U.S. Chamber's Energy Institute Calls for Global, Pro-Growth Approach at International Climate Talks

February 4, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – February 4, 2009 – Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy, today testified before a House of Representatives panel on the challenges facing international climate negotiations and the opportunity for the U.S. government and the business community to play a crucial role in the series of talks this year. More than 180 nations are working through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to complete a new arrangement to address climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark at the end of 2009.

In global climate change negotiations, it is time to recognize that smart energy policies and wise investments will make the largest contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Harbert said.  When faced with unprecedented economic challenges and growing global energy demand, it is clear that energy and climate change must be addressed in a way that promotes the economic growth necessary to drive technological innovation and environmental protection.

Climate change needs to be included as part of an integrated energy strategy that ensures energy security, increases economic growth, reduces pollution, and mitigates greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

Speaking before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Harbert highlighted the importance of setting realistic goals that take into account the state of technology. 

We cannot mandate what global technology cannot yet deliver. A global solution must ensure international participation and effective commitments by all major emitting countries, including developing countries. In addition, it should consider growing energy needs, resources, and circumstances of all countries and ensure protections for intellectual property rights and the rule of law. 

In the Institute’s Blueprint for Securing America’s Energy Future released last fall with nearly 90 recommendations to President Obama and Congress, the Institute highlighted recommendations for the United States to show global leadership on energy security and climate change.  While we must encourage a positive, pro-growth approach that both developed and developing countries can align with, the U.S. government must also be willing to walk away from a bad deal, Harbert said.

To read Karen Harbert’s written testimony, visit www.energyxxi.org.

The mission of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense energy strategy to help keep America safe, strong, prosperous, and clean. Through policy development, education, and advocacy, the Institute is building support for meaningful action at the local, state, national, and international levels.  To read more about the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, visit www.energyxxi.org.

The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.