Climate change summit postponed
- 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
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
"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
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