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BONN TO KYOTO: THE ADMINISTRATION'S POSITION ON THE CLIMATE CHANGE TREATY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
NOVEMBER 13, 1997
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
WILLIAM GOODLING, Pennsylvania
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
JAY KIM, California
STEVEN J. CHABOT, Ohio
MARSHALL ''MARK'' SANFORD, South Carolina
MATT SALMON, Arizona
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
TOM CAMPBELL, California
JON FOX, Pennsylvania
JOHN McHUGH, New York
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
LEE HAMILTON, Indiana
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
TOM LANTOS, California
HOWARD BERMAN, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCGARY ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT ANDREWS, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
PAT DANNER, Missouri
EARL HILLIARD, Alabama
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVE ROTHMAN, New Jersey
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
BILL LUTHER, Minnesota
JIM DAVIS, Florida
RICHARD J. GARON, Chief of Staff
MICHAEL H. VAN DUSEN, Democratic Chief of Staff
MARK KIRK, Counsel
PARKER H. BRENT, Staff Associate
C O N T E N T S
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Honorable Timothy E. Wirth, Under Secretary for Global Affairs, Department of State
Prepared statement of Under Secretary Timothy Wirth
Additional material submitted by Under Secretary Wirth
Additional material submitted by Congressman Chris Smith, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
Additional material submitted by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a Representative in Congress from California
BONN TO KYOTO: THE ADMINISTRATION'S POSITION ON THE CLIMATE CHANGE TREATY
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 1997
House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:50 a.m. in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Benjamin A. Gilman (chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Chairman GILMAN. The Committee will come to order.
We are pleased that Under Secretary Tim Wirth is with us this morning on the issue of the upcoming Kyoto climate change treaty. And, Mr. Wirth, as we know, former Member, is here before this Committee on a number of occasions.
I want to state that I am one of the Members who shares the growing consensus that may be making an impact on the environment of our planet. For that reason, I believe our Nation should do our part as part of a comprehensive international effort to reduce that impact.
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I join with Congressman Gilchrest on his resolution calling for the United States to stop the growth and even to reduce the production of carbon dioxide and other gases that may be changing our atmosphere. And as I have said before, this is a significant problem that can only be solved by serious and effective solutions.
I want to note the concerns expressed to me by the Ranking Minority Member, Mr. Hamilton, and Congressman Faleomavaega regarding the situation of small island nations. They lead an important wing of the climate change discussions, and their concerns should be heard.
We planned to have outside witnesses participate in this hearing, but due to the late notice we have elected to hear just from the Administration, and we look to our chairman on the International Economic Policy Trade Subcommittee, the gentlelady from Florida, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, and the chairman of the International Operations and Human Rights Subcommittee, the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Smith, for further hearings on this important treaty.
I will also note the concerns of Americans here in the continental United States. Both labor and industry, you worry that a bad treaty will be worse than no treaty at all. The Administration does have some powerful opponents to this proposed treaty, including a rare alliance of the National Association of Manufacturers and the AFLCIO, both of whom testified before our Committee last July, and they made an important point, if we bind our own economy with new restrictions without binding our economic competitors, there will be a giant sucking sound of jobs leaving our Nation without any cuts in the production of greenhouse gases.
The Senate has been very clear on this issue in a resolution that was passed by a vote 95 to 0, stating, and I quote, ''The United States should not make any new commitments to limit or reduce emissions for developed countries unless the agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for developing countries within the same compliance period.''
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Regrettably, the President has not heeded that overwhelming guidance in the Senate. And in his October 22nd climate change speech, he merely stated, and I quote again, ''Our Nation, the United States, will not assume binding obligations unless key developing countries meaningfully participate in this effort.''
By ''meaningfully participate,'' he appeared to indicate that developing countries would merely measure their production of greenhouse gases and would accept our aid to use cleaner technologies, not the legally binding restrictions that we place upon our own Nation.
Under the President's proposal, even these limitation targets are to be delayed. They will not take effect until past the end of the Clinton Administration and even the Gore Administration, if elected. They are delayed all the way to the year 2008. I worry that this is not a serious effort.
The President further stated, and I quote, ''I want to emphasize that we cannot wait until the treaty is negotiated and ratified to act.''
We are concerned about that. We shouldn't sign a treaty unless we know it will reduce greenhouse gases. We should not sign a treaty until we know what economic impact it is going to have. And we should not sign a treaty unless it has a good chance to be ratified in the Senate as our Constitution requires.
