(AFP) – Dec 3, 2008
WASHINGTON (AFP) — President George W. Bush's outgoing administration promised Wednesday to leave options open at next week's UN climate talks in Poznan, Poland on president-elect Barack Obama's possible environment plans.
"We hope that Poznan can produces a deeper understanding of ... priorities and expectations," said US Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky.
"Our objectives there is to reach consensus on a practical work plan," said Dobriansky, who will lead the US delegation at ministerial talks at the Poznan conference on December 10 and 11.
The key task of the Poznan meeting is to whittle down a document for action to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and step up financial help beyond 2012.
The United States "is fully committed to reaching agreement by 2009 on a post-2012 climate agreement" that is "environmentally effective and economically sustainable," Dobriansky said.
US officials want "a work plan that will guide us and the new (Obama administration) team into intensive negotiations ... for agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009."
The US delegation is "looking at addressing issues in Poznan but not closing doors for the new administration or ... closing options for the new US administration," Dobriansky said.
US officials also expect that Poznan "will highlight the importance of research and development of clean energy technologies," she said, a favorite Bush administration argument.
Washington remains opposed to emissions trading used to control pollution known as a "cap and trade" system, enshrined in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and that US officials believe is too costly.
According to Dobriansky, to effectively address climate change "we need nothing less that a clean technology revolution."
Dobriansky cited US Department of Energy research she says shows that an "effective" research and development effort could lower the economic cost of energy independence "by 70 percent."
Most senior policy leaders around the world are unaware of the current level of green technology and the amount of time it will take to prove, said Jim Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council of Environmental Quality.
"We have to be quite honest about the fact these technologies will take 10 to 15 more years, maybe more, to develop and bring online," he said at a press conference.
These clean technologies -- solar, biofuel, wind and others -- will all be necessary to begin to reduce the millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases emitted each year, he said.
He also emphasized the importance of easing the transfer of clean technologies to developing economies -- especially China and India, the largest global polluters behind the United States -- as well as mechanisms to finance their implementation.
Connaughton said he believed it was likely that an agreement could be reached at the end of the 2009 Copenhagen conference on a document that would succeed the Kyoto protocol in 2012.
Meanwhile the transition with the incoming Obama administration "is going very smoothly," Connaughton said.
Obama recently said he would not send an envoy to the Poznan talks.
Separately, Mexico at Poznan will propose an idea of a "Green Fund" that each country will contribute to according to their possibilities, Environmental Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada said Wednesday.
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