Remarks by Judith G. Garber
Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
November 16, 2017
President of COP 23, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates. The United States is pleased to be engaging with other Parties here at the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Let me extend my sincere appreciation to the Government of Fiji for its leadership in presiding over this COP, and to the Government of Germany and the City of Bonn for hosting this Conference.
President Trump has made clear the U.S. position with respect to the Paris Agreement. Although he indicated that the United States intends to withdraw at the earliest opportunity, we remain open to the possibility of rejoining at a later date under terms more favorable to the American people.
Irrespective of our views on the Paris Agreement, the United States will continue to be a leader in clean energy and innovation, and we understand the need for transforming energy systems.
President Trump made this clear when the United States joined other G-20 countries in the G-20 Leaders’ Declaration in stating that we remain collectively committed to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through, among other things, increased innovation on sustainable energy and energy efficiency, and working towards low greenhouse gas emissions energy systems.
Our guiding principles are universal access to affordable and reliable energy, and open, competitive markets that promote efficiency and energy security, not only for the United States but around the globe.
The United States will continue supporting a balanced approach to climate mitigation, economic development, and energy security that takes into consideration the realities of the global energy mix.
Over the past 10 years, the United States has shown that it can reduce emissions while growing the economy and promoting energy security. Since 2005, the United States’ net greenhouse gas emissions have decreased 11.5 percent while the U.S. economy has grown 15 percent, adjusted for inflation.
A large portion of these reductions have come as a result of the adoption by the private sector of innovative energy technologies –fostered by early stage innovation by the public sector.
Collaborative U.S. public and private efforts over the past ten years have resulted in dramatic decreases in the cost of low-emissions technologies and fuels, including natural gas, solar, wind, energy storage, and energy efficiency. Natural gas prices have dropped to about a third of what they were in 2007 and the cost of utility-scale solar PV has dropped by more than 64 percent.
We want to work with other countries to continue advancing the development and deployment of a broad array of technologies that will ultimately enable us to achieve our climate and energy security goals.
Already, the United States is working bilaterally with countries such as China and India to advance power sector transformation and smart grid technologies, energy efficiency, and Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage.
We are also engaged in many multilateral initiatives.
Through the Clean Energy Ministerial, we are engaging our national laboratories to provide in-depth technical expertise to pursue new global opportunities to leverage the potential of advanced energy technologies including carbon capture, utilization, and storage, and nuclear energy.
Through our work with Power Africa, we have catalyzed some $60 billion in energy investments that will provide modern energy services for roughly 300 million citizens across Africa by 2030.
And through the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative, we are working with island states to identify cost-effective options for using advanced energy technologies to diversify and strengthen their power systems and increase energy access.
Of course, we know that each country will need to determine the appropriate energy mix based on its particular circumstances, taking into account the need for energy security, promotion of economic growth and environmental protection.
In that context, we want to support the cleanest, most efficient power generation, regardless of source.
Beyond energy, the United States will continue to help our partner countries reduce emissions from forests and other lands, to adapt to the impacts of climate change, and to respond to natural disasters.
Our Sustainable Landscapes programs are helping partners to protect well over 2 million square kilometers of forests and other landscapes, reducing more than 300 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions, while enhancing sustainable development, generating local livelihood opportunities, and protecting biodiversity and water resources.
U.S. government technical agencies also continue to help partners improve their capacities to monitor and report on terrestrial carbon through the SilvaCarbon program. SilvaCarbon has helped countries conduct forest inventories, develop maps of forests and other ecosystems, and worked to include forests and other landscapes in national greenhouse gas mitigation strategies and targets.
In sum, the United States intends to remain engaged with our many partners and allies around the world on these issues, here in the U.N. Framework Convention and everywhere else.