Australia Says ASEAN Nations Keen on New Climate Pact
MELBOURNE Southeast Asian countries have expressed interest in joining a new U.S.-led partnership to cut greenhouse gas emissions by developing technology and economic incentives, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said.
The Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate between Australia, the United States, China, Japan, South Korea and India was unveiled at an Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) forum in Laos last week.
"The ASEAN governments were asking me whether it would be possible for them to join this partnership in time," Downer said on Australian television on Sunday.
"And I made it clear that once we've worked out how we want it all to come together, we, in principle, would be very happy to see ASEAN countries become involved because their economies are growing and they're significant emitters as well," he said.
Unlike the Kyoto climate agreement, which requires cuts in greenhouse emissions by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12, the Asia-Pacific partnership has no time frames or targets.
"We hope that we'll start to get results under our partnership fairly quickly," Downer said.
"That's going to require collaborative research. It's also going to mean we'll have to investigate price signals coming from energy."
Downer said the work would probably be paid for jointly by governments and the private sector.
The six founding partners of the new pact account for 45 percent of the world's population, 48 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and 48 percent of the world's energy consumption.
The United States and Australia are the only developed nations outside Kyoto. Both say Kyoto, agreed to in 1997, is flawed because it omits developing states.
The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said world temperatures are likely to rise between 1.4 and 5.8 degree Celsius (2.5-10.4 degree Fahrenheit) by 2100, linked to the build-up of greenhouse gases from human activities.