Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that while on assignment to Asia, he is attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Faleomavaega is attending the conference in his official capacity as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment and also as an invited guest of the President of Indonesia, His Excellency Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Other members including, Congressman James Sensenbrenner and Congressman Ed Markey are expected to attend. About 5 members of the U.S. Senate will also participate and will arrive during the week of December 8, 2007. Faleomavaega is attending the opening sessions from December 3-5, 2007.
While at the conference, Faleomavaega met with other Pacific Island leaders including those from Samoa, Palau, the Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. Faleomavaega also attended the Alliance of Small Island States which is composed of island nations from the Caribbean, the Pacific, and other island communities.
“When it comes to global climate change, small island communities are most vulnerable,” Faleomavaega said, “so it is very important for us to show a strong presence so industrialized countries will hear our concerns. At yesterday’s opening ceremony, Australia officially announced it will sign on to the Kyoto Protocol, making the U.S. the only nation that has not agreed to the Protocol.”
“For now, the Bush Administration will only support non-binding or voluntary resolutions that do not require our big corporations to reduce carbon emissions. In part, this is because the oil industry drives our nation. However, I am convinced if a Democrat is elected president, we will see a dramatic change in U.S. policy when it comes to global climate change.”
“The UN conference being held in Bali at this time is critical for setting the stage for the next steps that the world, including the U.S. must take if we are serious about preserving the environment for future generations as well as for vulnerable societies today. The Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 and in Bali we are discussing ways in which to establish a framework for a post Kyoto Protocol. It is expected that negotiations will begin in 2008 and will be completed by 2009.”
“As these negotiations take place, my Subcommittee, which has broad oversight for issues affecting the global environment, will continue to hold hearings to draw attention especially to how climate change will seriously impact the Asia-Pacific region which includes our island communities. As Subcommittee Chairman, I have held three hearings this year including one on the Kyoto Protocol, APEC’s environmental initiative, and the global environment and renewable energy.”
“In the new year, it is my intent to hold a hearing on the Bali conference and where we go from here. In so doing, I am hopeful that the U.S. will work with the global community and the UN to chart a course for the future that will protect the Pacific way of life for future generations,” Faleomavaega concluded.