Government»US Pledges Leadership in Climate Change Meeting
»Friday, June 5,2009
German, Russian, Chinese, Canadian, French, Indian, British and other officials met up, following a call from President Obama in March. In all, the countries represented were those responsible for approximately three-quarters of global greenhouse gasses and and CO2 Their aim, to pave the way towards a new pact on global warming before the end of 2009.
“The United States is fully engaged and ready to lead and determined to make up for lost time both at home and abroad”, Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, stated, adding: “Climate change is a clear and present danger to our world that demands immediate attention.”
Limited access to the meeting was granted to the media. However, CSS (Carbon Capture and Storage) technology was talked about in some depth, Indian representative, Dinesh Patnaik, told journalists.
“It's [CCS is] a long term solution”, he said. “It's not a short term solution.”
On a large scale the effectiveness of CCS technology has yet to be tested - cost being one reason for this.
Kyoto Protocol Replacement
The present greenhouse-gas limiting Kyoto Protocol runs out in three years time, and so discussions on the structure and content of its replacement are now underway.
While President Obama’s aim for the US is to have greenhouse gas emissions around 15 per cent lower by 2020, critics within the EU have called for more. Speaking at the Washington meeting, Obama stressed: “Our future on this planet depends on our willingness to address the challenge posed by carbon pollution.”
Clinton, meanwhile, referred to the US in negative terms, conceding that mistakes had been made along the path to fighting climate change.
“As I have told my counterparts from China and India, we want your economies to grow”, she said.
“We just hope we can work together in a way to avoid the mistakes that we made that have created a large part of the problem.”
Such an acknowledgement, according to Stefania Prestigiacomo, Italy’s Environment Minister, served to wipe out “all doubts” that Obama and his colleagues were serious about taking on climate change.
In further comments made to the media, Ms Prestigiacomo highlighted how China’s participation seemed to mark a sea-change over previous appearances.
“Usually the attitude of China was more the attitude of a country asking for something”, she explained.
“This time [there] was...a willingness to give a contribution to the process.”