- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 23, 2000

THE HAGUE Protesters denouncing "rich Western nations" yesterday threw a pie in the face of the United States' chief negotiator even as U.S. representatives were making headway in the global-warming talks.
Capping a day marred by protests, U.S. Undersecretary of State Frank E. Loy was just beginning a press briefing when one woman threw the custard pie and another woman stood on a chair and started ranting against the U.S. position unpopular in Europe against imposing deep energy cuts on its citizens.
A U.N. staffer quickly picked up the screaming protester, carried her out of the room and deposited her onto the street. The other woman walked out on her own. U.N. security officials said the Dutch police arrested the pie-throwers without identifying them.
Demonstrators descended on the contentious negotiations throughout the day, occupying meeting rooms, disrupting discussion groups, climbing the rafters and dropping balloons and destroying phone lines and equipment wherever possible.
More than 100 people protesting against nuclear power were arrested as they began a march on the U.S. Embassy to protest its stand favoring the use of nuclear power to comply with the treaty, which was drafted in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997. Police later released 90 of the protesters and said they kept about 20 in custody because they refused to give their names.
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 of the gases thought to cause global warming, like carbon dioxide.
The United States, Canada, Japan and Australia say businesses should be able to help developing countries build nuclear power projects, which are free of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases. The United States has said it is "flexible" on the tactic, however, and Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic presidential nominee, recently came out against it.
The U.S. view has made headway in the second week of the negotiations, with most countries except the 15-nation European Union agreeing that there should be no restrictions on such technologies as long as they help to attain the treaty's goal of cutting carbon emissions.
In a small concession to win Europe's agreement, the United States has proposed giving preferential treatment to the small, renewable energy projects using wind and solar power that environmentalists prefer. U.S. negotiators say their proposed compromise has been well-received.
The protesters organizing yesterday's "Nuclear Walk of Shame" sensed the turn of events. "The protocol is in danger of becoming a trade treaty and the most corporate-friendly environmental treaty in history," one protest group, the Carbon Wars Collective, said in a manifesto posted on the Internet calling for more demonstrations.
The budding victory on the question of Third World energy projects is rare at a conference where the United States has been regularly vilified and portrayed by environmentalists, Europeans and Third World delegates as the bad guy for trying to get out of harsh emissions cuts.
The humiliation of Mr. Loy seemed to symbolize the treatment Americans have received at the conference. As he walked out of the briefing room wiping pie off his face, Mr. Loy quoted former President John F. Kennedy as warning "against being swayed by those who confuse rhetoric with reality."
Mr. Loy contrasted the Americans' pragmatic approach with the lofty but unattainable goals of many of the conference participants.
"We want to do the possible, recognize reality, make a deal," he said.
Major environmental groups participating in the negotiations said they didn't know who the pie-throwers were and disowned the incident.
Paul Risley of Environmental Defense noted that many other high-profile officials have been "pied" recently, including Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and former International Monetary Fund Managing Director Michel Camdessus.
"You're not a celebrity unless you've been pied," he said.

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