At the moment, developing nations will be off the hook. The Administration has no economic analysis of the treaty's impact, and the chances for Senate ratification look weak, indeed. There is no substitute for the advice and consent of the Senate. The Administration should not plan on implementing an unratified treaty by regulation alone.
Before I turn to Mr. Hamilton, I want to emphasize the need for the Congress and the executive to work together on this. And I sense a growing gap between the Congress and the President on this issue. That is why we formed the House observer group to the climate change negotiations. I was concerned that, as delegates, we were being asked not to publicly comment on the conference.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will note that, as a Senator, Under Secretary Wirth, you were part of the U.S. delegation to the Rio conference in Brazil on June 10, 1992. Secretary Wirth, you were highly critical to the President/U.S. position on the Rio treaty. I note you made further critical comments on the 12th, 14th and 15th of June, repeatedly blasting our Nation's position as set by the right wing and all based on politics.
I understand that the Administration has reviewed its position on the role of congressional Members of the U.S. delegation, and now let us speak to some extent, as you did, on the issues before us.
With that, I would now like to turn to our Ranking Minority Member, Mr. Hamilton, for any opening statement he may have. Mr. Hamilton.
Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for holding this hearing. I think it is very timely. I want to welcome Tim Wirth back to the House of Representatives where he served with great distinction, as well as in the U.S. Senate before he became the Under Secretary for Global Affairs. And I think he has performed in that office with extraordinary distinction. It is good to have him here.
As the Chairman suggested, I think the Congress is concerned, as I know Secretary Wirth knows very well, that we want to protect U.S. economic growth, and at the same time we want to insist that the developing countries agree to meaningful limitations on their emissions.
I think the President has listened to us and given us a balanced program. I think, from my reading on this, Mr. Secretary, that the scientific consensus today is that the Cuban activity is having an impact on our environment and our climate change. And the question then really becomes how best to respond.
I do not favor, and I trust you do not favor, a crash program to reduce these emissions. The sky is not falling. But the sky is filling up with greenhouse gases. And so I think the President has come up with a gradual program of reducing these emissions that takes care to protect our economy. And I think, on the whole, his plan is balanced and reasonable. It provides a long lead time for curtailing emissions. It invests in energy efficiency and cleaner technologies. It proposes market-based solutions.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The problem is global, and the response has to be global. And we should encourage, I think, the global emissions trading and the participation of all the countries, including the developing countries.
Now, having said all of that, I think forming the proposal, Mr. Secretary, is the easy part. I think the tough part is going to be selling it to the world, which wants us to do a lot more, as I understand it. And, second, selling it to the people, who I find at least are still slow and skeptical about the science and about the need for action.
So you have, the President has, we all have a formidable task, not just in putting the proposal together but in selling it. And I know that is your chief concern today and is the reason you are here.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Hamilton.
Mr. Rohrabacher. I would like to remind our Members that the Secretary has only until noon to be with us, so please keep your remarks as brief as possible.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I certainly will, Mr. Chairman.
I rise only in reluctance, because I would respectfully disagree with the premises of the Chairman's opening statement. While I respect the Chairman's concern about the environment, the premises that global warming should be a major concern to us is, I believe, misplaced and perhaps affected by nonscientific information that has been repeatedly transmitted to the modern people in a way that has been unquestioned.
Frankly, I was the chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee last time around. We had extensive hearings on this, and the bottom line is global warming is bologna. It is absolute bologna. And it is worse than bologna, because bologna is something you can eat and get something out of.
The fact is this bologna is tainted meat. And the more we taste it, the more it is going to poison us and have harmful effects on our children, harmful effects on our economy. People, we will not have the money we have to take care of the social needs because of the harm and destruction this stupid idea will have on the people of the United States of America.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But even if one accepts the idea that there is global warming, and I might add thatI know I will make this very short, Mr. Chairmanbut there was just an extensive study done by using the climatologists from around the United States. And the States' 50 climatologists, the vast majority of them have stated that global warming is unproven. And we should not be moving forward with these dramatic policies based on an unproven theory.
And just to say, even if there was global warming, the plan being discussed at Kyoto is unbalanced and will lead to a great harm to the American people. So as we were discussing this today, I hope that at least this agreement is kept in mind and we will be discussing it.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Rohrabacher. Mr. Smith.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to welcome Under Secretary of State, Tim Wirth, to our Committee. Since there is only limited time since he will be departing, I want to ask if he will include in his opening comments perhaps an answer to a question many of us have in terms of our negotiating priorities.
I would just remind the Committee that before the Cairo population conferenceand we do have the action memo that was sent out to Action Cable to all of our embassies around the worldit was made very clear that one of the U.S. negotiating priorities was access to abortion, and it was part of a comprehensive strategy, and throughout this cable it talks about that.
