Thank you for holding this hearing. This is an opportunity for us to discuss the progress, if any, that has been made by the countries that have ratified Kyoto.
I have found that some are reconsidering their early ardent advocacy for the Kyoto Protocol. In fact, at this year’s Association of South East Asian Nations regional summit, the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate was announced. It brings together Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United States, which together account for nearly half of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
The partnership's vision statement speaks of:
· developing, deploying and transferring existing and emerging clean technology
· exploring technologies such as clean coal, nuclear power and carbon capture
· involving the private sector.
Missing, in stark contrast to the Kyoto Protocol, is any mention of mandatory reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions. Although the statement says the partnership would not replace the Kyoto process, the implication at the July announcement was clear in my mind: here was an alternative model through which countries could combat climate change without risking the economic pain that is inflicted on them by the onerous Kyoto protocol.
Even just last month, British Prime Minister Tony Blair who has in the past supported the Kyoto concept, indicated a possible change of mind. To quote him: "Probably I'm changing my thinking about this in the past two or three years." He further went on to extol the importance of technology in curbing emissions. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses their views on the international community’s progress on Kyoto.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.