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Saturday, 31 March, 2001, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Kyoto: Was the US right to ditch the deal?
Is the US right to ditch the deal?
Governments across the world are lining up to deplore the decision by the US not to implement the Kyoto treaty on combating global warming.

The US objects to the protocol on the grounds that it does not seek to limit pollution from developing nations and puts too heavy a burden on the US economy.

The US is responsible for about 25% of emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases. Environmental groups say the move threatens "climate disaster".

Is the US administration right in demanding the inclusion of developing countries? Is the deal dead without the US? What consequences will the announcement have for global warming?

We will be debating this topic on our programme "Talking Point on Air" this Sunday at 1400 GMT, broadcast by the BBC World Service and webcast by News Online. If you would like to take part, please include a telephone number with your comments.

Click here to read your earlier comments on this topic

HAVE YOUR SAY


Are short-term profits worth risking the survival of the Earth?

Thomas Jacob, Dresden, Germany
It's true that the link between global warming and green house gas emissions is somewhat weak. But what if it's real? Are short-term profits worth risking the survival of the Earth? The Bush administration seems to believe that. I would rather question if other developed countries see this very differently. If they would, and actually did something relevant to reduce these emissions, an eco-tax on US products would surely be a valid tool to restore competitiveness.
Thomas Jacob, Dresden, Germany

Peter H's assertion "Satellite measurements indicate that the world is getting cooler" is actually incorrect. In fact the scientific consensus is that satellite measurements support global warming predictions. For example, John Harries and colleagues reported in Nature (the world's leading scientific journal) earlier this month, compelling satellite data which directly supports global warming predictions. This is just the latest of thousands of publications in respected journals providing strong evidence for global warming. Observations of warmer temperatures at weather stations, in the oceans and from satellite data have been found many times by scientists from many countries. There are also observations of melting mountain glaciers, permafrost, sea ice and ice sheets around the globe; plus observations of increased sea levels and unusual weather patterns. The evidence for global warming is in fact so overwhelming that it is hard to see how any reasonable person could doubt it. To do so is a bit like saying HIV isn't connected with AIDS or evolution doesn't exist. Many of those scientists opposing global warming are funded by the oil and energy companies whose profits are at stake from CO2 cuts. I think the media should be more responsible in its coverage. Often global warming opponents with little scientific credibility are given the same type of coverage as the world's leading climate scientists. This does the public a disservice by attempting to generate controversy where there is scientific consensus. Even Mr. Bush accepts climate change is a "serious problem". He believes, however, that the US should continue producing the most pollution and let the rest of the world clean up the mess.
Dr. Marc Roddis, Uppsala, Sweden


They should be in the front line on cutting down the emissions

Emmanuel, Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania
Yet another demonstration of power from America using the economy as an excuse. If they are worried about the economy, what on Earth do you think if our poor developing economies will encounter if we are subjected to the emissions cuts. They produce about 30% of the greenhouse gases, it doesn't require a genius to know that they should be in the front line on cutting down the emissions. He just killed all of us.
Emmanuel, Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania

'Junior' has clearly shown where he wishes to drag the USA. Right back to the early 80s again. First thing he did was a little bombing sortie and now this. Ignorant to the rest of us, Bush will get into this pathetic leaning as time goes by. I wonder just how far Daddy is behind the scenes.
Justin, Oslo, Norway


America has some of the strongest environmental programs in the world and we are certainly doing our part in protecting the environment

David W. Mannon, Searcy, AR, USA
Well done Mr Bush ! I agree that America should set the example. We should reject junk science and set the pace for other nations to follow. America has some of the strongest environmental programs in the world and we are certainly doing our part in protecting the environment. It's time to expose the junk science scam and to expose the U.N. for it's "crisis management" techniques. (That's where they create a crisis and then manage it). They're not interested in cleaning the environment, they only want to regulate it and have the power to mandate. You poor liberals are being duped.
David W. Mannon, Searcy, AR, USA

