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Nations to meet to discuss global warming

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  • Mike Neuman
    Nations to meet to discuss global warming Wednesday, January 4, 2006 By JOHN HEILPRIN ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER WASHINGTON -- Producers of half the world s
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2006
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      Nations to meet to discuss global warming
      Wednesday, January 4, 2006

      WASHINGTON -- Producers of half the world's "greenhouse" gases are
      angling for more private investment to create cleaner energy
      technologies and help slow global warming.

      Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman
      and presidential adviser James Connaughton will meet next week in
      Sydney, Australia, with representatives from five Asian and Pacific
      nations. Along with the U.S., these countries account for nearly half
      the world's population, energy use and economic output.

      The White House said its talks with Australia, China, India, Japan
      and South Korea will enhance rather than replace the Kyoto climate
      treaty that President Bush rejected because of its mandatory cuts in
      carbon dioxide, methane and other gases.

      "It's a complement to it," Connaughton, chairman of the White House
      Council on Environmental Quality, said Wednesday. "For the countries
      in Kyoto, it will be a very useful tool for them to meet their

      Among major developed nations, only the United States and Australia
      reject the 1997 treaty negotiated in Kyoto, Japan, that mandates
      specific cutbacks in emissions of carbon dioxide and five other gases
      by 2012 in 35 industrialized countries.

      China and India signed the treaty as developing nations, exempting
      them from the first round of emissions cuts. Japan must cut emissions
      by 6 percent below 1990 levels, and South Korea by 5 percent.

      Fossil fuel-burning in the U.S. produces one-quarter of the world's
      gases that scientists blame for trapping heat in the atmosphere like
      a greenhouse. The Bush administration advocates slowing the growth
      rate of those gases, not reversing the trend.

      Connaughton said the "Asia-Pacific partnership" announced last July
      would drum up more private investment for common goals. They include
      U.S. and Chinese plans to improve energy efficiency in coal-burning
      power plants and cut acid rain-causing sulfur dioxide emissions.
      "This is harder than negotiating a diplomatic document, because this
      is creating real work plans," he said. "The only way to reduce the
      environmental impact of growth in key developing countries like China
      and India is through growing the economies that will pay for the
      efficiency and pollution controls that make the cuts possible. We
      welcome their growth."

      Far more will be required if China's economy keeps expanding at its
      current rate, said Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy
      Institute, an environmental research group.
      He argues in a new book that China could reach current U.S. income
      and consumption levels by 2031 - and the world lacks the basic
      resources to sustain that.

      "China is demonstrating that the Western economic model, the fossil
      fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy is not going to
      work," he said Wednesday. "And if it won't work for China, it won't
      work for India. Nor will it work for the other 3 billion people in
      developing countries also dreaming the American dream."

      European wind farms, Japanese solar rooftops, U.S. hybrid cars, South
      Korea's reforested hills and bicycle-laden streets in Amsterdam, the
      Netherlands, are all examples of the "eco-economy" Brown has in mind.
      Building it, he said, would require $161 billion a year in global
      spending on renewable energy, diversified transportation and far
      greater reuse and recycling of materials.

      Rice is also traveling to Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim
      nation, for talks on the country's democratic development and
      strengthening military ties with the United States. Bird flu is also
      on her agenda in Jakarta. Military ties have improved since the
      1990s, when U.S. cut off most cooperation in response to government
      crackdowns in the troubled territory of East Timor.
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