Australia Says 'Son of Kyoto' Deal Not Possible
CANBERRA A United Nations climate change meeting in Canada is unlikely to produce a "son of Kyoto" deal and setting new targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not the answer, Australia said on Wednesday.
Environment Minister Ian Campbell said that any framework developed to replace the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol on limiting emissions of gases when it runs out in 2012 needed to recognise the needs of both the developed and developing worlds.
"What occurs after 2012 is a matter of life and death for our planet," Campbell, who will attend the final stages of the Montreal meeting next week, told a news conference.
"It's unlikely that you'll have a son of Kyoto come out of Montreal. If we go for that sort of achievement at Montreal, we'll walk away in tears, we have to try to build a framework through a series of steps that is comprehensive and effective."
The Montreal meeting, which opened this week, is the first of the annual U.N. climate talks since the Kyoto Protocol -- that limits greenhouse gases mainly from human use of fossil fuels in power plants, factories and cars -- came into force in February.
Many Kyoto nations want Montreal to launch negotiations, likely to last years, on setting new curbs once Kyoto's goals run out in 2012. But the United States and Australia have rejected Kyoto as a straitjacket threatening economic growth.
Under Kyoto, about 40 industrialised countries including European Union nations, Russia and Japan, have to cut emissions of carbon dioxide by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.
While not supporting Kyoto, Campbell said on Wednesday that Australia remained on track to meet its target of limiting emissions to an 8 percent increase in 1990 levels by 2012 -- a target that recognised the country's high reliance on coal, which is used to generate 85 percent of Australia's electricity.
"While we are all working towards where we go next on a global basis, realistically it will take some years to achieve agreement on the nature of a future response," Campbell said.
Australia is pushing the use of new technology to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which is the focus of the newly formed Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate that will meet for the first time in mid-January in Sydney.
Australia, the United States, Japan, South Korea, India and China are the founding members of the partnership, which they say will complement and not replace the Kyoto agreement.