Many of us are concerned that the blame for global warming could very quickly be laid at the feet of children, that somehow more children equals more pollution. If that is a negotiating priority, if population control is part of it, we need to know that. I buttress our concern with statements made by the Vice President on October 1st to the TV weathermen, I have the actual transcript, and I ask that the full transcript of that be made a part of the record.
Chairman GILMAN. Without objection.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The information referred to appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. One of the weathermen asked him a question about what he has done with regard to global warming. The very first thing that the Vice President, our very distinguished Vice President Al Gore saidactually, I would like to quote the question and his response:
''Mr. Vice President, you were talking about global population, you know, growing essentially out of control. Has the Administration thought in any way, shape, or form about the policy offending those developing countries relative to overpopulation?''
And Mr. Gore responded, ''Yes, we have. And one of the first thingsactually the first days that President Clinton was in office, he signed an Executive order changing a policy that has been called the Mexico City policy because the last worldwide conference''and then he goes on.
The Mexico City policy, Mr. Chairman, is all about abortion. And let me also point out, when Dee Dee Myers was askedand this is from the April 1, 1993, news wireis abortion a population control method? Her answer, and I quote: ''It's up to the various groups. It's certainly among the things that we have funded previously before there were restrictions on Federal funds. It's part of the overall approach to population control.'' That is the White House spokeswoman.
So many of us have concerns that the idea of blaming the children may take hold in Japan. You might recall, Mr. Chairman, that great book Blaming The Victim years ago that awakened America in part to blaming those in poverty, those who were actually caught in that cycle.
It is a very real concern that many of us have that the population issue will be used to try to get countries to move in the abortion realm, to liberalize their abortion laws. This is suggested by the paper trail and Administration statements. Again, the first thing the Vice President said was ''Mexico City''. That is why many of us on the pro-life side are insisting that if we have a family programwhich is fineit has to have a wall of separation between abortion and family planning. Now even global warming is being blamed on the kids.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman GILMAN. I thank the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Smith. Mr. Gejdenson.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Thank you. I would just like to say how happy I am to see our ex-colleague and former Senator before us.
For my friend from California, I am not sure that the Administration's solution is the correct one. But I remember growing up with people telling me you could pour just about anything in the ground, and once it went through 30 feet of gravel, you could drink it. Then the Cuyahoga River caught fire, and by then we caused a substantial amount of damage, and trying to undo it was near impossible in many places.
So I frankly applaud the Administration. There is a debate about how to get there, what responsibilities various nations have, but it seems to me there is no question that we have an important responsibility to make sure that the global environment isn't degraded. Because at the end of the day, that is bad economic policy, it is bad health policy, and we will all pay a terrible price if we ignore that.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Would the gentleman yield for a question?
Mr. GEJDENSON. I would be happy.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. How is the Cuyahoga River doing now?
Mr. GEJDENSON. The Cuyahoga River is doing much better now.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you.
Mr. GEJDENSON. But it took significant actions and caused significant harm while we allowed it to get to that stage.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I am glad it is doing well now.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Reclaiming my time, if the gentleman suggests that we ought to first allow the groundwaters to be polluted, then to clean them up as a solution for the problem, it is much more costly that way.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman GILMAN. Gentlemen, I am going to ask you to conclude so we can hear from the witness.
Mr. GEJDENSON. I will be happy to conclude. Again, it is a pleasure to have our Under Secretary here.
Chairman GILMAN. I want to introduce Tim Wirth, former Member of both the House and Senate, and now our Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs. Welcome, Secretary Wirth. Sorry for the delay. And we will ask if you want to put your full statement in the record or summarize it, whichever you deem appropriate. Mr. Wirth.
STATEMENT OF TIMOTHY E. WIRTH, UNDER SECRETARY FOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. WIRTH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And the Administration is very pleased to be able to be back with the Committee and to participate with you in the very important discussion of global climate change.
The U.S. delegation, as you know, finished its work 2 weeks ago at the eighth session of what is called the Ad Hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate, the working group surrounding the steps that we were trying to take in Kyoto. But this was the last formal prenegotiation meeting prior to the Kyoto gathering in December. Because further preparatory work remains, governments will reconvene for a half a day on November 30th and a half a day on December 1st before the formal opening of the Kyoto conference.
