Monday, November 9, 1998 Published at 21:44 GMT
Confident Prescott heads for Argentina
John Prescott: Confident of a deal on emissions
Climate experts and environmental officials from 180 countries have gathered in the Buenos Aires to agree a plan for implementing the 1997 Kyoto protocol, signed in Japan last December.
But many US lawmakers are refusing to ratify the protocol for fear that it would cost thousands of jobs.
However, the UK's Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott believes the Americans can be persuaded to honour their Kyoto pledge.
"It was said [at Kyoto] that the Americans would walk out and wouldn't accept it, but they did accept it - and accepted a very high target for a reduction in greenhouse gases," said Mr Prescott.
"This meeting in Buenos Aires has to come to agreement again. It can't be as ambitious as Kyoto, but it is an important stage in getting all the agreements for all the trading principles."
"The goals that were set in Kyoto last year - certainly with respect to the United States - cannot be met without doing damage to our economy," he said.
The UK Deputy Prime Minister attacked that view and accused the coalition of being blind to the truth.
"Isn't he watching the television and seeing what is happening around the world with climate change", Mr Prescott said of the coalition chairman. "Nobody doubts the science anymore. We've got to get on and deal with the problem."
Mr Prescott said he was optimistic the delegates would find a deal: "I think there is every good chance they will.
"We have started the framework. We need to negotiate about it and Buenos Aires is really about how we go from here. Or do we stop here and say we are not going to do anything.
"The world will not allow us to do that. I believe we can get an agreement. It will be difficult. It was difficult at Kyoto. But I will be back to walking and talking and getting common sense into the negotiations."
In Kyoto, the industrialised countries agreed to reduce their greenhouse emissions to 5.2% below their 1990 levels by 2008-2012.