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The BBC's Lee Carter in Toronto
"The European Union blames the United States and the US accuses the EU"
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Friday, 8 December, 2000, 01:41 GMT
Effort to rescue climate deal fails
Climate conference in The Hague
The Hague talks ended in squabbling
Senior officials from the United States, the European Union and other key countries have failed in their attempt to salvage something from the abortive climate change summit in November in The Hague.

The ministers have returned home after a hastily arranged two days of talks in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, in which they had hoped to find enough common ground to reach a deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Some things that we thought had been taken off the table at The Hague are now back on it again

Canadian representative
Canadian environment minister David Anderson said: "It would have been nice to get the officials to hammer out an agreement, but that has not happened. That's the bad news."

He said ministers would now consult their governments, but he thought it unlikely they would meet again soon, even though the chances of an eventual compromise had improved.

Officials said they had been close to reaching a deal in The Hague on cutting emissions and were hoping they could close the remaining gap in Ottawa.

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However, a Canadian representative at the mid-level talks was quoted as saying that issues apparently settled at The Hague had been aired again in Ottawa.

"Some things that we thought had been taken off the table at The Hague are now back on it again," the Canadian official said.

American negotiators had stressed the urgency of getting agreement quickly as a deal could be much harder to strike if and when George Bush is declared the winner of the US election.

Washington and Ottawa are reported to be insisting that they must be allowed to offset carbon dioxide absorbed by their huge forests and farmlands against the pollution reduction targets agreed at the 1997 Kyoto summit.

They accuse the Europeans of inflexibility by rejecting that formula.

The failure to reach an agreement on measures to tackle global warming has disappointed environment officials and campaigners worldwide, many of whom claim that the time has already run out for averting significant climate change in the coming decades.

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25 Nov 00 | Sci/Tech
Climate talks end in failure
25 Nov 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Science takes a back seat
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The dangers of climate change
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