The Heat Is Online

APEC Reaches Weak but Inclusive Agreement

APEC officials agree on global warming statement

The Associated Press, Sept. 7, 2007


SYDNEY (AP): Pacific Rim nations on Friday reached agreement on a joint statement on global warming, overcoming bickering between rich and poor nations about whether to include targets on emissions, two Asian officials said.


Experts from the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum approved the wording of a final draft statement on climate change that would be handed to leaders at their summit starting Saturday, the officials said.


If the leaders agree to the statement in it's current form, it would be a big victory for the goal of Australia and the United States to have China - one of the world's biggest polluters  and other developing nations commit to quantifiable goals to tackle climate change.


One official involved in the talks, Indonesia's Salman Al-Farisi, said the draft statement included agreement on setting an "energy intensity" reducing target - a major concession by poorer nations that had earlier refused to consider including any quantifiable goals.


The target was for all 21 APEC members to work toward a 25 percent reduction of energy intensity by 2030, said a Southeast Asian officials involved in the talks, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.


In return for the reduction target, developed countries have accepted the inclusion of recognition of the U.N. principle that poorer nations had fewer responsibilities to cut carbon emissions that developed ones, officials said.


The sides also agreed that the U.N. was the chief place for global negotiations on the problem.


"Everybody cannot get everything, but everybody did not lose too much," Al-Farisi said of the compromise. He stressed that, in line with APEC's consensus-based, non-binding approach, nothing in the agreement was cast in stone.


"It is (up to members') discretion to follow, in accordance to their national programs," he said.


Another Southeast Asian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, confirmed that agreement had been reached among officials, and the final draft was ready to be handed to the leaders