[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 10 June, 2005, 20:24 GMT 21:24 UK
How can we combat climate change?
An iceberg in the ocean

We discussed Climate Change in our global phone-in programme, Talking Point.


Does climate change affect your life? Are you worried about the effects of global warming?

This year's World Environment Day, hosted by San Francisco in California on Sunday, is to focus on ways of making cities more environmentally friendly and resource-efficient.

It comes as UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has made climate change a major priority for the G8 summit in July.

However, earlier this month BBC News learned the USA is unlikely to accept Mr Blair's three-point plan for tackling climate change. The USA has also refused to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol, which sets targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Is enough being done to combat global warming?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

We have misused and polluted the planet out of self interest
Ian, Wirral, UK
Our relationship with our environment is about more than climate change. We have misused and polluted the planet out of self interest. We are only beginning to take this seriously now that it is clear that our self interest is threatened by climate change. We will not begin to do enough to combat global warming until we deal with the root of the problem - ourselves and our self interest.
Ian, Wirral, UK

We are eventually all going to destroy the planet because for the majority it's too much effort to change their ways. It's a sad fact, but true.
Robert Leather, Manchester, UK

Perhaps it's a matter of evolution - perhaps only with time and catastrophes will we realise that money cannot indeed be eaten.
Suyash Misra, Chennai, India

The next major extinction event will most likely be us. When the oil wells run dry, cities empty and over-stretched populations die off - nature will step in. In 1,000 years it might be hard to tell that modern civilisation was ever here.
Daz, Maidstone, Kent

Human pollution is the result of human habitation. Until the international community gets serious about managing the global population growth, the problem will not get better.
Joe Kraft, Charlotte, USA

I consider the systematic removal of green coverage of the surface of the planet over the last hundred years as one of the main causes of climate change. I wonder what the future reserves in the long term if this green coverage that allowed sustainable life to develop as we know today is wiped out as it has been.
Jose R Moraes, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Certainly ecological changes around the world are inevitable and mankind is likely to get compatible with it gradually with time. But the most noticeable setback is seen in the agricultural sector due to the geological changes on several parts around the globe. These geological changes are more manmade and less caused by nature. The rapid deforestation is a major reason behind its occurrence. Therefore, resulting in global decrement in vegetative land gradually.
Jeevitha Jaiswal, Paro, Bhutan

Greed is what is destroying this world! I'm witnessing the Western greed and wastefulness mentioned here. I live in country that has a very wasteful, materialistic society. When you have one person putting away a large pizza by themselves, that is nothing but pure gluttony and greed. I live in city that I have to own a car to get anywhere. It's all a big plan to get everyone's money. I wish all of the cities in the US could work collectively to provide the option of riding your bike to work in relative safety. This would accomplish two things, cut down our pollutants and reduce the obesity problem here in the states.
Anonymous, Texas, USA

The prospect of increased droughts, catastrophic rains and rising ocean levels should be enough to spur the world into action
Peter Wanyonyi, Nairobi, Kenya
The ravages of drought and flooding in sub-Saharan Africa, a consequence of the El Nino cycle, indicate the devastation that climate change can have on developing countries. The prospect of increased droughts, catastrophic rains and rising ocean levels should be enough to spur the world into action. As they produce the biggest share of greenhouse gases, developed countries and China, India and Brazil must reduce their emissions and take steps to reverse this trend. The arrogance of the USA in this matter is nothing new - one figures they need to watch the film "The Day After Tomorrow" everyday. But the threat is real, the danger imminent and the commitment lacking. Who will stand up and say "we weren't warned"?
Peter Wanyonyi, Nairobi, Kenya

It's absolutely ridiculous how quickly we are destroying our environment - and it's all because of our greed for money. Many businesses do not consider the environmental damage they inflict because they make so much money the way they work and they resist taking new approaches for fear of economic losses. The US is run by large corporations - many of which damage the environment. The US government resists environmentally-friendly movements such as Kyoto for fear of making it more difficult for corporations to do business. The US is living in the moment: They are neglecting their responsibility to salvage the future of the Earth. Other countries need to come together and not let America stop plans to save the environment.
Eva Shaw, Paris, France

I worry about pollution because it is unsightly and harms us. What I don't worry about is a global climate change bandwagon that ensures only their view is heard. There are enough dissenting voices to make me question the whole ethos of climate change. The least the scientists could do is be honest and present all opinion rather than only those that fit their preconceived agenda.
John, UK

I love the fact that all these people are so arrogant! We are not as important as we think. The earth has gone through many climate shifts and nothing we do can change that. The pictures that have been published showing climate change are a joke. Where are the pictures showing growth of glaciers in some areas? Because they have. Glaciers grow and recede all time it has nothing to do with human pollution. Humans have existed for only a second of the earth's history and the earth will go on long after we are gone.
Claire, London, UK

