Stuart E. Eizenstat, Under Secretary for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Remarks on climate change ministerial, "Tokyo Ministerial on Climate Change"  Tokyo, Japan, September 18, 1998

"Tokyo Ministerial on Climate Change"

The informal ministerial on climate change held in Tokyo on
September 17-18 proved very positive, and the United States
thanked our Japanese hosts for putting together the meeting.
Among the twenty-plus countries invited to attend, there was a
strong spirit of cooperation and shared responsibility to
continue the progress on climate change begun in Kyoto last
December.  There was interest in developing a work plan with
timetables on the flexibility mechanisms -- emissions trading,
Joint Implementation, and the Clean Development Mechanism.

An active discussion took place concerning the domestic actions
being taken by individual nations.  The United States set forth
in detail its ongoing and planned efforts, which include existing
programs for energy labeling on major appliances, solar energy
promotion, and model energy conservation programs in the federal
government itself; $1 billion in climate-related assistance to
some 44 developing countries over the next five years; as well as
President Clinton's $6.3 billion proposal for new, climate-
related tax incentives and R&D measures.  Both developing and
developed countries -- from China and Indonesia to Japan and the
United Kingdom -- made clear their concern about climate change
and described national policies and programs that help address
climate change.

Discussion of the Clean Development Mechanism, or CDM, which
shows real promise as a bridge between the developed and
developing countries in their efforts to address the global
problem of climate change, was especially productive.  Attendees
recognized that the projects to be covered by the CDM can create
emissions reductions with environmental benefits for us all.  The
ministers and their representatives generally acknowledged CDM's
potential to promote investments in clean growth in developing
countries and to help developed countries meet their Kyoto goals,
cost-effectively, through project-generated credits against their

The ministerial sparked a frank and lively discussion of
emissions trading.  It reflected an uncommonly clear sense of the
balance needed between ensuring the trading system's integrity
through strong rules, and maximizing its ability to generate
emissions reductions worldwide by making it simple and
transparent and allowing its full and flexible use.  Trading is a
complex issue and countries have different views on precisely how
it should work.  The ministerial reflected this, yet also made
clear that trading is greatly valued as an innovative and
powerful approach to addressing climate change cost-effectively.
On that basis, the group was quite positive on balance about the
prospects for progress on trading at the Fourth Conference of the
Parties -- COP4 -- coming up in November in Buenos Aires.  Based
upon improved understanding with the EU, we hope that emissions
trading will not be a divisive issue at COP4.

The ministerial gave the twenty-plus attendees an opportunity to
consider what can be achieved at COP4 and beyond, but no formal
conclusions were reached.  A very business-like attitude was
taken by the ministers and their representatives, with a strong
focus in discussions on identifying common interests and feasible
results for COP4.  In our meetings, the United States made clear
that developing countries must be part of the solution.
Meaningful participation by key developing countries is central,
with their degree of commitment dependent upon their emissions
level and state of development.

The United States sees COP4 as an opportunity to renew momentum
on both the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the
historic Kyoto Protocol.  There seems to be a solid basis for
developing an approach to completing the elaboration of the
flexibility mechanisms -- emissions trading and the Clean
Development Mechanism.

Our goal is to engage in frank discussions on the areas of shared
interest, to develop a consensus on next steps in key areas, and
to avoid  unproductive arguments on issues that cannot be
resolved at COP4.  The  United States hopes that at COP4, Parties
will signal clearly their commitment to move forward, and their
understanding of the need for greater certainty among our people
and private firms about how the Kyoto mechanisms and processes
will work.

The United States will encourage all countries -- both developed
and developing -- to reiterate at COP4 the need for concerted,
cooperative action to address this global problem.  A concrete
step in this regard would be for Parties to renew their
commitment to taking actions in the context of the Framework
Convention, which recognizes both the "common, but differentiated
responsibilities" of developed and developing countries and the
need for a global effort.

The United States would like to see greater evidence at COP4 of
developed and developing countries working together on climate
change.  We are encouraging discussion of a broad array of
developing country participation activities and acknowledgment of
the specific contributions to limiting greenhouse gases many have
made.  We may also be able to build confidence and shared
perspectives by engaging at COP4 with the private sector and the
NGOs.  These groups have many skills and insights to contribute,
and can help us move forward on issues that are technically
complex and politically sensitive.

The key to success will be to establish COP4 as a stepping stone
to the future of our efforts on climate change, one which is both
credible and effective.

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