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Richard Scrase, Belgium
"The issue is very real and the threats are very real"
 real 28k

Vivek Sharma, Canada
"Ecology and environment should be taught in schools"
 real 28k

Martin Dart, UK
"Mankind's place in the geological time scale of earth is hugely insignificant"
 real 28k

Claudio Cantadore, Italy
"We have to choose between the lesser of evils"
 real 28k

Basil Keilani, Canada
"Polar bears are losing weight because they are used to having ice to walk on to get to their prey"
 real 28k

Reza Hussain, UK
"We have a very important role to play in western countries"
 real 28k

Friday, 24 November, 2000, 13:12 GMT
Global warming: Is the fight being lost?

The world watches as representatives of 160 countries meet in The Hague for the latest round of climate talks.

They must decide how to make sure agreed cuts in greenhouse gases mean real reductions in pollution. And they have to work out a system of punishments for those who ignore the targets.

But the omens are not good. Many countries already look set to fail to reach their targets. And the conference could turn into another shouting match between developed and developing countries over who should carry the biggest burdens.

Is the fight against global warming being lost? Or do you think, as many still do, that there is no proof that climate change is due to human activity? What is your message to the delegates and politicians that will gather in The Hague?

We have been discussing this issue in Talking Point ON AIR, the live phone-in programme of the BBC World Service and BBC News Online. You can add to the debate by using the form below.

Select the link below to watch Talking Point On Air

Read what you have said since the programme

Read and hear a reflection of your comments during the programme

Read what you said before we went ON AIR


Your comments since the programme

The battle was lost about 20 years ago. It does not take a genius to understand that if we continue to increase the production of green house gasses, and at the same time remove 60% of the planets co2 absorbing forest, that man is going to create an imbalance that is irreversible. The present world population is larger than the planet can support without further environmental destruction. This takes the form of clearing land for agriculture, industry and sprawling communities. The world population must plummet to no more than one quarter its present limit to have any hope of saving the earth. I fear for my children and grandchildren as Planet Earth will not be liveable in 50 plus years time.
Dudley Booth, Canada

The arrogance of the Americans astounds me. How can they claim that carbon sinks that already exist go any way to meeting their Kyoto agreement is ridiculous. They, as should every country, be making a commitment to reduce world-wide pollution. I'm all for letting the Americans kill themselves, but in the process they will bring death and destruction to the rest of the planet. Yes we are all to blame, but yes we should all be prepared to do something about it.
Nick Curtis, England

Will continue unless we begin to educate our children on the impact their lifestyle choices will have

Michele Marshall, UK
I think the effect we have on our environment has become the most important issue when considering the future. Global economics have shifted to a position where maintaining peace is likely to be achieved on a wide scale. The increase in life expectancy, decrease in community based altruism and unstoppable motivation towards materialism will continue unless we begin to educate our children on the impact their lifestyle choices will have on their immediate environment and life expectancy of their own children.
Michele Marshall, UK

Obviously, we just cannot survive without fossil fuel nor industry, but there must be ways to manage them both to reduce the resulting pollution effects. I agree that environment and human behaviour are intertwined, if the relationship between them has gone in a negative direction, I think it can be corrected to be of a positive effect for our future generations.
Rasheed A. Rasheed, United Arab Emirates

Why are governments not investing in their own R&D to come up with ways of cutting the causes of these gases. We are told that the world is at fault but the people of the world only use the tools that are available to them. Why can't we have solar powered cars etc? We don't have a choice its use petrol or walk. Isn't the real reason that the large corporate companies do not want change because it does not suit them to do so. And as for the politicians, they get in with less than 50% of the vote and do nothing once they are in power.
Ian Whyte, Great Britain

I guess there will be many people who post comments to this site saying that we don't know if human activity is affecting climate change. That will not be the point. Already the developed world consumes far too much energy. That is a simple fact that even the most hardened climate change sceptic cannot disagree with. We are a wasteful society and that, in itself, is wrong. We need to learn to share, to be more careful with the world's finite resources. It is just a matter of common sense. And, if the much-vaunted family values which we hear about in our society so much mean anything, they mean our children's future which we are currently ransoming. It is not a question of whether we are affecting our climate or not but a question of fair and equitable use of resources for now and forever.
Stephen Taylor, UK

