March 28, 2001 – The world is tottering on the brink of climate disaster today, as the White House confirmed that President Bush has decided to rat on the 1997 Kyoto Treaty. At Kyoto, the world’s developed countries agreed for the first time to cut emissions of climate changing gases. White House officials have taken legal advice on how to pull out of the Treaty, which the US signed but which remains unratified by the Senate.

The United States, with 5% of the world’s population, emits more than 20% of the world’s carbon dioxide, the main climate changing gas. The US promised to cut emissions by 7% over 1990 levels by 2012 at the latest, but US emissions in fact rose by more than 10% between 1990 and 2000.

George Bush’s campaign for the US presidency was backed by major US oil giants including Exxon, which also led the campaign in the US against the Kyoto Treaty. The Republican presidential campaign claimed that if Kyoto was ratified, US citizens might have to “walk to work”.

Commenting, Charles Secrett, Director of Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland said: “George Bush’s decision to rat on the Kyoto Treaty is grim news. When the Hague talks collapsed last year because of US intransigence, Friends of the Earth warned that the world would pay the price in tears. Millions of people – in the US as well as in other countries – face the loss of their homes, their jobs and even their lives because of climate change. But this ignorant, short-sighted and selfish politician, long since firmly jammed into the pockets of the oil lobby, clearly couldn’t care less. The talks in Bonn in July must now concentrate on world action independent of the US.”