Climate Change Meeting Ends Without Pact

Two weeks of international talks aimed at avoiding dangerous human influence on the earth’s climate have ended in Nairobi without setting a firm timetable for one of the principal objectives of the talks: establishing long-term targets for reductions in heat-trapping gases that are linked to rising global temperatures.

Except for the United States and Australia, all major industrialized countries are bound by a climate accord known as the Kyoto Protocol that requires them to reduce their combined emissions by 2012 to levels lower than those measured in 1990.

But that commitment has always been seen by climate experts as a baby step that would have to be followed by ever-tightening emissions restrictions, if a dangerous rise in concentrations of the long-lived gases, particularly carbon dioxide, is to be avoided in this century.

Participants and observers from outside the United States expressed growing frustration with American opposition to binding restrictions on the gases, saying that without clear signals from the world’s largest current source of such pollution, it was harder for the rest of the world to move forward.