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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 July, 2005, 21:27 GMT 22:27 UK
Will G8 act on climate change?
US President George W Bush
The US president Bush has ruled out any deal on climate change at this week's G8 summit which resembles the Kyoto Treaty.

In a television interview, Mr Bush acknowledged that climate change is a significant long-term issue that must be tackled, but says the world should develop new technologies to reduce environmental damage, rather than limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Along with Africa, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has made action on global warming a top priority for the meeting of world leaders in Scotland.

Can the G8 summit make any progress on tackling climate change? What action on global warming would you like to see?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


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

SUGGEST A DEBATE
This topic was suggested by Steve Saunders, UK
Isn't it time George Bush started thinking about the world rather than just "his" country?

"The World" can develop new technologies to reduce environmental damage and limit greenhouse gas emissions. But we can't use "New Technologies" that we have not yet created, and we can limit greenhouse gas emissions today. Bush isn't offering a solution if the actions that he proposes are not something that we can definitely do.
David Stephen Ball-Romney, Seattle, USA

I will be watching this summit closely, and for two things: something coherent and achievable regarding Africa, and some sign that Bush's blind-spot re global warming and moving towards addressing it. As the only true voice I have is through my vote, I will be particularly watching what PM Paul Martin of my country does, as my votes for the foreseeable future will go to whatever party and candidate convinces me that they are serious about these two issues! It will be hard to do, for I adhere to the spirit of the "doubting Thomas".
Colin McAuley, Amherstview, Ontario, Canada

Other environmental considerations such as the negative effects on human health due to pollutants cannot be ignored. G8 should be looking more carefully at other issues affecting the environment. Even if you do not believe that climate change is manmade decline in health is well documented and another good reason for making immediate positive changes.
Angie, UK

As we love this planet and desire to make it a welcoming home for future generations, it is essential that the more-"developed" nations, which have caused most of the carbon dioxide build-up in the atmosphere, take responsible action to bring our emissions under control. There are many of us in the USA working to wake up our government to the facts and to the fundamental values of care for all of creation. We can't make it to Scotland; but the demonstrators who are seeking to show how life could be lived in harmony with all creatures, should know that our hearts are with you.
Rachel, California, USA

No one knows what the exact consequences will be, but they are not looking terribly good so far
Katherine, London, UK
The G8 must act. Despite what some vested interests would have you believe, there is a scientific consensus that there is a raise in global temperatures and that this is man made. No one knows what the exact consequences will be, but they are not looking terribly good so far. There are of course scientists who disagree - there is never 100% agreement on anything - but the slow but sure realisation has come to the vast majority. Even George W Bush is starting to recognise that, and he has the fossil fuel industries and their well funded think tanks constantly whispering in his ears. This is not some global conspiracy by people trying to destroy capitalism, but a real and present threat to humanity and our way of life. The only way we can tackle this is by coordinated global action - could globalisation be good for this? Here's hoping.
Katherine, London, UK

President Bush is right to stand up for his country's interests, and to concentrate on new technology instead of throwing trillions of dollars into the useless waffle-factory of Kyoto.
Hazel, Cheshire, UK

Hopefully some world leader close to President George Bush could make him realise the folly of rejecting the Kyoto treaty. As an important first step greenhouse gas emissions should be brought down drastically. At the same time the world should try to develop new technologies to reduce environmental damage. This should be a two-prong strategy. Right now climate change is a significant issue and unless pollution levels are brought down considerably, future generations will suffer as a consequence.
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium

We now seem to have convinced ourselves that the planet is dying because of 'human activity'. What a load of tosh, and well done President Bush for standing firm. Yes, our climate is changing, but it has done so many times in history and will continue to swing back and forth, irrespective of our production of (so-called) greenhouse gases. 'Man-made climate change' is based on green mythology and pressure from anarchist groups who want to stop all progress and send us scurrying back to the caves. Governments have seen their chance to use 'environmental taxes' to squeeze more money out of the public. As for the scientists who support this nonsense, let us not forget that most of them pay their mortgages and feed their families from government subsidies, which would dry up if they did not toe the line.
Andy, Manchester, England

The central question is what did you do as an individual today and yesterday to save the environment?
Dumisani, Ottawa, Canada
Before we get on the pro- and anti-Bush bandwagons, the central question is what did you do as an individual today and yesterday to save the environment? It is very difficult to legislate change - only when enough people take the time to change their own behaviours can we make any change stick. So as you point at the 8 men, 3 fingers are pointing right back at you and asking "What have you done for the environment lately"?
Dumisani, Ottawa, Canada

