“The U.S. is Already Going Green”

United States COP 15 banner

The 15th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with participation from 192 nations, will be held December 7–18 in Copenhagen. Any climate accord reached at the Copenhagen meeting would succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which required 37 industrialized nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions an average of 5 percent by 2012.

President Obama will attend the Copenhagen conference on December 18th to help move toward a comprehensive and operational Copenhagen accord.  

The President has ordered his Administration to reduce America’s carbon footprint, including by doubling the generating capacity from wind and other renewable resources in three years, and by spending billions to capture carbon pollution from coal plants. 

In addition to working with Congress to produce new comprehensive climate and energy legislation, the President has also described new efficiency standards to increase fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks in the U.S.  In September the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established mandatory reporting for U.S. facilities on greenhouse gas emissions.  Our goal is to achieve significant reductions through conservation.  Just this week, the EPA issued a final ruling that greenhouse gases posed a danger to human health and the environment, which paves the way for regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, power plants, factories, refineries and other major sources.

Developed countries must do their part.  President Obama’s commitment to travel personally to Copenhagen underlines his determination that the U.S. will fulfill its obligations.  But Chinese President Hu Jintao’s presence at Copenhagen will also be a symbol of the developing world’s obligation.  If we are to succeed globally, major developing nations must also take actions to substantially reduce emissions by 2020 on a relative basis, compared to their so-called “business as usual” path.  In the context of an overall agreement that includes mitigation contributions from all major economies, the United States is prepared to put on the table an emissions reduction target in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels in 2020, and ultimately consistent with U.S. energy and climate legislation.  In line with the President’s goal to reduce emissions 83 percent by 2050, this pending legislation would put the United States on a pathway toward a 30 percent emissions reduction in 2025 and a 42 percent reduction in 2030.

We know developing countries need help.  President Obama has talked about an emerging consensus that a core element of the Copenhagen accord should be to mobilize $10 billion a year by 2012 to support adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, particularly the most vulnerable and least developed countries that could suffer most from the impacts of climate change.  The United States will pay its fair share of that amount and welcomes statements by other countries that intend to make substantial commitments as well. 

We look forward to working with Malaysia as a valuable partner in the region.  We are proud that among U.S. investors in Malaysia at present there are several companies pioneering in the solar energy field.  But perhaps the most significant role Malaysia could play in addressing global climate change is to produce tradable carbon credits by conserving forest cover particularly in the state of Sarawak.

The United States is committed to achieving the strongest possible outcome from the two week climate change negotiation in Copenhagen.  All of us must face realistically the scope of the problem and understand that developed and developing country contributions are necessary. We are all in this together. 

For more information about the US position on climate change, visit: http://www.america.gov/global/environ.html.

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One Response

  1. Dear Ambassador
    The developed countries have to play a major role in aggressively bringing health back to planet Earth. The carbon emissions, the depletion of the ozone layer, global warming or whatever terms one wants to use did not happen just today. There is only one habitable planet in this one tiny space in the universe. NASA has not discovered any other habitable planets. If ever there is one, it is too far away. By the time the discovery is made known, planet Earth might not exist. It is human nature to want to survive and that is why many people are fighting for this survival. It is also not fair to demand too much from countries that are developing and have not developed at all because the majority of the people have not experienced industrialization and they are the later group of people that contribute to this world wide problem. Many people want to live comfortably and they think that industrialization is a good thing. They forget that industralization happens at the expense of mother nature. Mother nature will look dull and gloom when all her colours are gone, probably similar to the scenario of the Khyber Pass or Sahara desert. Imagine all rocks, stone, sand and earth in place of lush, green forests all over the world. Or even ice at the poles. Industrial revolution started somewhere in the middle of the 19th century or earlier ? Human intelligence started to expand since the 300 B.C. or earlier ? It is the human intelligence that should be more developed, rather than the materialistic things in life. Development does not necessarily mean that the society is good. In fact it is cities that emit the most pollution. Therefore it is good for USA to take a leading role in making the situation of planet Earth normal again. By the way, thanks to the US embassy for approving my VISA to visit your country. Thanks also to the immigration checkpoint for letting me in. It was a good exposure to your country.

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