Kyoto takes effect —without world's biggest polluter
Ecologists protested at the US embassy in London Feb. 12 over President Bush's refusal to join the Kyoto agreement to cut greenhouse gases and tackle climate change. The long-stalled treaty goes into effect this week, committing 136 countries to reduce gas emissions by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels in the next decade. Prime Minister Tony Blair has declared climate change "the biggest, long-term challenge the global community faces". But the US, the biggest producer of greenhouse gases by far, is the only major industrial country not to have signed.
UK Liberal Democratic Party environment spokesman Norman Baker told protesters: "The US government is out of touch with the rest of the world--and with many ordinary Americans who are taking personal action to reduce greenhouse gases."
Bush was also told: "Don't attack Iran" by 400 delegates at the London conference of the Stop The War Coalition this weekend. (Sunday Mirror, Feb. 13)
Meanwhile, despite the relentless blather of the professional skeptics, the growing consensus within the scientific community is not only that climate destabilization is real, but that it is likely to be far worse than perviously thought. The world's most comprehensive study of the phenomenon ever, just released by Oxford University and published in the British journal Nature, finds: "Greenhouse gases could cause global temperatures to rise by more than double the maximum warming so far considered likely by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)." Island nations completely disappearing beneath the waves and worldwide wars for water and other shrinking resources are predicted. A new study by the World Wildlife Federation finds "polar bears could be extinct within 20 years because of global warming," and that the lives of indigenous peoples in arctic areas could become "unsustainable." The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) reports that "a massive Antarctic ice sheet previously assumed to be stable may be starting to disintegrate..." Such an event could "raise sea levels around the world by more than 16 feet."(CSM, Feb. 8) From Alaska to Patagonia, mountain glaciers are rapidly receding, and the fabled snows of Kilmanjaro have nearly disappeared. (AP, Feb. 14)