President Clinton's announcement of the U.S. target on October 22 changed the dynamic of the negotiations. His speech marked the beginning of any initiative to undertake realistic and achievable efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In his speech, the President outlined a flexible market-based and cost-effective approach backed by a comprehensive domestic program to help meet the ambitious target to return greenhouse gas emissions to the 1990 levels in a budget period between 2008 and 2012. This target will be followed by a reduction below 1990 levels in the 5-year period thereafter in an effort to make further reductions in the years beyond that. Unlike the EU and other proposals, the U.S. plan takes a comprehensive view with regard to the gases to be included. We are prepared to address a broad range that includes carbon, the extremely potent greenhouse gases such as HFCs, PFCs, and SF6, and all land use and forest sinks.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A major element of the President's proposal is the call for both industrialized and developing countries to participate in meeting the challenge of climate change. While developed countries must lead, the President stated that key developing nations must meaningfully participate, otherwise the United States will not assume binding obligations. Their involvement is vital to addressing the global problem that we face. These nations have an opportunity to chart a different energy future.
The President also placed great emphasis on the need to rely on a series of flexible mechanisms for achieving binding limits and lowering costs. Innovations such as emissions trading and joint implementation with credit can cut worldwide pollution and help developing countries protect their own environments without sacrificing economic growth.
Our negotiators worked with other delegates of the Bonn meeting to develop a text for a protocol or other legal instrument for consideration at COP3 that is consistent with the U.S. proposal. Although we saw some movement in some areas critical to the overall U.S. position, most important issues within the text remain bracketed and are far from agreed. These include sections on emissions trading, joint implementation, commitments by developing countries, harmonized policies and measures, multiyear emissions budgets, the treatment of carbon sinks, and the level of target reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by Annex I countries.
As you pointed out, reaching consensus with other negotiation parties on these issues has been and will continue to be difficult. The Group of 77 and China worked to block the text in several areas and reintroduced text to reflect its insistence that there will be no new commitments from developing countries and to obtain new concessions from developed countries on financing and the transfer of so-called climate-friendly technologies.
Thus, with less than 1 month until the conference of the parties at Kyoto, much work remains to be done on many outstanding and difficult issues. Last week, I met with the environmental ministers from the European ''Troika.'' It was a constructive meeting, and I believe that our dialog served as a further understanding of our respective approaches. We have committed to undertaking intense consultations with the EU over the coming weeks.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I also went to Japan over the last weekend to lead a U.S. delegation to an informal meeting at the ministerial level in Tokyo. That session provided an opportunity to meet with our EU colleagues again, as well as ministers from other developed and developing country parties. The session provided the first opportunity for most ministers to hear for themselves each other's concerns, and, as such, was quite helpful.
We continue to look for areas of common ground with our developed country partners, including on such elements as the budget period and on the long-term need to involve all sinks and sources of all gases in all sectors and to fully engage developing countries.
Unfortunately, some of the key developing countries did not attend the ministerial in Tokyo. China, India, Saudi Arabia were invited but did not come. We did find some flexibility from developing country attendees, including Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, Samoa, representing the alliance of small island States, and Tanzania, representing the entire Group of 77 and China. However, it is clear that we still have a long way to go with developing countries.
Initiated in January of this year, U.S. policy on climate change became fully fleshed out with President Clinton's announcement of the U.S. target next month. Kyoto marks the next step in a series of steps that will enable the United States and all nations to fulfill the climate convention's ultimate objective. It will not be an easy road to Kyoto or beyond, but through an intensive, comprehensive, diplomatic effort we will increase our chances for success considerably.
Again, thank you, Mr. Chairman. We look forward to working with Members of the Committee in the undertaking of this.
If I might also, Mr. Chairman, I would like to include in the record in full a statement related to the congressional role in Kyoto. As you know, the Administration had urged the Congress to establish a Senate observer group, and a House observer group. The Senate observer group was established some weeks ago. And I have met with the Senate observer group on a number of occasions. The House observer group was established about 10 days ago. I think the day of its announcement, I called the Chairman, Congressman Sensenbrenner, and asked if it would be helpful for me to come up and meet with him or with Members of the observer group. And we established a time for doing so, that he thought it would be helpful.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I came and met for about an hour with about seven or eight Members of the observer group and had what I thought was a very amicable discussion focusing on the observer group, what Kyoto was like, what Members ought to expect, how long a time it would be productive, it might be productive for them to be there. If spouses went, what the spouses might expect, what sort of a briefing we would do with the Members every day, what kind of a posting we would anticipate that we could provide to Members of the Congress. I mean, all of the things that you and I are accustomed to, over my experience, 18 years in the Congress, of congressional delegations and just laying out the rules of the road.
For some reason, this blew into a major misunderstanding or a major confrontation. And so what I might do is just to read to youI ask that we might in response to that, any misunderstanding, lay out very clearly what the rules of the road were in our opinion. And if I might read that into the record, I would appreciate it.