I am aware that just reading all the e-mails on my computer is adding yet further to the problem. I am sometimes in discussion with people who moan about the use of cars and planes and when I ask they have more than likely arrived in a car from a local point or taken holidays by aeroplane - 'green' back packers included, We should realise that many Third World countries also wish to emulate our lifestyle and some of the greatest pollution now comes from these countries. Consumerism and marketing play a huge part in people's expectations and we still live very much in a throw - away society. We might think about quality of the goods we buy and aim towards a one off purchase for life of many of the goods we use. Or the use of only second hand products. Remember that technology may improve the processes, emissions etc but if we throw away the old for new hi-tech products there is a bank balance of manufacturing pollution, use of raw materials and rubbish pollution also to consider!
Terry O'Brien, UK

Yes the climate may change - but that doesn't mean we're all going to die - life is robust

Ian Murdie, UK
The carbon held in fossil fuels can only ever have come from one place - CO2 in the atmosphere. Burning the fossil fuels only puts it back where it came from. Yes the climate may change - but that doesn't mean we're all going to die - life is robust (although the speed of change will cause problems). Environmentalists do not seem to accept "change". What is more worrying is the politics caused by change and of what happens when the fuel sources run out. Of more environmental importance to me is the Ozone layer thinning - as that has unnatural causes.
Ian Murdie, UK

The government only believes in global warming because it gives them another excuse to tax us. If something is dangerous then put restrictions on it; don't simply allow people with many to continue polluting. With so many people involved in this debate having their own axe to grind, we will never know the truth.
Suresh, London

Robert Smith's comment has a flaw in it. He brings up the point about carbon dioxide exhaled from animals. But the carbon was originally in plants, which themselves got the carbon from the air. Therefore the exhaled CO2 from animals (and plants) is roughly equal to the CO2 taken from the air by plants for photosynthesis. Living organisms contribute to the carbon CYCLE.
Jonathan Kelk, England

The chance of very serious disaster seems relatively high to me

Patrick Buttle, UK
Personally I insure my house against fire every year. There is no proof that it will burn, but there is a small chance. I see climate change in the same light. The chance of very serious disaster seems relatively high to me. We cannot afford to neglect paying the insurance premium. We must all do what we can to cut down on CO2 emission. And it doesn't help to pass the buck to everyone else.
Patrick Buttle, UK

The source of the greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide) thought to be responsible for global warming is usually given as burned hydrocarbons, with some additional contribution from other organic materials such as burned trees. Has anyone evaluated the possible contribution of the exhaled carbon dioxide of 6 billion large mammals, namely the human population? (Back-of-envelope calculations imply that respiration contributes ten times more CO2 to the atmosphere than burned petroleum.) And has the biosphere ever before accommodated such a mass of respirating animals?
Robert Smith, Recife, Brazil

Whichever way this discussion is turned around it always leaves only one fact: The human caused part of the climate change is caused by burning fossil materials. If we wish to influence that, and we can, the decision is purely political. All required technologies are there. As it comes to natural causes we have to adjust.
Mikko Toivonen Finland

We should stop basing totally unscientific deductions on empirical weather data

Conrad, Norway
A over 1500 years ago the Romans grew wine grapes at Hadrian's Wall and the Vikings grew wine grapes in Norway. There is no way they would grow there today. So climate change happens all the time. We should stop basing totally unscientific deductions on empirical weather data (where the oldest data is barely 300 years old) and start using biological evidence more that goes back much farther. Any self-proclaimed doomsday expert can get his name in the paper by predicting catastrophe. It doesn't mean catastrophe is impossible, it just means we don't know from the source data.
Conrad, Norway (British)

I am not totally convinced that mankind is causing global warming, and I'm not sure if it's worth investing in studying likely asteroid impacts on this planet, however, we are burning our valuable fossil fuels at an alarming rate. It is critical that we find alternatives to the way we use fuel and lead our lives with immediate effect. Failure to do so may result in climate catastrophe, but much more likely than either an asteroid impact or global warming is a world energy crisis, and the disputes that follow it.
Tim Rose, U.K.

