Making Climate Change Central to U.S. Foreign Policy

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
April 27, 2009

Secretary Clinton spoke today to delegates participating in the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate at the State Department. The Secretary said:"I’m delighted to welcome all of you to the State Department for this very consequential meeting. As I look around the table, I think I have met in bilateral forums with all of the countries here, if not in multilateral forums, over the last nearly 100 days. And at each and every one of those meetings, global warming, climate change, clean energy, a low-carbon future has been part of our discussions. And I’m very pleased to welcome the personal representatives of 17 major economies, the United Nations, and observer nations to this first preparatory meeting of the major economies on energy and climate.

I think it’s significant that this discussion is taking place here at the State Department, because the crisis of climate change exists at the nexus of diplomacy, national security and development. It is an environmental issue, a health issue, an economic issue, an energy issue, and a security issue. It is a threat that is global in scope, but also local and national in impact. I’m delighted that our Special Envoy for Climate Change, Todd Stern, will be working with you, as will Mike Froman, who sits at that nexus in the White House between the National Security Council and the National Economic Council.

You know the details or you would not be here. There is much going on in the world today that challenges us, and it is remarkable that each of your nations has committed to this because we know that climate change threatens lives and livelihoods. Desertification and rising sea levels generate increased competition for food, water and resources. But we also have seen increasingly the dangers that these transpose to the stability of societies and governments. We see how this can breed conflict, unrest and forced migration. So no issue we face today has broader long-term consequences or greater potential to alter the world for future generations.

So this morning, I would like to underscore four main points. First, the science is unambiguous and the logic that flows from it is inescapable. Climate change is a clear and present danger to our world that demands immediate attention. Second, the United States is fully engaged and ready to lead and determined to make up for lost time, both at home and abroad. The President and his entire Administration are committed to addressing this issue and we will act.

Third, the economies represented here today have a special responsibility to pull together and work toward a successful outcome of the UN climate negotiations later in the year in Copenhagen, and I’m delighted that Denmark could join us because they are going to host this very important meeting. And the Major Economies Forum provides a vehicle to help us get prepared to be successful at that meeting.

And fourth, all of us participating today must cooperate in developing meaningful proposals to move the process forward. New policy and new technologies are needed to resolve this crisis, and they won’t materialize by themselves. They will happen because we will set forth an action plan in individual countries, in regions, and globally. It took a lot of work by a lot of people to create the problem of climate change over the last centuries. And it will take our very best efforts to counter it."

Read the Secretary's full remarks at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.



California, USA
April 27, 2009

Brian in California writes:

Thank you Madame Secretary Clinton for your brave,steadfast leadership on this global crisis. Let's see if other countries can become more literate and sophisticated in respect to global warming and the challenges we face -- world-wide.

Thank you again, Secretary Clinton.

New Jersey, USA
April 28, 2009

Rosemary in New Jersey writes:

Hillary! Beautiful job! Home run! Out of the park! Everything was spot on -- the content and the delivery.

Go Hillary!

*waving pom-poms*

Tennessee, USA
April 30, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

As a youngster I admired the tenacity of Jacque Cousteau and can recall his repeated announcements of dramatic aquatic changes worldwide which needed addressing. He did this on ears of societies directed toward profits rather than human existence. The misdirection of the use of money as a tool for the advancement of societies is what speed up this situation.

1. The old HAARP program where in U.S. tax payer put out tons of money for a program to punch holes in the Van Allen Belt to see how it affected weather might not have been the best effort for helping the environment.

2. There are things we can do nothing about as the earth turning over 2.5 degrees on its axis the last decade; the magnetic North and South poles reversing the earth's mantle expanding -- even the Andes mountain range is moving higher yearly, a 600 mile long range of mountains are being pushed upward.

3. Our efforts to change this are miss premised to be honest. It takes more energy to manufacture an efficient hydro carbon automobile then it will save, the same being true with battery vehicles.

