India, China must for effective climate change accord: US

July 19th, 2008 - 10:15 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 19 (IANS) The US has reiterated the importance of emerging economies like India and China joining efforts to combat climate change for reaching an agreement on a realistic global plan for reducing emissions. US President George Bush’s goal is to reach an agreement on a global plan that is both “environmentally effective and economically sustainable”, said Paula J. Dobriansky, under secretary for democracy and global affairs.

“To get there, it is essential that major emerging economies like China and India join developed countries in combating climate change,” she said at a briefing on the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP). “That’s why the Asia-Pacific partnership is so important.”

Comprising seven of the world’s largest economies - Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, South Korea and the US - APP countries account for more than half of the world’s economy, population, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Noting that one of the keystones of the APP is its foundation on partnership between the public and private sectors, Dobriansky called it “a great initiative, representing exactly the kind of creativity and pragmatism we need in the fight against climate change”.

“The APP’s projects inspire the imagination,” she said, citing the example of APP partnering California with the Indian state of Maharashtra to help the latter alleviate its 5,000 mw energy shortfall.

In the area of energy conservation, APP members are working jointly to increase the quality and quantity of compact fluorescent light bulbs across Asia.

Describing last week’s Major Economies Leaders Meeting in Japan as “a very important step in the right direction”, Dobriansky said, for the first time, leaders from 17 of the world’s largest economies sat at the same table to tackle the tough issues that will be essential for a new global climate regime.

The group acknowledged its leadership role on the issue and set out some important details on what they will do in the long-term, mid-term and near-term, Dobriansky said.

In the near-term, Major Economies leaders called for “voluntary, action-oriented international cooperation” in key sectors, endorsing exactly the approach we are pursuing through the APP, she noted.

“Day in and day out, and sector by sector, the APP is complementing our international negotiating agenda with practical on-the-ground activities,” she said.

To date, the US has contributed over $70 million to the APP and Bush has asked for $52 million more in his budget request for the next fiscal year, Dobriansky said noting the APP enjoys broad, bi-partisan support in the US Congress.

“For America, this is a sound investment,” she said. “Others are matching our levels of engagement.”

Projects funded to date are expected to leverage $521 million in private sector funds, in-kind contributions as well as monetary and in-kind contributions from trade missions and multilateral development banks.

“And we are managing the partnership jointly,” Dobriansky said noting India hosted an APP ministerial conference last year, and China will host the next ministerial meeting in 2009.

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