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G8, emerging powers agree to harness clean energy technology
LONDON (AFP) Nov 02, 2005
The world's leading economic powers and emerging countries have agreed to use clean energy technology to combat climate change at a meeting in London, host Britain said Wednesday.

The Group of Eight industrial nations engaged in talks Tuesday with countries including China and India to thrash out ways to develop sustainable energy sources and clean technology ahead of a key United Nations climate conference later this month in Montreal.

The meeting tried to emphasise technological solutions rather than target-setting as a way to combat climate change.

Delegates agreed to ramp up cooperation between developed and developing countries, as put forward by China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico at the G8 annual summit in Gleneagles, Scotland in July.

The 2005 British G8 presidency has focused on environmental issues, and the idea for Tuesday's dialogue emerged at Gleneagles.

Alan Johnson, Britain's Trade and Industry Secretary, co-chaired the informal gathering of the 20 nations expected to consume the most energy in the coming 30 to 40 years. The World Bank and the International Energy Agency, named as key partners, were also involved.

Johnson said in a statement Wednesday: "The meeting underlined that there is a broad consensus that we need to accelerate the deployment of technologies to tackle climate change while maintaining economic growth and sustainable development."

The ministers agreed to work together on deploying clean technologies, such as renewable energy technology and carbon capture and storage, to eventually reduce global emissions, Britain's environment ministry said.

They also decided to bring in incentives for large-scale private sector investment in low carbon technologies, working with the World Bank.

Johnson said: "We now need to identify priorities for cooperation, in both the short and long term. And we need to set a clear context for the private sector to invest in low carbon technologies with signals that are loud, long and legal."

The UN climate conference in Montreal from November 28 to December 9 is to explore the future climate negotiations once the current Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Dropping into the London meeting, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the world needed to find "a better, more sensitive set of mechanisms to deal with this problem" once Kyoto expires.

"The solutions will come in the end, in part at least, through the private sector in developing the technology and science," he said.

Kyoto commits signatories to trim their output of six greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, by 2012 compared with 1990 levels. But its impact has been limited by the United States having opted out.

Mexico offered to host the next round of dialogue in 2006 between the G8 and up-and-coming economies.

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