The Spanish authorities already are taking the necessary measures to avoid that people wasting water because our country is undergoing a fearful drought. I think that this is a consequence of the global warning.
Jorge Sanz Garcia, Almazan, Spain

I think that scientists have failed to prove that global warming is an issue
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio
I think enough is being done about global warming. I also think that scientists have failed to prove that global warming is an issue. How can someone take a few years of meteorological records and come to any conclusion about the environment? I agree that deforestation is an issue, but is it? I would bet than in my country, America, there are more trees now than there were 100 years ago. We put out forest fires, we plant trees in our cities, we no longer clear cut for farming, we actually use trees as barriers between grain fields. The US has lead the way in developing clean, renewable energy and the majority of Americans consider global warming to be more of a political agenda than a threat. The focus of the emissions and deforestation concerns should be in countries such as Brazil and China which are constantly striving to become first world nations.
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio

Mankind needs to examine its priorities. Unbridled materialism in an increasingly global culture of consumerism is producing a vicious cycle. We need to cutback on our comfortable lifestyles and learn to enjoy some inconvenience. Moreover, we need to look at how overpopulation on our planet contributes to global warming.
Mandeep Wirk, Japan

Humans, like any other animal, will adapt to suit the environment. And if we don't, then we'll become extinct. It's a given that humans are not going to walk the earth for an eternity. No point in worrying about it.
Dave, Hunstanton, UK

Unfortunately the climatic conditions of the earth are far from our control as can be observed by dramatic swings in temperatures in our planet's history. In my opinion, climatic change will happen regardless, too many years of pollution have already happened and rewinding the clock will not be possible. I feel it is therefore more appropriate for us to start to adapt to the changing conditions which we will be subjected to in the near future, where famine and suffering in hotter countries will become more acute and the civilised nations may to be focussed on their own climatic conditioning, such as increased flooding, to help troubled nations. Am I worried about Global Warming? I must say that I am more worried about the lack of preparation for the inevitable. Does climate change affect my life? Undoubtedly it will.
A Andrew, Glasgow Scotland

Let's be realistic here. No one cares about global warming, because none of us will be around to endure the consequences. Only our children will be around to clean up our messes. Perhaps we can change the focus to pollution in general. There are days in Toronto where you can not see the sun from under a black haze. It is disgusting and it is something we can physically see in the now. So let's fix it, and stop the global fight over what needs to be done. Every country needs to reduce their pollutants by 25%. I don't care how each country does it, just do it!
Paul Girling, Toronto, Canada

The USA has more acres of forest land than we did in the 1950s. No other country in the world can say the same. For once, we cannot be blamed for the world's problems.
Mark, Alexandria USA

It's so obvious the Western lifestyle, with its greed, materialism and wastefulness, is a major contributor to climate change and environmental pollution
Chris, Birmingham, UK
It's so obvious the Western lifestyle, with its greed, materialism and wastefulness, is a major contributor to climate change and environmental pollution that I can't believe people want to dispute the fact. We've been chucking out harmful emissions into the atmosphere for over 200 years, coupled with the quite rapid destruction of rain forests, which are nature's air purifiers. The G8 need to get on and do something before it's too late!
Chris, Birmingham, UK

Tony Blair is all hot air, all talk and no action. In nine years he has made the UK even more reliant on car use then ever, despite massive fuel taxes, because the UK public transport system is still horrid and hugely expensive. If he can't sort the UK's transport issues and the pollution caused by them, how can he solve the rest of the worlds?
Paul Anderson, Manchester, UK

As a species we are not doing enough to save the planet. Our species overall is lazy. We resist change if it stops us as individuals from doing what we want when we want. Lack of food and water will get the world's attention, but by then it will be too late.
Jane, Topeka, Kansas, US

Is there really anything that we can do to stop it? I agree that there are certain aggravating factors that mankind is responsible for, such as air pollution and deforestation. I guess my question is whether this is just part of a planetary cycle. And with the growing economies in China and India, where half the world lives, the demand and use of fossil fuels and polluting factories will only increase. Do we as Anglo-European-American-former oppressors have any right to tell them to stop?
Matt, Phoenix, AZ, USA

I am not as much concerned about global warming, which may or may not be man made, as I am concerned about real and visible destruction of the environment, Brazilian rain forest being prime example. I think attention needs to be focused on clean air and deforestation where we live, rather than some glaciers at the South Pole.
Saman, New York, US

Climate change is simply not the worst thing we are facing. Look at what is taking place every day in Africa and other poor nations. Cure today's problems first, not some hypothetical problem in the distant future - and anybody who believes they see significant change now is wrong! The models do not predict it happening now, so either the models are wrong - in which case we don't know what's happening - or it's not global warming.
Tim, London, UK

