Preparations for next week's Earth Summit Two in New York, marking the anniversary of the celebrated 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, are not going well.

Third World countries have blocked a variety of environmental proposals to protest what they say is inadequate financial aid from the West. They are egged on by United Nations officials: U.N. Undersecretary-General Nitin Desai told a news conference that more direct aid is essential to environmental improvement in poor countries. In fact, there are many initiatives, ranging from conserving fresh water supplies to preserving forests, that do not require direct aid. Mr. Desai's comments offer yet another example of how environmental meetings have become struggles over wealth transfers rather than honest inquiries into how to protect the Earth.

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