Heat on APEC energy ministers


Heat on APEC energy ministers

By Jonathan Strauss

SYDNEY — In an international appeal signed by 64 community groups from around Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, Climate Action Network Australia (CANA) urged an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) energy ministers' meeting on August 26 to support ecologically sustainable energy systems.

Aviva Imhof, spokesperson for AID/WATCH, one of the organisations in the network, said, "The underlying goal of this APEC meeting is to increase investment in traditional sources of energy: coal, oil and gas, hydro-power and nuclear power".

The Australian government is a major proponent of this course, chasing trade and investment totalling $1.3 trillion in the financing of electricity supply alone. With exports in mind, it has vociferously opposed limits on greenhouse gas emissions and pursued uranium sales to Indonesia and Taiwan. This has been backed up by trade liberalisation measures that ride roughshod over the rights of workers and the rural poor, environmental concerns and democratic decision-making.

CANA urged the APEC meeting to support the Geneva Ministerial Declaration on Climate Change's call for First World countries to reduce human-generated emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 20% below 1990 levels by the year 2000. It also called for the phasing out of all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle in the Asia-Pacific region, for comprehensive regulation of private sector energy investment and for investment in efficient energy use and renewable energy.

ASEED, a youth organisation which provides alternative analysis on global environment and development issues, organised a 100-strong picket outside the meeting's official dinner on August 28, at which members of the socialist youth organisation Resistance and the Stop Uranium Mining committee attempted to present "yellowcake" to the diners.