Six Asia-Pacific Nations Join in Climate Change Partnership

By Cheryl Pellerin
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington – A new partnership of six major Asia-Pacific nations that targets the deployment and commercialization of revolutionary energy technologies will be launched January 11-12 at the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate Change in Sydney, Australia.

During a January 6 briefing in Washington, U.S. officials said the voluntary initiative among Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United States is designed to accelerate the development and use of cleaner, more efficient technology in a way that promotes economic development and reduces poverty.

Together, the six countries represent more than half the world's economy, population and energy use, and produce half the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

The partnership, said Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky, will feature “actions that address the interrelated challenges of promoting economic growth, reducing poverty, enhancing energy security and mitigating air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.”

She said the initiative would “work from the bottom up, through public-private partnerships to build local capacity, improve efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industrial facilities, power plants, mines and buildings.”

Participating nations have formed task forces to study the following sectors: cleaner fossil energy, renewable energy and distributed generation, power generation and transmission, aluminum, steel, cement, buildings and appliances and mining.

“Already the beginnings of work plans have begun in a number of the sectors,” Dobriansky said, “and some will be developed further in the meeting in Sydney.”


“The central core of this initiative, said James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, “is to develop work plans that have real commitments behind them.”

The United States has a very specific two-phase regulatory target to cut harmful air pollution by nearly 70 percent from power plants in 2010 and 2015, Connaughton said.

Another target is to cut the sulfur from diesel fuel by 99 percent in 2007, and then cut nitrogen oxide by 90 percent in new vehicles starting in 2007.

“China has a new regulatory commitment in their five-year plan to desulfurize 46 percent of their coal-fired power plants, and they’re going to work to improve the energy efficiency of their coal-fired power plants by 20 percent by 2010,” he added.

“We are then going to work to sew these [commitments] together,” Connaughton said, “to see if we can find common strategies to successfully meet those objectives.

“We find this to be a much more powerful way of engaging,” he said, “because it is tailored to the priorities that each country has set for themselves in accordance with their own national circumstances.”


The United States expects to commit significant financial resources to the partnership, Dobriansky added, and work closely with the private sector and others to leverage the investment.

“This financial commitment will build upon and complement our nearly $3 billion annual investment to develop and deploy such cutting-edge energy technologies as hydrogen, carbon sequestration, nuclear energy, renewable fuels and electricity, and highly efficient appliances, vehicles and buildings,” Dobriansky said.

“We see that as providing a very important foundation here for building on and advancing in a variety of sectors, whether it be hydrogen or carbon sequestration, and moving forward,” she added.

The Asia-Pacific Partnership builds on and advances several international cooperative efforts launched by President Bush over the past four years – the GenIV nuclear energy technology partnership, the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy, and the Methane to Markets Partnership.

Collaboration areas include energy efficiency, clean coal, liquefied natural gas, carbon capture and storage, methane capture and use, civilian nuclear power, rural/village energy systems, advanced transportation, building and home construction and operation, agriculture and forestry, hydropower, wind power, solar power and other renewable energy sources.

The partners also will cooperate on developing and transferring longer-term energy technologies that will promote economic growth while enabling significant reductions in greenhouse gas intensities.

Areas for mid- to long-term collaboration include hydrogen, nanotechnologies, advanced biotechnologies, next-generation nuclear fission and fusion energy.


The new initiative is a complement, not an alternative, to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to that pact.

Under the UNFCCC, governments gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices for adapting to expected effects. The Kyoto Protocol, an amendment to the UNFCCC, established limits for greenhouse gas emissions for signatories.

Dobriansky said the new partnership goes beyond the Kyoto Protocol and greenhouse gas emissions by addressing economic growth, energy security and air pollution.

“Countries like India and China are grappling with issues relevant to economic growth and looking for effective and efficient ways to advance their economies and do it in a very environmentally responsible way,” she added.

“This partnership affords the opportunity of building capacity and quite significantly bridges the public and private sectors.”