Bush’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol

Independent, 3 January 2005:

Am I alone in finding President Bush’s efforts to co-ordinate the relief effort for the Indian Ocean disaster both hypocritical and slightly nauseating, when Bush’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol is exposing all the low-lying islands in the Indian Ocean to significant rises in sea-level and a very uncertain future.

Just for the record, current emissions of carbon dioxide, expressed as tons of carbon per head of population, is 5.5 for the US, 2.2 for the OECD, 0.8 for China and 0.3 for Indian. Yet the US refuses to sign the protocol because the restraints on India and China are not severe enough! Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have risen from 180 parts per million to 370 since the start of the industrial revolution and are currently rising at a rate of 1.5 ppm per year, though recently this rate has increased to 2 ppm per year.

The US shows no sign of cutting back on its profligate use of energy. In fact, emissions of carbon dioxide from the US have increased by 17 per cent since 1990, the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol. The US could achieve a lot more for the countries around the Indian Ocean by showing a sense of responsibility towards future generations and signing the Kyoto Protocol.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire