Biden/Lugar/Menedez/Hagel Bill Tackles International Climate Change by Funding Clean Technology

Press Release

Date: July 16, 2008
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Energy

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) today introduced legislation designed to create an International Clean Technology Deployment Fund. The Fund would be available to aid developing countries' efforts to tackle climate change and would promote the international deployment of U.S. clean energy technology as an additional component to the United States' overall international economic development assistance strategy. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Richard G. Lugar (R-IN) and members of the Committee, Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE), joined Sen. Biden in introducing the bill.

"The developing world's demand for energy and cheap fossil fuels will continue to rise," said Sen. Biden. "Our choice is simple - we can ignore the energy needs of developing countries as they grow, or we can join together to help them put in place an infrastructure that promotes cleaner energy and a cleaner economy."

"While Congress debates the best way to fund advanced low-carbon technologies in the United States, an international clean technology deployment fund is also necessary to bridge the gap on global climate change negotiations as I said in a Washington Post op-ed with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on Monday," said Sen. Lugar.

"Global warming is a glaring economic security and national security threat that knows no borders. If we are to address it, we need to greatly speed the development and deployment of cleaner, more efficient technologies. This will help nations develop on a greener path and also help American companies gain access to new markets for their technologies. The United States should take a backseat to no one in supporting the technology that will heal the planet and create economic opportunity, and that is the message of this legislation," said Sen. Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs and International Environmental Protection.

"Climate policy affects the world's economic, energy, environmental and security policies. Dealing with climate policy requires global leadership and global coordination. This legislation will help unleash the power of the free markets - not new government-imposed costs and regulations - to accelerate development and use of advanced technologies that reduce, eliminate, and sequester greenhouse gas emissions in all countries," said Sen. Hagel, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs and International Environmental Protection.

According to the International Energy Agency, energy demand worldwide will increase by 55 percent by 2030. Nearly 80 percent of this increase will stem from developing countries. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change calls for programs by which industrialized nations support developing nations' efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier this year, President Bush's budget called for funding to support the United States' participation in a Clean Technology Fund, to be housed at the World Bank.

This legislation will help make proposals like the Clean Technology Fund possible by addressing the growing threat of climate change and steering developing countries onto a path of cleaner energy and cleaner development.

The legislation establishes an International Clean Technology Deployment Fund that will:

Add the consideration of climate change more consistently and systematically to our foreign assistance strategy. The legislation's goal is to promote and leverage private financing for the development and international deployment of technologies to contribute to sustainable economic growth and the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

Encourage the export of U.S. clean energy technology and expertise to developing nations. The Fund will be administered by a board composed of Executive Branch officials, and will be authorized to distribute money through multilateral trust funds or through existing U.S. programs such as USAID, export promotion, and technical assistance programs.

Support only eligible developing countries that take on their own climate change commitments, either through an international agreement to which the United States is a party, or by taking on what the Board certifies are sufficient binding national policies and measures. Additionally, every distribution of funding will require prior Congressional notification.

As a result, the establishment of an International Clean Technology Deployment Fund would increase the market for clean technology and encourage U.S. companies to make a long-term investment in research, development and job creation in those industries.

"It is in our national interest to reduce the environmental, economic, and national security threats of a changed global climate," added Sen. Biden. "This could be a real win-win for the planet and our economy."