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Sunday, 1 April, 2001, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
'Appalling' US president denounced

A senior Liberal Democrat has accused US President George W Bush of wanting to kill thousands of people around the world by lethal pollution.

Malcolm Bruce, chairman of the Lib Dem parliamentary party and president of the Scottish party, condemned the US decision to drop the Kyoto Treaty on global warming.


Not content is he with killing Texas prisoners by lethal injection, he now wants to kill thousands or even millions around the world by lethal pollution.

Malcolm Bruce
Green groups have already called for protest action against America and one Labour MP has urged a boycott of US goods.

Speaking at the Scottish Liberal Democrats' spring conference in Pitlochry, Mr Bruce said: "Not content is he with killing Texas prisoners by lethal injection, he now wants to kill thousands or even millions around the world by lethal pollution."

'Appalling family'

He argued the US president was trying to serve the interests of his "appalling family" by abandoning the treaty.

"It now seems that not only did the Democrats lose the American presidential election by a few dimpled chads, the rest of the world stands to lose as a consequence," Mr Bruce told delegates.

Malcolm Bruce MP
Bruce: Scathing attack on Bush
To loud applause, he added: "No wonder he wants a National Missile Defence. He perhaps knows how many new enemies of America his administration will create."

The Kyoto Treaty fixed targets of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 5% by 2012 on 1990 levels.

'Low targets'

Some environmentalists, such as Green Party national executive member Spencer Fitzgibbon, describe those targets as "ridiculously low".

They say nations should be aiming at emission cuts of 60% or 70%.

Environment Minister Michael Meacher has described the US decision as "exceptionally serious".

He pledged to lobby President Bush on the issue at summits in Sweden and Italy in July.

But treating the US as a pariah could be counter-productive, warned Mr Meacher.

'Block demands'

Former Conservative environment secretary John Gummer said the European Union should block American trade demands until the US changes its mind.

That course of action is backed too by Friends of the Earth, while the Green Party wants a boycott of US oil companies.

Labour MP Alan Simpson, who has a long campaigning record on environmental issues, has gone one step further.

He is pushing for a complete boycott on American goods and compares the US announcement to a nuclear attack whose missiles will not land for another 30 years.

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See also:

31 Mar 01 | Europe
Europe backs Kyoto accord
30 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Labour MP urges US boycott
29 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
US facing climate isolation
28 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
US blow to Kyoto hopes
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