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Britain's Blair endorses Asia-Pacific climate pact

Written by: Staff

Canberra, Mar 28: British Prime Minister Tony Blair today backed an Asia-Pacific climate partnership that includes India, China and the United States, saying it was not aimed at undermining the Kyoto protocol on cutting gas emissions.

Blair said there were a number of climate-change initiatives around the world which could eventually be brought together to tackle greenhouse gas emissions globally, and encourage business to adopt greener technology and energy.

''I think the fact that you've got these initiatives at the moment, all tending in the same direction, is actually a positive sign, it's not a negative one. We don't see that as aimed at us in any shape or form,'' he told reporters in Canberra.

In January Australia hosted the first meeting of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, which groups six of the world's biggest polluters: China, India, the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Australia and the United States have not signed up to the Kyoto emissions targets, saying the targets would threaten economic growth and would be worthless without the involvement of major developing countries such as China and India.

The Asia-Pacific climate partnership looks at how to develop technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions rather than having specific targets.

Blair's comments come ahead of the release of Britain's long-awaited Climate Change Review, which aims to set self-imposed 20 percent cuts in carbon dioxide emissions by 2010.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, Britain is pledged to cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 12.5 percent by 2012.

Blair, who held talks with Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Tuesday, said he believed the Asia-Pacific climate partnership was a positive development.

''Britain is not going to be the country whose future determines the future of the planet and the climate,'' he told a joint news conference with Howard.

''It's going to be about China, India and America, as well as of course the Europeans, and Japan and other countries like Australia.

''It is a completely unrealistic debate to say that you can have a climate-change agreement that doesn't involve China, and then America obviously, and then India, which is also a country of a billion people growing at a fast rate.''


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