U.S. Committed to Asia-Pacific Climate Partnership, Rice Says
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington - The newly established Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate is an essential part of the U.S. commitment to promoting economic development while preserving the environment, says Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The secretary spoke to the press February 9 as she prepared to meet with ambassadors from the five other countries involved in the initiative: Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea.
First launched by the White House in July 2005, the partnership was intended to complement the1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to that pact. (See related article.)
The initiative employs partnerships between public and private sectors of the six partner countries to enhance energy security, promote economic growth and reduce greenhouse gases. The partners first met in Sydney, Australia, in January. (See related article.)
"Through our partnership we seek to move beyond divisive politics and to advance common purposes," Rice said. "Everyone has something to contribute. Everyone stands to gain. And together we represent a powerful force for positive change."
Rice said the United States considers its five partners "critical" to the initiative because they are among the world's most economically vibrant and influential nations.
"Our partnership will require a sustained commitment from all of us and we in the United States plan to meet our responsibilities," she said, adding that President Bush proposed $52 million to support the partnership in his budget plan for the fiscal year starting October 1, fiscal year 2007.
Also present for the meeting were chief executive officers (CEOs) of seven corporations that have been engaged in the partnership, officials from the departments of Energy and Commerce, and the chairman of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), an advisory agency to the executive office of the president.
"Our CEO partners are global leaders in the energy sectors, which account for a majority of the world's industrial production and power generation," Rice said. "By deploying your best technologies and practices, we will lower the cost of production, we will reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and we will develop and bring to the marketplace the next generation of technologies to enhance our energy security and our national security."
HAGEL-PRYOR AMENDMENT SUPPORTS PARTNERSHIP GOALS
Rice expressed appreciation to Senator Chuck Hagel (Republican of Nebraska) and Senator Mark Pryor (Democrat of Arkansas) for their efforts to promote a healthier environment through clean energy technologies. The senators sponsored an amendment to the 2005 Senate energy bill that authorized financial incentives, such as direct loans and loan guarantees, to encourage the development and deployment of greenhouse gas-reducing technologies by U.S. firms.
The Hagel-Pryor amendment, passed in June 2005, specifically promotes exports of such technologies to developing countries.
Rice welcomed Pryor to the gathering of executive branch officials, ambassadors and business executives, and invited him to speak. The senator said the goal of the Hagel-Pryor amendment was to encourage partnerships at the domestic and international level to address climate change issues in a constructive way.
"[G]reen technology is a real winner for this country and for all the countries that are represented here," he said. "… [T]here are lots of companies … around the country and around the world who have patented technology, who have great technology that can be brought out in the marketplace and the Hagel-Pryor amendment and this Asia-Pacific Partnership really are designed to try to help those companies help all of us to have a cleaner, better, safer environment."
For more information on U.S. policy, see Climate Change.