Friday, November 13, 1998 Published at 05:43 GMT
US signs climate agreement
Environmentalists satirise the US cash for emissions plan
The US decision was welcomed by many of the delegates at the United Nations Climate Conference in Argentina.
If the Kyoto protocol is to be recognised in American law it must first be ratified by Congress, which has a Republican party majority who have indicated they will not accept the accord in its current form.
Correspondents said there was little sign of agreement as the Buenos Aires climate conference entered its final day on Friday.
The conference began with hopes that ground rules would emerge on how to limit carbon dioxide pollution, which is blamed for global warming.
European countries favour a tax to make it harder for rich countries to buy permits abroad to avoid making cuts at home. The US argues emissions trading should operate under free-market principles.
At the Kyoto meeting last year, developed nations made a pledge to cut their emission of greenhouse gases to 5.2% below their 1990 level by 2008-2012.
In Argentina, differences have also been exposed between industrialised and developing nations over the best way forward.
Large developed nations such as the US want voluntary commitments from developing countries to cut their greenhouse gases.
Two of the biggest developing nations, China and India, have so far refused to do so.