The question that was asked was, ''What will the congressional role in Kyoto be?'' And the answer is: The Administration supports the participation of congressional observers at the Kyoto conference from both the House and the Senate. We continue to value and seek out the advice and counsel of Members of Congress in formulating our policy.
To ensure access to the conference facility, Members and staff will be included in the official U.S. delegation for purposes of accreditation. Congressional observers and the U.S. delegation, of course, are free to express their views and opinions to the press so long as they make clear that they are not speaking on behalf of the U.S. delegation.
However, unlike executive branch officials who are responsible for negotiating on behalf of the United States, the role of congressional observers will not include speaking on behalf of the U.S. delegation in negotiating sessions or with foreign delegations. Congressional observers will have full diplomatic support. The State Department will ensure that all administrative and logistical needs are met.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Consistent with the rules of the conference and space availability, we will seek access for observers to conference proceedings. Members of the group and their staffs are welcome to attend meetings of the full U.S. delegation, which customarily occur in the morning. Observers will also receive regular and frequent briefings in Kyoto. Additionally, they will be welcome to attend other meetings of the delegation as appropriate and consistent with executive branch responsibilities.
I think that outline, Mr. Chairman, is consistent with my own experience of 18 years in the Congress in attending many meetings. And I think these are the standard rules of the road for every group as they join with the executive branch in fulfilling our responsibilities around the world.
I thought it might be useful at this point, Mr. Chairman, to include that in the record. And perhaps we can, right at the way, lance any remaining misunderstanding that may occur. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Secretary Wirth. And I will communicate that to Chairman Sensenbrenner.
Mr. WIRTH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Wirth appears in the appendix.]
Chairman GILMAN. I would like to start off by noting four basic issues regarding the proposed treaty. First, uncertain science and modeling; second, a lack of burden sharing; third, the severe economic impact of the treaty on our own Nation; fourth, the potential loss of our Nation's sovereignty; and some misplaced priorities.
I will leave it to others to ask about some of these issues, but I would like to focus on a lack of burden sharing. As a Senator, Vice-President Gore noted, and I quote: ''If developed countries, including the United States, lower carbon emissions by half, global carbon emissions by man still will double within our lifetime.''
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC By the year 2015, China is going to surpass our Nation and emissions in total developed countries that will produce obviously one-quarter of man's carbon emissions during the next century. Under the draft treaty's Berlin mandate, our Nation and 33 other developed countries are going to bear the entire burden of the treaty's mandatory targets and timetables to reduce carbon emissions. Some 129 countries, including the largest carbon emitters, such as China, India, Brazil, will obviously have voluntary goals without mandatory limits.
Given that most carbon emissions come from nations exempted from the mandatory limits of the treaty, I ask you what impact will the treaty have on reducing the earth's average temperature, Mr. Wirth?
Mr. WIRTH. Mr. Chairman, we have been very concerned, the U.S. Government has been very concerned about engaging developing countries. And, in fact, the proposals made by the United States have been far out in front of those of anybody else in the world.
Under the treaty, as you know, there are two groups of countries. One group are called the Annex I countries, the 30-some odd countries you referred to in your statement. Non-Annex I countries are everybody else. That differentiation was made right at the end of the negotiations leading to the Framework Convention on Climate Change. The last negotiations in New York, prior to the Rio conference in 1992, was done hurriedly and not as carefully as it should have been.
The United States has attempted to right what we think is not a clear description of the realities of the world by proposing that there be two subgroups of the so-called non-Annex I countries of the developing countries. One of those would be those developing countries that have developed very rapidly, have achieved OECD status, or have very high standards of living on their own. These are countries like Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Israel, countries that are very well-developed and certainly have a higher standard of living than many of the so-called Annex I countries. But those countries should be in a category and should assume responsibility right away.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The second group of countries that we are concerned about are the very large developing countries, the ones that you refer to, that are major greenhouse gas emitters, such as China and India. The United States is No. 1 in the world at 22 percent. China is No. 2 at about 14 percent. India is No. 5 at about 4 percent. We feel that they have to evolve into a level of responsibility. And we had laid out a proposal to do exactly that.
Our first proposal is reflected in Chairman Estrada's text that will be the basic text of the negotiation, and we are very pleased that we have made real progress in engaging the so-called more developed of the developing countries. This is the new Annex X, which we think is a major step in the right direction.
The evolution issue for the largest countries is still up in the air. And we believe that it is imperative that we resolve that issue in Kyoto and are working very hard to do so.