Surely there can be little doubt in anyone's mind that we are at least contributing to and accelerating the climate change that we are experiencing. Given that there is at least a 50 year time-lag in climate change we cannot afford to wait. Governments are economically hooked on oil revenue and this will be the main barrier to reducing fossil fuel consumption. The US experiences some of the most extreme weather on the planet without the effects of warming and should think very carefully about the consequences of believing themselves to be exempt from this.
David Stevens, Scotland-UK

We have the resources and infrastructure to support real research into alternative, 'clean' technologies

Simon Brammer, UK
It is essential that 'our little country' becomes obsessed with global warming. Unlike many developing countries we have the resources and infrastructure to support real research into alternative, 'clean' technologies. It is not good enough to suggest that nuclear and fossil fuels provide the only two alternatives. It is unsurprising when it is claimed that alternative energy cannot provide the energy we need, when annual investment in those technologies is less than 1 per cent of investment in nuclear fuels. Britain provides ideal climatic conditions to test many 'clean' sources of energy and it is about time we did so without under funded lip service.
Simon Brammer, UK

The evidence is there. There will always be those who would rather ignore unpalatable truths. When concerns were raised about the effects of smoking or of feeding animal remains to cattle, there were those who managed to find an opposing view. But, like BSE, the problem won't go away just because it is more comfortable or 'convenient' to ignore it. We can face the issue now or we can face the consequences later.
Mike Franklin, UK

The climate system is actually an ocean-atmosphere system, that has more frequent and larger magnitude forces acting on it than just our emissions of gases. I don't contest the view that pumping emissions into the air is unwanted, but I take exception to the arguments about 'losing the fight' against global warming. Any climate changes that are taking place are not about fighting, or contests - it is only to be expected, and for us to cope with. The last 10,000 years have been unusually stable climatically speaking, and this is never put across to the public. Let's just remember - when the funding for global cooling and new ice age research faded away, the key players thought of their mortgages and changed sides.
Tyrone Kidney, Wales

The full carbon cycle begins with volcanoes spewing CO2 into the atmosphere. This is taken in by plants, some of which rot down to eventually form coal and oil deposits. In this way the natural equilibrium is maintained. Things get upset when we take the coal and oil deposits and push them back into the cycle. The only way to reverse this would be to grow plants and trees, cook them, and bury the charcoal!
Clive Mitchell, UK

We would be better off to see it as an opportunity to learn and to create

Tony Green
I think its interesting that so many people react to global warming either with complete denial or complete despair. We would be better off to see it as an opportunity to learn and to create. Changes in technology, lifestyle and culture can get us out of this mess - but only once we start believing in our ability to make those changes.
Tony Green

Even those who dismiss the whole global warming theory as a myth, should still be in favour of pollution reduction for their own health's sake. Walk through any city or town for a few hours and clean your nose afterwards. This will show how polluted the air you breathe is nowadays. Just imagine what your lungs look like! Then start thinking how the world will be once the undeveloped countries start using energy the way we do.
Eve, Belgium, currently living in the UK

The way forward is to start penalising people for not taking up their responsibilities. It is so convenient to say that governments are not doing their jobs. In the meantime perhaps we could start to re-educate by rewarding those who give rather than those who take from society. Only recently in Britain we had a demonstration against higher petrol prices, a typical example of how often we look at only those things that effect us directly rather than trying to understand the whole picture. Finally perhaps now with the new technologies we could work from our homes ?
Eric Connor, Belgium

Something is definitely wrong with the weather. The last two years, my flowers bloomed 3 times between winter and summer. This year flowers bloomed at the end of winter. Now summer is cooler and raining all the time, when it should be hot sunny days. I can hardly tell the difference between the seasons.
Tracy Rice, Australia

The problem is that we are comfortable the way we live, and initiating change is seen as a step backwards

Christopher Laird, Japan
It's interesting that countries get together to discuss these items but very little action occurs as a result. We should all take responsibility for the damage that we are doing to the environment, but no-one wants to start first. The problem is that we are comfortable the way we live, and initiating change is seen as a step backwards since there is inevitably a price to pay (economic or comfort). It would be sad to have to introduce penalties to force change, but I can't see any easy way forward. Taking the lead here is key, what disturbs me is the number of people who think that there is no issue. I can't claim innocence as I have to change too, but taking that first uncomfortable step is proving so hard!
Christopher Laird, Japan

