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Thursday, November 12, 1998 Published at 06:09 GMT

World: Americas

Disputes overshadow climate talks

Environmentalists satirise the US cash for emissions plan

Climate talks involving 180 countries appear deadlocked as the summit enters its final two days.

The Buenos Aires conference began with hopes that ground rules would emerge on how to limit carbon dioxide pollution, which is blamed for global warming.

Global warming
The main dispute is between the United States and Europe over emissions trading - the right of countries which fulfil pollution cutting commitments to sell their excess allowances to nations struggling to meet their objectives.

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.

Deputy British PM John Prescott tells Richard Wilson what he thinks the conference can achieve
Many countries also fear they losing out to competitors if they adopt potentially expensive pollution controls and others do not.

The conference follows last year's meeting in Kyoto, where developing nations made a pledge to cut the emission of greenhouse gases.

The Kyoto protocol would enforce strict limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

In Argentina, differences have also been exposed between industrialised and developing nations over the best way forward.

Environment Correspondent Richard Wilson: "Agreement proving elusive"
Large developed nations such as the US want voluntary commitments from developing countries to cut their greenhouse gases.

The US fears that having to make significant cuts in its emissions will have an adverse impact on the economy, leading to job losses.

It has so far refused to ratify the Kyoto accord, under which industrialised countries agreed to cut their production of greenhouse gases to 5.2% below their 1990 level by 2008-2012.

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