1-202-777-3530)

Wrap-Up of "COP6" Global Climate Change Negotiations

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

I am disappointed that the "COP6" global climate change negotiations in The Hague were suspended on Saturday, November 25, without resolution, but I am hopeful that the Parties will move forward at their next meeting. As we continue to work internationally, I think the time has also come to put more emphasis on domestic action to address climate change. This would put us in a better position to assert our views internationally and work with others to complete a global regime.

These talks were supposed to have been about building a workable, global climate system for the long term. However, they appear to have stalemated over a relatively small number of tons of carbon to be absorbed by sinks in the first commitment period. This dispute strikes me as extremely short-sighted. It overshadows the progress that was made in narrowing differences on other issues.

In the long-term fight against global warming, we need every tool at our disposal. If we take carbon sequestration and market mechanisms out of the equation, or bog them down with such overly restrictive rules that nobody uses them, then we are limiting our ability to meet our environmental objectives. We are also undermining the political and business support that are needed - especially in the United States - to ratify the Protocol.

If appropriate guidelines and oversight can be put in place to ensure environmental integrity, then carbon sequestration and market mechanisms can play a valuable role in stabilizing the climate and providing other environmental, economic and social benefits. Developing those guidelines should remain one of our top priorities.

Finally, let's not overlook one of the genuine breakthroughs of this conference: A growing number of companies are joining the effort to develop a treaty that's workable and effective. IBM joined the Pew Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council, joining 27 other pro-action companies including DuPont, ABB, BP, Shell, Intel, Toyota and United Technologies.

Saturday's developments represent a setback but not a permanent breakdown in the process. I hope that in the weeks and months ahead, all sides will lower their voices, solicit advice from the experts, and resume discussions toward an agreement that can stand the test of time.

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.