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. US And Australia In Secret Climate Pact: Report

Saving Planet Earth

Sydney (SPX) Jul 27, 2005
A group of countries including the United States, Australia, China, India and South Korea have agreed a secret pact on greenhouse gas emissions to replace the Kyoto climate protocol, a report said Wednesday.

The alliance, which is yet to be announced, will bring together nations that account for more than 40 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, The Australian newspaper said.

A government source told AFP that the general thrust of the report was correct, but that the line-up of countries involved had not been finalised. A formal announcement is expected this week.

The Australian said the group, to be known as the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate, will aim to use the latest technologies to limit emissions and make sure they are available in the areas and industries that need them most.

The US and Australia have refused to sign the UN's Kyoto Protocol, which requires industrialised countries to trim emissions of carbon dioxide, the byproduct of burning oil, gas and coal, by a deadline of 2010.

China and India are not limited by the protocol because they are considered developing economies.

The new US initiative for a "post-Kyoto" strategy has been under discussion for five months, The Australian said, and was on the agenda when Prime Minister John Howard met President George W. Bush at the White House last week.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held meetings with Bush on the same topic on the same day, The Australian said.

The US has been driving the negotiations but Australia has been part of the deal, given its vital interests in coal and gas exports to China and South Korea, as well as negotiations with China on uranium sales for nuclear energy, the paper said. One of the US arguments against the present Kyoto format is that it does not require big developing countries such as China and India to make targeted emissions cuts -- an absence that Bush says is unfair and illogical.

But developing countries say historical responsibility for global warming lies with nations that industrialised first, and primarily with the United States, which by itself accounts for a quarter of all global greenhouse-gas pollution.

The leader of the opposition Australian Greens party, Bob Brown, said the agreement was "a coal pact" involving four of the world's biggest coal producers.

It was designed to "defend the coal industry in an age where it's the biggest industry contributing deliberately to the global warming threat to Australia and the planet," he told reporters.

"This is the blinkered view, the ostrich approach by prime minister Howard to arguably the biggest common threat to the planet in 2005, which is global warming.

"It won't fool the Australian people and it won't fool world opinion," Brown said.

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Zoellick To Address Secret Climate Talks: US
Washington (AFP) Jul 27, 2005
US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick will offer details at a summit in Laos on reported secret US talks with Australia on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, US officials said Wednesday.

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