Talks on global warming closing on negative note Negotiators in Bonn fail to agree on any terms

October 31, 1997|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

BONN, Germany -- Their latest round of formal bargaining at an end, international negotiators trying to craft an accord for fighting global warming will leave Bonn today with little to show ,, for their two weeks of talks.

The negotiators were unable to agree on any of the major differences that faced them when they arrived in Germany. That, in turn, has left in doubt the outcome of a December conference in Kyoto, Japan, at which some final decisions on strategies for combating global warming are supposed to be made.

"The challenges are so formidable. We're talking about fundamentally changing the structure of the global economy and how the global economy uses energy," a senior State Department official said, as the wearying talks entered their final sessions yesterday.

Still unresolved, and the subject of sharp disagreement among the United States, Europe and the developing nations: targets for reducing emissions of gases that are seen as the key cause of global warming, which gases would be regulated and how the reductions could be accomplished.

Chairman Raoul Estrada- Oyuela of Argentina planned to present the delegates with a list today, spelling out the unresolved issues that will be passed along to higher-level officials at the meeting in Kyoto.

President Clinton's participation at that conference has not been ruled out, U.S. officials said.

A European delegation will visit Washington next week and senior officials will meet the following week in Tokyo in a flurry of diplomacy intended to keep the talks from going off track even before the Dec. 1-10 session in Kyoto.

But some delegates raised the possibility that no agreement will be reached by the Dec. 10 deadline established by the United Nations.

One U.S. delegate, remaining optimistic, likened the process to watching an ice-crusted river begin to thaw in spring: For weeks, no movement can be discerned -- until suddenly, it heaves and grinds and begins to flow.

Nevertheless, he said, "If you can't get an agreement, the question is, does it end in a big blowup and lots of recriminations, or does it at least get you somewhere?"

Pub Date: 10/31/97

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