US must take the lead in new climate technologies, says Bellona in meeting with Washington’s climate negotiator

frontpageingressimage_dobriansky-og-hauge.jpg Photo: (foto: ola innset/bellona)

Dobriansky has been in Norway since Thursday seeking input in preparation for December’s UN Climate Conference in Poznan, Poland, and met with Norwegian climate experts Tuesday in a Bellona arranged seminar.

The unanimous answer she received was that more emphasis needs to be devoted to CO2 capture and storage and other kinds of technology.

The Poznan conference is the most important international gathering prior to next year’s climate meeting in Copenhagen, where the goal is to put forth a global climate agreement that will replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

“It is crucial that the United States leads in the development of new technology. We require an increased commitment to technology, and the United States must take the lead in technology investment,” said Hauge in Bellona’s meeting with Dobriansky.

Hauge also asserted that technology investment and development must occupy a more important place in climate negotiations than it currently does. He also underscored the need for rich nations to take on more of a commitment than poor countries.

“Rich countries must take on more of a commitment in order to shore up confidence (in new technologies),” he said.

C02 capture and storage
Hauge also said that CO2 capture and storage must be a more important ingredient in the international climate negotiations. It is currently a question mark as to whether CO2 capture and storage will be a part of the Clean Development Mechanism, or CDM, which, under the Kyoto Protocol, allows industrialised countries with greenhouse emissions to invest in projects that reduce emissions in developing countries as an alternative to – or in addition to – more expensive emission reductions in their own countries.

“CO2 capture and storage is a weapon we did not have when the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated. My challenge to the United States is to bring CO2 capture and storage to a different level,” said Hauge.

Dobrianky meeting with Solheim
Since Dobriansky’s arrival on Thursday, she has visited Svalbard and Mongstad, where a pilot project for CO2 capture and storage will soon be established.

On Tuesday, she also met with Norwegian Environmental Minister Erik Solheim.

“It was a positive meeting,” said Solheim, adding that they had discussed the need to include China and India in any coming climate agreement stemming from the upcoming talks.

The United States and Change
The United States has traditionally been a dead end in international climate negotiations. At the Bali Climate Conference in December 2007 the United States joined the bandwagon of the conference’s conclusion only in the 11th hour.

But the US mentality seems to be changing, and both US presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, have suggested emissions cuts.

“We want a global climate agreement, and we want to be a part of it,” Dobriansky told reporters in Norway on Tuesday.

Dobriansky still maintains that it is important to secure climate commitments from counties like India and China, which are experiencing strong economic growth.