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Letter: Global warming

Sir: David Edwards makes a crucial point about the "deadly silence" in the face of catastrophic climate change (letter, 22 December). His timely observation, in the wake of citizen protest in Seattle against free trade, must not be allowed to drop like a stone after causing merely surface ripples of concern.

How many of us know what cuts in greenhouse gas emissions the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated are required to stabilise the planet's atmosphere? How many of us know of the huge efforts made by corporations to stop such action being taken? Where have the cynical activities of fossil fuel industry lobbyists been exposed? Where are the massive media campaigns to highlight these issues?

Thanks to the obstructionism of fossil-fuel economy dinosaurs and their political allies, we may already be too late to avert the climate-related deaths of many species and untold numbers of people. The occasional newspaper report of climate scientists' warnings, or dramatic footage of yet another "natural" disaster forms a pitiful media response. The mass media is big business, tied into stock markets and the globalised economy, and is therefore an integral part of the problem.

Will it take Seattle-scale protests in every major city before the media reflect the huge scale and urgency of the climate threat, and public concern about it? How else are we going to persuade politicians and corporate heads to stop overheating the planet with a centralised fossil-fuel economy, and shift instead to a sustainable path based on decentralised renewable energy?