Bingaman on International Aspects of Climate Change

November 17, 2009
11:13 AM
“Today the Committee is having a hearing on international aspects of global climate change. The Committee has held several hearings to learn about the implications of domestic climate change legislation on the energy sector and on consumers.  Today’s hearing is to give those discussions some international context and to learn how U.S. domestic efforts would fit in with global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Much of the discussion of international climate policy revolves around the United Nations and negotiations to reach an international agreement to reduce emissions.  This weekend at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, President Obama and other world leaders decided to delay the goal of reaching a climate change agreement at the next global climate conference in Copenhagen.  Today we will hear from the witnesses on this issue and explore the realms of possibility for an international agreement.
“We’ll also hear about specific countries and their efforts to deal with climate change policy.  Major emitters like the United States, the European Union, China, India and tropical rainforest countries are at the core of climate discussions.  It is important for the Committee to understand the unique differences and challenges that each country faces.
“I was particularly pleased to see the U.S.-China Clean Energy Announcements from the White House this morning.  The U.S. and China share many of the same energy and climate challenges and a strong bilateral partnership on clean energy, renewables and efficiency could benefit both countries.
“Finally, we will also hear about U.S. clean technology development and deployment.  Effective programs to spur the development and deployment of clean energy technologies abroad – especially in rapidly developing countries – are vital to our national goals of mitigating climate change through global action and promoting U.S. competitiveness in future energy technologies.
“U.S. international clean energy technology research, development, and deployment programs are now spread across more than six agencies in the government – and while each program does very valuable work – they lack a unified national strategy to guide their efforts.  Moreover, despite the establishment of multiple interagency coordinating groups – in laws passed in 1992, 2005, and 2007 – our international energy programs are still inhibited by structural and budgetary obstacles. 
“The result is a duplication of capacity across agencies, under-resourced programs where they do exist, and less-than-optimal outcomes from the nation's international energy technology portfolio.  I hope we can develop a better approach to international energy cooperation than simply creating more interagency coordinating groups, if we are to seriously address not only reducing global emissions, but also building robust American energy industries that can compete globally in the 21st century.” 
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