Exxon Challenge

Independent, 6 April 2005:

ExxonMobil may soon find that it is having to cope with far more than awkward resolutions at its AGM (“Green activists to challenge ExxonMobil on Kyoto stance”, 4 April).

The World Trade Organisation endorses the concept of sustainable development and, under WTO rules, member countries can theoretically ban the import of products that are produced in an unsustainable way. Thus, during Clinton’s presidency, the US banned the import of shrimps from Malaysia that had been caught in nets that were harmful to turtles, and because turtles are an endangered species, and because they migrate through US waters, Malaysia lost its case before the Appellant Body of the World Trade Organisation.

Emissions of carbon dioxide also transgress national boundaries and exert environmental effects that are unsustainable and impact directly on member countries. There is nothing to stop the EU, or any country, from introducing trade sanctions against the US due to its non-compliance with the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

The environmental irresponsibility of companies such as ExxonMobil would then be properly reflected in their balance sheets.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire

Wrong man

Independent on Sunday, 3 April 2005:

The appointment of Paul Wolfowitz as President of the World Bank could not come at a worse time for the environment (“A humiliation too far”, 20 March). The Kyoto protocol on global warming requires a huge transfer of clean technology to developing nations if they are to meet their international obligations.

China is relying on coal to satisfy its growing energy requirements and this will result in a catastrophic increase in fossil fuel emissions. The World Bank is in a unique position to influence this process, yet Wolfowitz is an avowed sceptic on global warming.  It is difficult to think of a more disastrous appointment for the world and for the bank.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire