Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and global warming

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Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC} have been minor players in the debate over global warming. However, on several occasions the APEC leaders have addressed the issue.

Sydney 2007

At its meeting in Sydney, Australia in September 2007, APEC leaders had supported the need for a new agreement after the Kyoto Protocol expires and developed an "action agenda" largely focused on improving energy efficiency and expanding the area of forest cover. The key commitments of the "Action Agenda" were[1]:

"highlight the importance of improving energy efficiency by working towards achieving an APEC-wide regional aspirational goal of a reduction in energy intensity of at least 25 per cent by 2030 (with 2005 as the base year);
"work to achieve an APEC-wide aspirational goal of increasing forest cover in the region by at least 20 million hectares of all types of forests by 2020 - a goal which if achieved would store approximately 1.4 billion tonnes of carbon, equivalent to around 11 per cent of annual global emissions (in 2004);
"establish an Asia-Pacific Network for Energy Technology (APNet) to strengthen collaboration on energy research in our region particularly in areas such as clean fossil energy and renewable energy sources;"
"establish an Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation to enhance capacity building and strengthen information sharing in the forestry sector."

Singapore, November 2009

The 17th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Singapore, which was held between November 14-15, 2009, sought to address the issues to be negotiated on at the looming COP15 conference in Copenhagen.

The leaders declaration stated[2]:

"Anthropogenic climate change is one of the biggest global challenges. It will impact each of our economies. We welcome the Declaration of the Leaders of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in L'Aquila and the Leaders' Statement at the G-20 Pittsburgh Summit, and reaffirm our commitment to tackle the threat of climate change and work towards an ambitious outcome in Copenhagen, within the objective, provisions and principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will need to be accompanied by measures, including financial assistance and technology transfer to developing economies for their adaptation to the adverse impact of climate change."
"We recall our Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development in Sydney in 2007, which set out an APEC-wide aspirational target of reducing energy intensity by at least 25 percent by 2030. We applaud the efforts made by individual APEC economies that have unilaterally undertaken measures to reduce emissions. Sustainable forest management plays an important role in mitigating global emissions. We will enhance work on meeting the aspirational goal in the Sydney Declaration of increasing forest cover in the region by at least 20 million hectares of all types of forests by 2020. We support efforts in the UNFCCC negotiations to agree on actions to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing economies. We recognise the role of the oceans in mitigating climate change, and the impact of climate change on oceans and coastal areas, and welcome the Manado Ocean Declaration."
"Responding to climate change through transition to green economies also offers opportunities. We will ensure that efforts to address climate change are consistent with our international trade obligations. A key thrust in APEC's sustainable growth agenda is the APEC Environmental Goods and Services (EGS) Work Programme, under which we will develop and implement a set of concrete actions to support sustainable growth in the region, advance work to increase utilisation and dissemination of EGS, reduce existing barriers and refrain from introducing new barriers to trade and investment in EGS, and enhance capabilities of economies to develop their EGS sectors. We also commit to rationalise and phase out over the medium term fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, while recognising the importance of providing those in need with essential energy services. We will review progress on this at our meeting in 2010. We will also take steps to facilitate the diffusion of climate-friendly technologies, including through economic and technical cooperation (ECOTECH) and capacity building activities."
"We will advance work on sharing best practices in energy efficiency with a view to deploying cleaner and more efficient technologies, and welcome the implementation of the voluntary APEC Peer Review on Energy Efficiency. We recognise the role of renewable energy in reducing emissions and encourage its development in the APEC region. We will encourage publication on a regular basis, timely, accurate, and complete data on oil production, consumption, refining and stock levels as appropriate."

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  1. 'Sydney APEC Leaders Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development", September 9, 2007.
  2. Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, "2009 Leaders' Declaration", APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, November 14-15, 2009.

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