Today we were leaked a copy of the draft APEC leaders’ statement on climate change.
For a minute, it sounded like APEC might actually do something good on climate change. A quick read through the document, however, confirmed our suspicions: that APEC is being driven by the John Howard and George W Bush anti-Kyoto agenda. The spin is good. To an outsider, it looks as though they’re trying to do something about the climate.
But a closer inspection shows it’s business as usual. They acknowledge the importance of fossil fuels (read: coal), nuclear power- and a new and expanded 'coal pact' which talks about more research into renewable technologies.
It says they are committed to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which again sounds great. But 12 years ago world governments decided the UNFCCC would not deliver the deep cuts in emissions that the climate science is telling us we need – that is why they negotiated Kyoto.
The APEC declaration is clearly ‘Made in the USA’ - covered with a thick coating of Australian coal dust.
There’s talk of a “long term aspirational goal” for improving energy efficiency and stopping deforestation. But this sounds remarkably similar to the idea floated by George W Bush ahead of the G8 meeting. Bush has put discussion of his “aspirational goal” on the agenda of his upcoming “Big Emitters meeting” at the end of September. But get this: his deadline for agreeing that target is the end of 2008 – that is, after the US elections!
For both Bush and Howard, their goal is to look as good as they can so that they can deflect criticism until after their elections.
Let’s get this clear: there is only one place for discussion of targets, goals, and cuts in global emissions – and that is Kyoto. In Bali in December, governments from around the world will come together to discuss how they will strengthen the Kyoto Protocol. This is the proper place to make key decisions on the climate – and this is what the APEC leaders should commit themselves to.
The scientific evidence on climate change is clear: we need to act fast – and now – we don’t need Bush and Howard distractions through APEC or any other “initiative”.