Over the short term, most of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were put there by the Annex I countries or really a small group of the Annex I countries. Really the EU, Russia, the United States, and Japan, you know, have been the major emitters. So we have put most of the gases up there so far and, therefore, have first responsibility for taking next steps in terms of reductions.
But if we look over our shoulders, as Secretary Albright said to the Chinese Foreign Minister when we met with him at the U.N. General Assembly in the fall, she said, we are the problem today, but you're about to become the problem, and you have to make steps to right this issue now. That is what we are attempting to do.
And, again, it is not as if there are an awful lot of other countries that have been out there helping us on this front, Mr. Chairman. The United States has been far out in front of everybody else on both the well-developed group and the very large developing group. But we are making progress. We are a lot further today than we were 2 months ago, 4 months ago, or 6 months ago.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Wirth. And just one other question. Under the draft treaty, Americans are going to be forced to reduce carbon emissions or purchase rights to emit from other nations. And under that system, working Americans are going to be asked to privately fund a massive new foreign assistance program for Third World countries who want to sell their emission rights, an unfunded mandate on Americans to provide some new foreign aid.
Can you tell us what kind of international control will the United Nations or other organizations be given to police our economy, and will payments be made to other countries such as Iraq, Iran, and Libya, regardless of their record on human rights, terrorism, nonproliferation, and narcotics trafficking?
Mr. WIRTH. The proposal that we have made, Mr. Chairman, for flexible financial instruments, has, I believe, been very broadly applauded throughout the economic community. I think there are very few people in the American business or commercial community who have in any way, shape, or form been critical of the approach recommended by the United States. The purpose is to reduce emissions in the most cost-effective way possible.
Now, you will remember, Mr. Chairman, that when this Congress, and you were a Member and Congressman Hamilton was a Member of the Congress, we were stuck for many, many years on the Clean Air Act on a very significant confrontation, domestically, between utilities in the Midwest that were older and that were at that point burning dirtier coal and utilities and the South and the West that were newer and burning cleaner coal.
This logjam held up the Clean Air Act for at least a decade. We were able to break that logjam by agreeing on two things, agreeing to cap emissions of sulfur dioxide, and then, within that cap, allowing utilities to trade back and forth. That allowed utilities that were cleaner to gain extra credits and be rewarded for being cleaner. That allowed utilities that might have a shorter period of lifetime not to retrofit their whole utility but to buy permits to meet their share of the quota.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There was a lot of skepticism about this proposal. And it was first introduced, in fact, by the late Senator Heinz and me in 1988. There was a great deal of skepticism of that from a lot of corners because people didn't understand it. It was a brand new way of thinking about economics and the environment that we did not have to regulate from one central source, but we would be able to introduce market forces into helping us achieve these targets.
I would say that I think most people believe that the implementation of the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990 have been a roaring success, that we have been able to reduce costs very dramatically, the factor of some 10 times the reduction of the cost of sulfur. It has worked extraordinarily well in this country. And it is that model that we are anticipating can be done on a worldwide scale.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Wirth, I am going to ask again, will payments be made to other countries such as Iraq, Iran, and Libya regardless of their records on some of the issues?
Mr. WIRTH. I don't think Iraq or Libya or Iran have set any target for themselves for emissions trading. And I don't know of any proposals that have been made for joint implementation projects for credit between any private sector entities in the United States and there.
Chairman GILMAN. And how about countries with bad records on terrorism and narcotics trafficking and nonproliferation, will they be entitled to payments?
Mr. WIRTH. This is not an entitlement program or regulatory program. People have to understand, Mr. Chairman, that this is a different way of doing business. We can sit down and walk through exactly how a trading system works
Chairman GILMAN. For example, are
Mr. WIRTH [continuing]. But we don't have a central
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman GILMAN. If I might interrupt you a moment, Burma has talked about selling some of their rights.
Mr. WIRTH. Burma wouldn't be able to sell any rights unless Burma established for itself a ceiling on what Burma would be able to do. And it is not unless you have a ceiling is there any kind of trading allowed.
Chairman GILMAN. Assuming where they develop a ceiling, would we still be paying them?
Mr. WIRTH. No, we wouldn't pay them anything. It would only be if Burma decided to establish a ceiling, establishes a cap. If Burma decides to do that, then other countries would be able to trade emissions with Burma if other countries chose to do so. Nobody is going to tell other countries what to do.
It might be, if Burma established a cap and Thailand established a cap that Burma and Thailand living next door to each other might choose to trade one with the other. That would be up to Burma and Thailand as to what they would want to do were they to establish a cap. I think it is highly unlikely that either Burma or Thailand would agree to such an emissions cap.