Yes, Bush is owned by the oil, mining, and gas industries just as he is owned by the anti-abortion religious right and the extremely wealthy who have no social conscience and want huge tax cuts for themselves and to hell with the poor. If he doesn't give a damn about our own downtrodden, he couldn't care less for those in any other country. The man's days in office are numbered until the next presidential election and the right wing knows it, so they are blatantly putting their monetary donor's interests out front very quickly. For the record, of any president this century, he has the highest hard core disapproval rating. The only solace I can offer those of you abroad is that he will be gone in a little less than four years.
J Harrigan, Rhode Island, USA

During this one year and a half living in US, several times people (environmentally concerned) asked me about the devastation of the Amazon and at the same time complained about the price of gas. This decision of the Bush government does not surprise me as the decision of the US people to elect him. Unfortunately, Bush represents the opinion of his people. As a Brazilian I would like to see the other countries in world, lead by the EU, following the Kyoto protocol, regardless of US environmental policy. We should not be so terrified with Bush's decision, yet we should be now thinking how to force them to accept the Kyoto protocol. Any suggestion? Boycott of their products will target their only apparent concern: money!
Regina Rodrigues, Brazilian, living in US

The claims of pseudo-science against the IPCC here are invalid. A scientific proof is experimentation yielding expected results; how do you apply that to the climate? The best you can get is statistical probability and that should be enough. There is no proof that smoking causes cancer, but everyone except the CEOs of tobacco companies accept it as fact. And Paul from London is probably right that most comments will be from Brits with little or no experience of American life, but America is undeniably insular (there is very little reporting of World events here) and will never yield to any pressure unless it hurts financially.
Leigh, USA (UK)


Cutting consumption is the fundamental to protecting the environment and intelligent living

Srikanth Ranganathan, Novi, Michigan, USA
Cutting consumption is the fundamental to protecting the environment and intelligent living. Global weather change and its connection to CO2 emissions is controversial. But throwing pollutants into the air and water will change the order of nature. There is no escaping that! There are a lot of Americans who are aware and appreciate the cost of environment. Unfortunately, they are not in political power now. If not now, sometime down the line U.S. is going to listen to drowning voices in the distant islands. Until then I wish too much irreversible is not done to the environment.
Srikanth Ranganathan, Novi, Michigan, USA

As an American, I am sick and tired of the rest of the world trying to tell us what to do. If you want to spend billions and ruin your economy fighting a problem that scientists are not even sure exists - go ahead. Just leave us alone. I am sick and tired of other countries pushing their unproven suspicions and paranoias on us like genetically modified foods - as if nature doesn't genetically modify plants and animals on its own over time. I am sick and tired of other countries telling us that we can protect ourselves from rogue nations firing missiles at us. I am sick and tired of others lecturing us on capital punishment, private ownership of guns etc. Mind your own business and leave us alone. If you want to tax our imports - go ahead. Last I saw we ran a trade deficit with nearly every country. When we match your tax, we will actually make out on the deal.
Phil M., Los Angeles, USA


The technology exists for sustainable energy, sadly the courage of politicians to make brave decisions does not

Martyn Herman, London, UK
Those who say that global warming is not proven to be a result of increased CO2 emission (most of which comes from internal combustion of fossil fuels) may have a point ... in theory. However the evidence is surely so strong that action should be taken as a "precaution". In 1986 the Montreal Protocol agreed that there was enough evidence on ozone depletion to phase out the production of CFC's. This policy was later proved to be correct and even more damage than has already been caused has been avoided. Bush's refusal to admit that fossil fuels have had their day is typical of somebody with a blinkered view on the situation. The technology exists for sustainable energy, sadly the courage of politicians to make brave decisions does not.
Martyn Herman, London, UK