Carbon dioxide is created by combination with oxygen. If there is a 1 percent increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, there is decrease of oxygen, e.g. from 19 to 18 percent which is 5 per cent of the total oxygen. What will we do when the oxygen is all gone? This is not as silly as it may seem. Oxygen is replenished mainly by trees and oceanic phytoplankton. We are doing nothing to preserve either group.
PR Scott, UK

Even if there is no evidence that recent weather conditions have been caused by climate change, they have surely provided us with a taste of what could happen as a result of global warming. And if the floods and storms were not a direct result of global warming, imagine what global warming could do to the climate.
Nick Miller, Tralee, Co Kerry, Ireland

Human society will have to invent artificial CO-Oxygen converters ( artificial trees or genetically modified trees which can exist in an industrial era).
Al Koochoor, Russia

Your comments during the programme

I think we have a very important role to play in western countries because we have the resources to set an example to developing countries by reducing our output rather than carbon trading with the third world. Carbon trading is a system where we can try to keep our outputs of CO2 levels high by saying to a third world country 'we will pay you to have your rights to burn carbon dioxide'.
Reza Hussain, Essex, UK

Climate has changed throughout history

Hans Boes, Germany
Climate is a very unstable system. Climate has changed throughout history very much and we have experienced, over the last 10,000 years, a very smooth climate change. If we start to fool around with it, it could easily trigger off totally different climate states.
Hans Boes, Berlin, Germany

Scientists actually do not know whether the climatic change is natural or manmade. Though there is extremely strong evidence that the human production of carbon dioxide is a determinate factor. The main sources of energy for mankind are fossil fuels, gas, oil and coal. These produce carbon dioxide from combustion. There is another source, nuclear energy. Alternative sources can only cover a small amount of energy demands so we have to choose between the lesser of evils.
Claudio Cantadore, Italy

Technology without social responsibility verges on criminal. It is the technology that has overtaken nature and the selfish human, driven by profit motive, that does not allow nature to balance the books.
Mike Mills, Nairobi

To which extent do nuclear power stations contribute to global warming? They create enormous amounts of energy which is dispersed into the air, water and earth.
Gerhart Wiesend, Germany

I think we should all do our bit to preserve our earth in a way that won't be unstable for all of us. We can expect climate change but we don't want something drastic that will affect us adversely. We are seeing a lot of the Indian tribes who are adversely affected because they are used to having longer winters and the polar bears are losing weight because they are used to having ice to walk on to get to their prey.
Basil Keilani, Canada

I would like to ask why don't we promote more the conversion of cars to use Liquid Propane Gas? Or, why not allow people to burn a mixture of petrol and alchool in their cars? I belive the latter solution does not require any change whatsoever to the car engines, only a change in the law.
Giuseppe Vacanti Oegstgeest, The Netherlands

Isn't it ludicrous that some people still resist the overwhelming evidence and they follow the opinions of a very tiny minority of scientists who deny it? What's worse, when many of these scientists have been proved to be mere puppets bribed by some oil lobbies.
Robert, Spain

In my view, climate change is due to the increase of carbondioxide. There is no need to increase the economic output on earth. There is enough food to feed everybody. It's only a matter of distribution. The rich don't want to share their food for free. So everybody will have to die.
Karl-Heinz Thier, Hamburg

I think there are a whole number of issues that have to be taken into consideration. One that hasn't made the headlines is that there are influences that come from the sun, for instance. Mankind's place in the geological time scale of earth is hugely insignificant.
Martin Dart, UK

In these debates we seem often to assume that the response to global warming should be a return to a pre- technological age ("horse and cart") - surely much can be done by many people making small changes. This might include using our vehicles a little less; working one day a month or week from home; governments setting higher standards for new house building (more energy efficient).Many millions of people doing a little must make a difference.
Allan Pollock, Singapore

