U.S., 5 nations join pact to curb climate changes
The United States and five Asian and Pacific nations agreed yesterday on a partnership to use cleaner energy technologies in hopes of curtailing...
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The United States and five Asian and Pacific nations agreed yesterday on a partnership to use cleaner energy technologies in hopes of curtailing climate-changing pollution.
The agreement does not bind the U.S. or its partners — China, India, Japan, South Korea and Australia — to specific reductions in emissions. It also is not viewed as a replacement for the Kyoto climate pact, which several of the participants — though not the U.S. — have embraced.
White House officials see the partnership as an important step in setting up a system to help emerging industrial countries produce cleaner energy and slow the growth of greenhouse-gas emissions, especially carbon from fossil fuels.
President Bush called it a "results-oriented partnership" that will speed the development and use of cleaner and more efficient ways "to meet national pollution reduction, energy security and climate-change concerns."
The Kyoto pact, which the United States has rejected, requires that industrial countries reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions. The Bush administration prefers to address global warming through voluntary actions and by emphasizing the need to develop technologies that cut emissions and capture carbon.
The six countries pledged "enhanced cooperation" to address the growth of climate-changing pollution while still meeting their growing energy needs, and nonbinding commitments to develop clean coal, nuclear and hydroelectric technologies that are less carbon-intensive.
The United States has been eager to find ways to get China, India and other rapidly industrializing nations to deal with climate change. White House officials say that one problem with the Kyoto pact is that it does not require China and India to commit to emission reductions.
The U.S. accounts for one-quarter of the world's greenhouse gases. Emissions are growing at the rate of 1.5 percent a year despite the administration's voluntary policies.
Environmentalists, who have criticized Bush's voluntary approach, said the new initiative is little more than what already is being pursued through bilateral discussions.
"All they're doing now is wrapping together a few of these partnerships," said Annie Petsonk of Environmental Defense.
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