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Global Warming Talks End in Tokyo

September 19, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ Countries preparing for an upcoming global warming conference ended talks Friday with a vow to iron out differences over the participation of developing nations and trading pollution credits.

The meeting is a follow-up to last year’s conference in Kyoto, where the United States, Europe and Japan agreed to cut emissions of so-called greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

The ministers who gathered in Tokyo on Thursday and Friday laid out positions on two contentious issues not settled in Kyoto: whether and how much poorer countries should be required to cut emissions and how much countries should be able to trade pollution credits.

The United States is pushing for stronger commitments to help reduce global warming by developing nations ahead of the annual international conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in November.

Washington argues that in some developing countries, environmental concerns have been pushed aside in the rush for economic development, and that any agreement to cut emissions is incomplete without their participation.

``In our meetings, the United States made clear that developing countries must be part of the solution,″ said Stuart Eizenstat, undersecretary for economic, business and agricultural affairs.

Developing nations, however, have argued that it is unfair for rich countries to force poorer nations to bear the costs of environmental protection before they’ve had a chance to develop.

The European Union has taken a more cautious approach with developing countries, urging ministers to focus more on their own domestic efforts before pressuring poorer nations for cuts.

``The developed world must be willing to show what they are willing to do before they ask the developing world to come on board,″ said Ritt Bjerregaard, European commissioner for environment.

Another sticking point is the trading of pollution credits, which would allow a country overproducing greenhouse gases to buy the rights from cleaner countries to pollute more.

The United States is pushing this idea to satisfy business groups who argue cutting emissions of pollutants will damage their industries.

But the European Union is eager to put limits on the practice to avoid allowing rich countries to overpollute by buying credits from cash-starved developing nations.

``What we want to see is very clear rules,″ Bjerregaard said.

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