Warming Treaty Ratification in Limbo

Article excerpt

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The Clinton administration has abandoned efforts to comply with a key demand of the Senate that developing countries be included in the global-warming treaty, top Clinton officials said here yesterday.

Senate aides said the administration's decision to stop lobbying developing countries to submit to stringent emissions reductions like those required of the United States under the treaty further jeopardizes prospects for ratification in the Senate.

"They'll have nothing to present to the Senate" if the treaty emerges from negotiations this week without Third World countries on board, said Deb Fiddelke, spokesman for Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican and a Senate observer at the negotiations.

The treaty requires the United States to cut its energy use and emissions by one-third between 2008 and 2012. Europe, Japan and other developed countries also must cut their emissions, but countries like China and India that are major sources of the gases thought to cause global warming, like carbon dioxide, are exempted because they are poor.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Frank E. Loy, the administration's lead negotiator at treaty talks, said no Third World countries were willing to step forward despite vigorous behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts.

"We think it's important for developing countries to become more engaged . . . especially big carbon emitters," he said. But in a major concession aimed at clinching agreement from Third World and European nations on methods for carrying out the treaty this week, he said, "we have made it clear we are not seeking those commitments."

At the same time, the United States and European Union yesterday squashed efforts by developing countries to extract billions of dollars in compensation for the drought, floods and other damages they say they will suffer because of rising global temperatures. …