More: Watch live webcasts from the U.S. Center at COP-16.
About the Author: Sarah Goldfarb serves as DipNote's Associate Editor. Sarah will be providing information from presentations about key climate programs and scientific research at the U.S. Center at the 16th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-16) in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 through December 10, 2010.
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual visited the U.S. Center at COP-16 today and introduced the keynote speaker, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. Dr. Chu discussed building a sustainable energy future in the United States.
Dr. Chu said that the average temperature of the world has been increasing, and the sea level is rising. Over the past 2,000 years, sea levels rose 0.02 millimeters per year, and in recent years, sea levels have been rising 3.00 millimeters per year. This data comes from satellites that circumnavigate the globe, measuring ice mass in Greenland and Antarctica. He said that atmospheric greenhouse gases have increased 40 percent since the Industrial Revolution, and there is no credible argument that the Earth will not heat up over a 50 to 100 year time scale.
Dr. Chu said energy efficiency and conservation are goals we can pursue now. With Congress, the Obama administration made a $90 billion investment in clean energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
To help build a clean energy future, the U.S. government is working to use energy more wisely by raising U.S. mileage standards and encouraging the development of electric vehicles; improving and enforcing U.S. appliance energy efficiency standards; and improving the efficiency of buildings, which consume about 40 percent of total U.S. energy. Also, the Recovery Act is helping to double U.S. renewable energy generation by 2012, and the U.S. Department of Energy is encouraging energy research and development.
Dr. Chu echoed President Obama's statement that the United States will meet our Copenhagen commitments and underscored U.S. assurance to work with international colleagues toward a global strategy to combat climate change.
The U.S. Center is hosting dozens of live, 90-minute programs -- such as Dr. Chu's presentation -- from the United Nations climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico. Each program is centered around one of six elements necessary for an effective global response to climate change: mitigation and transparency; adaptation; finance; technology; forests/REDD+; and climate science. Programs begin daily at 10:00 and will end at 18:15 CST (GMT-6 hours) November 29 through December 10, 2010. Find out more information about the live webcasts on the OES Facebook page.
Become a fan of the Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science on Facebook and follow all of the action at COP-16. You can find press releases, program events, transcripts, presentations from the U.S. Center and more on state.gov/cop16.