US-led cleaner energy forum delayed, Australian officials

Australia said Friday it hasn't set a date for hosting an inaugural U.S.-backed summit aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, dealing a setback to an effort that critics have called a ploy to undermine the Kyoto global warming pact.

The Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Energy Development, which also includes China, Japan, India, South Korea and Australia, was launched in July to develop technologies to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases believed to be warming Earth's atmosphere. It was touted as a more effective solution to global warming than the Kyoto Protocol.

Critics, however, suspected it was a ploy to undo the Kyoto pact and an excuse for Washington and Canberra to reject the protocol, which took effect in February and aims to cut carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by industrialized nations by 5.2 percent below their 1990 levels by 2012.

Australia is among critics who say Kyoto does not do enough to curb global warming because it doesn't impose targets on developing economies including China and India.

The inaugural ministerial meeting of the cleaner energy partnership was scheduled to be held in the city of Adelaide in November, but Environment Minister Ian Campbell said Friday that no date had been set, reports the AP. I.L.

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