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Global warming: US, Australia pledge $127 mn

Canberra and Washington have often been criticised as the only major industrialised nations to refuse to sign the Kyoto Protocol.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2006 11:08 IST

The United States and Australia on Thursday pledged a combined $127 million to an Asia Pacific plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions by promoting technologies for clean and renewable energy generation.

But environmentalists said the pledges at the inaugural Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate were far too little, and complained that the forum focused on untried technologies to prop up the fossil fuel industry rather than proven renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.

The six-nation regional climate group meeting in Sydney acknowledged that burning fossil fuels -- a major source of greenhouse gases - will remain "critical" to their economies.

The group is made up of the United States, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, along with Australia, the world's biggest coal exporter, and the rapidly expanding, energy hungry nations of China and India, as well as South Korea and Japan.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard pledged to pump Aus$100 million ($75 million) over five years into the effort, into fighting global warming.

James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said that the US delegation would tell the conference that President George W Bush will seek $52 million in Washington's 2007 budget to manage partnership's work.

Canberra and Washington have often been criticised as the only major industrialised nations to refuse to sign the Kyoto Protocol, which legally binds countries to targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2012.

As emerging economies, China and India also have no mandatory Kyoto targets.

First Published: Jan 12, 2006 11:08 IST