A group of six nations representing about half of the world's human-induced greenhouse gas emissions ended their meeting in Sydney on January 12 with the creation of a fund to promote cleaner energy technologies.
"Our energy needs are growing rapidly, and will necessitate large-scale investments in the coming decades," the group said in its final communiqué. "We recognised that fossil fuels underpin our economies, and will be an enduring reality for our lifetimes and beyond," it added. But it also recognised "renewable energy and nuclear power will represent an increasing share of global energy supply".
Australia has committed US$75 million to the fund over five years while US Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said he would request a $52 million contribution from his country's 2007 budget, Reuters reported.
Eight industry-led taskforces have been created which will receive backing from the fund: (1) cleaner fossil energy; (2) renewable energy and distributed generation; (3) power generation and transmission; (4) steel; (5) aluminium; (6) cement; (7) coal mining; and (8) buildings and appliances. According to the final communiqué, the taskforces will "systematically 'roadmap' relevant existing and emerging technologies" and develop action plans by mid-2006.
The signing of the six nation's pact - called the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development - in July 2005 came as a surprise for the EU where it met with scepticism. (Contrary to the Kyoto Protocol, the pact does not contain binding targets or a timetable to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
US retreats at climate change talks
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