It may sound unusual, but I think global warming is caused by six billion humans breathing all day long. I heard a human produces 48 kilos of carbon monoxide each day, while a car does only 20. If all the poor countries stopped their uncontrolled population growth, we would have had no global warming to worry about.
Sam, New York, NY, USA

I am often embarrassed by comments made by fellow citizens of the United States. The reason many don't worry about global warming etc is because we don't see the effects here. We don't see the acid rain, drought and rising sea levels on the small islands in the Pacific Ocean. People in the US are selfish, short sighted and materialistic. If we were willing to make some small sacrifices, we'd see that the economic consequences from the Kyoto Protocol would be minimal. We just can't picture living a life without SUVs, Super Wal Marts and everything we need at any time of the day at the touch of a button. The US makes global issues political, instead of seeing that there are many more people and many more places with whom we share the earth.
Lisa Cavanaugh, Ellicott City, MD, USA

The world doesn't care enough about other people or the future and will never slow-down capitalism
Michael Kelly, Boston

First of all, the earth's climate is constantly changing and has gone from hot to cold and back again thousands of times and will do so again, so to think we can stop this natural change is somewhat ludicrous. What we can do however, is not facilitate a rapid change by drastically altering the world's landscape by such acts as clearing rainforests all over the world, creating lush areas out of desert (LA, Arizona, Israel, etc.) or ecologically destroying the world in search of oil or for the extension of political boundaries. The world doesn't care enough about other people or the future and will never slow-down capitalism to save some trees.
Michael Kelly, Boston, MA, USA

I believe that the whole term global warming is entirely wrong. They should call it destroying the foundations of life. In the past 50 years we have consumed over half of the natural resources of the earth. Take a look at the figures of the rainforests if you are looking for an example, or look up how many species are only still in existence because we keep, feed and breed them.

We release billions of tons of chemicals into the air every year and it keeps on growing, you would have to be either the most naive person alive or completely stupid to realise that we can't keep this up without doing damage! Our whole society is based on excess and until we learn to control our urges it isn't a matter of how to fix the problem. But a questions of how to change our fundamental ways of thinking!
Brant, Calgary, Canada

A new ethos is necessary
Eric Strayer, Moss Landing

The United States is the most obstructionist country of the world when it comes to thwarting global warming. Our economy is too dependent upon the automotive industry. Industrial pollution is down (although so is manufacturing) but we refuse to give up the car for public transportation alternatives. China wants to do the same thing, and it is occurring now.

The new middle class in China is car crazy. A new ethos is necessary. We need a trans-national, trans-cultural ethos of saving the planet through responsible consumption. Unfortunately I fear that selfishness may stay in the lead.
Eric Strayer, Moss Landing, California, USA

I'm not a political person, but I do worry about climate change. I'm 15; my opinions, and those of many children of my age, are not counted. I believe that we have done a great wrong to this planet; it's time we tried to put it right. But will the government do that? No, they won't - they'd rather waste money on election campaigns. Why spend money on planning the next five years when we should be looking at the future of our planet?
Laura, UK

The government could cut down UK CO2 emissions by reducing the tax on bio-diesel so it was cheaper than mineral diesel. They won't of course because of the loss of tax. It's because of this that I see Blair's statements as mere posturing.
Colin Shepherd, Farnham, Surrey

The US has lead the way in developing clean, renewable energy
Dwayne Chastain, Ohio
I think enough is being done about global warming. I also think that scientists have failed to prove that global warming is an issue. How can someone take a few years of meteorological records and come to any conclusion about the environment? I agree that deforestation is an issue, but is it? I would bet than in my country, America, there are more trees now than there were 100 years ago.

We put out forest fires, we plant trees in our cities, we no longer clear cut for farming, we actually use trees as barriers between grain fields. The US has lead the way in developing clean, renewable energy and the majority of Americans consider global warming to be more of a political agenda than a threat. The focus of the emissions and deforestation concerns should be in countries such as Brazil and China which are constantly striving to become first world nations. I feel that the developed world has done its part to undo past environmental mistakes and the focus should be emerging nations. They can learn from our mistakes.
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio

Living in a country which has just closed down a nuclear power plant (to instead import electricity) and having lived in another - Germany - at the time the government there decided to close their nuclear power plants, encouraged by the local coal miners' union, I'm inclined to think that the European approach is all talk and no actions.
John Hawkins, Kyrkheddinge, Sweden

A few people have made the valid point that the climate is always in transition, that it has changed before now and will continue to change in spite of human influence. This is, of course, true but the problem is we don't know how susceptible the planet is to changes that are introduced into the eco-cycle outside of normal natural processes, i.e. introduced by humans.