The Hague conference is useful because it highlights the problem, i.e. global warming, even if it is not 100% clear how much is due to normal cyclical weather change and how much is due to our own efforts. For sure the problems will persist for a long time to come, particularly affecting the third world. We in the developed world are largely able to help ourselves, but can use the conference to discern who are the really vulnerable elsewhere and move meet their short term risks while working to improve their overall quality of life too. The best way for the developed world to use it's industrial capabilities to reduce greenhouse emmissions AND maintain progress to everyone's advantage is to rehabillitate properly managed nuclear power, which has suffered unfair and often hysterical criticism in the media for years.
Roger Horne, Sauverny, France

There are solutions that can reduce our production of carbon dioxide, but it requires the use of energy sources that are not politically acceptable - nuclear power

Heather Boyle, Anchorage, Alaska

There are solutions that can reduce our production of carbon dioxide, but it requires the use of energy sources that are not politically acceptable - nuclear power. Many of the greenies advocate solar, wind, and other schemes that can produce relatively small amounts of energy. The energy densities possible from those methods is very low, and 'ready kilowatt' will not be there when their electric stoves, waterheaters, computers, printers, and so on require large amounts of energy. I live in Alaska, and the effects of global warming are plainly here to see, if one opens their eyes. There are solutions - but it requires the political courage to make the changes necessary to ensure survival of the species - homo sapien.
Heather Boyle, Anchorage, Alaska

The first thing [to do] is to control the population of the world. This is the most important aspects relative to global warming and ecology and environment should be taught in schools at the most basic level.
Vivek Sharma, Canada

I first heard global warming being talked about seriously 11 years ago when I spent some time in Austria. The urgency in the tone of even normal people made a stark contrast to the blithe manner in which the problem was being addressed in the UK. I had hoped recently that this had changed, but the fuel price issue has shown the British person in the street to be equally content even today to bury his head in the sand. It does not seem to be enough that the precise predictions of climate change made a decade ago are coming true.
Cameron Pegley, Prachatice, Czech Republic

My opinion is that the problem is insufficiently explained to the public. I for one would like to see convincing evidence about the influence of human CO2 production compared to CO2 emissions due to natural activity. I am not convinced yet. If this evidence is beyond discussion I would support the reduction CO2 emission.
Karel Postulart, The Netherlands

I would like to make the point that energy use is going to increase as the population of the world grows richer. We can at most replace 20% of the present electricity use by solar cells. There are natural limitation to this. So taking into account wind and tidal we can probably replace 25% of the present electricity use and no more. So at the moment we are stuck with oil.
Nishant Gupta

I think the issue is very real and the threats are very real. Although people talk about them being on a long time scale, in terms of a hundred years, that's only a couple of generations. I think we need to see both our governments doing far more to affect change and some individual responsibility. I think it's certainly very difficult when we use the western lifestyle to avoid using a lot of energy.
Richard Scrase, Belgium

Perhaps those people involved in deciding our fate in The Hague, should adjourn to the South Pole under the ozone hole. For their comfort, outdoor heaters could be supplied, after all global cooling is not an issue here. After removing their clothes and not applying sun block, I feel certain a solution to the emissions problem would be arrived at before second or third degree burns from the sun had sent even one of them to the hospital.
Brian Sheridan, Brisbane, Australia

Your comments before we went ON AIR

The best possible accord out of the Hague this week will call for only a fraction of the emissions controls deemed necessary by the planet's leading climatologists. If we are to respond with a modicum of bravery and realism, we must all begin rethinking how we live--as individuals and as societies--right now. When we start to do that, the story really begins.
Robert von Stein Redick, USA

Jeremy Leggett of Green Peace writing for The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reported in 1992 that not only do climate scientists generally agree global warming is a reality, but many of them are worried we may soon enter the realm of self-sustaining, i.e unstoppable, global warming. Merely asking the public to wonder if global warming is happening is a bit like worrying about fly specks on the windshield of a car hurtling straight at a brick wall.
Douglas Wagner, Nova Scotia, Canada

No conference works! All decisions are made in advance. What makes anybody believe that decisions can be made across borders? The biggest polluter and waster of energy is the United States. They're not willing to hold back on their wealthy and wasteful life style. Secondly, countries themselves are not able to respect what nature gives due to conflicting interests between businessmen, local people and the politicians.
Leo de Clercq, Belgium

How can anyone believe that we human beings are NOT responsible for global warming and other climatic changes? With ever increasing human population, cars on the roads and everything else we clog up the atmosphere with, we take sole responsibility and should very drastically be changing how we live. This small fragile planet can only take so much. We can't possibly go on for much longer. Mother nature will have the last laugh.
Alida, Preston, England

Where is the pressure for change?

