COPENHAGEN -- As President Obama prepared to visit the historic climate conference here, there were signs Wednesday of a break in the impasse between rich and developing nations.
The United States and Japan agreed to make major contributions to the developing world to keep prospects of a deal alive. And the leader of a bloc of African nations said they would accept a smaller -- though still sizable -- package of financial aid, in return for going along with an agreement.
But tear gas hung in the air outside the conference center, as protesters demanding faster and more stringent cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions clashed with police. And, inside, talks were slowed by disagreements within the developing world -- which has proved a more powerful, and more fractious, force than expected.
Some environmentalists expressed hope that Obama's appearance Friday, the final day of the 12-day talks, could help end the two chaotic weeks on a successful note.
"If the pieces are here, President Obama is the only person who can pull them together into an agreement," said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund. "We expect him to do so." Read more.