The simple solution is to add a CO2 tax to all American imports. Monies raised could then be used to research and develop technologies for researching and dealing with global warming, paying for land to be re-forested to use as "carbon sinks". Meanwhile, the heavy tariffs would reduce export from the USA, reducing the CO2 emissions used in manufacturing and shipping the goods abroad. The rest of the world cannot make the USA take responsibility for its actions, in the same way as you cannot make another person drive safely on the road. However, the international community can take steps to counteract any harm they are doing to the environment and indirectly charge them the implementation costs through tariffs and taxes.
Harry Lerwill, Fresno, CA, USA

Can I correct one or two inaccuracies that have crept in to the submissions above? Climate change is a scientific fact, and is being caused by human activity. There is no doubt about it. Those who say there is some doubt about it are almost all paid by oil companies to say that. The IPCC is not paid to say that climate change exists, they are paid to produce good science. Those who argue about the existence of climate change are simply rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
Chas Booth, Brussels, Belgium

This really isn't the least bit surprising, anyone who has had the misfortune of living in Texas can appreciate how little this character actually cares about the environment or anything else for that matter. I fear greatly for American relations with the rest of the world. By the time the Bush administration collapses in 2004 it could take decades to repair America's relationship with Europe. If he keeps going with this level of reckless behavior we could find ourselves in a situation where American diplomats are being expelled and European diplomats are being recalled! What is he going to do next? Decide to put offensive nuclear weapons on the Canadian Boarder?
Angus Hall, Calgary, Canada (American citizen, native o Texas)


How can President Bush be so narrow-minded?

Seija Manninen, Kangasniemi, Finland
I was absolutely shocked to hear the announcement that the Bush administration abandons the Kyoto protocol. How can President Bush be so narrow-minded? How can he afford to ignore the rest of the world? The world is bigger than America. Mr Bush claims that his priority is the US economy and jobs for American people. But he should think of the future, too, not only of today and this week. If the greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to increase and the global warming continues at an accelerating pace, the US economy will end up being in really bad trouble: The victims of storms, hurricanes, floods and droughts from all over the world will cry for help, and they will certainly first turn to the USA for emergency help.
Seija Manninen, Kangasniemi, Finland

Once again President Bush has shown that he does not care about the growing environmental problems faced by our planet, but only the profits that can be made in an overgrown American economy and for his oilmen buddies! Along with this isolationist and irresponsible outrage Bush has also promised that he will drill for oil in Alaska's protected wilderness. I am personally ashamed at this moment for the American position on environmental protection and our economic policies that create such a large percentage of the world's pollution and keeps smaller countries economically bound to U.S. interests.
Ryan Folmer, Baltimore, USA

The US imposes trade restrictions on countries that do not comply with its beliefs. The EU and much of the rest of the world believes in Kyoto, which requires only the most minimal reduction as a start in the campaign to stop global warming. Trade restrictions on the US would be an effective way of reducing its CO2 emissions.
Ana, Madrid, Spain

We all will finance the US anti-ballistic missile shield because we will pay for the environment and the USA does not. If it was necessary for world peace indeed, I would prefer to pay taxes to the US-government directly. On the other hand: Who can force the Peoples' Republic of China or India not to behave as the USA do?
Piotr Kraczkowski, Nuremberg, Germany


We must stop looking to this office as "The leader of the Western world" until the country can face up to its own responsibilities

David Mands, Arbroath Scotland
The American governments stand point on this issue only serves to highlight the bigger picture. That balance of world power has been lost, leaving a historically arrogant nation to feel they have leave to wipe their boots on the rest of the world with little or no fear of serious repercussions. Failure of the EU to take a lead in the in the restoration of this balance will result this policy of bullying to continue. George Bush realises that his presidency started on a shaky peg and as a consequence he will pander to the American business community, lobbyists and public like a lap dog for fear of any backlash that will lose him a second term he's unlikely to get anyway. We must stop looking to this office as "The leader of the Western world" until the country can face up to its own responsibilities instead of continually preaching to others about the same. The UK in particular must take stock of how the rest of the world perceives us. The "special" relationship between America and Britain is fast becoming an embarrassing circus act of the UK jumping through hoops to please their ringleader resulting in these people dragging us down with them. Let's start acting like the world power we are and exercise a bit of muscle on this now handicapped bully.
David Mands, Arbroath Scotland

The global warming debate will go on forever. Perhaps many readers should study geographic history and they may discover that the sea level has risen and fallen over the centuries. What has caused this will be debated for centuries to come.
Ronald F Collins, Rochester, New York USA

Bush's decision is a huge blow struck against everything that lives on this planet now, or will live on it in the future. Certainly, the Kyoto Protocol is not without flaws, but a better alternative will not be produced as long as the US and its President denies there is a problem. The problem for the rest of the world is what they can do now that the US is backing out - sanctions? How many countries can afford a trade war with the world's largest economy? The US likes being the 'leader of the free world', but this stance, more than anything it has done before, makes a mockery of the whole idea - free world? Unless other governments make some firm stance against the US over this issue, i.e. much more than just condemning it, we are all destined to suffer under a very heavy US yoke.
Tom Simon, London, UK

Emissions are only one part of the problem. Destruction of the rainforests, which also contributes to climate change, is another. But I see little hope when the media warns of impending environmental catastrophe while simultaneously encouraging - chiefly, though not wholly, through advertising - rampant consumerism and waste of natural resources.
Marilyn Cox, Oxford, UK


This might be a very good opportunity for Europe to take the lead on environmental issues

Susannah, Sydney, Australia
Actually this might be a very good opportunity for Europe to take the lead on environmental issues and in doing so finally cut loose from the US once and for all. Europe might then be able to be more than just a cheerleader for the US and start asserting its independence while gaining some self-respect at the same time.
Susannah, Sydney, Australia

The whole idea of global warming is hogwash! We have only been keeping accurate records of climate conditions for 100-200 years at best. If you were to look at a city were a weather monitoring station was 100 years ago and today there is more city/growth near the site hence the thermal capacity as well as temperature would naturally increase without any increase in pollution. We do need to cut down on pollution in all cities around the world but not on the pressures of environmental extremists, but sound scientific logic.
Tim, Denver, USA

We were right to be fearful when Bush won the presidency of the USA. This statement is what we should have expected from somebody of such inexperience in world affairs and no interest in anything other that what is good for business. We all have an obligation to look after the world that we live in for all mankind, not just Americans.
Jackie M, Worcester, UK


Only when American industry and consumers are faced with a situation in which it will be cheaper and more profitable to stop polluting will it actually happen

Tom, USA
This is unfortunate, but not a surprise. Bill Clinton talked a good game, but in fact did absolutely nothing, so why should we expect any more from George W Bush, a man who is openly sceptical of global warming? At the end of the day, American corporations and consumers run the show, irrespective of the party in power, and the only way to teach them to play nicely is to remove the incentive to pollute; through the imposition of tariffs. Only when American industry and consumers are faced with a situation in which it will be cheaper and more profitable to stop polluting will it actually happen.
Tom, USA

Global warming or not, America does not care. Huge CO2 producing industrial interests are at stake. If the developing nations are to co-operate, America should first agree to reduce her per capita CO2 output to more reasonable levels. I fear for Kyoto.
In her book, "How the Other Half Dies", Susan George claims that America consumes four times as much as all the other nations of the world put together. Where do the developing nations come into the picture? The US is leading us into a furnace. Would Kyoto save us anyway?
Simon Cameron, London, UK