David, Gladenbach, Germany
Irrespective of who is to blame - us or nature - global warming is a fact. In Germany 300 million litres of fuel are wasted by people sitting in traffic jams. Ironically, the traffic jams appear to have worsened since the 'fuel crisis'. Do the government seem to care? Why should they, they are making more money through tax. I expect this is reflected throughout every industrialised nation - where is the pressure for change?
David, Gladenbach, Germany

Governments tend not, as a rule, to be bothered about the long term effects of their policies - after all the next election is all that matters - so let's not pretend anybody is interested in the future of the planet. "Green" taxes and measures are just another way (with a built-in excuse) of raising ever more taxes.
Neil, England

There is much truth in arguments that, with existing technological means, there is a conflict of interest between the wish to develop and the wish to refrain from pollution. However, this does not justify an ostrich attitude. So either we, the people (including them, the scientists and politicians), find a way to reach economical goals with other means of energy generation, or we accept the fact that we have a (fast approaching) greenhouse problem.
Hans Rijpma, Eindhoven, Netherlands

Those worrying about global warming should examine how their own lifestyle contributes to the problem

Fred, Birmingham, UK
The recent fuel protests in the UK have shown the hypocrisy of many people. Your average UK citizen wants a high standard of living at the lowest cost yet complains that governments, organisations etc. do not do enough to regulate the damaging effects of mass production to meet consumer demands. Those worrying about global warming should examine how their own lifestyle contributes to the problem.
Fred, Birmingham, UK

Humankind should learn to be in tune and be friendly with nature. If we become greedy and violate the laws of the earth we distance ourselves from it and experience the negative effects of our actions.
Albert P'Rayan, Kigali, Rwanda

I am shocked by the mounting evidence of mankind's upcoming roller coaster ride through climate change. People will not realise that it is better to make extreme changes in their lifestyle until the weather-extremes will force them to. So we will see the discussion going on for some time until evidence becomes too obvious. By that time it could be too late. The impact of sudden climatic change on society would be far more severe and longer lasting than the biggest possible nuclear power plant catastrophe.
Hans Boes, Berlin, Germany

The only evidence ever presented for global warming is the increase seen in the global surface temperature. The fact is that most of the weather stations recording increases in temperature are located near to growing urban centres. The data are available for you to see yourself that weather stations in most rural areas of the world have not experienced any warming, or have seen cooling! Satellite and weather balloons are not seeing the temperature increases seen at ground level either, and sea levels are hardly rising, if at all. Why are these data being ignored?
Richard, The Hague, Holland

There is a difference between rational, scientific debateand rejecting scientific conclusions purely on the basis of prejudice

Neill Cooper, Croydon, UK
It is amazing how many urban myths crop up in a debate like this. The amount of carbon dioxide in the air is now more than 25% higher than in was between 0 and 1800 AD. Yet someone says only 2% is man made! The amount of methane has more than doubled in a similar period, yet others say humans can only have an insignificant effect on the atmosphere. Others say we are closer to the sun - if so it is only by a negligible amount. Yet others talk about the global warming 'myth' when the vast majority of relevant scientists say that it is a real effect. We now live in an era when scientists' views are questioned. And so they should be. But there is a difference between rational, scientific debate based on observed data and logical theories, and rejecting scientific conclusions purely on the basis of prejudice and what someone has said to you down the pub - or on the internet.
Neill Cooper, Croydon, UK

It's good to see that at least here in the UK we've made a small change in our emissions. But if giants like the US continue to refuse to significantly reduce their harmful emissions then sadly our efforts will be in vain. The States need to stop being so selfish and for once think outside their own country borders.
Alex White, Plymouth, UK

We all forget that we are part of a dynamic universe. Anything we do down here on earth will have consequences elsewhere in space and time. Yes we, who are alive today and dead tomorrow, are all to blame for global warming. Even the great kings of Egypt were contributing to our problem when they decided that it was a good idea to build the pyramids. Whether they were using pure manpower and not combustion engines is beside the point. They were using energy to create something utterly useless. Having said that, we can't change what is to come, we can only speed things up.
P. Mansoor, Enschede Netherlands

How much does 10,000 people flying round the world contribute to global warming?

