The world's biggest greenhouse gas-polluting countries are sending delegates to Hawaii this week for a U.S.-hosted meeting aimed at curbing climate change without stalling economic growth.
The two-day gathering, which starts on Wednesday in Honolulu, is meant to spur U.N. negotiations for an international climate agreement by 2009, so a pact will be ready when the current carbon-capping Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
The Bush administration rejects the Kyoto plan, saying it unfairly exempts developing countries from cutting back on emissions, and could cost U.S. jobs. Instead, Washington favors voluntary measures and "aspirational goals" to limit climate change, aided by easier transfer of environmental technology.
In addition to the United States, by many counts the biggest emitter of climate-warming carbon dioxide, the conference is expecting representatives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
The United Nations and the European Union will also be represented.