the first-ever meeting of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate was held recently to tackle the issue of climate change outside the purview of the United Nations.
The six participating nations -- India, China, Australia, Korea, Japan and the us -- representing 48 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions, met in Sydney on January 11-12, 2006. The partnership will attempt to create a "voluntary non-legally binding framework" for international co-operation on the transfer of technologies that help reduce ghg emissions.
The partnership discussed co-operation in the field of clean fossil fuels, renewable energy, power generation, steel, aluminium, cement, coal mining, building and appliances. Though no agreements were signed, the high-level meeting of ministers attracted a lot of international attention.
Proponents of the Kyoto Protocol (kp) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (unfccc) criticised the partnership, saying it would sideline kp, which sets out reduction commitments for ghg emissions. But the Asia-Pacific partnership stressed that it would complement and not replace kp.
The us and Australia have not signed the kp claiming the emission reduction commitments it outlines would hurt their economy. "We have never been afraid to state plainly that Kyoto does not -- and will not -- work," said Australian minister of foreign affairs John Howard.
Proponents of kp claimed that immediate reduction of ghg emissions was required to prevent the negative effects of climate change. But the Asia-Pacific partnership does not contain any such goals on reducing ghg emissions.
The inaugural meeting of the partnership came hot on the heels of the 11th conference of parties (cop 11) to the unfccc , which ended on December 9, 2005. cop 11 was called a success as the us and Australia agreed to continue to be part of the talks but only till there was no further discussion on legally binding reduction commitments.
A key difference between kp 's and the partnership's approach is that the unfccc recognises the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, which puts the onus of emission reduction on developed countries, the major contributors to the ghg build up. But the new partnership does not recognise this and puts the moral burden of emission reduction on developing countries like India and China, which due to their large populations are big ghg emitters.
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