From: Reuters
Published August 19, 2007 12:14 AM

APEC to Back "aspirational" Climate Targets: Report

SYDNEY - Asia-Pacific leaders meeting in Sydney in September will be asked to support long-term "aspirational" goals to cut greenhouse gases, rather than firm targets, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported.


The paper published on its Web site what it said was the draft outline of a declaration due to be announced by the 21 leaders at the close of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum, where climate change and energy efficiency will be key areas of discussion.


The draft declaration includes agreement that "a long-term aspirational global emissions reduction goal will be a key component of the post-2012 framework" for climate negotiations.


It also welcomes an initiative by the United States to convene a dialogue among major economies as an important contribution to the post-Kyoto era.


Climate campaigners believe binding targets must be at the heart of the next round of United Nations climate negotiations, due to take place in December in Bali.


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The draft declaration also includes an agreement for APEC nations to work towards a target of reducing greenhouse gas intensity across the APEC region by at least 25 percent by 2030.


A background briefing included in the documents made clear the 25 percent target would apply to the region as a whole and would not translate into targets for individual countries or be legally binding or enforceable, the report said.


Other measures in the document included setting up a Network for Energy Technology to promote collaboration on research on areas such as clean coal and renewable energy, agreeing on the preservation of forests as "carbon sinks," and agreement to encourage investment in renewable energy.


A government spokesman was not immediately available for comment.


Prime Minister John Howard is fighting accusations he has been slow to respond on climate change, which is shaping up as a key issue in a national election expected later this year.


Australia's Greens leader Bob Brown said on Saturday it would be hypocritical of Australia to call on other countries to avoid deforestation while allowing further logging of its own forests.


"Logging and burning Tasmanian and Victorian native forests is up there amongst the world's worst examples of deliberate deforestation and greenhouse gas pollution of the Earth's atmosphere," Brown told reporters.


Leaders from the APEC nations, which include the United States, Japan, China and Russia, will meet in Sydney from September 7-9.


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