Thursday, November 12, 1998 Published at 20:26 GMT
US boost for climate conference
Environmentalists satirise the US cash for emissions plan
As the UN climate conference in Argentina enters its closing stages, the United States has formally signed the Kyoto international protocol to fight global warming - the last major industrial country to do so.
He said: "In taking this action, the United States reaffirms our commitment to work with the nations gathered here to address the challenge of climate change," he said.
US congressional leaders have indicated they won't accept the Kyoto accord in its current form.
}They have warned the White House against signing the pact, saying it could galvanise opposition.
A wealth of differences
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.
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.
Many countries also fear they losing out to competitors if they adopt potentially expensive pollution controls and others do not.
At the Kyoto meeting last year, developed nations made a pledge to cut their emission of greenhouse gases to 5.2% below their 1990 level by 2008-2012.
In Argentina, differences have also been exposed between industrialised and developing nations over the best way forward.
Large developed nations such as the US want voluntary commitments from developing countries to cut their greenhouse gases.
Two of the biggest developing nations, China and India, have so far refused to do so.