Global Stalling at the Asia-Pacific Partnership?
Sydney has been hosting the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate over the past few days and it's generated more media column inches and sound bites on the environment since, ... well, since the drought, oh yeh, and news that 2005 down here was the hottest year on record. In case you haven't heard, Australia and the USA refusing to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol decided to organise their own shindig. And they invited India, China, Japan and South Korea to join them at the table too. Strangely Western Australia's resources sector thought it was a good idea, and so did a mining industry group from Queensland, whose chief executive felt that conservationists need to move on from the view that emission reduction targets are the only way to achieve environmental outcomes. Yet he is then quoted remarking on a strategy that supposedly came from the summit "that will result in zero emission power plants." Huh? Indeed it was reported that the "Ministers of the six member countries of the Asia-Pacific climate pact have declared that the use of fossil fuels will not be cut back." Which might lead one to wonder just what were they talking about then. Support for the coal industry basically, according to some. Although there was talk about nuclear being an option too. Given that something like 80% of Australia's electrity is coal derived, and we are one the world's largest exporters of uranium, one might be confused as why it was even hosting this summit — for about a second. The Australian government thought the ideas being thrown on the table were so good, it even tossed its own $100 million AUD into the mix. Spread over 5 years, that is. And how much do renewables get from that kitty? A very lean 25%. The Australian Prime Minister believes "Our societies require that we find solutions to these issues that maintain the momentum of economic growth." Maybe he should surf over to Treehugger and similar sites and see the growth in existing solar, wind, hydro, tidal technologies. Surely that is growth worth supporting, because a CSIRO spokesperson said many of the technologies discussed at the summit, such carbon geosequestration, still had 5-10 years of development ahead of them before their effectiveness would be known. ::APPCDC Fact Sheet