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Monday, 9 April, 2001, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
Sting slates Bush over Kyoto
Sting
Sting: Not sure Bush "really understands the issues"
Singer and songwriter Sting has slated US President George W Bush over his plans to ditch the Kyoto agreement on global warming.

The president recently said he was putting the US economy first and would not put the 1997 agreement into place.

The move not to implement the commitment to cut emissions blamed for climate change also prompted anger from governments and environmentalists worldwide.

Sting, the former Police singer and a vocal supporter of human rights and the environment, was quoted in the New York Daily News as saying he was unhappy at the president's decision.

"I'm concerned about him generally," he told the newspaper.

George W Bush
George W Bush: Decision to drop agreement angered governments worldwide
"I'm not sure he really understands a lot of issues. He seems to be given his lines by other people.

"Bush said there was no scientific proof for it but he says he believes in God, and as far as I know there is no scientific proof of that either."

The British musician's concern for the environment has seen him campaign for the protection of the Amazonian rainforest from destruction.

Thanks in part to his lobbying, an area the size of Switzerland was designated as a protected area by the Brazilian government.

But he conceded he realised he would not be able to change the US administration's policy on the environment single-handed.

smog
Environmentalists are concerned about gas emissions
"I'm a singer. I do not have a political voice in this country. It's up to you guys to change things.

"I don't think Bush is at the helm of anything. That's my impression of him. I hope I'm wrong."

There was widespread anger across Europe at Mr Bush's plan not to implement the anti-global warming treaty.

The day after the announcement, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder put his concerns at the top of his first meeting with Mr Bush.

In the UK, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott called for an "international effort" to persuade Americans to tackle global warming.

Celebrity protest

But Mr Bush insisted the US was facing an energy crisis, which has already seen blackouts across California, and promised to put the economy first.

The United States creates 25% of the world's emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, despite having just 5% of its population.

Sting made his own commitment to the environment clear last year when he bought 109 acres of land near his Wiltshire home to cultivate native trees including ash, beech and lime.

He is the latest celebrity to speak out against Mr Bush.

Last week singer Barbara Streisand wrote to Democratic party chiefs complaining that Mr Bush was "a destructive man".

Actor Martin Sheen, who plays the US president in hit series The West Wing, said in February that Mr Bush is "like a bad comic working the crowd, a moron, if you'll pardon the expression".

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See also:

16 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Sting receives human rights award
03 Apr 01 | Americas
Anger as US abandons climate treaty
13 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Sheen slates 'bad comic' Bush
16 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Sting does battle with MoD
28 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Sting stung online
19 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Sting hits millennium high note
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