I hope they can come up with a realistic solution. Kyoto has no effect on most of the world, and many 'developing' countries are hugely increasing CO2 production - so much so that oil production can't keep up with demand. The 'Western' countries have signed but have done nothing: EU production is up not down. Let's hear a realistic solution that is actually likely to happen.
John, UK

Climate change is a global issue, its effects will be felt globally. Whilst we continue to address this bounded by political borders; the positive and appropriate changes in attitudes and policies needed are unlikely to come from such meetings. Yet parts of the global community of individuals, NGOs and businesses are making these changes and will hopefully keep doing so at accelerating rates and wait for the politics to catch up.
Sam, Aberystwyth, UK

There is no "climate change". There is not a shred of evidence that the warming seen in the last hundred years or so has anything whatsoever to do with human activity. "Global warming" and all the lurid and hysterical scare stories associated with it originate in fatally flawed computer models and nowhere else. There are many, many scientists who dispute this whole politically inspired farrago.
Mark, UK

New technologies will be valueless in tackling climate change in any country, if they are not accompanied by a change in consciousness
Anne Purchase-Walker, England
Mr Bush, new technologies will be valueless in tackling climate change in any country, if they are not accompanied by a change in consciousness. As humans, we all need to reduce what we use and live more simply - not rapaciously devour new technology to support our environmentally irresponsible ways of living. In ten years, the evidence is that the changes happening now will be irreversible!
Anne Purchase-Walker, England

I don't think there will be much change as this summit is primarily about sustaining the profit making economic conditions that are already in place. Each nation will attempt to make the most for their national interest. Any actions that are being promised are merely cosmetic. In real terms there will not be a major, measurable impact.
Peter, Burscough, UK

Appalled by President Bush's intransigence on Global Warming, delighted by his resolve to "stand up for the best interests" of his own country. Mr Blair please take note!
John Wood, Bicester, UK

Even if Global Warming does turn out to be something more substantial, than this generation's politically correct, junk-science-based, cause celeb', why should President Bush sign on to something like Kyoto, that gives China a free pass, and puts the American economy at a competitive disadvantage. Europeans may accept policies that result in 10-12% unemployment rates and a persistent weak economic growth, but the American people will not stand for such policies and President Bush is wise enough to recognize that fact.
Allen Helton, Fredericksburg, VA, USA

For everyone who seems getting China-phobic in every critical issue, China(PRC) has signed up Kyoto as a developing member before the launch date. We do have a lot to do as we now acting as the industrial centre for the world manufacturers. How often we heard the American investors' complaint now that we requested for a higher standard of pollutants controls than in their whole soil!
XiangMin, China

Communities like Portland, Oregon, are already turning their backs on Bush and lowering CO2 emissions while improving their economy. When leaders don't lead, others will do so and become the new leaders.
John Pearse, Pacific Grove, California

Climate change is the result of millions of individual decisions every day
Ellen, San Francisco, USA
Climate change is the result of millions of individual decisions every day. Perhaps it's just time for each of us to ask ourselves what we can do to improve the situation, and get on with it. (When I lived in a cold climate, I turned down the thermostat and emphasized recycling my own and several neighbours' trash. When I move to a milder climate, I garaged my car, and now get around by bicycle.) Collectively, personal choices matter enormously.
Ellen, San Francisco, USA

If Bush and his colleagues realise that there are other countries in this world, maybe, just maybe, then there might be hope in this G8 summit.
Mehmet, USA

To be fair, Bush is the elected President of the US, not the world. American matters should be of his primary concern.
Dave, UK

To Dave, UK, we would love it if Bush's primary concerns were matters of importance to the American people and their wellbeing. Sadly, his only concern is maximizing profits for his business buddies!
Jan M., Phoenix, USA

We don't have to wait for the G8 or Bush, for that matter. Everyone can do their part - drive less, turn off lights, don't waste water, don't buy goods from companies that damage the environment. Buy solar rechargers and panels etc etc, even if you live in a city.
Amira, USA

So much for Blair's much vaunted special relationship with the US. We support them in Iraq and they turn round and say that they are going to look out for their own interests and owe us nothing.
Richard Read, London, UK

