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 Home > News & Policies > December 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 15, 2007

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Decision of the Conference of the Parties in Bali on Climate Change

The United States extends its gratitude and congratulations to the President of Indonesia for hosting the Thirteenth Conference of the Parties in Bali and for his able leadership of this important process.

The United States joins the consensus Decision of the Conference of the Parties in Bali that is a critical first step in assuring that the UN negotiation process moves forward toward a comprehensive and effective post-2012 arrangement.

There are many features of the Decision that are quite positive, including those provisions recognizing the importance of developing clean technologies, financing the deployment of those technologies in the developing world, assisting countries in adapting to climate change, exploring industry sector agreements on emissions, and addressing deforestation.

The United States does have serious concerns about other aspects of the Decision as we begin the negotiations. Notably, the United States believes that, in three important ways, we have not yet fully given effect to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities that is a pillar of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

First, the negotiations must proceed on the view that the problem of climate change cannot be adequately addressed through commitments for emissions cuts by developed countries alone. Major developing economies must likewise act. Just as the work of the IPCC has deepened our scientific understanding of the scope of the problem and action required, so too empirical studies on emission trends in the major developing economies now conclusively establish that emissions reductions principally by the developed world will be insufficient to confront the global problem effectively.

Second, negotiations must clearly differentiate among developing countries in terms of the size of their economies, their level of emissions and level of energy utilization, and sufficiently link the character or extent of responsibility to such factors. We must give sufficient emphasis to the important and appropriate role that the larger emitting developing countries should play in a global effort to address climate change.

Third, the negotiations must adequately distinguish among developing countries by recognizing that the responsibilities of the smaller or least developed countries are different from the larger, more advanced developing countries. In our view, such smaller and less developed countries are entitled to receive more differentiated treatment so as to more truly reflect their special needs and circumstances.

Accordingly, for these negotiations to succeed, it is essential that the major developed and developing countries be prepared to negotiate commitments, consistent with their national circumstances, that will make a due contribution to the reduction of global emissions. A post-2012 arrangement will be effective only if it reflects such contributions. At the same time, the United States believes that any arrangement must also take into account the legitimate right of the major developing economies and indeed all countries to grow their economies, develop on a sustainable basis, and have access to secure energy sources.

We have seen what can be accomplished when we come together to work for a common cause. Only by doing the necessary work this year will it be possible to reach a global consensus under the Convention in 2009. The United States looks forward to participating in the negotiations envisioned in the Bali Roadmap, in the Major Economies Process, in the G8 and in other appropriate channels in order to achieve a global and effective post-2012 arrangement.

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