Wed, Sep 05, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Australia wants greenhouse gas pact


Australia said yesterday it will press ahead with plans to urge Pacific Rim countries -- including China and other big developing-world polluters -- to agree that limiting greenhouse gas emissions should be part of a new international pact on global warming.

Familiar fault lines emerged between developed and developing countries on an Australian plan for the APEC forum to reach consensus on a new approach to climate change.

China and other countries suspect that the Australian proposal, which is backed by the US, might compel them to accept targets for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, Asian diplomats said.

Australia and the US, the only two industrialized nations to have rejected the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, argue that an agreement that requires rich countries to cap emissions but allows looser rules for developing nations is unfair.

As officials planned meetings yesterday to work on a climate change statement for APEC leaders to adopt at their weekend summit, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said a new international framework on the issue cannot leave out the biggest polluters.

"We will be pressing for a commitment by all APEC economies to the key elements of a genuinely global response to climate change," Downer said.

"Australia would like to see the APEC leaders agree for the first time that a new international agreement should include an agreed long-term aspirational goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions," he said.

Downer said APEC economies, which include the world's three largest polluters in the US, China and Russia, account for 60 percent of global energy demand and pump out about the same share of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

"APEC members have an opportunity in Sydney in a few days time to help shape the global response to climate change at a crucial time," Downer said.

An APEC declaration on climate change is not expected to include any specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Also see:

Taipei monitoring Bush-Hu talks at APEC forum

US willing to move ahead on trade talks

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