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Saturday, December 06, 2003

Americans "behaving like teenagers" over climate change
This morning John Humphrys conducted an interesting interview with Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation and Sir Crispin Tickell, a former UK ambassador to the UN, about the future of the Kyoto agreement on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.

Andrew Simms suggested that the EU should calculate the value of the free ride the US is taking as a result of refusing to sign up to the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions proposed under the Kyoto Protocol, and raise the costs of inaction by imposing economic sanctions.

Mr. Simms also said that assessments made by the insurance industry indicate the rising economic costs of global warming are threatening future economic growth, that "We are about half a century away from being ecologically + economically bankrupt because of global warming" and that "There is only a certain amount of time people can go around behaving like teenagers who don't have to care about anybody else..."

Sir Crispin, who originally suggested the use of environmental sanctions 20 years ago, was a little more diplomatic and said that many people were in denial about the threat posed by climate change, not just the Americans. He also pointed out that 12 US states and several major US companies are taking their own steps to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to 5% below 1990 levels, as required under the Kyoto Protocol.

On a related note it is interesting to learn about the backgrounds of some of the most vocal environmental skeptics over on www.rebeccablood.net