That we all have a responsibility in reducing greenhouse gases is clearly evident. I also agree that we Americans produce more than our share of them. However, I don't see how the rest of the world can be so sanctimonious about Bush's decision when not a single industrialized country has ratified much less implemented the treaty four years after it was signed. Also, more important than governments ratifying treaties, true reduction in pollution will only come with sustained change in the behavior of individuals. Again, I concede that we Americans need to change our habits. However, as I ride my bicycle to work here in the UK I am crowded off the road by sport utility vehicles and other traffic, not by fellow cyclists.
Dan , New Barnet, UK

I would like to ask what would be required for proof? It seems as though there will never be enough proof of global warming to convince the most die-hard sceptic. The complexity of the atmospheric system does not allow such proof to exist. We can though predict some of the potential consequences of global warming and under the Kyoto Protocol the majority of the worlds governments agreed to the moral responsibility to reduce those risks. If a country now decides to shirk its responsibilities then they should be subjected to environmental tariffs on the goods they export.
David Handley, London

Such predictable comments. So, the USA is responsible for twenty-five percent of emissions? This means that the rest of the world is responsible for seventy-five percent - three times as much. Why doesn't the rest of the world (causing the most pollution), clean up their emissions and set an example to the USA? Even if the USA still does nothing, we will have solved seventy-five percent of the pollution problem.
John Gant, UK


The rest of the signatories to the Kyoto Treaty should implement sanctions against this major greenhouse gas emitter

Marcus Huygens, Sydney, Australia
Once again the USA had shown itself to care about its own interests in the narrowest, most short-term view possible. I think the rest of the signatories to the Kyoto Treaty should implement sanctions against this major greenhouse gas emitter - which poses more threat to world stability and health than Saddam Hussein does. And the views of people from the US does nothing to assuage their image as swaggering bombasts of the worst types.
Marcus Huygens, Sydney, Australia

This decision shouldn't surprise people. In part it is political, the Republicans known for their high regard of big business, but beyond that it demonstrates entrenched American attitudes. To many, but not all, in the US, it is inconceivable that they should save energy, or be concerned about the affects of their lifestyle. Many would find it an affront to change the way they live for such an intangible reason. In such a huge country, the vast majority of the population is largely ignorant of the world outside and the changes that are definitely occurring. They believe it their right to live the way they do, and that technology will find a solution if it is causing a problem. This is what it is to be American and until these attitudes change, or Joe average starts to feel it financially, the US will place itself and it's people first, as it always has done.
Philip M, UK


Everyone wants the benefits of a consumer society, but they don't want to deal with the consequences

Tom, Perth, Australia
It seems hypocrisy is alive and well in this debate. At least Bush is being straight forward. Everyone seems to be decrying his speech, but still scream when fuel prices increase. Britain is prepared to sacrifice its countryside to satisfy the desire of millions of single men and childless couples to live in 5-7 bedroom detached houses. Everyone wants the benefits of a consumer society, but they don't want to deal with the consequences of concomitant environmental degradation. I don't hear of anyone trying to seek smaller returns on their investment portfolios, private or pension funds. As the science on climate change isn't conclusive, better to aim for economic growth and hope we have the resources to adapt to a degraded planet.
Tom, Perth, Australia

The Kyoto accord was expensive window-dressing, signed by politicians to make them feel and look better. Time to start again.
Wilson Rockefeller, London, England

What should the occupants of the boat do if one or two careless bodies keep rocking it? Every individual in the world finally worries about its survival before it is too late. Patience burst its boundary too, as greediness. I am sure people from the USA will join their fellow-travellers.
Tony, Spain

I never considered myself 'Green' until I heard President Bush's statement. This was the first time my jaw hit the floor when I heard an environmental statement. Bush's childish 'it's not fair' cry is clear suppression of developing nations to ensure US economic supremacy. I think the US should be sanctioned for its part in the destruction of our children's future.
Malcolm Wright, London, UK

"There is a whiff of fascism in the air" was stated during the election of GW Bush. Now that he is elected his administration appears unconstrained by the will of the people and the prior commitments of the United States. It is an unfortunate time for the majority of Americans who did not vote for their president and for the world community that can now share their frustration.
James, Rockford, Il, US

