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Climate change summit postponed

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  • Mike Neuman
    Climate change summit postponed By Richard Black Environment Correspondent, BBC News website The first meeting of the Asia-Pacific climate pact, scheduled to
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 6, 2005
      Climate change summit postponed
      By Richard Black
      Environment Correspondent, BBC News website

      The first meeting of the Asia-Pacific climate pact, scheduled to take
      place in November in Australia, has been postponed, the BBC has
      Announced in July, the pact of six nations aims to reduce greenhouse
      gas emissions through technology and voluntary partnerships.

      It has been hailed in some quarters as an alternative to the Kyoto

      Green groups say the postponement shows that governments involved
      view the Kyoto process as more important.

      "The partnership was a hastily drawn together arrangement, and the
      group wanted to demonstrate they were going to produce something
      quickly," said Stephanie Long, Climate Justice Campaigner for Friends
      of the Earth in Australia.

      "Nothing has happened to take this pact forwards, there's been
      nothing to disclose what it would entail, and it doesn't seem like
      it's as important to get around the table as it was to announce the
      setting up of this pact," she told the BBC News website.

      Launch in Laos

      The Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate was
      announced in the Laotian capital, Vientiane, in July, at the
      Association of South East Asian Nations regional summit.
      It brings together Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and
      the United States, which together account for nearly half of the
      world's greenhouse gas emissions.

      The partnership's vision statement speaks of:

      developing, deploying and transferring existing and emerging clean
      exploring technologies such as clean coal, nuclear power and carbon
      involving the private sector.
      Missing, in stark contrast to the Kyoto Protocol, is any mention of
      mandatory reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions
      Although the statement says the partnership would not replace the
      Kyoto process, the implication at the July announcement was clear;
      here was an alternative model through which countries could combat
      climate change without risking economic pain.

      Criticised at the time for being short on detail, ministers referred
      forwards to the inaugural ministerial meeting, to be hosted by the
      Australian government in Adelaide in November.

      A senior official involved in the process told the BBC News website
      that the meeting would not now take place as scheduled, and that
      January was the earliest possible time.

      The Australian government declined to confirm the postponement, but
      said that there had been no formal announcement of a date or

      Crucial timing

      The timing is significant because the meeting will now take place
      after the next round of United Nations climate negotiations, which
      opens in Montreal on 28 November.

      The key topic for that meeting is what shape any future international
      agreement on climate change should take; whether it should be another
      global treaty setting mandatory targets, and if so, whether targets
      should extend to developing nations.
      Australia and the US, which have not ratified the Kyoto treaty, are
      among those which would prefer a looser, more voluntary arrangement
      emphasising clean technology.

      Last month, the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has in the
      past supported a "child-of-Kyoto" concept, indicated a possible
      change of mind.

      "Probably I'm changing my thinking about this in the past two or
      three years," he said at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New
      York, going on to extol the importance of technology in curbing

      "Based on recent statements by Tony Blair I would say that there is a
      move in the direction of voluntary agreements," observed Julian
      Morris, executive director of the International Policy Network, a
      market-oriented think-tank.

      "Looking at the geopolitics, it seems unlikely that China, India,
      South Africa, or Brazil would realistically sign up to emission
      reductions; and one can understand why, because it would definitely
      impact their economic growth.

      "We don't know precisely what this Asia-Pacific pact entails, but to
      the extent that it encourages technology transfer it would be a good

      But Stephanie Long sees in the meeting's postponement the balance
      tipping towards the UN model.

      "If the Asia-Pacific partnership had been able to have their meeting
      around the same time, it would have really taken the power out of the
      Montreal meeting," she said.

      "If they haven't been able to organise the climate pact meeting in
      time, that demonstrates that Kyoto is actually the more important
      climate change forum."

      Story from BBC NEWS:

      Published: 2005/10/05 17:33:12 GMT

      © BBC MMV
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