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APEC Business Leaders Call for Action to Combat Climate Change


Representatives from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council wrapped up talks calling on APEC leaders to take urgent action to combat climate change. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins is in the Australian city Sydney where business leaders met ahead of this week's APEC leaders meeting.

Climate change topped the agenda of the three-day meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council, known as ABAC.

"What ABAC is saying to those leaders is there is a real sense of urgency in the business community for the policy makers to set clear rules," said Mark Johnson, the chairman of this year's ABAC meeting. "Consumers are going to have to change their behavior in response to the cost of climate change, and business is going to have to change its behavior very markedly."

According to ABAC, the 21 APEC economies account for some 60 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, thought to be a major contributor to global warming.

Johnson says business will have to invest in new technology to combat global warming.

"Business is going to have to invest in new technology for greater energy efficiency and it's going to have to invest in new technology to produce cleaner energy to do those things we need a clear, transparent framework, preferably a market framework that gives us clear price signals so that we know where to invest," said Johnson.

Another major topic at the ABAC meeting was trade liberalization negotiations under the World Trade Organization known as the Doha round.

The talks have stalled over disagreements on cutting agricultural barriers and increasing market access for manufactured goods.

Johnson says the APEC meeting is the last chance to revive the talks.

"Doha, while many people are getting tired of Doha, this is probably its last, best, and almost only chance … business, which looks for return on investment, is not getting very much of a return on its investment in Doha and if we don't see tangible progress, business will move on to alternatives," he said.

ABAC is made up of up to three members of the private sector of each of the 21 APEC economies. It is a permanent body aimed at providing an independent business perspective within APEC.

ABAC will present its annual report at the APEC leaders meeting this weekend.