Typical, sadly. Call themselves the leader of the free world and when it comes to the greatest threat to civilization they fall back to national interest. The level of the problem is such that even if there is only 1% risk of it happening we need to act. I admit that natural global warming is occurring and this is commonly held up as a reason not to act. But we are accelerating things further. The developing world cannot be a reason for the US not to act. It shows how insular they are - do they really care if 10,000 people in Bangladesh drown? The US can afford the sea defences so they don't care. They will not take note till it hits them. We must take responsibility as individuals. Governments will be too slow to act and we must cut our own consumption. The US economy is so intertwined with ours that we cannot avoid involvement but we must think UK first, Europe second and US last when we make any purchase. Our government cannot have a trade blockade but we as individuals can.
Shankar, Birmingham, UK


A step in the right direction that should be appreciated by everyone who loves freedom, capitalism and big gas guzzling cars

Alex Stanway, Guildford, England
Well done George Bush. This might not mean anything technically, but symbolically it's a fight back against environmentalism. Environmentalism is the new fascism. It is based on none-science and confused ideologies: How long can anyone promote environmentalism without getting onto all the other PC subjects, income equality, gender politics and ethnic culture. It's socialism without the chimneys! Well done Bush, a step in the right direction that should be appreciated by everyone who loves freedom, capitalism and big gas guzzling cars!
Alex Stanway, Guildford, England

Pure and simple, the United States of America has no obligation to a treaty that it never signed. We did not 'abandon' the treaty as some would have you believe. Let us start regulating human breath as well! After all, we breathe out CO2. You all should stop your whining about CO2 and the harm that the United States has put you all in. "Global Warming" theories are bunk and so are the scientists who have managed to trick the world into thinking that such a problem exists.
E Andrew McGowan, Washington, DC, USA


If these theories do prove to be right, we can always tell everyone that it was Saddam's fault!

Scott Walsh, Seattle, USA
I am not surprised that Bush decided against the Kyoto agreement, I mean how could he not. If we were to actually make environmental issues a priority here in the US, we might have to start cutting back on all the waste and excessiveness that has become so ingrained in our lifestyles. Just think, because of this agreement , more Americans might have to resort to taking mass transit (God forbid!) instead of driving those gas guzzling SUVs. On behalf of all Americans who couldn't care less about their neighbors down the road, let alone millions of people in the rest of the world, I urge President Bush to remain strong. Besides, if these theories do prove to be right, we can always tell everyone that it was Saddam's fault!
Scott Walsh, Seattle, USA


What is essential is to reach an agreement between nations to start once and for all reducing the ever growing pollution

Ilze Gailite Holmberg, Nex°, Denmark
The discussion whether the US, if it is the largest industrial producer is or is not, entitled to 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, or whether the global warming is caused by these emissions or not, is simply not the relevant point. What is essential is to reach an agreement between nations to start once and for all reducing the ever growing pollution and irresponsible, greedy human behaviour, that in one way or another will finally cause such natural disasters that will make even the proud Americans think. Pray it will not be too late.
Ilze Gailite Holmberg, Nex°, Denmark

The US is the richest country in the world and it is going to economize on the health of its future generations. All of us are responsible for ourselves. How can the US cite the developing countries which are not taking part in the treaty? Does this programme serve the needs of somebody else? Not the US's as well as other nations' in the world? There is a proverb in Russian "After me there can be just a flood".
Vera, Moscow

Thousands of US citizens will die due to this decision. The most vulnerable ones are the inhabitants of Florida (a revenge?) who will face an increased number of hurricanes, tornados etc.
Vladimir Dvoretzky, Sofia, Bulgaria

Why do I not find Bush's views surprising? This is yet another example of the greedy self interest of the rich outweighing the moral and ethical considerations of maintaining the 'health' of our planet. Bush is demonstrating a narrow minded view typical of the West in wanting immediate gratification by further increasing America's wealth, without considering the long term implications of such an action. I am sure his 'special' relationship with the oil barons is at the basis of this step backward in thinking.
Tessa Jack, Birmingham, England