Chairman GILMAN. How about if Libya were to establish a cap? Would they be entitled to some payment?
Mr. WIRTH. No. There is no entitlement to a payment, Mr. Chairman. There is no such thing in the system. There is no entitlement to a payment.
Chairman GILMAN. I realize that. Would they be entitled to sell credits?
Mr. WIRTH. They wouldn't be entitled to do anything. They wouldif Libya were to establish a cap, and, say, France had a cap, France and Libya could agree, if France and Libya wanted to, to trade back and forth if that were allowed under other articles of international law.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman GILMAN. I am being called to
Mr. WIRTH. But there is
Chairman GILMAN. I am being called to a leadership meeting, and I am going to ask Mr. Smith if he would be kind enough to chair the meeting for us.
Mr. WIRTH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And thank you very much for holding the hearing.
Mr. SMITH [presiding.] Mr. Hamilton.
Mr. HAMILTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In your proposal, the President's proposal, you are not relying in any way on additional taxes in the United States or regulation, are you, to achieve the levels that the President wants to achieve?
Mr. WIRTH. Well, the President, as you know, Mr. Chairman, has laid out a 10-point program in his proposal. And I would ask for the record that that full statement of his own October 22nd be included in full in the record. We might be able to have that when we have a chance coming back here. The President's proposal is very heavy on technology. It is very heavy on providing the kinds of shifts of approach to doing much more energy-efficient activities.
[The information referred to appears in the appendix.]
Mr. HAMILTON. But no new taxes.
Mr. WIRTH. The President has not approached any new taxes.
Mr. HAMILTON. And you are going to get to those regulationsgoing to get to those ceilings, not through regulation here, but by incentives really.
Mr. WIRTH. Well, the President has spoken about the need for aggressive partnerships with large groups in the private sector, with the utility industry, with the automobile industry, and others. It is imperative that we do everything we can to get a third of the sector, the commercial and home sector to understand the enormous savings that are available with existing technologies. The President has spoken to that in a speech earlier, I believe at American University.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAMILTON. And there is no fuel tax in the coming
Mr. WIRTH. And there is no fuel tax in the President's proposal.
Mr. HAMILTON. You are thinking about different commitments for developed and developing countries in reducing their emissions; is that correct?
Mr. WIRTH. That is part of the Framework Convention on Climate Change treaty, which we ratified in 1992, that this distinction we were discussing earlier, Congressman, between Annex I countries and non-Annex I countries, the Annex I countries have the responsibility since they put most of the emissions into the atmosphere of taking the first steps to reduction.
Mr. HAMILTON. Now, your statement says we still have a long way to go with the developing countries. Do they reject that kind of a framework?
Mr. WIRTH. It depends on who you talk to, when you talk to them, how public the setting is, and so on. I am encouraged how far we have come, Congressman Hamilton. If I were to have lined up all the members of the G77 and China a year and a half ago, I think that almost every one of them out of hand would have rejected any of the proposals that we have made.
Mr. HAMILTON. But do you foresee coming out of the Japan conference, the Kyoto summit, a framework with different commitments now for the different countries for the developed and developing countries?
Mr. WIRTH. I remain optimistic, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Hamilton. I wouldn't be in the position I am in if I weren't optimistic and continue to try
Mr. HAMILTON. But the movement of opinion here has been toward an acceptance
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WIRTH. Yes.
Mr. HAMILTON [continuing]. Of a framework like you have been talking about here.
Mr. WIRTH. Parts of it has been accepted publicly. Argentina, for example, at the time the President visited Argentina last month was very forthcoming about the idea of joint implementation and what can be done in that, and that was very helpful.
Mr. HAMILTON. And is the President's proposal about this market-based system that you have been describing to curb emissions, is that being well received?
Mr. WIRTH. Better than it has been in the past as I come to understand it.
Mr. HAMILTON. Would you expect that to be a part of the Kyoto
Mr. WIRTH. It has to be. From our perspective, the absolute imperative is the permission for emissions trading and for joint implementation with credit. Absolutely imperative.
Mr. HAMILTON. All right. OK. We have a lot of questions. The bells are ringing. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Hamilton.
Mr. HAMILTON. Thank you, Mr. Wirth.
Mr. SMITH. Let me ask Mr. Wirth a couple questions. I asked in my opening statement what our negotiating position will be relative to the population issue. Could you tell us what that is?
