Sensenbrenner: Unresolved Issues Raise Doubts on Copenhagen Climate Talks

September 10, 2009

Sensenbrenner: Unresolved Issues Raise Doubts on Copenhagen Climate Talks

Washington, D.C.– U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, made the following statement during today’s hearing titled,  “Roadmap for Copenhagen — Driving towards Success:”

“I want to join Chairman Markey in welcoming U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern.
 
“We have 87 calendar days and 16 official negotiating days before the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference on December 7, when delegates hope to replace the flawed Kyoto Protocol. 
 
“And where are when on the road to Copenhagen?  Are we working toward success?  Or are we working, as I fear, toward a repeat of the Kyoto experience?
 
“After 26 days of negotiations at three meetings this year in Bonn, Germany, we are, in my opinion, a long way from ‘success.’  There are two parallel negotiations underway—one under the Convention, where the United States participates, and one under the Kyoto Protocol, where the United States is an observer.
 
“The upcoming two-week negotiating sessions in Bangkok will start with well over 400 pages of text to consider.  This compares with a little over 100 pages of text at a similar time in the 1997 Kyoto negotiations.
 
“In addition to having to wade through lengthy and complex negotiating texts, there are irreconcilable differences in the positions of developed and developing countries on a number of thorny issues—particularly on funding, technology, and mid-term mitigation targets.
 
“Developing countries are demanding that developed countries contribute up to 1 percent of their gross domestic product to developing countries for climate change, over and above existing foreign aid.  This would be an additional tab of more than $140 billion for the U.S. alone.  This is an unacceptable price tag for the beleaguered American taxpayer.  Many developing countries have said they won’t sign any agreement that does not include massive transfers of wealth.  These same countries refuse to consider any binding commitments.
 
“Developing countries are also leading efforts to weaken or even destroy intellectual property rights (IPR) by seeking to gain free access to American and other developed countries IPR for clean-energy technologies.  Their proposals include preventing patenting in developing countries, requiring compulsory licensing, and ensuring access to new technologies on non-exclusive royalty-free terms.  All of which ignore the fact that new technologies will only be developed if there are incentives to create them.
 
“Developing countries have also demanded that developed countries reduce their emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.  Cuts of such magnitude could only be achieved by wrecking developed countries economies, and indeed, the global economy.  In the meantime, most developing countries say they are unwilling to undertake any emission-reduction efforts in the absence of developed country funding or free technology.
 
“Finally, it appears that the majority of developed countries—including the United States—have agreed that developing countries should not have to take on legally-binding emissions reduction commitments for the foreseeable future.  Business as usual projections show that even if developed countries reduce their emissions to zero, global emissions will be higher in 2050 than they are today because of increases in the developing world. 
 
“As today’s witness told the Center for American Progress in June:
 
According to recent modeling . . . even if every other country in the world besides China reduced its emissions by 80% between now and 2050—a thoroughly unrealistic assumption by the way—China’s emissions . . . would alone be so large as to put us on a track to global concentrations . . . far above what scientists consider safe.
 
“In light of this, will the Senate ratify an agreement that lets China, India, Brazil and other major developing economies off the hook indefinitely?  I have my doubts. 
 
“So what does all of this portend?
 
“My more than 12 years’ experience with international climate change negotiations tells me that we heading towards a repeat of Kyoto—namely an environmentally-ineffective agreement that cannot be ratified by the United States Senate. 
 
“With so many controversial issues left unresolved, Mr. Stern and his negotiating team have 87 days of hard work ahead.  I hope today’s hearing help provides a roadmap for a successful treaty that the American public can support.”
 
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