SYDNEY, Australia – Pacific Rim leaders agreed Saturday that the world needs to "slow, stop and then reverse" greenhouse gas emissions, and adopted goals on reducing energy intensity and reforestation as part of the effort.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard, as host of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, announced the Sydney Declaration of Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development, which he said reflected the seriousness of body's desire to address global warming while providing for economic growth.
"The world needs to slow, stop and then reverse the growth of global greenhouse gas emissions," said the statement issued by APEC's 21 leaders.
APEC members agreed to reduce "energy intensity" — the amount of energy needed to produce a unit of economic growth — 25 percent by 2030. Its inclusion was a nod to Australia, backed by the United States, which wanted developed and developing nations to commit to a target.
The declaration also calls for increasing forest cover in the region by at least 50 million acres by 2020. Forests help absorb the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
The goals are nonbinding in keeping with APEC's voluntary, consensus-based approach.