Environmentalists condemn new global warming pact
SYDNEY (AFP) - Environmentalists have condemned a new pact against global warming by the and five Asia-Pacific countries, saying it was self-serving and would not work.
The agreement by the US, Australia, India, China, South Korea and Japan calls for a non-binding compact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which are blamed for climate change.
"Skulking around making secretive, selective deals will not accomplish a reduction in emissions as called for in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which the US and have declined to ratify," said Greenpeace .
"No doubt the (Australian) government has been cooking this scheme up for a while to cover up for their failure to ratify Kyoto, and to try prove that developing countries are abandoning Kyoto," said spokeswoman Catherine Fitzpatrick.
"This is not the case. Unlike Australia ,China , India and South Korea have all ratified Kyoto and are moving forward to implement their commitments," she said.
"The suggested scheme is, unlike Kyoto , a voluntary scheme and all evidence shows that voluntary schemes do not work."
The Kyoto accord legally commits 39 industrial nations and territories to trim their output of six greenhouse gases -- especially carbon dioxide, the by-product of burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
The gases trap heat in the atmosphere and are blamed for global warming.
Friends of the Earth Australia said the proposed alliance "does not address the immediate need to cut greenhouse pollution by at least 60 per cent by 2050.
"Although detail on the 'secret plan' is difficult to access, it appears to contain no binding commitments," spokesman Cam Walker told AFP.
"By staying out of the 'main game', the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases, the US and Australia continue to be open to criticism that they are only looking after their narrowly defined interests at the expense of the rest of the world," he said.
The leader of the opposition Australian Greens party, Bob Brown, dismissed the new agreement as "a coal pact" involving four of the world's biggest coal producers -- China, the US, India and Australia.
It was designed to "defend the coal industry in an age where it's the biggest industry contributing deliberately to the global warming threat to and the planet," he said.
In Geneva , the environmental group WWF said: "A deal on climate change that doesn't limit pollution is the same as a peace plan that allows guns to be fired."
WWF said in a statement that any agreement to develop environmentally friendly technology for energy use was no alternative for the Kyoto Protocol.
"This seems to be another attempt by the ( President George W.) Bush and (Australian Prime Minister John) Howard administrations to draw attention away from the fact that their countries' emissions continue to rise," said Jennifer Morgan, head of the WWF's climate change programme.