As a physics student I know a bit about the power and importance of equilibrium in any system. Earth seems to exist in a dynamic equilibrium, that is things change but there is always a balance of sorts. Any outside influence can destabilise or harm the system. So it is more than possible that our own interjection, however small, could be very influential. How influential? Well, you can never really tell until you see the effects, and by then it might well be too late...
Michael Wallace, Glasgow, Scotland

Why is it that global warming is always attributed to the car? And why is it that I pay tax on my petrol and the airlines don't? I would have thought that it would be the plane that caused the maximum air pollution considering the amount of fuel used by just one of these machines on just one flight.
J Henderson, Stockport, England

The province I live in used to be one big, thick sheet of ice that eventually melted. That made Alberta rich in forest land in the north, ranch land in the south, good farm land, and rich in oil and gas deposits. The land was made inhabitable and very prosperous for its citizens. Mankind has always been able to adapt and cope with the changing ways of nature and I expect that will continue into the future.
Janet, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Governments have done a terrible job of educating the public
Carolyn, Menlo Park, California
There's no evidence that conserving energy (and developing alternative sources) will hurt the economy - there's plenty of evidence to the contrary. Governments have done a terrible job of educating the public on this point, and about meaningful ways to reduce CO2 emissions and deforestation. That's particularly true in the US where our president is adamantly opposed to addressing the problem!
Carolyn, Menlo Park, California

It sure does. First the water that used to come out of the taps was pure and drinkable. Now we have to put up with plastic bottles and mineral water that may or may not have the minerals promised. The glaciers are melting and the snow capped mountains have started showing the shrubs and sand or stones. The ice is gone and so are the animals that inhabited the iced capped. Then we look for the endangered species? The rivers are running with filthy water filled with grime and all sorts of toxics that are deadly not to mention that these are reused in again the many houses that have the rivers near by. Where did the acid rain come from if not from the pollution? The leaves that were green now look pale and yellow and the birds are looking for the greener trees that are far away.
Firozali A Mulla, Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania

I and most people I know are terribly worried about the ozone depletion over the South Pole (Antarctica). Our beautiful beach resort, Punta del Este is one of the southernmost of the world, we all have to be terribly careful. Our 17-year old surfer grandson has now developed cataracts from the ozone hole (according to his internationally recognized optometrist). I am sure you are also all aware of the sheep going blind in Southern Argentina and also Australia, from articles I have read in Time Magazine. I find very little emphasis on this problem and a great deal about global warming which to most people sounds like a future threat and not terribly life-threatening. Please more awareness and human interest coverage of the immediate dangers of Ozone depletion.
Patricia Cook, Punta del Este, Uruguay

I completely subscribe to the view that we must do something about climate change. But I can't stand the Brazil bashing for chopping the rainforests down. We, in the developed world, have to make it worth Brazil's while to protect the rainforests. That means not buying products that in any way originate from the rainforest and providing support and aid to maintain the status quo. We got rich by exploiting the forests in our (and other!) countries hundreds of years of ago - so we're hardly in a position to take a 'holier than thou' attitude on this!
Katherine Weedon, UK

Each house should have a water meter, each house should have the ability to provided electricity back to the central grid. Each car should have an energy value, similar to those given to washing machines and dishwashers. Every saving made by people should be matched by a tax relief. All aircraft should be taxed according to their exhaust output. Road and rail should be re-nationalised and linked into a national transport system. More effort should be made into utilising the tides around our coast, large scale use of turbines in areas like the Bristol channel should be used as soon as possible, and anywhere there is a tidal flow that can produce a result which would assist in the reduction of pollution. This list is endless.
Rob Davies, Swansea

Australia is not doing enough towards Global warming. Central and Eastern Australia is in the grip of the longest drought in history. There are towns running out of water, Sydney's water consumption has been cut again and what are our politicians doing about it - nothing. They build freeways not train lines, they do nothing to make public and private buildings more solar efficient. Shame on you Australia you are killing Skippy.
Geff Chew, Sydney Australia

With nearly 7 billion humans the planet is already stretched for resources and the rate of degradation of environment is already beyond control. Dream of a society where there is a collective effort by all concerned through self discipline in the use of resources such as fuel, power, water. Dream of a society where decisions are guided by wisdom of a better future than short term current gains.
Shantanu Sathe, Pune, India

The human race may be comprised of intelligent individuals but collectively we're blundering over a cliff with our eyes wide open
James Hedley, Oxford

Blair must forget about what remains of his political future and make a serious effort, lest he is remembered as a man who saw disaster and did nothing. It is clear what needs to be done, painful as it may be and time is fast running out.

