BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Sci/Tech
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Nigerian delegate Sani Zangon Daura
"The ball is not, and I repeat is not emphatically in our court"
 real 28k

Thursday, 23 November, 2000, 15:44 GMT
Climate talks near deadlock
greenpeace activists
Environmentalists are worried that the talks will end in failure
By BBC News Online's environment correspondent Alex Kirby in The Hague

The climate talks here are still close to deadlock despite earlier suggestions that a deal could be on the cards.

There will be pain, a lot of pain

Conference president Jan Pronk
The conference president, Jan Pronk, was due to give delegation leaders a final paper, drafted by him in an attempt to secure everyone's agreement.

The conference will resume to discuss it at 2300 GMT.

It is clear that, despite some compromise, there is still no agreement on several outstanding issues, and the gulf yawns wide.

Mr Pronk said of his paper: "There will be pain, a lot of pain."

He said it would have to be shared out evenly.

But there is little time left before the conference's scheduled end on Friday. It now seems quite possible that it will run on into Saturday.

US-EU clash

Last night Mr Pronk said everyone was showing a willingness to reach a deal, but this did not mean there would be one.

Conference President Jan Pronk and colleagues
Mr Pronk (left) is offering a compromise deal
The US and its supporters remain at loggerheads with the European Union over how to achieve the cuts in greenhouse gases to which industrialised countries are committed under the Kyoto Protocol, the international climate treaty which the conference is trying to finalise.

The EU says at least half of all cuts should be made domestically.

But the US and its allies are arguing that they should be allowed to make unlimited use of the protocol's provisions for counting reductions in other countries' emissions towards their own targets.

This, the EU says, means the US would not in fact have to cut its own emissions at all.

Green critics

There is also criticism of both camps by many environmental groups for the vagueness of their proposals to provide developing countries with money to tackle climate change.

The US is proposing to take credit for doing nothing. Unless it commits itself to a treaty that will mean real emissions reductions, it will be a turkey

US Public Interest Research Group spokeswoman Anne Aurelio
Several US campaigns said the American stand had brought the talks to the brink of failure.

Anna Aurelio, of the US Public Interest Research Group, said: "The US is proposing to take credit for doing nothing.

"Unless it commits itself to a treaty that will mean real emissions reductions, it will be a turkey."

Scientists, meanwhile, continue to demand rapid action.

Today's problem

The head of the UN Environment Programme, Dr Klaus Toepfer, told journalists: "Climate change is not a prognosis for the future. It is happening now."

protesters' sit-in
Several groups have staged protests in the conference hall
The chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the scientific group whose work has prompted governments to draw up the Kyoto Protocol, is Dr Robert Watson.

He said: "There is no doubt we humans are partially involved in climate change. We'll see major changes over the next century.

"The basic message is that we can change our climate - it's affecting the very foundations of sustainability.

"Policymakers must recognise the long timescales involved.

"We have found from modelling that if you double the atmosphere's carbon dioxide (CO2) content over 70 years ... the sea level continues to rise not for 10 more years, not for 100 years, but for the next 1,000 years."

Scientists regard a possible doubling of atmospheric CO2 by 2070 as entirely possible on present trends.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

23 Nov 00 | Sci/Tech
Climate treaty 'almost irrelevant'
22 Nov 00 | UK Politics
Prescott skips climate talks
11 Nov 00 | Sci/Tech
'Massive' pollution cuts needed
28 Oct 00 | Sci/Tech
Global warming 'worse than feared'
07 Aug 00 | Sci/Tech
The dangers of climate change
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Sci/Tech stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Sci/Tech stories