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The Asia-Pacific Partnership: implementation challenges and interplay with Kyoto

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Abstract

The Asia-Pacific Partnership (APP) for Clean Development and Climate, a multilateral agreement between Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea (Korea) and the United States of America, is a nonbinding memorandum of understanding directed at international cooperation on development, energy, environment and climate change issues involving business and industry voluntary action on technology transfer, and research and development. It has been hailed as a new model for an international climate agreement and as an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol. However, APP implementation has had challenges. As an opposing model to that of Kyoto, it is in contravention of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC's) principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and a contributor to the crumbling of climate governance. Cooperation rather than competition ideally should be the future for the relationship between the APP and the UNFCCC/Kyoto. Business and industry are involved in implementation of the Kyoto mechanisms under the UN climate regime currently; and for that reason, synchronicity between the APP and Kyoto agreements would be ideal. For example, APP nations could be involved in joint ‘regional’ emissions trading as the United States, Canada, Australia, Korea, and Japan all are in the process of establishing national schemes. However, for the APP to be a complement to Kyoto and not a barrier to its effectiveness, many hurdles need to be overcome including equity issues, additionality questions, capacity building concerns, trade barriers, intellectual property issues, adequacy of funding, assessment of APP emissions reductions, and renewal of US interest in UN climate regime participation. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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