Stop being scared of businessman, stop wasting time on the phantom menaces of terrorism and immigration, have a vision and put the long term measures into place such as research into renewable energy and subsidies for sustainable households. But it's not just politicians - the gutter media must lend its weight to the effort and actually make an effort to educate for once. The human race may be comprised of intelligent individuals but collectively we're blundering over a cliff with our eyes wide open.
James Hedley, Oxford, UK

How can anyone combat climate change? How can anyone change the weather? The world has been around a lot longer than Tony Blair, even if he thinks he has always been in control of the world. How will taxing us more and more stop other nations in the world making more greenhouse gasses than we do? We need to accept the situation and change our ways accordingly, like not building on flood plains, not fouling up watercourses and building in too high densities, in spite of what our glorious deputy prime minister decrees!
Kate Saunders, Billericay, Essex, UK

Hasn't the world always gone through massive climate change periodically? We have had ice ages, droughts, huge volcanic ash clouds etc before. Admittedly we are not helping by pumping chemicals into the air, but still is this not just the normal way a planet such as ours operates - in cyclical seasons and ages? Personally I think everyone is flapping too much!
Carol C, Upminster, UK

This is really a ruse to cripple the US economy so the EU can become an economic superpower
Thomas Lohr, Chisinau

I will support Kyoto when the EU will provide monetary aid to the US for the drastic reduction it will have on our economy. If the Euros are really as concerned as they say they are, then put up or shut up. I notice little rhetoric is aimed at China. This is really a ruse to cripple the US economy so the EU can become an economic superpower. Sorry Brussels. Haven't you learned from Putin that thinly disguised attempts at geopolitical tampering fail? You have to more clever than Kyoto!
Thomas Lohr, Chisinau, Moldova

Do you think that someone will organise a few concerts across the world for anti-global warming? Something which I might add will kill millions more people and animals than poverty and wars put together... maybe it could be Sir Bob's next project... or maybe that's just wishful thinking!
Brian Clancy, Dublin, Ireland

We need to combat the hysteria and doom saying about climate change. I for one am not convinced the climate is changing abnormally, and the constant press about it is a source of unnecessary stress in our lives. If the climate is changing, humans should do what they've always done successfully: adapt.
Jeremy, Atlanta, Georgia

The best we can hope for is immediate and massive global economic collapse
Ralph Williams, Cambridge
Climate change, melting glaciers, falling water tables, depleted soils, pollution, depleted fisheries, habitat destruction, the list is a long one. We as a species are in overshoot, and the world is entering a species mass-extinction event whether we like it or not. The world's oil supply is about to peak, just to add to our woes.

It will take a few hundred years at least to return the human population to sustainable levels, and the world will be a much poorer place biologically and socially by then. Kyoto is far too little, far too late, and the US alone will defeat it by building hundreds of unnecessarily polluting coal power stations in the next twenty years. The best we can hope for is immediate and massive global economic collapse, because the longer we continue the way we are, the more painful the correction will be.
Ralph Williams, Cambridge, UK

At least my conscience is clear. I regularly drive 200 yards in my 4x4 to drop off a jam jar at my local bottle bank.
Jerry, Luton, Beds

There is still actually more to be done: stop burning non-renewable fossil fuel and replace the internal combustion engine; start planting trees, paying attention to the required topology; stop clearing Amazonian forest and while we're at it protect animals and natural habitats the world over, and that goes for marine animals too.
Michael, Italy

To me, climate change seems quite simply the biggest issue facing the near-term future of mankind. I don't know what the answers are, but I do know that if we don't address them now it is soon going to be a bit too late to reverse things. And all the things that politicians currently pre-occupy themselves with such as global trade, employment, the EU constitution, and so on, will be irrelevant once the climate renders the current capacity of many nations to support their population ineffective.
Lawrence, Crowthorne, UK

As long as there is money to be made, as long as there is the current system of short-term greed then efforts to combat climate change will fail. Big business and national economic needs will always override any sense of longer-term, lateral and responsible thinking towards the fate of life on this planet. If this is to continue then we as a species really do not deserve to survive and accept the destruction we bring on our own heads. And why should anyone who is profiting from exploiting the world's resources care what will happen to other species or future generations when they themselves will be long gone?
Edward Krzywdzinski, Australia

The direct economic influence of doing little to combat CO2 emissions is already being felt.
Andrew Roberts, Alaska
As a climate scientist working in Alaska, I see in my job on a daily basis evidence of climate change in data that is inexplicable if human sources of CO2 are removed as a possible cause. Within Alaska, climate change is having a significant impact on the indigenous population who are finding it more and more difficult to hunt in the Arctic Ocean because sea ice drift patterns are changing from those experienced over many previous generations.

