Washington, April 20 (DPA) Climate representatives of the world's biggest polluters held their first meeting Monday since a disappointing Copenhagen summit failed to reach agreement on a new treaty.
The 17-nation Major Economies Forum gathered in Washington in hopes of narrowing the gap between wealthy and developing countries over tackling climate change, but sought to lower expectations for quick progress.
There was "a sound appreciation for the fact that we don't want to let expectations far outstrip what can be done," US climate envoy Todd Stern told reporters after the meeting, which began with a dinner Sunday in Washington.
Many representatives of the 17 countries were unable to attend the meeting because of the volcanic ash cloud that has disrupted air travel in and around Europe.
World governments failed in December to agree on a new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The next major UN climate summit is planned for December in Cancun, Mexico.
White House economic adviser Mike Froman, who chaired the Monday talks, was skeptical of reaching agreement this year, saying it was "important to make progress and set expectations in the right place." A final deal by Cancun "might or might not happen."