Clinton Screws The World
Washington Post 'reports' below.
How bout' the 2nd-to-last para???
I guess putting the issue there proved their point.
Clinton has now undermined UN accords regarding:
- Global Climate Change
Climate Meeting Ends Without Deal
By William Drozdiak
_____ Update _____Climate Meeting Ends Without Deal
Associated Press Writer at 8:55 AM
THE HAGUE, Netherlands –– A U.N. climate conference collapsed without an agreement Saturday, the conference chairman announced after a failed all-night negotiating session on how to cut the pollution that is warming the planet.
"We have not reached agreement," Dutch Environment Minister Jan Pronk said. "I am very disappointed."
Pronk's announcement came after an unsuccessful marathon session behind closed doors with delegation leaders representing 180 countries. When that failed, Pronk held a last-minute meeting in his office with government ministers to try to salvage the talks – to no avail.
Pronk said he was not closing the conference but would resume it at a later stage.
"We cannot go home just by stating, by confessing, that we did not reach an agreement," he said.
"We should be aware that we have been watched by the outside world," he told the delegates in a closing plenary. "There were extremely high expectations of us."
The negotiators broke off talks nearly 12 hours after going into seclusion to try to nail down details on the extent to which countries may meet their targets for reductions of greenhouse-gas emissions without actually burning less fossil fuel.
A key issue blocking agreement was that of "sinks" – whether to let countries count the carbon absorbed by their forests against their greenhouse gas emissions. U.S. officials say nations should get credit for existing farmland and forests because they absorb carbon dioxide and offset some emissions. Opponents say such programs would reward certain countries for doing nothing.
"Governments have spent two weeks essentially arguing about how they can do as little as possible to reduce the threat of global climate change," said Tony Juniper, vice chairman of Friends of the Earth. The environmental group Greenpeace said the meeting "will be remembered as the moment when governments abandoned the promise of global cooperation to protect the planet Earth."
A U.S. official said an accord between U.S. negotiators and a delegation representing the 15-nation European Union had wrapped up an accord on the "sinks" issue early Saturday. But other European delegations rejected the accord, and the agreement went "into limbo," the official said on condition of anonymity.
"There's no deal," British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said after the negotiations broke off. "We didn't make it."
Belgian negotiator Michael Foret confirmed that the Europeans could not agree among themselves on the sinks.
"Everybody tried very seriously," he said.
The U.S. official said the provisional agreement reached early in the morning included measures on enforcing reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, counting sinks to offset emissions targets, and on what portion of a country's target may be met by international emissions trading.
The French-led delegation agreed in principle to let the United States, Canada and Japan subtract the tons of carbon soaked up in their forests against the emissions quota, after the U.S. negotiators agreed to a lower figure. But that agreement was vetoed by the German delegation when the EU countries discussed the accord among themselves.
"This is likely to have been the European nations' best opportunity to achieve a strong climate treaty, and they decided to pass it up," said the National Environment Trust, a U.S.-based lobby.
But business groups which had opposed emissions controls applauded the breakdown, which they said "signals the need for a new approach to address concerns about the climate."
Under the Kyoto Protocol, worldwide emissions of heat-trapping gases must decline to 5.2 percent below their 1990 levels by 2012.
Much of the controversy at the conference surrounded the U.S.-sponsored proposals under which countries could earn credit toward their emissions-reduction targets without directly scaling back the burning of fossil fuels. In addition to the sinks issue, the U.S. delegation proposed an open-ended market system of credit trading between countries that reduce emissions over and above targets and those that cannot meet their targets – a system that worked well in reducing acid rain in the United States.
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, November 25, 2000; Page E01
THE HAGUE, Nov. 24 –– With their deadline pushed back to Saturday, negotiators from more than 170 countries struggled late tonight to hammer out a detailed agreement designed to curtail greenhouse gases deemed responsible for global warming, but they appeared likely to fall short of their goal.