In my opinion, much more must be done to combat climate change, particularly by the USA and by Australia (my home country). Within Australia, we are seeing long periods of drought that are exceptional in the record since colonisation by the British. This is causing water shortages throughout much of the farming community and forcing families to consider their future as farmers. Thus the direct economic influence of doing little to combat CO2 emissions is already being felt.
Andrew Roberts, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA

Why does no one force Brazil to crack down on the companies that tear down the Amazon rainforest that provides 20% of the worlds oxygen? Not only are some countries polluting our oxygen, but some countries are removing it! Why do they fly under the radar?
Albert, Vero Beach, Florida, USA

I would like to be environmentally friendly, but short of giving up all my worldly possessions and living in a cave there are few effective choices available. One thing that could be done was to revise some of the ways we measure value so that our economy reflects the true cost of a product. Taxation incentives for more energy efficient solutions would be welcome. Still, if both ice caps melt, my house will be just above sea level, and I wouldn't mind getting a beach front during the next century or so.
Espen, Norway

Australia is currently suffering from a considerable drought so yes it is affecting me. However we are a rich country so we will buy the food we need from the 2nd and 3rd world and they may go short as a consequence (we will be careful not to see this or show it on the news). The fact is at the moment the rich countries can survive as we have the resources to cope. When countries that are richer than Mozambique or Bangladesh suffer from severe climate fluctuation the rich countries will act. Until then all we can expect is more hot air - this time from the politicians.
Dan, Adelaide, South Australia

Has climate change affected my life? Probably, but as yet only subtly. As one who works in the countryside I suspect our effect on the climate has made the UK countryside a little warmer, at times a little dryer. It's perhaps a little better for summer migratory birds, but our recent hot dry summers put additional strain on our trees and water resources. But, as anthropogenic warming increases (as it must - thought the amount is debatable) we will see more and more changes.

Will these be serious? If the warming is above about 2C plus then undoubtedly, if it's considerable less then no. So, if that is the case, what to do? Well, if we know our actions will only cause well less than 2C warming then perhaps we can go on in our 'burn every last drop of oil we can' ways. If we're to see 2C plus warming we, our species as a whole, need to act decisively.
Peter Hearnden, Devon, UK

We can't wait for the politicians and corporations to do something about it
C Robb Worthington, Bermuda
The increase in the intensity and frequency of hurricanes has a direct impact on my wife and I as we live on a sailboat in Bermuda. We are doing our part in the form of solar panels and wind generation from which we get at least 70% of our energy. Unfortunately, I don't see very many people doing anything at all to change their energy consumption patterns. We can't wait for the politicians and corporations to do something about it. If we don't personally do it, it won't happen.
C Robb Worthington, Gt Georges, Bermuda

There's nothing "being done" to "combat" global warming. Humans are too short-sighted to act in the best interests of the planet. Profits have become more important than even life itself.
Jim, NY, USA

We have about as much chance of changing the weather by legislation as King Canute had of holding back the tide
Anonymous

How much could be done on climate change? Where do you start? People need to realise that you can't wait for the government or business to lead the way as they are swayed by public pressure, so are generally too timid to act on their own initiative. These days the only real vote you have in what occurs is how you spend you money. Thus people need to be thinking about the ethical and environmental impacts of their lifestyles. This is particularly obvious for our highly consumerist society.
Mr L Dymond, Exeter, Devon

The world we live in is about money and everything else comes second
Fergus Johnson, London
All these people moaning about the environment and what a state the world is in are not going to change anything. The world we live in is about money and everything else comes second. Wake up and stop moaning. A part of the rainforest the size of Wales disappeared last year and does it make anyone stop pulling more down? No!
Fergus Johnson, London

The climate has been changing throughout history - with our without human interventions. Let's direct our resources where they will best be used. The weather is the weather, we cannot control it, but, certain actions can be taken to protect life and property. The people advocating extreme changes to our lifestyles and economies are pretending we can affect something as huge as the weather - they are wrong.
Sam, Ferndale, Michigan USA

I do worry every day, it is the only real concern I have. Why do governments not protect us, why are we not properly informed on the consequences of our actions, why does the industry not use all their qualities to not-pollute? Saving and growing forests for example must be on the top of any agenda, but of course the list of things to improve is unlimited.
John Winter, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

We have to take a stand and refuse to buy products that aren't made in a sustainable way
David Krajic, Montreal
What it comes down to is the human lack of will to compromise our comfort. People vote on a daily basis with what they purchase. If we stopped driving combustion engine cars, alternatives (more efficient than those of today) would quickly become available. If we want to do something about deforestation, we can stop eating so much meat. Instead of being told what we need, we have to take a stand and refuse to buy products that aren't made in a sustainable way. The choice is ours. We can't blame corporations/governments for our complicity. We shouldn't underestimate the power we have in numbers. We drive the market. We should anyway.
David Krajic, Montreal, Canada

Most of the global warming stuff is just puritan scare-mongering to make us fell bad about economic growth. We should cut down on pollution anyway because pollution is always bad. Climate change has always taken place and always will. A large volcano or a meteorite collision cause plenty of "climate change" as does "El Nino" but there's nothing we can do about them.
Martin Smith, London