Mr Bush is only following American public opinion. The sanctions against the US for trying to get a trade advantage by ignoring environmental issues should be so severe that even the American people notice, not just the current administration.
Ian Braithwaite, London, UK


it is for the developed world who caused this problem to take a lead before we ask others to follow

Paul, London
Other respondents are right to say that the fact of man-made climate change is not yet certain, and that all countries need to play their part. But, if we wait until we are certain, it could be too late to prevent the worst of the damage. All countries will need to take action, but it is for the developed world who caused this problem to take a lead before we ask others to follow.
Paul, London

Rightly or wrongly (and I believe wrongly) the US has chosen to ignore the Kyoto agreement. My worry is that Dubya's stance may be cited as a precedent by other self interested governments. Kyoto took long enough to negotiate in the first place, the actions of the US can only weaken it. We must continue to apply pressure to our own government so that they do not follow Bush's lead.
Richard, London, UK

What is it then, Mr Bush, that you intend to do? The US is great at leading the way, try the environment issue, I'm sure you can make money out of it somehow. I suppose when we've totally exhausted all our resources, we could always eat all that lovely money.
Chris B, London

It's irresponsible, selfish, narrow-minded and shows a lack of knowledge and interest in foreign affairs.
Anders Koch, Copenhagen, Denmark

Can the US really afford to become a pariah in the world community? Surely the American people care what other's think about their energy policy. Does President Bush really want to see America's reputation fall to an all-time low? Doesn't he realise that this sort of thing just plays into the hands of America's enemies?
Ron Hughes, Findon, UK

It is true that the US produces 25% of the world's wealth, but can we place economics before the safety of people? The damage done from emissions is nearly a hundred years old, so things can only get worse. Floods have been seen in Britain on an unprecedented scale, with the most likely cause global warming. Many lives will be lost in future floods if nothing is done, so shouldn't those who can do something act, or is a few hundred million dollars worth that much? I think the isolationist nature of Americans will have to change before any positive steps can be made. They simply don't realise the gravity of the situation, as they focus solely on the US, not the bigger picture, that is, the state of the world. It is about time that world leaders stopped being the pawns of the US economy and acted decisively and in the best interests of the planet, especially the British Prime Minister.
Duncan Preston, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England


For the Kyoto treaty to be a success, it needs the co-operation of all the major emission producing countries on the planet

Phil, UK
It truly saddens me to hear people saying that we needn't act toward reducing emissions as we have no absolute rock solid evidence that global warming is a result of this. I don't think anyone can honestly say they know 100% one way or the other as to whether global warming is a result of greenhouse gasses or natural cycles, and whilst there is a possibility that greenhouse gasses are contributing to the problem, we should be as cautious as possible. For the Kyoto treaty to be a success, it needs the co-operation of all the major emission producing countries on the planet, and with the US refusing to honour the treaty (which their president agreed to, regardless of whether it was ratified or not), the rest of the world is now in a situation where all the hard work they have done, and the money they have spent will be totally negated by Americas emissions increases.
Phil, UK

It is utterly grotesque for Bush to suggest that developing nations, where many people face a daily struggle for basic education, health and welfare, should be expected to cope with even less in order to subsidise the economic prosperity that the US (and the rest of the West) has enjoyed at the expense of the environment. This is especially the case when the average American isn't prepared to give up the third family car.
JB, UK

One of the main pre-requisites for a sustainable capitalist economy is extreme waste. The shorter lived, more disposable an item is the more need to be bought the more that need to be produced. The more energy is consumed in production. The high levels of waste and pollution do not figure in a capitalist model, all that matters is production.
Graeme, England

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See also:

29 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
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Bush 'serious on climate change'
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