U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia
at the Signing of “Statement in Support” of Lima Declaration
April 23, 2015
U.S. Embassy, Addis Ababa
(As prepared for delivery)
I am excited to be joining Minister Belete and our European colleagues today to sign this “Statement in Support” of the Lima Declaration on climate change. Today’s signing ceremony is an excellent way to reaffirm our commitment to combatting global climate change and to supporting Ethiopia in its extraordinary efforts to address this challenge at home. Country partnerships such as this add momentum to reaching an ambitious and inclusive climate change agreement in Paris later this year, and serve as an important building block to greater global cooperation to solve the climate crisis.
Today’s event also presents a timely opportunity to recognize Ethiopia’s significant contributions to a global solution to this problem, which is exemplified by the June 10th publication of Ethiopia’s extremely ambitious Intended Nationally Determined Contribution – or INDC – to the climate change negotiations.
Ethiopia is the first “Least Developed Country” to release its INDC, which is a remarkable accomplishment and highlights this country’s global leadership on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
As you know, President Obama – who will become the first sitting US President to visit Ethiopia later this month – has made climate change a priority both internationally and domestically.
In fact, over the past eight years, the U.S. has reduced its total CO2 emissions more than any other nation in the world. And, in March, the U.S. announced its own INDC, which commits us to cutting our greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2025, which would put us on the path to economy-wide reductions of around 80 percent by mid-century.
I am hopeful that our joint actions will help to inject momentum into the global climate change negotiations and that together we have inspired other countries to come forward with their own targets.
Beyond what we’re doing at home, the U.S. is also committed to supporting resilient, low emissions growth abroad. In Ethiopia, the United States has been a partner on both climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The United States has committed nearly $100 million in Ethiopia through its Feed the Future and Global Climate Change Initiatives to improve pastoralist resiliency, to enhance adaptive capacity of food insecure households benefiting from the Productive Safety Net Program, and to promote climate adaptation practices and technologies.
We are also supporting Ethiopia’s development of and access to renewable energy, particularly through the Power Africa Initiative, which includes providing technical assistance as Ethiopia negotiates its first ever Power Purchase Agreement for the Corbetti geothermal project.
And, through the through the Enhancing Capacity for Low Emissions Development Strategies – or EC-LEDS – initiative, the U.S. is providing technical assistance to the Government as it implements the CRGE.
We are also excited about two new initiatives to help Ethiopia address climate change:
In June, Ethiopia was selected as one of three focus countries for a new public-private partnership that includes the U.S. and U.K. governments, along with a number of private companies including Google and the Skoll Global Threats Fund, to provide climate data and other services to enhance resiliency.
And, the U.S. is joining with Norway to support the launch of the Oromia Forested Landscapes Program – through the BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes – to reduce deforestation and forest degradation and to increase carbon absorption in land throughout the state.
These new initiatives are both a testament to our continued commitment to support Ethiopia’s fight against climate change, as well as a reflection of our active collaboration with our European partners to tackle these challenges together.
I am hopeful that – by joining the Lima Declaration partnership – we will place further weight and momentum behind these ongoing activities.
Before I close today, I want to thank and applaud our European partners for their concerted efforts at home and in Ethiopia to address the global climate crisis. Your leadership and partnership have been and will continue to be essential as we confront this challenge moving forward.
Finally, I want to thank the Ethiopian Government, and especially Minister Belete and his team, for your concerted efforts to help make today possible and for your country’s bold actions that continue to set a global example on this critically important issue.
We look forward to collaborating with you and with our European counterparts in the lead up to Paris and beyond towards an ambitious and inclusive solution to global climate change.