Ministers from Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United States launched the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP-6) this week in Sydney.
Those six countries consume about half the energy supply of the work and emit about half of all greenhouse gases (the “coalition of the emitting” in the words of Canadian conservative pundit and climate change critic Mark Steyn).
AP-6, organized by the US, seeks to take a voluntary, public-private, technology-transfer based-approach “to address climate change, energy security and air pollution”—without binding targets.
We each have different natural resource endowments, and sustainable development and energy strategies, but we are already working together and will continue to work to achieve common goals. By building on the foundation of existing bilateral and multilateral initiatives, we will enhance cooperation to meet both our increased energy needs and associated challenges, including those related to air pollution, energy security, and greenhouse gas intensities.
To this end, we will work together, in accordance with our respective national circumstances, to create a new partnership to develop, deploy and transfer cleaner, more efficient technologies and to meet national pollution reduction, energy security and climate change concerns, consistent with the principles of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).—AP-6 Vision Statement
The organizers assert that the AP-6 initiative is a complement to, not a replacement of, the Kyoto Protocol, although both the US and Australia have been steadfast in their opposition to the concept of binding reduction targets as defined in Kyoto.
At the inaugural session, the Ministers agreed on a charter, issued a communique and drew up a work plan.
The plan focuses on the creation of eight government-business task forces. Notable in its absence is a task force on transportation, despite the focus on transportation contained in an AP-6 background document issued by ABARE. The eight are:
Cleaner Fossil Energy Task Force. Chair: Australia; Co-chair: China. The CFE task force is focused on a suite of technologies associated with CO2 capture and storage, as well as complementary advanced power generation systems. These include integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), oxy-fuel and post-combustion capture. Other technologies such as ultrasupercritical pulverized fuel, coal cleaning and treatment, poly-generation, hydrogen production, enhanced coal bed and waste coal mine methane and coal gasification and liquefaction are also under deliberation.
In addition, the AP-6 notes, there is a need to identify and address barriers to the delivery of liquefied natural gas. Objectives include:
Develop an Asia-Pacific Partnership cleaner fossil energy technology development program;
Identify the potential for, and encourage uptake of, CO2 geosequestration opportunities in Partnership countries;
Further develop coal bed and waste coal mine methane gas and LNG/natural gas opportunities and markets in the Asia-Pacific region;
Build the research and development base, and the market and institutional foundations of Partners through technology supporting initiatives, such as education, training and skills transfer.
Renewable Energy and Distributed Generation Task Force. Chair: Republic of Korea; Co-chair: Australia. The Task Force will focus on the most promising technologies and applications, particularly rural, remote and peri-urban applications, where renewable energy and distributed generation applications can be cost competitive. Objectives include:
Facilitate the demonstration and deployment of renewable energy and distributed generation technologies in Partnership countries.
Identify country development needs and the opportunities to deploy renewable energy and distributed generation technologies, systems and practices, and the enabling environments needed to support wide-spread deployment, including in rural, remote and peri-urban applications.
Enumerate financial and engineering benefits of distributed energy systems that contribute to the economic development and climate goals of the Partnership.
Promote further collaboration between Partnership members on research, development and implementation of renewable energy technologies including supporting measures such as renewable resource identification, wind forecasting and energy storage technologies.
Support cooperative projects to deploy renewable and distributed generation technologies to support rural and peri-urban economic development and poverty alleviation.
Identify potential projects that would enable Partners to assess the applicability of renewable energy and distributed generation to their specific requirements.
Power Generation and Transmission Task Force. Chair: United States of America; Co-chair: China. With the advent of electricity becoming available to a large number of people in developing countries and the increasing electrification in developed countries the power generation sector is and will continue to be the largest emitter of emissions. Potential areas for cooperation in the power sector would include the improvement of thermal efficiency of power plants, fuel switching and/or multi-firing, reform of electricity markets, loss reduction in transmission, and demand side management. Objectives include:
Assess opportunities for practical actions to develop and deploy power generation, transmission and demand side management technologies that can aid development and climate concerns.
Facilitate demonstration and deployment of practices, technologies and processes to improve efficiency of power production and transmission within Partnership countries.
Enhance collaboration between Partners on research and development of such technologies and processes.
Identify potential projects that would enable Partner countries to assess the applicability of energy feedstocks to their specific requirements.
Identify opportunities to enhance investment in efficient power supply by improving energy markets and investment climate.