4. Going back to the economic situation: New housing is the largest single threat to the environment, yet we base our economic platform on continued new housing...the figures are like 68% of green house gas in the U.S. comes from new home construction. Carpet, upholstery and all the items needed and used as PVC contribute to greenhouse gas. So, why not concentrate more on restricting of new home construction with laws which have a long reaching effect? Talk is cheap and that is all it comes down to in many ways.

What is being neglected is how we can cope internationally with the changes we cannot control.

There WILL BE areas of the world in which populations will have to move to be provided for, there will be countries who will not be able to feed their people to the degree they do now, the oceans will not provide as they have. There will be countries who will have and more who have not which may lead to rebellions and wars not yet planned on. We need to find a way to be internationally enmeshed for all humanity.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau warned us, internationally, in 1973 and started a foundation. For over thirty years all leaders worldwide did little except those for whom eco tourism became their bread and butter.

Now, within this decade there will be extinction of the Antarctic glaciers -- which will affect the jet stream of the sea, which will affect the temperature of the planet -- and already has. We may only be seeing the beginning of what is to come. All because of our political ideology of -- If it works don't fix it till it is broken. Then as Ross Perrot used to say, do something that doesn"t really do anything, but looks like you are doing something.

Until we rethink the definition of economics internationally and make priorities which have a realistic valuation long range, just knowing is not solving.

And South Korea has done the most in a short period of time with energy to green ...

April 30, 2009

Kala in Canada writes:

Hi Hillary,

You are taking quick and prompt actions as a foreign secretary. Please consider your foreign policy changes towards Sri Lankan Tamils fate too. The way current situation goes, it will be worse than Ruwanda or Kosova.

Please consider us and the Tamil race will appreciate your positive actions for generations to come.

May God guide you in right path.


June 2, 2009

Edite in Canada writes:

How is it possible that the Ice Age rolled by and there were no cars, no factories, no anything. Is climate change, simply put, not just an evolutionary change? That no matter how much money is poured into the coffers of the extremist climate change radicals, that earth will continue to follow its natural evolutionary path, regardless?

New Mexico, USA
June 2, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

It would take an Apollo sized project with a Multilateral Signed Presidential Directive behind it to put minds in focus on one key activity that influences all aspects of the symtoms of humanity's footprint.

Something simple that requires no long term training or technical ability for the population of the world to do.

Can't have sustainable growth and cut down the world's carbon "sponge" at the same time, so how do we make it more profitable for folks to plant trees than to clear cut forests?

There's what? 7.8 billion people in the world? Takes about 15 minutes to learn how to plant a tree, and another 30 seconds to plant a seedling, so what are folks waiting for? Plant a tree-take something off your taxes, plant a lot of trees-pay no taxes. There's incentive perhaps if unemployed folks can earn a living to grow economies from government stimulus.

We can alter the CO2 equasion in a decade, reverse the trends in a generation, create jobs, create habitat, and get into the basics of terra forming the planet.

We've been doing it in a pretty chaotic way so far, and so go green litterally means getting a grip on this one aspect above all, for every symtom of global warming is as a direct result of a vast amount of deforestation mankind has created in the last hundred years alone. War and other factors included have tended to leave this overlooked in the public understanding.

I think if a car company wants to be a success, it draws it from the engine on up. Better engine=better sales.

Now if they could produce an engine that meets the desired efficiancy specs for the sole pupose of a universal retrofit ( adapted to fit various transmissions from different makes and models )

Then you don't have to worry about selling cars, but about having to make enough engines to meet public demand.

There's this program in my city where they help the homeowner meet city water concervation specs by offering free low-flow toilets to have installed by licenced contractors.

Be nice if government would offer a rebate for a portion of engine installation costs to the citizen.


Latest Stories

November 4, 2010

Women's Garden Reopens in Kabul

About the Author: Abigail Sugrue is an officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). U.S. Ambassador Karl W.… more