The US and Australia are developing a new pact on climate change with a group of Asian countries, believed to include China, India and South Korea.
Australia's Environment Minister Ian Campbell said that details would be announced "in the very near future". That could be as soon as Thursday, in a speech due to be given by US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick. It is believed the pact will focus on technology transfer from industrialised nations to the developing world. Australia and the United States are the two major industrialised countries which have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, claiming it would damage their economies. Both countries also criticise the treaty on the grounds that it does not include major developing countries such as China and India.
At a news conference in the West Australian capital Perth, Minister Campbell told reporters that Kyoto could not achieve the level of greenhouse gas reductions which the majority of climate scientists believed were necessary if climate change was to be kept within manageable bounds. "We're going to have a 40% increase in emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, and the world needs a 50% reduction," he said. "We've got to find something that works better."
So, is this the big 'compromise' we've been waiting years to see from the remaining Kyoto hold-outs? My guess is that there's much less to this than first meets the eye, but I'll withhold further judgment until some actual details come out.