Alan Armstrong, Den Haag, Netherlands
I am working in the Hague and you cannot get a hotel bed for love or money for the next 2 weeks. It is said that 10,000 extra people are in The Hague as a result of the conference. How much does 10,000 people flying round the world contribute to global warming?
Alan Armstrong, Den Haag, Netherlands

The world leaders (surprise) have politicised the reaction to global warming, so obviously there is no hope for the world. Another little known fact is that carbon and soot from the Indo-China region of the world is by far the greatest contributor to global warming, but the political leaders lay the blame on Europe and North America because we drive cars.
Collin, Canada

One thing no-one has mentioned, which surprises me, is forest depletion. Surely the problem isn't just the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, but the decrease in large plants to soak it up. The damage we're doing is two-pronged, we spew more junk out and destroy nature's only way of compensating.
Stuart, UK

We want the best for our families

Kalyanee Padhye, India
We want the best for our families, all the modern utilities yet we also want beautiful parks and beaches to enjoy in our leisure time. We cannot lay our hands on all these goodies at the same time and not let any of them go. We have to decide our priorities and then tackle this issue.
Kalyanee Padhye, India

Two thousand years ago the Romans had productive vineyards throughout England. One thousand years ago Greenland was warm enough for agricultural settlement. Get a grip, the climate has never been constant but always in flux even within a short (geologically speaking) timespan. Global warming is just a convenient bogeyman to frighten us children into conformity. There are far better reasons (and more honest ones) for not filling our home with filth and waste.
Michael Rees, Great Bardfield, England

If we want a better tomorrow, we have to start now!

Irshad Muttur, Beau Bassin, Mauritius
There is no doubt about our role in the deterioration of the atmosphere even though other natural factors may also be contributing to the 'heating up'. Action has to start at local level and we cannot go on blaming others as we can also play a part in curbing the scourge. Unfortunately, most people have far too many worries to bother about the repercussions of their actions on the climate. If we want a better tomorrow, we have to start now!
Irshad Muttur, Beau Bassin, Mauritius

I do care about the earth's environment and I do not believe there is sufficient evidence to prove that a warming trend means that our planet is doomed to burn up. May I refer those who are convinced that our planet is dying to the alarmists of the 1970's "energy crisis" who were absolutely convinced that fossil fuels were going to be depleted by now. Where are these alarmists today?
Belinda, Perth, Australia

They say the floods in York were the worst since 1625

Gunnar S°yland, Tau, Norway
They say the floods in York were the worst since 1625. If this is proof of global warming, what was to blame for the floods in 1625, then? Perhaps Elizabeth I and James I had been burning too much coal and peat?
Gunnar S°yland, Tau, Norway

One way of reducing greenhouse effect gases would be to promote working at home, which most managers and employers fear for lack of trust in their employees.
Luc Chene, St-Antoine-de-Tilly, Canada

I hope that global warming will not affect the world too much because some areas, like the Sahara Desert, would become so hot you would need a heat suit to go there.
Shaun Lunn, Red Hook, USA

I find it ironic that governments think they can control fuel consumption by taxing it

Martin V, USA
I find it ironic that governments think they can control fuel consumption by taxing it. This is absurd. Consumption of fuel, like any other goods, is pushed on by economic growth. As the economy keeps growing, consumption will increase in turn. What should be done is to let technology run its course. Innovation will lead to more efficient engines that are cleaner and cheaper. But this can only happen when governments get their dirty hands out of the way!
Martin V, USA

The responsibility squarely lies on the West to undo the destruction they themselves have been a major part of.
Syed Shaukat, Baltimore, MD, USA

We must also consider the potential social and economic catastrophe that will occur when oil reserves are low and fossil fuel costs become too high for everyday activities to continue. Surely potential economic recession combined with the potential for an increase in disastrous weather conditions is enough to make world leaders realise it is time to reduce fossil fuel energy consumption by all means possible.
Henri, UK