Since Canada signed on to the Kyoto Protocol we have spent billions in the development of a Kyoto bureaucracy. We have no action plan because no-one seems to know how to go about tackling this issue without throwing lots of people out of work and ruining the economy. Pres. Bush is right. The US is spending on the new technologies from which we will all eventually benefit from. Oil and gas are finite resources and we must look to other sources for our future energy requirements.
Janet, Edmonton, Canada

The G8 summit will talk loads and in reality do nothing
T. Newman, UK
No. The G8 summit will talk loads and in reality do nothing. The only way to get what you believe in is to boycott the goods and services you consider to be acting unjustly. Money talks.
T. Newman, UK

I hope the members of the G8 Summit will pay attention to the message of Live Aid and offer debt relief to Africa and other poor countries.
Patrice Feeney , Somerset, NJ, USA

This was not unexpected from Bush. He has too many friends in the oil industry to do anything to curtail their profits. I would like to see Bush start the momentum in the US to reduce the pollution - but we know he will never do that. Even a medium sized city like Raleigh has downright unhealthy breathing during the summer months due to excessive pollution.
Neil Redpath, Raleigh, NC, USA

I differ with our President on a number of issues, but regards Kyoto, Bush is doing the job we pay him to do, namely, putting American interests first. It's what most of us expect from any of our elected officials, now and in the future. It would behove our EU friends to do the same on behalf of their own nation states, but will they? The Kyoto treaty is fatally flawed. A word to the wise - China.
PM, NYC, USA

The core root of the climate change problem is deforestation in the tropics and sub tropics. If it continues unabated, we may see climate soaring in a exponential curve. I would like to see an immediate cessation of all tropical and sub-tropical tree felling.
Jessie White, Forres Scotland

The G8 leaders are too complacent by half. They will not see the need for change until the electors stop electing them. I have voted in every election since 1979 and not once have I voted for the government of the day. I wish there were more people with as much common sense.
John, North Wales

We need to reduce the amount we consume and that is the critical issue which no one is brave enough to address
Susan Cunningham, Oxford, UK
The problem with Bush is that he only represents the opinions of half the American people; remember there was another half that didn't vote for him. So whatever his stance, a lot of Americans are taking steps towards Kyoto; many of the individual states have committed to it. The problem is bigger, unfortunately. It involves the developing world mainly, and reducing the overproduction of the developed world. We all need to reduce our energy outputs from non-renewable and polluting sources. In fact, we need to reduce the amount we consume and that is the critical issue that no one is brave enough to address.
Susan Cunningham, Oxford, UK

I say the rest of the world should forge on with our climate change measures regardless of the US. Yes it will cost our economy but at least in years to come we can honestly say that we did all we could to avert global warming. If we wait for America it will be too late.
Oliver, Oxted, Surrey

The Kyoto Treaty is useless and it does not help stop pollution. Bush is absolutely right, because every country should implement its own specific policies to reduce pollution. Multilateral cooperation is "dead".
Valentin Rimdjonok, Ottawa, Canada

If our representatives in governments and businesses fail to act in our best interests (and businesses are always telling us that their "market" is there for our benefit), then we change them or put up with the consequences. It is up to us.
E, Malvern UK

Of course George W Bush isn't going to get involved in the global warming debate; after all, he was supported by America's industrialists and throughout its manufacturing heartland. For those of us who do recognise and respect our fragile planet, we need to change our consumer habits.
Dan, London, UK

Climate change can't be scientifically proven without a large number of assumptions. Unfortunately for us, the theory of global warming and its devastating consequences will only have enough supporting information when it will be too late to do anything about it. In the meantime, I'm afraid Bush and his administration will keep ignoring the climatologist pledges and putting the economy first.
Anna, Nottingham

Every leader looks after their own country's best interests. President Bush is doing the same thing. There is no point in blaming him. America is a vast country with the latest technologies developing everyday, so to promote this they can't be blamed nor Bush. America's economy depend on this and when and at the same time rest of the world expect America to give billions of dollars every time any thing happens, and they help, so the people has to learn to accept what America is doing to keep their economy strong in order to receive help from them.
A T, London, UK

The capitalist world and its countries are greedy and are always going to be reluctant to agree to measures that could cause backlash and problems to home economies. Everyone has different agendas so is going to be very difficult to gain agreement. Only when its too late and the damage is done will there be futile actions on climate change.
Jamie, Middlesbrough, UK

