Sun, Sep 09, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Leaders set obligation-free emissions goals

ENTENTE CORDIALE The nation's representative Stan Shih shared a light moment with Chinese President Hu Jintao and then invited the Japanese prime minister to visit Taiwan

By Jessie Ho  /  Staff Reporter, in Sydney

Leaders from 21 APEC nations agreed yesterday to set a long-term "aspirational" goal for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions as a guideline to fight climate change after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

"We have decided to highlight the importance of improving energy efficiency by working to achieve an APEC-wide regional aspirational goal of a reduction in energy intensity by at least 25 percent by 2030, with 2005 as the base year," said a copy of the APEC leaders' Sydney Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development obtained by the Taipei Times.

"We have decided to work to achieve an APEC-wide aspirational goal of increasing forest cover in the region by at least 20 million hectares of all types of forests by 2020 -- a goal which if achieved would store approximately 1.4 billion tonnes of carbon, equivalent to around 11 percent of annual global emissions in 2004," said the declaration, which is expected to be formally released today.

Based on the declaration, APEC members will establish an Asia-Pacific Network for Energy Technology and a network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation to strengthen collaboration on energy research and the forestry sector.

Prior to the meeting, some members opposed the idea of setting a goal for emission reductions, saying the task should be left to the UN Climate Change Convention.

To ease these concerns, the targets will not affect promises that APEC members have made at other international forums on climate change, Taiwan's Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) said yesterday.

Member economies are encouraged to set individual goals and action plans for improving energy efficiency, reflecting the individual circumstances of the different economies.

The voluntary APEC Energy Peer Review Mechanism, as established by APEC energy ministers in May, will facilitate and review progress and report back to the APEC leaders in 2010, the statement said.

Voicing their support for a multilateral trade system, the leaders agreed to review and discuss the progress achieved in the WTO Doha Development Agenda negotiations at next year's APEC leaders' forum.

Stan Shih (施振榮), Taiwan's envoy to the APEC summit, said he proposed a "Green APEC Opportunity Initiative" when he met business leaders from member economies yesterday.

In principle, business leaders from Canada, Russia and Singapore showed support for the initiative, but in order to promote the program it would need the participation of developed economies such as the US and cooperation of major private enterprises, Shih said.

Taiwan is a major exporter of electronic products and therefore its companies should make a bigger effort to adopt green manufacturing technologies, the Acer Inc founder said.

Meanwhile, Shih shared a light moment with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) on the first day of the summit.

"He is very easy to get along with ? I can feel his good intentions," Shih said. "We sat down and talked during a break and he asked where I got my Mandarin accent from. I replied my hometown is Lukang (鹿港), Taiwan's second-largest city 200 years ago where people from China's Quanzhou settled."

Because of time restrictions, Shih did not pass on President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) invitation to Taiwan to Hu, but said he would try to do so on the second day of the summit.

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