THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Agra, India) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release March 22, 2000
PRESS BRIEFING BY IAN BOWLES, SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS FOR THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL Aboard Air Force One En Route To Agra, India
2:15 P.M. (L)
MR. LOCKHART: This is Ian Bowles, Senior Director for Environmental Affairs for the National Security Council. He'll give you a sense of what we're doing after the Taj Mahal is done and we do the environmental event, and then he'll take your questions.
MR. BOWLES: Following the tour of the Taj Mahal, the President will witness signing by Secretary Albright and Minister of External Affairs Jaswant Singh of a U.S. statement on energy and environment. He will then give remarks.
He'll announce a number of new initiatives we're undertaking with India on clean energy -- three AID projects, a regional energy project that was also announced in Bangladesh, an energy efficiency project -- two energy efficiency projects -- one working on the supply side of energy production in India; a second working on commercializing energy efficient technology in India -- to announce a $200 million line of credit from the Ex-Im Bank for promotion of clean energy projects. He'll also announce the resumption of DOE and EPA technical assistance in India which was suspended in 1998. He'll also make reference to a U.S. energy association and a confederation of Indian industries joint partnership on clean energy.
In terms of the statement that Secretary Albright and Jaswant Singh will sign, this will -- it essentially talks about environmental goals, clean energy and climate change. It includes from a climate change perspective, a significant new tone from the Indian government, a new partnership between the U.S. and India to work together to promote clean energy and address climate change, as the Indians committing to a national goal of 10 percent of new power being from renewable sources by the year 2012.
It commits to the government of India to energy efficiency goal of 15 percent improvement in energy efficiency by the year 2007-2008, both of which are pretty significant in terms of India's energy supply. It also recites some of the recent measures President Clinton has taken on climate change -- his executive order on bioenergy and biofuels; his executive order on energy efficiency in federal buildings; and Department of Energy goals on wind power.
And essentially, I think the big picture for this is it represents real new progress together between India and the United States, working together on climate change and clean energy.
I'm glad to answer any of your questions and give you further background about climate change.
Q How much does it all cost?
MR. BOWLES: We have a fact sheet --
Q What's the total cost?
MR. BOWLES: The projects we're announcing -- $200 million from the Ex-Im Bank, and then another total of $95 million from USAID, and the DOE and EPA programs are small in terms of budget. So ballpark of $300 million.
Q These sanctions being lifted are relatively minor, aren't they?
MR. BOWLES: I guess I'd say this -- that Congress has given statutory authority for climate change programs to proceed, notwithstanding other provisions of the Foreign Assistance Act that would hold up other activities. So, essentially, lifting the sanctions on -- lifting the restrictions or policy-based restrictions that don't require presidential action. But essentially it's restarting EPA and DOE activities. So essentially it's saying in the clean energy and environment area, that we're lifting restrictions on any further impediments to cooperation.
Q How significant is India's pollution problem and the climate change problem?
MR. BOWLES: I don't know that I could -- I would say that India has, like the United States, significant environmental challenges. Air pollution has human health impacts, environmental impacts, economic costs. And I think they're in the process of restructuring their energy sector and improving efficiency, things of that nature.
In terms of climate change, the U.S. is the largest emitter in this world of greenhouse gases, and I think India ranks somewhere between, depending on whose calculations, 5th, 6th, or 7th. But the growth in emissions from developing countries like India and China and others is going to be significant in the out-years. So the point of this exercise at some level is to be moving away from kind of a business as usual trajectory for emissions, so in that sense, it's significant, taking steps to addressing clean energy now.
Q Thank you.
END 2:25 P.M. (L)