The only way we will solve global warming is with new technologies
Thomas, Birmingham
George Bush is right, the only way we will solve global warming is with new technologies. Only by making alternative energies cheap and convenient will we break our dependence on oil and gas. Thus in accordance with Mr Bush's statement I will expect him to propose a multi billion dollar increase in nuclear fusion and nuclear technology research, the opening of an international collaboration to design Hydrogen fuelled engines which are cheap and efficient and another to heavily invest in carbon sequestration. Whichever way we take action we must take action, and that is going to require the investment of public funds.
Thomas, Birmingham

It appears that George Bush wants everyone to have a collective responsibility when it comes to security issues in the Middle East, but he's not so keen for everyone to have the same goals when it comes to the environment? Ummm!
Aled, Manchester

People are short-sighted and greedy, so we let our politicians pretend to fix these problems when the vast majority of us could send our cars for recycling, grow our own vegetables in the garden and stop buying ton after ton of cheap plastic tat. You can't blame 8 men for the inaction of millions. You can blame them for a lot of things, but if we sit back and watch them fail then we are just as culpable, if not more so.
Chris Jones, Brighton, UK

I hope Bush can think beyond what is best for the US this week, not just about the environment but with Africa too. However, he is right about alternative technologies. We have to shed our dependence on oil as quickly as possible and for that to be feasible alternatives have to be developed.
Fabian, UK

It's not the planet that is doomed because of global warming - just the human race as we know it. The planet and uncomplex organisms will adapt and recover as they've always done. Bush is living in cloud-cuckoo land. If he gives any thought at all for his offspring and their children he would do something constructive.
Mark Inno, UK

Good for Bush. He's resisting the pressure of international pressure groups for the welfare of the people who elected him to look out for them. This is one thing both Republicans and Democrats in America can agree on: Kyoto would wreck America.
Joshua Jones, Marseille, France

Ultimately over population of humans on this planet is the issue that needs to be addressed as this will lead to further poverty and over use of the earth resources.
Stu, UK

It's interesting to hear Bush mention using new technologies to lower emissions. I can only assume from this is that he means when the US economy can make money from them will he us them
Andrew Smith, London, UK

The real threat is the exclusion of the new tiger economies of China, India and South East Asia
CB, UK
There's a common thread to most answers here. Blame America or blame Bush. Neither is correct. Bush could sign pieces of paper promising to turn water into wine, but it would mean nothing without Senate approval - this is where Kyoto fell down for Clinton. America is only a problem now - and although the government may be doing little, the people are moving in their own way. The real threat is the exclusion of the new tiger economies of China, India and South East Asia. Without bringing them on board now, a G8 agreement is a moot point.
CB, UK

I may seem harsh, but the climate change issue has to take a higher priority than the world poverty issue in principle. This is because climate change if left unchecked will have an even more damaging effect on the poor nations of the world.
Martin Peake, The Hague

The majority of individuals will have to make personal sacrifices (i.e. most of us can't even be bothered to switch the TV off at the switch rather than the remote and sort our rubbish for recycling) to reduce our impact on the environment and this is not something the politicians want to focus on as any policy/legislation is likely to make be unpopular. Similarly politicians do not want to target big industries on this matter.
Kate, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

Given that many of the leaders are completely out of touch with their electorate, I don't imagine that they'll take any notice of the massive public support for debt relief; they'll simply continue in their own sweet way attempting to manipulate the G8 for their own country's benefit while the rest of the world can suffer on its own.
Andy Ashworth, Oakthorpe, UK

You have to admire Bush for having the nerve to admit that he abandoned Kyoto because it would have damaged the US economy. So George, how bad will it be for your economy if Wall Street was buried under several hundred feet of ice? Saying you want further long term studies isn't really fooling anyone... it's sweeping the issue away for someone else to deal with. With studies showing that an irreversible change in global climate is potentially only 10 years away I think the that long-term may not be an option.
James, London

A resounding NO is the answer here. Such is the gulf between the G8 leaders on this subject there can be no agreement. There is also little to be had in the way of discussion or debate as I think everyone is aware how far apart countries like France and the US are on this issue.
Gary, Edinburgh

Let's face it, there will only be agreement if the other 7 accept whatever the US proposes. And that will mean that no progress will have been made in tackling climate change.
Brian Bailey, Winterthur, Switzerland