The rate of climate change is unprecedented

Paul Chambers, London, UK
Previous correspondents are right to point out that the earth's climate has always been changing, long before humans ever appeared on the scene. The range of temperatures currently predicted over the next century have occurred at other times in the past. However, the rate of climate change is unprecedented. We have experienced in a few decades the sort of temperature rises that previously occurred over thousands or years. It is this speed of change that is so damaging to the natural environment. Plant and animal communities cannot adapt in the same way that we can.
Paul Chambers, London, UK

If you wait for the kind of proof that the pro-consumerists want the damage would already have been done. To undo environmental damage at a later time the efforts will have to be much more drastic and results will be slow to yield. The evidence for this can be seen in the case of ozone depletion in the polar stratosphere.
Srikanth Ranganathan, Novi, Michigan, USA

Our love for consumerism is part of the problem. We love our packaged good - we like things to look nice. The outcome is that we produce more and more waste because of it, filling our landfill and overflowing into the sea. And the answer to this? Well I suggest that every manufacturer should be held responsible for the amount of excess packaging they use on their products. .
Sarah, UK

The most depressing thing is the shear scientific ignorance displayed by most of the remarks

Philip Turtle, UK
By the time that even the most sceptical of the doubting Thomas's who've posted their comments is convinced, it will be too late. The most depressing thing is the shear scientific ignorance displayed by most of the remarks. People seem to think that science is a lifestyle choice. Their attitudes remind me of children who deliberately carry on doing something when they've been told to stop. Thankfully I won't be around when the planet's climate finally falls apart.
Philip Turtle, UK

As long as trade and blind human greed are around - climate change will continue...Drop the debt and provide all developing countries with renewable energy sources. If we don't, we die. YES, it is as simple as that.
Tjeerd Blackford, Brussels, Belgium

Having read most of the comments from all over the world it is clear that there seems to be four different trains of thought on this matter. Those who know there is a problem and are desperate to do something about it and those who acknowledge there is a problem but think we can't do anything. Those who think there is a problem but don't think its their fault and want somebody else to do something about it and the scariest of the lot those who don't think there is a problem, and frankly couldn't care less if there was.
Steve, UK

The major problem is with industrial corporations who refuse to change from fossil fuels due to the fact that too much money has already been invested in their technologies to reverse the trend

Richard Baldwin, Amsterdam
There are many causes to explain the current state of our environment both natural and man made. I believe the major problem is with industrial corporations who refuse to change from fossil fuels due to the fact that too much money has already been invested in their technologies to reverse the trend. As a result environmentally friendly technology is bought up and suppressed, such as frictionless alloys which could nullify the need for oil based lubricants in cars. It is the greed and inflexibility of industrial corporations which is destroying our environment and not the common individual; consumers cannot go green if there are no green products to choose from.
Richard Baldwin, Amsterdam

Our future as human beings is intrinsically tied up with the future of this planet, those that say as individuals we can't make any difference are simply ignoring the evidence that Global Warming is hitting everyone right now. This is man created, and only man can reverse it by individually taking action to secure a future for our children.
Andrew Bamford, UK

The 'fight' is already lost - not that there really was a fight. The fact is - if all greenhouse gas emissions ceased tomorrow, it still would not prevent the various effects that have been forecast.
Ali Asgur, UK

Yes, the battle to stop 'Global Warming' is losing ground. Why? Because the greedy oil companies are bound and determined to risk the health and the safety of the world for the 'profits' of a few 'oil barons' without any conscience. The weather patterns and irregular climatic changes are a confirmation of it. The world is in danger and the forces in control of the U.S. like the oil industry don't care.
Dave Adams, USA

It comes to something when the UK Government is spending millions to fix a bridge across the Thames when it should be spending millions on real issues!
Steve Brown, UK

Anthony Green from Canterbury thinks he knows that Global Warming is a Myth. Suppose he's right, we still listen to the greens and take drastic action. Bye bye to a few percentage points of GDP. Suppose he's wrong and we do nothing. Bye bye to the human race!
Simon, York, UK

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