World leaders have snubbed the next round of international climate change negotiations in Mexico next month amid fears the talks will collapse.
The last United Nations summit on global warming in Copenhagen, at the end of last year, ended in failure and recrimination. More than 100 heads of state turned up hoping to be part of a deal that would "save the world", but failed to get any legal agreement to stop rising temperatures.
This year, they are declining even to attend, instead sending environment ministers and playing down the talks as much as possible.
The process is dogged by a disagreement over the best way to limit the growth in greenhouse gases, which are blamed by scientists for rising temperatures. Environmentalists believe the best approach is a binding treaty that will force all countries to cut carbon emissions. But at the last major meeting before the Cancun summit, held in China last week, delegates were still in dispute.
Barack Obama, US president, has failed to bring in any broad legislation to limit greenhouse gases, while the Chinese are uncomfortable about having their own emissions measured. The talks in China ended in mistrust, with both sides accusing the other of failing to make clear promises to cut carbon.