I see growing population and unsustainable living to be the crux of the problem. Natural resources are limited and if we continue to exploit them at the current rate they will not last forever. There may be a lot of natural variability in the climate system that we do not understand clearly, however, that does not mean that we continue to drive gas-guzzling vehicles, log trees, pollute air and water without a thought of how we are destroying our own environment.
Vaishali, USA

We cannot change our lifestyles quickly, but while we are still using cheap petroleum we should be energetically working towards change to renewable sources of energy and the machines to suit. We must not be put off by the comparative cost. We have had a good run with petroleum for a century, but to continue to use it will cost us all in a much more serious way.
Jim Hunt, Auckland, New Zealand

Cutting down on pollution is a good thing, but it won't stop nature's changes.
Peter, Nottingham
"Climate Change" implies that the climate is meant to be stable. It isn't. Ten thousand years ago Nottingham was on the edge of an ice sheet. One thousand years ago you could grow grapes here. In the 18th century the Trent regularly froze in winter. Last Friday was the hottest May day for 50 years but the May of 1944 was even hotter. However 1944 also brought us one of the coldest European winters of all time. People froze to death in Holland and the Battle of the Bulge was fought though thick snow. To suggest that we're totally responsible for some pretty modest changes in the weather is laughable. Cutting down on pollution is a good thing, but it won't stop Nature's changes.
Peter, Nottingham

Not enough is being done to combat global warming because nothing can be done. All it takes is a medium sized volcano eruption to set back any gains on reducing green house gases. The Kyoto protocol is nothing but a feel-good, useless exercise designed to show politicians care.
Alex, Mexico City, Mexico

Climate change will affect me directly in several ways. It is said that the heat bubbles over every city will intensify, so I will be sweltering every summer - in Canada! Things we eat daily, almost addictively, like tea, coffee and sugar are likely to become more expensive since they all come from hot countries likely to suffer drought. And my taxes will go up, regardless of the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol (which is both misguided and inadequate), to pay for additional naval and air force assets to protect our Arctic territories and waters from foreign intrusion. The Danes are already messing about up north, and the Arctic icecap will melt away from the fabled Northwest Passage soon enough, allowing ships to pass through and mess up the delicate environment up there with their oil and waste water. Nice!
Paul Connor, Toronto, Canada

We need to take drastic action to tackle climate change. Governments should put money in to research clean nuclear fusion and move the world out of the carbon age. Otherwise we may find that we are an endangered species. Individuals should make more effort to ride bikes instead of driving oversized, polluting cars.
Nat Inkson, Leeds, UK

Countries like India and China should reduce populations. In India, people have occupied every inch of land and none is available for forestation and wildlife diversity. Water resources are being tapped at alarming rates. It is heading towards epidemic proportions, but no politician is willing to tackle the population issue.
Uday, New York, NY

The changes people are discussing have already happened. I noticed in the early 1980s that in the sultry Virginian summer, the temperature began hitting 40C much more frequently. These so-called "heat waves" are now commonplace. Fish species that my grandfather and I used to throw back into the ocean, because they didn't taste good, began appearing on restaurant menus over a decade ago.
James Farmer, Seattle USA

As no substantial warming trend has been detected in the lower atmosphere, it might be wise to consider alternatives to the man-made global warming hypothesis before taking steps damaging to the global economy. A richer world will be better able to cope with the specific and tangible threats that confront it.
Nicholas Hallam, London

Kyoto does not cover more urgent issues like deforestation and insufficient alternatives for energy production.
Firdaus, Singapore
I am heartened to hear that many nations are signing up to the Kyoto Protocol. But Kyoto does not cover more urgent issues like deforestation and insufficient alternatives for energy production. More funding is needed and that I do believe that both capitalists and environmentalists must work together to make the world a better place for all before the earth gets hotter or colder in the coming years.
Firdaus, Singapore

Mark, USA, is wrong that Kyoto is about America-bashing. If global climate change is a real issue, then a huge continental nation like the US would suffer far more than a moderate, temperate island like the UK, or the smaller, more coastal EU. I am not convinced we need to worry about temperature change and all the debate about it is harmful to the perception people have about what does need to be done regarding pollution.

