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Senior US officials said Friday that the Obama administration is ready for a shift in US environmental policy, and is poised to build on exchanges and partnerships with other countries on the issue of climate change. The country will launch a forum of world leaders on climate change and global warming on April 27 and 28. Our Washington correspondent Shanshan has the story.
The forum, labeled by the White House as the Major Economics Forum on Energy and Climate, will bring together representatives from 17 major economies, including major developing countries China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. Denmark, host of the Copenhagen Summit at the end of this year, and the Unitd Nations have also been invited. The meeting will take place at the level of leaders' representatives, followed by a summit of world leaders in Italy in July. Mike Froman, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs and chair of the Forum, says the forum will serve as an arena for countries to communicate and exchange ideas, rather than delivering a solution.
"I think on the agenda, there are really two purposes to this forum. One is to deal with the issues that go into the Copenhagen agreement, and the other is to talk about technology cooperation and transformational technology. And I think at this first meeting there'll be a particular focus on the transformational technologies that need to be addressed and a good exchange of views about what countries are working on and areas of potential cooperation. "
When former US President George W. Bush launched the series of talks, arguing that major emitters across the globe could benefit by meeting outside the formal U.N. climate negotiations, several foreign officials accused the United States of seeking to undermine the U.N. process. But Obama officials believe the talks could help forge a basis for a broader U.N. climate agreement in December, when negotiators will meet in Copenhagen to develop a pact aimed at cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.
Todd Stern, the U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change, will lead U.S. participation in the Forum
"First of all, there's no magic assurance of success. But there's a fundamental difference between what we're trying to do and what the Bush Administration was trying to do, which is that we are very keen on trying to achieve a strong robust agreement in Copenhagen with all the major players a part of it. " The United States pulled out of the Kyoto accords in 2001, and remains as the only developed country outside the framework. Todd Stern says the domestic context in the US with regard to the global warming issue has changed.
"You know, at the time of Kyoto, it was really a completely different context. There was a different context with respect to overall public opinion and opinion among policymakers. There is an understanding now, I think, in, for example, in the national security community of the importance of this issue, the importance of the issue not just as an environmental concern but as the potential economic driver really for the 21st century."
The US special envoy on climate change says that China has achieved remarkable progress in dealing with climate change, and the US is eager to work with China as partners and friends to move forward.
"We are really quite mindful of the extraordinary progress that China is making in this area. They have vehicle efficiency goals that are higher than ours. They have a thousand enterprise plan for getting efficiency in their big industries. China is doing a lot. But having said that, if you look at the ĘC if you look at the trajectory of China's emissions, they're still going up very rapidly because of the extraordinary success of the Chinese economy. So what ĘC I think that what I have said and what we will continue to talk to the Chinese about is that while they are doing a lot, they're going to have to do much, much more. It's going to have to be quantified.
They're going to have to make a commitment to do it in the international context just the way others are making commitments. And we are very eager to do this with the Chinese to work as partners and friends in trying to move forward."
Traditional Guqin The guqin, a seven-stringed plucked zither, is China's oldest stringed instrument.
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