14th Aug 2022

US-Asia climate deal casts doubt on Kyoto

A new US-Asia agreement on climate change might damage the EU and UN-sponsored Kyoto protocol and has embarrassed the UK presidency, which failed to get Washington on board a climate deal at the recent G8 summit.

The US unveiled the creation of the Asia Pacific Partnership on Development (APPD) on Wednesday night (27 July) bringing together China, India, Japan, South Korea and Australia.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The group represents 50 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, but the deal is unlikely to include binding reduction targets and will probably focus on the spread of cleaner technology from the US and Australia to developing countries such as China and India instead.

Details are expected to emerge on Thursday and Friday.

US environment chief Jim Connaughton said APPD will "consolidate existing efforts and manage current partnerships", according to the FT.

But Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper told the Guardian that he fears "this is another attempt to undermine Kyoto and a message to the developing world to buy US technology and not to worry about targets and timetables".

Snub for UK presidency

He added that the move is a "a poke in the eye for Tony Blair [the UK prime minister and EU president]", who tried and failed to get his Iraq ally president George Bush to agree to a climate change pact at the G8 summit in Scotland earlier this month.

The US and Australia - the only two developed countries not in Kyoto - have been cooking up APPD in secret for a year, the Times reports.

The deal seems to have taken Brussels and London by surprise, with the UK's environment ministry issuing a cautious "welcome" last night, while stressing that "the announcement from Australia and others certainly does not replace the Kyoto process".

Australia sees things differently however.

"It is quite clear that the Kyoto protocol won't get the world to where it wants to go. We have got to find something that works better. We need to develop technologies which can be developed in Australia and exported around the world - but it also shows that what we're doing now, under the Kyoto protocol, is entirely ineffective", Australian environment minister Ian Campbell told the Guardian.

"Anyone who tells you that the Kyoto protocol, or signing the Kyoto protocol is the answer, doesn't understand the question", he added.

Kyoto could suffer

Kyoto, which aims at trimming greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, has been criticised in the past for failing to include rapidly developing countries such as China, Brazil and South Africa in its scope and for having potentially damaging economic side-effects.

The UN wants to bring developing countries into the Kyoto fold after 2012, but the Times says that the APPD arrangement might mean China and India will opt to stay out.

The EU has given Kyoto its full backing, kicking off an emissions trading scheme in January that embraces all 25 member states, nine of which have already set up CO2 stock exchanges or registries.

Member states can also earn "carbon credits" by exporting clean technology to developing countries in a parallel to the US-sponsored scheme.

Brussels estimates that it will cost the bloc just €3.7 billion, less than 0.1 percent of the EU's GDP, to meet its Kyoto goal.

Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey

The Swedish government has agreed to extradite a Turkish citizen with Kurdish roots wanted for credit card fraud to Turkey, amid the backdrop of Turkey's Nato threat.


EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive

The EU needs to be clear eyed about China's new diplomatic charm offensive, as it's more likely driven by short-term necessity than any fundamental policy re-assessment.

Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties

Beijing's club was meant to forge stronger European relations. Lithuania left it last year. Now Estonia and Latvia have also decided to walk over Chinese bullying.

Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties

Beijing's club was meant to forge stronger European relations. Lithuania left it last year. Now Estonia and Latvia have also decided to walk over Chinese bullying.

News in Brief

  1. Germany to help nationals cope with energy price spike
  2. Germany wants pipeline from Portugal
  3. Ukraine urges US to sanction all Russian banks
  4. Spain evacuates 294 Afghans
  5. EU sanctions have 'limited' effect of Russian oil production
  6. Donors pledge €1.5bn to Ukraine's war effort
  7. Sweden overtakes France as EU's top power exporter
  8. Italy's far-right star in European charm offensive

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season
  2. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  3. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  4. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  5. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties
  6. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  7. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  8. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us