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Melanie Nakagawa’s Blog

Waxman Markey Bill Shows Strong Support for Exporting Clean Technology and Building Resilience in Developing Countries

Melanie Nakagawa

Posted April 3, 2009 in Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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The recently released draft of the Waxman Markey draft climate bill sets the 111th Congress off to a great start, but more importantly, has put together a set of tools that will help our climate negotiators on their way to Copenhagen.

My colleagues have highlighted various provisions in this bill and I want to highlight two additional significant provisions that we are hopeful will help advance the US position in climate negotiations: exporting clean technology and international adaptation.

The benefits of the exporting clean technology provisions are 4-fold:

  • First, it provides for US assistance to encourage widespread deployment of clean technologies to developing countries-specifically to projects that achieve substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through deployment of low- or zero-carbon technologies.   
  • Second, the draft specifies that only developing countries that have ratified an international treaty and undertaken nationally appropriate mitigation activities that achieve substantial greenhouse gas reductions are eligible for funding.  
  • Third, it establishes an International Clean Technology Fund in the US Treasury with an interagency group to administer this Fund.   
  • Fourth, it identifies criteria for project selection to include, among other criteria: substantial measurable, reportable and verifiable reductions in emissions relative to business-as-usual; no net loss of US jobs or displacement of US production; and co-financing.

Regarding adapting to global warming, the Waxman-Markey discussion draft recognizes the importance of US assistance in supporting the development and implementation of climate change adaptation programs and projects that can reduce the vulnerability and increase the resilience of the most vulnerable developing countries. 

In the recent Oxfam press release on this discussion draft they highlighted the significant step forward this bill takes on addressing the needs of those countries and regions hardest hit by the impacts of climate change.  Hopefully many of you know the gravity of the adaptation challenge for many regions and countries on our planet, but it bears some repeating.  Adaptation is not something that is forthcoming but rather happening today for millions of people. Sea level rise, changing weather and climatic patterns, and forced migration are increasing in frequency.  We will need to get out ahead of these impacts, but in many places we must first catch up.  And according to a recent Oxfam report, "Adaptation 101: How climate change hurts poor communities-and how we can help", we can do this.  

The Waxman-Markey discussion draft is the solid step in the right direction.

  • The discussion draft creates an International Climate Change Adaptation Program within USAID to provide U.S. assistance to the most vulnerable developing countries for adaptation to climate change. 
  • It also identifies activities and projects for the program to include, among others: promotion of appropriate renewable and efficient energy technologies for increasing community-level resilience to impacts of climate change; development of national or regional adaptation plans; and the protection and rehabilitation of natural ecosystems.
  • Lastly it provides for the community engagement through, among other criteria, processes for consultation, disclosure of information, and public participation. 

This is a good start but the next few weeks and months will be a busy time to help strengthen these critical provisions. 

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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