Brussels, 28 Jul 2005
The US, Australia and several Asian countries have surprised European governments by announcing a pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement is non-binding, and will be based on the development of new technology.
The pact will allow the US, Australia, China, India, South Korea and Japan to set their own goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Japan is the only signatory to have also signed the Kyoto Protocol, which takes a more binding approach to reducing emissions. The new agreement has been described by US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick as a complement to Kyoto, and not an alternative.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told the BBC that the focus must be on encouraging more public and private investment in developing clean energy technology. 'Our concern is that in the end Kyoto is simply not going to do the job as it's currently structured. Our view is you really need to focus on technological change to solve the climate change problem [...] and you do have to involve the major developing countries, which are very substantial emitters,' he said. Under the agreement, new technology will be transferred to other countries in need.
The announcement comes a month after UK Prime Minister struggled to get any agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the G8 summit. The UK has responded to the revelation of the pact by emphasising that Mr Blair will continue to discuss climate change with the US, China and India as part of the UK's G8 presidency.