Letter: Clinton ducks climate issue

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The Independent Online
Sir: I applaud John Gummer's criticism (article, 28 June) of President Clinton's Earth Summit speech while bemoaning Michael Meacher's conciliatory noises about the "positive" tone of the speech. By not setting targets for reductions in greenhouse gases, Clinton is signalling that he is beholden to American "business as usual" consortia such as the Global Climate Coalition, which includes oil companies.

Although the insurance industry is now raising premiums because of the greater risk of extreme events related to climate change, businesses represented by the GCC and similar consortia are resisting the need to modify their operations. Short-term profit considerations overrule long-term concerns for the planet.

Clinton is also failing miserably in calling upon scientists to devise new technologies to cope with pollution and climate change: a classic case of treating the symptoms while ignoring the underlying disease. By all means, let us properly fund scientific research into the climate system, but at the same time we should reduce our ecological footprint on the only world we have.

Dr DAVID CROMWELL

Southampton Green Party

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