Jan Pronk, the Dutch environment minister who is serving as conference president, warned delegates tonight that the lingering differences remain so grave that the best outcome may be a broad political accord that sets forth a list of general principles. He said delegates could proceed at a later date to work out legally binding rules governing the way nations meet their pledges to reduce emissions of heat-trapping chemicals.
After two weeks of hard bargaining, the United States and the European Union have failed to make much headway in bridging their differences over how to reduce the world's output of carbon dioxide, methane and other pollutants by more than 5 percent below 1990 levels. That goal was established by a treaty protocol approved in Kyoto, Japan, three years ago.
The United States, which releases about one-quarter of the world's greenhouse gases, wants to meet much of its Kyoto obligations through "carbon sinks"--credits for forests and farmland that absorb carbon dioxide--and emission-trading deals with other countries.
Because its economic boom in recent years has greatly expanded its share of carbon emissions, the United States would have to reduce domestic pollutants by as much as 35 percent of anticipated levels when the treaty would come into effect between 2008 and 2012, unless it could use carbon credits. The United States contends such a reduction could cause enormous disruption in people's lives and depress the economy because it would require Draconian reductions in emissions from automobiles, airplanes and power plants.
But the European Union insists the world's biggest polluter should achieve at least half of its Kyoto target by reducing carbon pollutants at home and not be allowed unrestricted use of "flexible mechanisms" that are widely considered to be gaping loopholes in the treaty.
In a bid to break the impasse, Pronk put forward a compromise late Thursday that he described as "sharing the pain as evenly as possible." But instead of bringing the two sides together, he seems to have further alienated them.
Environmental groups also were keenly disappointed by the chairman's text. "By itself, the language on the table creates a Wild West approach to curbing global warming," said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Treaty mechanisms without controls are like gunslingers without a sheriff."
The United States says it would never have accepted the Kyoto terms if it had known that it would be prevented from making unlimited use of market-based mechanisms.
The European Union, however, said Pronk's compromise proposal would allow the United States to make a mockery of the Kyoto goals. "We should be seeking to meet our commitments, not to avoid them," said France's environment minister, Dominique Voynet. "This would actually end up increasing emissions, not reducing them. The United States is trying to escape domestic measures through a series of loopholes that, in effect, amounts to an unraveling of the treaty."
But the United States also expressed dismay with Pronk's proposal because it would restrict the use of carbon sinks to no more than 10 percent of a nation's target--about 50 million tons of carbon--or less than half of the 125 million tons that the United States said it was prepared to accept as its bottom line for credits on its forests and farmlands.
U.S. delegation chief Frank Loy said the compromise was "unacceptably imbalanced" but vowed to explore every opportunity for a breakthrough before the new Saturday deadline.
Pronk late tonight summoned 25 top negotiators to a closed session and asked them to put forward amendments to his compromise. The session was expected to last until dawn.
U.S. officials said President Clinton has become actively engaged in the talks, trying to find a way to meet objections to the U.S. position while still preserving the market mechanisms that are considered essential to win treaty ratification by the U.S. Senate.
Clinton spoke at length Thursday by telephone with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other foreign leaders in a further bid to salvage a deal that he cherishes as an important part of his presidential legacy, the officials said.
Meanwhile, more than 130 developing countries complained that their plight was being neglected by the overwhelming focus on the clash of views between the United States and Europe. Pronk suggested that a $1 billion annual fund should be created to help the developing world, but that amount was rejected as insufficient. Many of those countries face serious environmental threats from rising sea levels, a higher incidence of devastating storms and lack of modern clean-air technologies.
"It is a big shame that despite the truth which is there for everybody to see, they have not been able to come to terms with our concerns," said Sani Zangon Daura, Nigeria's environment minister and spokesman for the Group of 77, a coalition of Third World nations. "They have got the money, they have caused our problems, and now it is time for them to flesh it out."
© 2000 The Washington Post Company