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Climate Change And Development

Speaking to a meeting of the Sustainable Development Forum, sponsored by the United Nations Association of Brazil, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky said three issues "will be essential as we work to develop a global, post-2012 climate regime."

To be environmentally effective and economically sustainable, a post-2012 approach must include meaningful participation from all major economies. The U.S., said Ms. Dobriansky, will do its part. "However, even if the United States and other developed countries cut emissions to zero, we would not be able to effectively address the challenge of climate change," she said, "unless developing countries joined in cutting emissions."

Another priority, said Under Secretary Dobrianksy, is the development and deployment of clean energy technologies like nuclear power, clean coal, wind, solar, and biofuels. To facilitate this effort, the U.S. government has allocated over twenty-two billion dollars since 2001. Ms. Dobrianksy cited the need for global participation in clean energy development and called attention to U.S. cooperation with Brazil on sustainable biofuels.

A third issue that must be addressed, said Under Secretary Dobriansky, is tropical deforestation. Deforestation and land use change constitute a significant share – around twenty percent – of global greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. believes that through sustainable forest management and conservation, multiple objectives – supporting livelihoods, protecting the environment, promoting biodiversity, and improving our carbon footprint – can be achieved. The U.S. is working to address deforestation through public-private partnerships. One such initiative is the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, a partnership with African, European, and North American governments as well as representatives from non-governmental organizations and the private sector to promote economic development and natural resource conservation in the Congo Basin.

"We have come a long way on sustainable development since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and the 2002 Johannesburg Summit," said Under Secretary Dobriansky. "As we begin this new chapter in climate diplomacy, we look forward," she said, "to identifying the creative and collaborative solutions that will protect our planet and all of its inhabitants for future generations."