Steel Task Force. Chair: Japan; Co-chair: India. Asia-Pacific Partners account for nearly 50% of the world’s steel production. The Steel Task Force intends to facilitate the uptake of best available technology, practices and environmental management systems in Partnership countries together with increased recycling. The Task Force will initially focus on operations in China and India for greenhouse gas reductions. Action will focus around securing improved benchmarking and reporting, energy and material efficiencies and technology development and deployment. Objectives include:
Develop sector relevant benchmark and performance indicators;
Facilitate the deployment of best practice steel technologies;
Increase collaboration between relevant Partnership country government, research and industry steel-related institutions;
Develop processes to reduce energy usage, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from steel production;
Increase recycling across the Partnership.
Aluminium Task Force. Chair: Australia; Co-chair: United States. Asia-Pacific Partners account for 37% of the world’s aluminium production. The industry can make further improvements in environmental performance, while reducing costs, through best practice use of existing equipment (in particular perfluorocarbons (PFC) emissions management), increased uptake of best available and affordable technology (including improved instrumentation), the continued development and deployment of new technologies, and by increasing levels of recycling.
Through the Partnership, countries can advance industries towards global PFC reduction objectives and address energy efficiency and other CO2 process emissions by promoting best practice performance, increasing technical support and identifying impediments to deployment of best available and affordable technology. Objectives include:
Enhance current aluminium production processes through uptake of best-practice use of existing equipment;
Advance the development and deployment of new best practice aluminium production process and technologies across Partnership economies;
Enhance sector-related data, including recycling and performance;
Facilitate increased aluminium recycling rates across the Partnership.
Cement Task Force. Chair: Japan. Asia-Pacific Partners account for 61% of the world’s cement production. The cement Task Force will focus on the introduction and/or replacement of old technology (primarily the wet kiln process) in favour of dry processing technologies, energy efficient technologies, process improvements, power generation from waste heat recovery and enhanced co-processing of low grade primary fuels and industry wastes. Objective include:
Facilitate demonstration and deployment of energy-efficient and cleaner product formulation technologies in Partnership countries that will significantly improve the greenhouse gas emissions intensity and the air pollutant emissions intensity of cement operations;
Develop sector relevant benchmark and performance indicators;
Take advantage of opportunities to build infrastructure in developing countries and emerging economies that uses energy efficient cement and concrete building and paving materials.
Coal Mining Task Force. Chair: United States of America; Co-chair: India. Asia-Pacific Partners collectively generate approximately 65% of world primary coal production. Coal is the dominant fuel source globally and among the Partners, and the partners expect its use to continue to grow over the coming decades. The Task Force will address the reclamation and rehabilitation of mined lands, runoff, abandoned mines and best safety practice. The Coal Mining Task Force will work collaboratively with the Cleaner Fossil Energy Task Force. Objectives include:
Facilitate technologies and practices that can improve the economics and efficiencies of mining and processing and continue to improve safety and reduce environmental impacts;
Establish, as appropriate, efficiency and emissions intensity and mine reclamation objectives based on each nation’s circumstances;
Identify current reclamation activities in each country, as appropriate, and exchange best practice information in reclamation of surface mined lands with a focus on enhanced surface reclamation practices that improve the opportunities for carbon sequestration.
Buildings and Appliances Task Force. Chair: Republic of Korea; Co-chair: United States of America. The Partners will demonstrate technologies, enhance and exchange skills relating to energy efficiency auditing, share experiences and policies on best practices with regard to standards and codes, as well as labelling schemes for buildings, building materials and appliances. Objectives include:
Use cooperative mechanisms to support the further uptake of increasingly more energy efficient appliances, recognizing that extensive cooperative action is already occurring between Partner countries;
Promote best practice and demonstrate technologies and building design principles to increase energy efficiency in building materials and in new and existing buildings;
Support the integration of appropriate mechanisms to increase the uptake of energy efficient buildings and appliances into broader national efforts that support sustainable development, increase energy security and reduce environmental impacts;
Systematically identify and respond to the range of barriers that limit the implementation of end-use energy efficiency practices and technologies.
Critics of the AP-6 exercise noted the lack of funding (the US will ask for $52 million in the 2007 budget and Australia will provide US$75 million over 5 years) and quantitative—and therefore measurable—targets.
The Asia-Pacific partnership will next meet in 2007.