Mr. WIRTH. I have not seen any reference to population in the discussions related to Kyoto. The Kyoto conference is a response to the Framework Convention on the Climate Change, Congressman, which is an environmental conference related to the treaty which we ratified in 1992.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. So when Vice President Al Gore talks about population and global warmingas I read to you right from the transcriptas a rationale for why Mexico City policy was done away with, that is not on the agenda at all?
Mr. WIRTH. I have not seen any reference to Mexico City being on the agenda. This is the first time it has been raised as far as I know, Congressman.
Mr. SMITH. I appreciate that.
Let me ask you, Mr. Under Secretary, about the role of NGOs and population organizations like Planned Parenthood. Do they have any role at this conference?
Mr. WIRTH. At Kyoto?
Mr. SMITH. Yes, at Kyoto.
Mr. WIRTH. I would think, in their wisdom, they would probably stay away, Congressman, because they are in for a very, very complicated and difficult conference. And I can't imagine people who didn't have an interest in it going. I mean, maybe they would like to go to kind of watch the skirmishing and the battles, but I can't see what kind of a rolewhy they would want to go.
Mr. SMITH. But unlike Beijing, you don't think they'll be here?
Mr. WIRTH. I can't imagine what interest they would have.
Mr. SMITH. Let me ask you something important since you are before the Committee and population is obviously a major part of your portfolio as Under Secretary. I want to set the record straight and put this on the record.
Have you or anyone in the Clinton Administration, or do you have any knowledge whatsoever that any multilateral organizationsuch as the World Bank, the United Nations, and its specialized agencies or the International Monetary Fund or the NGOs like Planned Parenthood ever linked, directly or indirectly, any assistance to whether or not a country is pursuing a population control or family planning program and/or was reviewing its abortion policy with a view to making it more permissive?
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WIRTH. Congressman, I am totally unequipped to speak for things that the World Bank may have done or any private organizations may have done or whatever. I work for the U.S. Government. I speak for the Administration and the U.S. Government.
Mr. SMITH. OK. How about the U.S. Government? Have we ever, in any negotiation or any contact with another government such as an AID contact that you know oflinked any kind of aid to any country to that?
Mr. WIRTH. Never, Congressman. You and I discussed this at great length.
Mr. SMITH. I know.
Mr. WIRTH. In Cairo, I think we probably spent more hours than either us want to remember talking about this very issue. As I told you at that time, the United States has never tied its aid to anybody's family planning policies in the country, nor have we ever asked a country or pressured a country to change their policies. Neither is our policy.
Mr. SMITH. On population or abortion?
Mr. WIRTH. That is right.
Mr. SMITH. And that goes for any kind of aid?
Mr. WIRTH. That is right.
Mr. SMITH. Any kind of assistance?
Mr. WIRTH. Absolutely. It is not our position to tell other countries what laws they should have or not have. Never has been.
Mr. SMITH. Do we provide incentives?
Mr. WIRTH. There is no tie
Mr. SMITH. No tie whatsoever.
Mr. WIRTH.Mr. Chairman, you know, if you do this, we will pay you to do that. A lot of people has said that is the case. It is the accusation that sounds good if you say it fast enough, but it is not true.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. I appreciate you putting that on the record.
Unfortunately, we do have a vote. In a way, you are getting off easier because all the Members are gone. But I do wish you well.
Mr. WIRTH. Congressman, thank you very much. Let me say I really appreciate the way in which you and I were able to interact in the Cairo conference. I thought you respected the rules very well. I cited that in my earlier discussion with Members, that, even as we were disagreeing very sharply, I thought you played your role as a Member of the U.S. delegation with great respect for the process and great respect for the roles of the House and the Administration differently. And let me say for the record how much I appreciate the way in which you drew that line carefully with discipline. While we disagreed, you did it in the right way, and I thank you very much.
Mr. SMITH. That is true. And I do remember our conversation in Cairo. You said at the time that, as long as I didn't speak for the Administrationwhich I made very clear I did not, it was acceptable.
Mr. WIRTH. Absolutely.
Mr. SMITH. So I do thank you for that. But you have got to understand why some of us would be concerned that a population control agenda might be there, when the Vice President links it in his speech to the weathermen.
Mr. WIRTH. Congressman, every time I see you coming, I know what your concerns are going to be.
Mr. SMITH. And I know what your concerns are, too. Mr. Rohrabacher will be returning. Until then, we will be in recess.
Mr. WIRTH. Congressman, you know, I have an airplane that I have to catch, so tell me what the pleasure of the Committee may be.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Rohrabacher is returning, if you don't mind waiting a few minutes. We will call back to see if it is going to be longer.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WIRTH. Thank you, Congressman.
[Whereupon, at 11:50 a.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
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