16 Nov 2009

APEC fails to commit to emissions reduction target

11:50 am on 16 November 2009

World leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Singapore have failed to agree on a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In their final statement, the 21 leaders committed to free up trade and business climates and find new forms of economic growth, in particular with the so-called green economy.

But controversy erupted when the final statement lacked specific greenhouse emission targets contained in an earlier draft, the ABC reports.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who chaired the APEC summit, denied that the targets had been dropped.

"We negotiated a draft, we settled on a text. I do not know the ins and the outs, but this is not an occasion for negotiating climate change."

At the summit's close on Sunday, the leaders reaffirmed previous commitments to increase forest cover in the region and reduce energy use in a bid to tackle climate change.

But they conceded there will be no legally binding climate deal decided at the United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December.

The statement also failed to commit to limiting rising temperatures to 2 degrees celsius. That is the point considered by the United Nations to be the level at which catastrophic climate change would occur.

Pledge to break Doha deadlock

Leaders called for a breakthrough in world trade talks and pledged their support to breaking the deadlock in the Doha round of talks next year.

The leaders called for their support at these talks to be translated into progress in negotiations which have been stalled since last July.

Director General of the World Trade Organisation Pascal Lamy says serious acceleration is needed if an outline agreement on Doha is to be reached next year.

But this will be difficult with the United States still at loggerheads with poorer countries over protections for local farmers, the BBC reports.

Trade ministers will meet at the WTO's headquarters in Geneva in the next few weeks to try and move the negotiations on.

The leader's final statement removed draft references to endorsing "market-oriented exchange rates" and keeping stimulus policies in place until a durable global economic recovery is achieved.

The statement did say they would seek to conclude the Doha Round of global trade talks in 2010 and that they "reject all forms of protectionism".