China, US agree long-term goal to cut emissions

Asia-Pacific nations, including China and the US, agreed on Saturday to adopt a "long-term aspirational goal" to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, Australian prime minister John Howard said.

"We are serious about addressing in a sensible way, compatible with our different economic needs, the great challenge of climate change," Reuters reported Howard as saying.

Howard said the leaders had also agreed on the need for "specific APEC goals on energy intensity and forestry" and the important role of clean coal technologies.

But many environmentalists were less enthusiastic, pointing out that the goals were non-binding and modest in scope.

"In practical terms, that will mean almost nothing," Al Jazeera quoted Frank Jotzo, an economist at Australian National University, as saying. "It is very unambitious."

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