Global Action for a Global Problem
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Global climate change is well, global. I am not trying to be glib; the fact is that in order to be successful any long-term climate change action plan absolutely must include all carbon-emitting economies. The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, does not adequately address the international nature of global climate change. We live in a worldwide economy and an interdependent global energy market. Our environmental policy, our foreign policy, our trade policy and our diplomacy must be geared to this reality.
As we stated in our letter to the Senate last December:
"The domestic emissions constraints imposed by S. 2191, without corresponding long-term cutbacks in greenhouse gas emissions from other nations (particularly developing nations), will not only fail to make the required impact on levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but could also irreparably harm the country’s ability to compete in the global market. Any long-term climate change action plan absolutely must include developing nations such as China and India. Chinese emissions are projected to increase 119 percent and Indian emissions 131 percent between 2004 and 2030. Without engagement by developing nations, the carbon constraints imposed by S. 2191 would penalize domestic businesses attempting to compete in the world market while non-participating developing nations continue to get a free ride."
We agree that the U.S. should show strong leadership on climate change, but passing Lieberman-Warner is not leadership, it is pandering to special interests who want to demonize energy producers in our country, while disregarding production in the rest of the world. Leadership is providing ideas, solutions, and working to conclude a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol.
If it's going to help the environment, such an agreement must include developed and developing economies, promote clean technology, and allow countries to find their own best path to meeting CO2 reduction targets.
We, at the Chamber are trying to do our part, by playing an important role in fostering a new global approach to climate change - one that is far more workable than Kyoto. In April, the world's major business groups met in Tokyo to formulate climate recommendations that will be submitted to the G-8 leaders when they meet this summer.
The Chamber, led by our chairman, Paul Speranza, was the driving force behind an approach that avoids unreachable numeric goals on carbon reduction - while embracing technology, efficiency, and economy-wide national solutions. And if you can believe it, we actually got the Europeans and the Japanese to agree!
In China, just a few weeks ago, the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy held a two-day meeting in Beijing with China’s Energy Research Institute. At the conclusion of the meetings, a joint memorandum was signed by General James L. Jones, President and CEO of the Institute, and Director General Han Wenke of the Chinese Energy Research Center. The two institutes agreed in the memorandum on initiatives to promote cooperation between the United States and China on energy and environmental projects.
The bottom line is this; a global challenge needs global solutions, and these solutions must be realistic, achievable, and compatible with a prosperous economy.