French cowboys in need ask a Texan

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George Bush may care little for the planet but he cannot ignore an appeal to save the cowboy, even if the cowboys in question are French.

The mayor of a small town in the Camargue ­ the wetlands at the mouth of the Rhône that are home to white horses, black bulls and pink flamingos ­ has written to the President asking him to reconsider his position on global warming. Unless America takes action to prevent the ice caps from melting, the mayor says, the Camargue risks becoming part of the Mediterranean.

Philippe Calzergues, Mayor of Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, also includes a short geography lesson. "We live in a place recognised as being unique in the world. We continue to raise cattle on the open range, like in Texas. Our local cowboys, known as gardians, regularly herd their animals on horse-back. Our town was liberated by men of the US Navy ­ like your father ­ on 25 August 1944. We only ask that you should not destroy what you helped to build."

The mayor's comparison with Texas is not entirely fanciful. The broad-brimmed hat and uniform of the gardians was copied by a local landowner from early Hollywood movies.