APEC scraps emission cut target in draft declaration


Singapore : Leaders attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit here have scrapped a provision in their draft declaration pledging to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, an official said.

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Yi Xianliang, counselor at the Treaty and Law Department of the Chinese foreign ministry, told a press conference here Saturday that the emission cut proposal was taken off from the draft declaration for fear that the binding provision might disrupt the climate change negotiations, Xinhua reported.

“It is a very controversial issue in the world community. And the APEC is not a negotiation venue for climate change,” Yi said, adding that actually no “notable” progress was made in the past two years after the 2007 UN Climate Change Conference held in Bali, Indonesia.

He said negotiators at the next UN-sponsored climate change conference, to be held in December in Copenhagen, would face difficulties to reach a deal despite best efforts pledged by parties involved.

“The biggest obstacle standing in the way is from developed countries,” Yi said, adding “Political commitment of leaders and politicians from some countries did not translate into action at the negotiation table.”

He said the failure of developed countries’ negotiators to discuss their emission cut obligations at a recent climate change negotiation in Barcelona, enraged delegates from the African countries and they walked out of the meeting.

“Developing countries hope that the commitment from leaders of the developed countries can be reflected in the negotiation process. If this can be done, the Copenhagen conference will yield a satisfactory result,” he said.

State and government leaders from about 190 countries are expected to attend the Copenhagen conference, which is expected to renew greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets set by the Kyoto Protocol before they expire in 2012.

Yi said Chinese President Hu Jintao will join Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Mexican President Felipe Calderon, among others, in an informal breakfast discussion on climate change Sunday, the last day of this year’s APEC Leaders’ meeting.

He said China will uphold the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” in the talk.

A report issued by the APEC secretariat said the grouping account for approximately 60 percent of the world energy consumption, which is expected to continue to rise as the region becomes increasingly industrialised and more people move from the countryside to cities.