News that the US, China, India, Australia and South Korea are set to forge an alliance on greenhouse gas emissions that will seek to replace the controversial Kyoto Protocol have been met with criticism.

The European Union has already expressed scepticism over the pact, given that it does not set mandatory targets to reduce emissions and appears to rely on technology to reduce emissions rather than specific emissions control measures.

The agreement, made at the annual ASEAN Regional Forum ministerial meeting, may include cooperation on clean coal, integrated gasification combined cycle, civilian nuclear power, bio-energy, renewable energy, nano-technologies and next-generation nuclear fission and fusion energy.

The alliance, provisionally termed the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate, potentially brings together nations that collectively account for more than 40% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and is designed to achieve both economic growth and significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

In a press conference a spokesman said that the partnership would not undermine Kyoto.