World leaders have voiced fears that the global climate summit in Copenhagen is headed for failure, citing deep divisions between rich and poor nations over who should cut carbon gas emissions and who pays for anti-pollution efforts.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy Thursday warned of a looming political disaster, while the White House said it would be better to leave the Copenhagen summit Friday without a new climate treaty than to sign off on a bad one.
The European Union called for all countries to "go to the outer limits of their flexibility" to reach a deal at the United Nations-sponsored summit.
More than 100 heads of state and government, including U.S. President Barack Obama, are headed for Copenhagen for the one-day climate summit Friday.
Seeking to unblock an impasse in negotiations, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday said Washington will help launch a $100-billion annual fund for poor countries to fight climate change.
But Clinton said U.S. support hinges on agreements from developing economies to cut carbon gas emissions and on finding ways to verify that such cuts have been made. She also warned that Washington will take its pledge off the table unless China and other emerging economies agree to submit to international verification measures.
China and other developing nations were not required to reduce emissions under the existing climate treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. Now that those nations have pledged voluntary measures, the United States wants the anti-pollution efforts to be measurable and verifiable.
U.S. Senator John Kerry, who arrived at the summit Wednesday, said such verification is needed to persuade U.S. lawmakers to approve legally binding anti-pollution legislation currently stalled in the U.S. Senate.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu called on developed nations to "show greater sincerity" when it comes to reducing emissions and helping poor countries pay for the cuts.
The United States has been criticized for offering only a 17-percent greenhouse gas cut from 2005 levels by 2012, compared to a 20-percent cut from 1990 levels offered by European governments.
But Clinton, speaking to reporters Thursday, described the U.S. cut as an initial step toward a 30-percent cut by 2025 and a 50-percent cut by mid-century.