Letter: The heavy price of fossil fuels

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is no surprise that the response of world governments to the Earth Summit five years ago has been that of failure.

The seeds of failure were already sown in the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development which maintained that global economic growth was essential to achieve sustainable development. Economic growth, wherever it takes place, is the main cause of global ecological and social crises.

Following the globalisation of world trade as a result of the last General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the establishment of the World Trade Organisation, large quantities of consumer durables are flooding into Britain and other Western countries. This consumption has involved highly polluting methods of production, mainly in China and other "tiger economies" mainly in South-east Asia. This pollution should be attributed to the British consumer, not to the producers.

Unless we in the Western world are prepared to adopt a much simpler lifestyle then "Earth Summit" conferences will be little more than hot air.

MICHAEL THOMAS

UK Co-ordinator

The Future In Our Hands

Swindon, Wiltshire

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