Letter: Talks blocked as temperature rises

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Sir: Your report confirming global temperature rise is disturbing but timely. United Nations negotiations concerning this and the Climate Convention resumed in Geneva last December. These negotiations - mostly still unreported - are blocked, facing issues of unprecedented geopolitical and macroeconomic complexity.

Confirmation of the systemic warming trends - indeed our global environmental debt - by Nasa, the United Kingdom Met Office and others will emphasise the tension that underlies these negotiations. All present and prospective signatories to the UN climate convention know that the genesis of this global change has emanated from the industrialised economies of the North. In spite of this, the United States - abetted by the UK - ducked its responsibilities in the generation of this debt and its liquidation. They made pollution restraint merely 'optional' in the treaty text signed at the Rio Earth Summit last June.

Targeted and timetabled restraint of greenhouse emissions is essential. With the change of administration in the United States, we now hope to see a change in US and UK policy. Al Gore, the new Vice-President, has recognised global climate change as the major policy issue confronting humankind. Now is the time for responsible leadership and an end to the buck-passing that marred the Rio process.

Yours sincerely,




Global Commons Institute

London, NW2

22 January