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World leaders at APEC summit drop climate target

Last Updated: Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 23:44

Singapore: Asia-Pacific leaders Sunday vowed to work for an "ambitious outcome" at next month`s Copenhagen climate talks but gave no target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
"We... reaffirm our commitment to tackle the threat of climate change and work towards an ambitious outcome in Copenhagen," they said in a declaration at the end of a two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

The 21-member grouping declared climate change "one of the biggest global challenges" but dropped a target to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a goal outlined in an earlier draft of the joint statement.

Instead, they restated a 2007 "aspirational target" to reduce energy intensity -- greenhouse gas emissions per unit of economic output -- by at least 25 percent by 2030.

The declaration also emphasised developing countries` campaign to pressure rich nations to bear the financial burden of measures to counter global warming.

"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," it said.

Yi Xianliang, a Chinese foreign ministry official who is part of the country`s negotiating team at world climate talks, said Saturday that the 50 percent reduction target had to be omitted from the APEC declaration.

"It is a very controversial issue in the world community... if we put it in this statement, I think it would disrupt the negotiation process," he told reporters on the sidelines of APEC.

Hastily convened climate change talks that took place here earlier Sunday, with leaders including the presidents of the US and China, failed to yield a breakthrough ahead of the December talks in Copenhagen.

"There was an assessment by the leaders that it was unrealistic to expect a full, internationally legally-binding agreement to be negotiated between now and when Copenhagen starts in 22 days," US Deputy National Security Adviser Mike Froman told reporters.

Froman said there was broad consensus for a "one agreement, two steps" arrangement that would see an in-principle agreement in Copenhagen followed later by a legally binding pact.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 23:44
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