Six-Nation Climate Change Meeting Likely Delayed
CANBERRA A six-nation meeting to combat global warming is unlikely to be held in November as planned and Australia is aiming to host the talks at the end of this year or early 2006, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said on Tuesday.
The Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate between Australia, the United States, Japan, India, South Korea and China was unveiled in July with an aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions by developing energy technology.
Officials in Canberra said the talks were due to be held in November, but attempts to coordinate foreign, environment and energy ministers from the six nations to attend the meeting in the southern Australian city of Adelaide had proved difficult.
"I wouldn't be expecting it in November, it will be late this year or early next year," Macfarlane told reporters. "We have to fit in with five other governments and obviously it's important that the date suits as many as those as possible."
Macfarlane, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Environment Minister Ian Campbell will meet shortly to draft a programme for the meeting of the partnership, which grew from a brainstorming meeting of 20 countries on climate change in Britain at the start of the year.
According to figures to be released by the partnership, 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 pact, dubbed "beyond Kyoto", has been described as complimentary to the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions that the United States and Australia have refused to ratify.
Both nations say Kyoto could threaten economic growth and that excluding large developing nations such as China and India from meeting emissions targets didn't make sense.
Officials from 150 nations meet in Canada next month to discuss how to take the Kyoto pact beyond 2012, when its first phase ends.
The pact, which came into force this year, obliges only developed nations to meet emissions targets while developing nations, including big polluters China and India, are excluded until at least 2012.
Asia-Pacific partnership pact members say cleaner technology is a better way to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that many scientists blame for rising global temperatures.