We have come here, in the spirit of co-operation, because we believe China and the United States can, and must, confront the challenge of climate change together. We are the biggest greenhouse gas emitters in the world. We have a responsibility to ourselves, to each other, and to the world. We must work together. From my perspective, the global climate crisis is a game changer in the US-China relationship. It is an opportunity we cannot miss.
Two of the issues which have been priorities of my service in Congress – protecting the environment and promoting human rights – are coming together in addressing the global climate crisis. Like human rights, the environment has been a top priority for me in my official and personal life.
One of my first bills to be signed into law was the International Banking Environmental Protection Act. It is known as the Pelosi Amendment, and it requires development banks to do an environmental assessment and make that information available to indigenous people in the region and the general public before the US can support a project.
It gave voice to the people. It empowered them by linking protection of the environment and individual rights. In every country, not just China and the US, the global climate crisis is best surmounted with transparency and openness, respect for the rule of law, and accountability to the people.
The principle of environmental justice must be upheld. And in recognising that technology and innovation hold the keys to our success, it is essential that respect for intellectual property rights be upheld.
Both the US and China are called upon to lead in addressing climate change. Our fates are tied together. We must work together to advance our mutual interests and promote international security and stability. Energy and the environment is the perfect place for that dialogue and we have a great deal of work to do.
This issue is as big as the entire world and the solutions are as local as our communities. What is at stake is the future of our planet. We have no choice but to work together and to be successful. I am optimistic that we will be.
Taken from an address by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives to the US-China Clean Energy Forum in Beijing this week