I believe that within fifty years economically-viable options to oil, coal and natural gas will be in use. Making some changes now, e.g. to nuclear power, and becoming less dependent on oil would not be a disadvantage to the US economy either. That argument was fine when oil was $20 a barrel, but doesn't work at $50, and certainly won't work at $60, $70, $80! Ultimately, it should be economic factors and not political pressure that determines the changes - it is just a matter of time!
Geoffrey Roberts, Colchester, UK

The crude fact is that none of us follows a sustainable lifestyle. I do live in a CO2 free house (solar and wood) but still use a motorcar and buy (as little as possible) manufactured goods, and keep them as long as they work. Still I am a polluter.
Bruno, France

If, as was the prevalent view during the 1980s and early 1990s, we are shortly to enter a mini ice-age, then we will be extremely glad of greenhouse gases. The natural variation in climate still dwarfs the puny effects of man.
John Lamble, Cambridge, UK

Industry and energy production need to be given viable alternatives
Mitch D'Arcy, Kent
If more funding was spent on realistic alternatives to environmentally damaging energy production and consumption, then the current calls for progress away from global warming would be given more of a direction. If harmful emissions and the like are too high, then industry and energy production need to be given viable alternatives to replace any cuts. Otherwise demands for reducing carbon dioxide emissions will either not be met, or just displace environmental losses to either social or economic areas.
Mitch D'Arcy, Kent, UK

The rich and the over privileged own the world, they always have. It doesn't matter how much we protest or vote, they are always in control and they don't plan on changing anything until they absolutely have to. By then it will be too late. Until a global disaster happens which affects everyone at once, things will not change for the better.
Tomislav, San Francisco, CA, USA

It is widely accepted in the scientific community that the Kyoto protocol is insufficient to prevent escalating carbon dioxide emissions. However, Kyoto facilitated co-operative international action and has undoubtedly raised public awareness over the reality and potential effects of climate change. The additional, self-imposed, targets of many countries, including the UK, and more recently businesses, all help but I doubt that climate change will be effectively combated until individuals learn to curb their consumerism.
Daniel De Luca, Cambridge

No rain means no crops
Hadi Zaheer, Jaghoori
The climate change in my part of the world has brought immense impact on our lives. People have started fleeing their villages and settling in cities after the long drought spell. No rain means no crops and no crops means no living. The result is as eminent as that.
Hadi Zaheer, Jaghoori, Afghanistan

I think India is already experiencing a lot of problems. I went to my village this year and the people there were complaining that the local river used to be full of water in summer in olden days but does not have any water left in rainy season nowadays. Most of them have/and are planning to migrate to big cities to work in construction.
Santosh, Hyderbad, India

We can talk about the pros and cons of climate change endlessly. What no one will address is the core problem, namely that there are just too many people in the world stripping the world's resources and hence damaging the environment. We can address the issues raised within the Kyoto Protocol but unless we start to reduce the ever expanding population we will end up killing ourselves and all living creatures on this planet!
Dave, Chatham UK

For a developing country like Pakistan with only 6% forested area, climate change is posing a major challenge to the government. Recently due to the tsunami phenomenon in East Asia we have experienced a harsh winter with some cities witnessing record breaking snowfalls.
Sabeehuddin Hasan, Lahore, Pakistan

The climate on Earth has always been changeable. Back in the days of Charles Dickens it was so cold in winter that the Thames used to freeze over and they held fairs on it. Life on earth has been subject to changing climate from day one - in the same way we will adapt to live with any future changes in climate. We should 'tackle' the problem by learning to live with it, not by hasty and pointless things like Kyoto which can only damage our economies.
Roger Price, Reading, UK

Countries like USA, China, India etc. will not want any restrictions on them as they compete for economic dominance. They do not care what the costs are until it is too late. It's a frightening fact and a terrible legacy we are creating here. I hate to say this but it probably needs a natural catastrophe of massive proportions affecting us all globally to wake everyone up and make us realise we are but a whisker away from a complete mess.
Gary Lister, Waltham, UK

The necessary measures to combat global warming will involve some sort of economic sacrifice. In the short term we will all be worse off. That being so I don't think that any politician has got the balls to propose any effective measures.
Brian Bailey, Winterthur, Switzerland

Europeans are convinced that reduction in greenhouse gases is the key to saving the world from global warming. Europeans are indifferent to the economic unfairness America sees in the sacrifices of complying with Kyoto. When it is pointed out that Kyoto would not make much impact, Europeans say these cuts are just the beginning and there will be more severe cuts to follow.

The EU economy is collectively larger than the US. Therefore, if the EU countries double their reductions called for under Kyoto, they will get all of the benefits had the US complied and they are apparently prepared to make deeper cuts anyway. What's the matter Europe, would that be unfair? Well, maybe it just depends on whose ox is gored and just perhaps, Kyoto has less to do with climate change than it does with America bashing.
Mark, USA




SEE ALSO:
Blair wins support for G8 plans
27 May 05 |  UK Politics
Industry chiefs' environment plea
27 May 05 |  Business
Radiohead's Yorke in climate call
25 May 05 |  UK Politics
US to reject UK climate measures
13 May 05 |  Science/Nature
Global warming 'proof' detected
28 Apr 05 |  Science/Nature
Call for action as Kyoto begins
16 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Q&A: The Kyoto Protocol
16 Feb 05 |  Science/Nature


RELATED BBC LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific