Finance ministers from the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will hold a two-day meeting in the Queensland resort town of Coolum to make policy recommendations ahead of an Apec leaders' summit in Sydney in September.
Australian Treasurer Peter Costello, who is hosting the event, said the most important challenge facing the meeting was finding a model acceptable to all that would allow the region to deal with climate change.
"We (Apec) have the world's biggest emitters - China and the United States. To have that discussion with them and to see if we can get an agreement on principles for managing carbon emissions and cooperation across the world's major economies would be a really good step forward," he said.
He added that another major topic would be energy security, asking, "How do developing countries such as China secure the energy they'll need to drive their growth forward in the decades that lie ahead?"
An Australian Treasury briefing on the Coolum meeting said the agenda would include discussion on how the region could meet critical energy infrastructure needs estimated at US$7 trillion (Bt238 trillion) over the next 30 years.
"If this investment does not occur, the resulting imbalance between energy demand and supply is likely to result in higher and more volatile energy prices," it said.
Costello denied the absence of US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson detracted from the importance of the meeting, saying there would be no shortage of financial heavyweights.
"We have got the new president of the World Bank, Bob Zoellick, representatives of the Asian Development Bank, the IMF," Costello said.
"Compared to other Apec finance ministers' meetings, this is an extremely high level of ministerial involvement, and I think it will be a very significant meeting."
Other ministers expected to attend are Japan's Koji Omi, China's Jin Renqing, New Zealand's Michael Cullen and Canada's James Flaherty.
US Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt will appear on Paulson's behalf.
Agreements from the meeting will be passed on to the Apec leaders' meeting in Sydney in September.
The 21 economies that make up Apec account for a third of the world's population.
gathering, n: event where people come together as a group
policy, n: officially agreed-upon plan of action for a specific situation or event
emitter, n: somebody or something that sends out a substance like gas, light or heat
principle, n: guideline or idea that helps in making future decisions
to lie ahead, v: to be approaching; to come in the (near) future
infrastructure, n: basic system or structure to supply an essential service such as electricity or gas effectively
to estimate, v: to make a calculation or forecast based on available information
heavyweight, n: person who is important for a specific task or in a particular field
to pass on, v: to communicate; to forward; to give information one receives to somebody else
population, n: all the people living in one specific area or place
1. What does Apec stand for?
a. Ante Pecuniary Emission Control
b. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
c. Alternative Profit Extraction Concept
d. Altruistic Populace Embracing Commerce
2. How many economies are members of Apec?
3. Where is this Apec meeting held?
4. What is this meeting about?
a. climate change
b. exchange rates
c. baht devaluation
d. free-trade agreements
5. Who are the biggest emitters of carbon?
a. Thailand and Laos
b. New Zealand and India
c. China and the United States
d. Greenland and the Philippines
SynonymsWhich of the following words or phrases replace the ones from the passage best?
2. step forward
5. on behalf
d. in opposition to
1. b, 2. b, 3. d, 4. a, 5. c
Synonyms1. b, 2. d, 3. b, 4. d, 5. b
By Ajarn Horst Baelz