Azara Blog: APEC leaders sign weak statement on climate change

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Date published: 2007/09/08

The BBC says:

Asia-Pacific leaders meeting in Sydney have agreed an "aspirational" goal to restrain the rise of greenhouse gas emissions to tackle climate change.

China and the US - two of the world's biggest polluters - are among the 21 nations that have signed the statement, which contains no firm commitments.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard called it "a very important milestone" towards an international deal.

Environmentalists said the declaration was symbolic rather than concrete.
The Apec statement included a non-binding goal of reducing "energy intensity" - the amount of energy used to produce a dollar of gross domestic product - by at least 25% by 2030.

The leaders also called for increased forest cover in the Asia-Pacific region of at least 20m hectares (50m acres) by 2020.
Apec's 21 members, which also include Russia and Japan, together account for about 60% of annual greenhouse gas emissions.

This is rather weak. The US decreased its energy intensity by 40% over the period 1980-2004, so just a bit longer than the period from now until 2030. So a 25% reduction by 2030 is not that difficult a target. And the more difficult question is carbon per GDP, which happens to have fallen in the US by just over 40% from 1980-2004 (so the carbon - energy mix was evidently fairly constant averaged over all sources during that period). But with oil demand exceeding supply, more countries could well turn to coal over the next couple of decades, so the carbon per GDP figure could get worse. And this is not to mention the carbon figure, period.

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