Bush Takes Heat On Global Warming

84706 global warming CBS

Around the world the anger runs as deep as the flood waters being blamed on the global warming the Kyoto treaty was supposed to fight. President Bush says he's putting American economic interests first in rejecting Kyoto — and in Britain, where they're having their wettest winter ever, they sadly agree.

"This short-termism and this isolationism is profoundly flawed and misplaced," griped British Environment Minister Michael Meacher.

And that was the polite response.

Others point to severe weather conditions around the planet — flooding for the second consecutive year in Mozambique, drought and famine in The Sudan — and say the U.S. is substantially to blame.

With only about four percent of the world's population, the United States famously produces about 25 percent of the world's harmful greenhouse gas pollution.

"What we are seeing here is oil man Bush putting interests of his particular backers, Exxon Oil Corporation and other fossil fuel producers, over and above the interests of the U.S. economy. Over and above the interests of the people of the world at large and over and above the future of the planet," said Roger Higman, a climate change advisor for Friends of the Earth.

In Japan, the injury is compounded by insult. The rejection of the Kyoto treaty is being taken personally by the country that had hosted the conference that created it.

It's a sentiment echoed around the world. Kyoto may have been an imperfect treaty, but in an imperfect world it was the only global warming treaty we had.

"If the United States walked away from the Kyoto protocol that would be the end of the Kyoto protocol," warned Australia's Environmental Minister, Senator Robert Hill.

Along with the shock, disappointment and anger being expressed around the world, there is also a great sense of frustration. The European Union says it'll send a high level delegation to Washington next week to try to get President Bush to change his mind. But in the end, if he remains unmoved, there's nothing they can do about it.


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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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