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Report Shows Kyoto Protocol Neglects Asian Economic Growth
Asia Pulse (15 December 2004)

A new report by the Australian APEC Study Centre says the fastest growing economies in the world would be damaged if they adopted Kyoto Protocol targets to cut emissions.

"The United Nations has not delivered on the promise (via the Kyoto Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) to help developing countries, especially high-growth developing economies in Asia, to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide," said Mr. Alan Oxley, Chairman of the Australian National APEC Study Centre at Monash University, Australia.

"The most important way high-growth developing economies can reduce emissions is to introduce more efficient ways of using fossil fuels, which will meet our energy needs for the foreseeable future," noted Mr. Oxley.

"This is important because these countries generate nearly 40 percent of the world's human generated carbon dioxide and that share is rapidly increasing.

Yet the Global Environment Fund (GEF) which was established in 1991 to fund projects to address global climate change has given insignificant assistance to these economies," he concluded.

The report notes that in the thirteen years since GEF was established, it has provided an average of just over $100 million (U.S.) per year. The APEC Centre report points out that this amount is insignificant compared to the $63 billion (US) in ordinary aid to developing countries granted in 2004.

"Most of the GEF funding is directed to small and poorer developing countries to encourage adoption of renewable energy systems," noted Mr. Oxley.

"This does little to reduce global emissions of carbon dioxide, and it further hampers economic growth in poor and developing countries that need access to reliable forms of energy. The World Bank and other donors to the GEF are evidently not interested in effective and concrete action to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide," he observed.

The report also examined the Clean Development Mechanism in the Kyoto Protocol, which is supposed to promote commercial investment in developing countries in projects that would reduce emissions. "There is a clear consensus among business organizations, analysts and experts at the International Energy Agency that the mechanism cannot deliver investment to developing countries," said Mr. Oxley. "As evidence of that, there is virtually nothing in the pipeline despite years of talking up the CDM," he concluded.

"Overall, the interests of the fast growing developing economies in East Asia have been neglected," noted Mr. Oxley.

The APEC report notes that East Asia is heavily dependent on power for development and strategies to relieve poverty. It points out that if these economies were required to cut emissions in the manner mandated for industrialized economies under the Kyoto Protocol, economic growth strategies would be jeopardized.

The report concludes that the most effective long term strategy for developing economies in APEC is to promote investment in new technologies which use much more efficient combustion of fossil fuel and to support research in new technologies for sequestration of carbon dioxide and even more efficient combustion.


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