Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

5 April 2001 Edition

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Ignorant, short-sighted and selfish

This is how Charles Secrett of Friends of the Earth International described George W. Bush this week following the US President's decision to renege on US commitments to tackle global warming.

The Kyoto treaty, signed in Japan in 1997, was an agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions agreed by more than 100 countries, including the US, following years of tough negotiations. It was a recognition of the increasing danger posed to the global climate and, indeed, the existence of the human race, and the need to counteract this through a united attempt to reduce emissions.

Climate change is real, it is happening now and it will get worse. These are the certainties.

The emission of greenhouse gases from industrial plants, cars and machines is changing the global climate in a radical way. Already there is an increase in floods and `natural' disasters. In the future, these will become more commonplace - they may even wipe out a large portion of the human race.

Despite a population constituting just 4 per cent of the human race, the US produces 25 per cent of the world's greenhouse gases.

Fear has also arisen that if the US refuses to honour its commitment, developing economies such as India's and China's will also refuse to build their economic growth on green, renewable technologies - making a bad situation worse.

It is not acceptable that worries about a downturn in the US economy - or more essentially the concerns of a few greedy oil barons and industrialists - should veto progress on this issue for the entire world.

Bush and his cronies must be forced to accept their international responsibilities. If they don't, future generations will curse his memory.

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