- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 22, 2000

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.
OPEC nations have been leading the calls for compensation, with Saudi Arabia claiming last week that it would lose $25 billion in oil revenues by 2010 if rich nations cut their oil imports to comply with the treaty.
Some developing nations are demanding the imposition of fines on rich nations that fail to comply with the treaty, with the proceeds going toward Third World development. The 134 developing nations represented at the negotiations could block the treaty if they are unhappy with the outcome.
"The political realities make it impossible" to comply with their demands, said State Department negotiator Mark Hambley.
The United States took a particularly strong stand against the OPEC demands and said it would not go beyond the $106 million it already is contributing this year to a global environmental fund for the Third World, environmentalists said.
Rep. Joe Knollenberg, a House observer at the negotiations, said Third World nations should not expect to get anything out of the treaty if they refuse to participate. "That's getting the cart before the horse," the Michigan Republican said.
The House observers said each concession the administration has made to Third World nations and the European Union in its efforts to reach an agreement this week has only worsened the treaty's prospects in Congress.
On Monday, the United States backed off its insistence on relying on forests and green spaces, which absorb carbon dioxide, to achieve half of the 656 million tons of carbon emissions cuts required each year under the treaty.
The latest offer, which would cut the forest contribution to 22.4 percent, was rejected by Europe yesterday. Negotiators said it would allow the United States to keep increasing the fossil fuel emissions that the treaty aims to cut.
The forest proposal was part of an administration strategy aimed at ensuring deep energy cuts under the treaty do not harm the U.S. economy, as required by the Senate, said House Science Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the lead House observer.
"They completely ignored" the Senate mandate when they quit insisting on "full and unfettered use" of the forests, the Wisconsin Republican said. "It makes it harder to ratify, and if the U.S. does not ratify, I think it's fair to say this treaty won't go into force."

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