While climate change is important, I hope it does not distract away from the more pressing issue of dealing with the extreme poverty our rich countries have inflicted on so many others.
Dan O'Brien, Newquay, UK

Rhetoric and hot air from Bush while the planet is slowly dying!
Finlay Cluness, Edinburgh Scotland

The general political apathy towards the sustainability of our planet is surreal. Mr Bush doesn't appear to be aware that he won't have an economy to protect if America turns into a desert.
Jay, Stafford, UK

Like a lot of trendy religions, people get swept away by emotion without knowing facts. Kyoto is deeply flawed and should be scrapped long before it expires. Without drawing in nations like China and India, Kyoto is worse than useless, it is dangerous. China is at present opening one coal fired power plant each week and will very quickly overtake the US, Europe and Russia in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Mr Bush is right in that technology is the answer and not in turning a blind eye to what is happening in China and India.
James, Leatherhead

To James, Leatherhead and the other naysayers here: China currently puts out 1/10 of the carbon per capita that the U.S. does. The aim of Kyoto has always been to lead by example, bringing India and China in later on (they are so much poorer that the sacrifices required would have a much more significant role than we have). This approach worked with CFCs. Unfortunately we don't seem to be intelligent enough as a species to take the swift action required to save our species. I fear Mr Bush is merely indicative of our own short-sightedness as a species. We probably won't survive this one, and frankly we don't deserve to. Relying on some future currently-non-existent technology to save us when we need action right now is hopelessly stupid. I'm going to the pub.
Jon Cotton, Birmingham, UK

Even if Bush signs onto Kyoto, there's no way the Senate will approve it
Rob, NY, USA
Even if Bush signs onto Kyoto, there's no way the Senate will approve it. We went through this with Clinton.
Rob, NY, USA

Unfortunately I fear, only when a natural disaster hits the US and people from the establishment die, will Bush take any notice.
Robert Vaughan, Leeds. U.K

Bush's refusal to commit to this kind of agreement does not come as any great surprise. He's happy to pay lip-service to tackling climate change (caused to a significant extent by the US), but as soon as he has to agree to external accounting of his country's efforts, he does a U-turn. I'm sure there are many American citizens who want to commit to long-term change, but they can't while he is in charge.
Mo C, UK

As usual Bush is entirely right, much as every European reading this will abuse him for speaking the truth. Along with many other people, including prominent scientists I do not believe that we are significantly changing the climate. Climate change is a natural occurrence (we're still coming out of an ice age) and as such reducing carbon emissions will make little impact on the weather, but a huge impact on our economies.
Peter, Nottingham

Bush might not live to regret his decisions but his children and his children's children will.
Fraser, UK,

Mr Bush can't see beyond his own political career and has no intentions of doing anything about America's massive CO2 output. The other leaders talk a lot about promised targets but then fail miserably to meet them. In short, the G8 summit won't make any progress towards real action because it involves politicians.
George, Stirling, UK

Mr Bush has finally admitted that climate change is not a figment of the rest of the world's imagination, but he falls short of doing anything positive. Why does the largest consumer of fossil fuels on our planet behave in such a manner? We cannot wait for Mr Bush's technological solutions, without implementing some kind of reduction in our consumption in the meantime. I fear that the rest of the world will be railroaded into dropping our commitments made in Kyoto, small though they were. Is there no way that Mr Bush can be "Outvoted", or legally impelled into doing the right thing by the rest of the planet?
Claire, UK

I think if someone stood up and said; "Look, we have to do something about this NOW, or the human race is going to drop sharply in numbers". Changes might actually be made. Nations might actually take the threat industry poses to the environment a bit more seriously. Unfortunately, there isn't a politician in the world that would have the courage to say such a thing, for fear of being labelled an "alarmist" rather than a "realist".
Phillip M Jackson, England

Phillip M Jackson hits the nail on the head when he says that "something must be done now or the human race will drop in numbers". The fact is that human numbers have increased beyond what Earth resources can sustain. Nature is self-correcting, so we must either agree to reduce population voluntarily, or it will be forced on us. That is the real choice facing World leaders, but it is the elephant which they all pretend doesn't exist.
BrianW, Chelmsford, England

As long as the USA has a president so heavily in bed with the oil industry there will never be a global deal on climate change. Maybe in three years time once Bush is gone.
Phil, Newcastle, UK





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