U.S. and Asia-Pacific countries gear up for not-Kyoto climate meeting

The first meeting of the Asia-Pacific climate partnership will kick off this Wednesday in Australia. The six participating nations — Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. — will emphasize the transfer of clean technologies to developing countries, instead of Kyoto-style emissions caps. But eco-advocates — who are being excluded from the confab — say the meet’s a smokescreen for some of the globe’s biggest polluters. “It’s about how big business and bureaucrats can best ensure that the climate-change agenda and the politics of confronting … global warming doesn’t derail their profit taking,” says Greenpeacer Danny Kennedy. Australian Environment Minister Ian Campbell counters that public-private collaboration is crucial to curbing climate change. But now that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has opted to remain in Washington (to monitor developments in the Middle East) instead of jetting to Sydney, some think the meeting may already be a bust.