Azara Blog: Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate meets

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Date published: 2006/01/11

The BBC says:

The private sector will solve the problem of climate change, according to the US Energy Secretary, Samuel Bodman.

He told the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate that the job of governments was to help businesses take up clean technologies.

Critics say the talks are a way to avoid signing up to binding targets like those in the Kyoto Protocol.

The Partnership aims to develop ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through clean technology.

The meeting here in Sydney is its first ministerial gathering and is seen as a rival to the Kyoto process.

The Partnership's guiding principle is that technology alone, developed and exported to the growing economies of Asia, can reduce emissions without the need for binding targets as contained in the Kyoto treaty.

But many observers doubt that companies or governments will adopt these technologies if they cost more than conventional systems.

The Partnership does not envisage financial incentives such as the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme, which rewards companies for reducing their carbon output.

Asked at a news conference why business would adopt more expensive technologies in the absence of financial incentives, Mr Bodman replied: "I believe that the people who run the private sector, who run these companies - they too have children, they too have grandchildren, they too live and breathe in the world.

"And they would like things dealt with effectively; and that's what this is all about."

The purpose of this meeting, he said, was for governments to listen to the concerns of the private sector and ask what prevented companies from moving to already available clean technologies.

"Those of us in government believe it is the job of government to create an environment such that the private sector can really do its work.

"It's really going to be the private sector, the companies... that are ultimately going to be the solvers of this problem."

His view was endorsed by Australian industry minister Ian Macfarlane, who told reporters: "The real emissions are coming from industry.

"And it's industry which needs to embrace the technology, it's industry which needs to be in a partnership with government to involve this new technology, to take up its corporate environmental community responsibility, to set about ensuring that in 50 years' time our emissions aren't 50% higher than now."
The Asia-Pacific Partnership brings together Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

Unfortunately anyone who works for the current US administration has to be assumed to be stupid, or corrupt or both. And Bodman certainly seems to fit in that mould. It is obvious that industry and academia (and not government) will come up with most of the required technology but it is also obvious that government sets the rules which determines what industry will do. Of course you could try to argue that with emissions anything that government decides will just make matters worse, and so a hands-off approach is best. Not many people would believe that argument.

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