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EDITIONS
Thursday, 5 November, 1998, 12:07 GMT
Controversy at climate conference
chimneys
Developed nations have already promised change
An international conference on how best to reduce global warming has opened in Argentina, with the host country putting forward a controversial plan for more action from the developing nations.

Global warming
Its environment secretary, Maria Julia Alsogaray, wants them to adopt voluntary quotas to cut harmful emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

But developing nations such as Indonesia opposed the move, saying it was up to the industrialised countries to cut their emissions first.

The conference in Buenos Aires, attended by delegates from around 180 nations, is a follow-up to last year's historic one at Kyoto in Japan, which set a deadline for action by the world's richest nations.

Focus on developing nations

Ms Alsogaray said the industrialised world bore a great deal of responsibility for today's critical situation on climate change.

But she told the conference developing countries had the conditions and the ethical obligation to follow models for social, economic and technological advancement that guaranteed sustainable development.

The proposal is opposed by countries including China, who object to any constraints on the future development of poorer nations.

Developed countries have promised to reduce their emissions to 5% below their 1990 levels by the year 2008 to 2012.

However, only the island of Fiji has ratified the agreement.

Call for flexibility

Large developed nations such as the United States have said they want voluntary commitments from developing countries and flexibility on implementation before pushing for ratification of the Kyoto protocol.

Environmental groups are wary of options such as emissions trading and pollution credits in exchange for technology transfers.

They say loopholes could allow developed nations to escape their obligations and transfer the burden to poorer countries.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC News
Javier Aparasi reports from Buenos Aires
See also:

13 Oct 98 | In Depth
05 Nov 98 | Global warming
13 Oct 98 | Science/Nature
02 Nov 98 | Science/Nature
26 Oct 98 | Science/Nature
06 Nov 98 | Global warming
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