Fighting climate change – the US or the EU way?

 FROM ROS: Hi everyone. One subject definitely makes the show, two others will if you want them to. Let us know.

1. Bali – definite

2. Talking to terrorists – possible

3. How far can you go to defend your home? – possible.


Fighting climate change is clearly a complicated matter, but those in Bali have boiled it down to something approaching simplicity. We have two distinct positions.

– THE EU AND OTHERS. Set legally binding targets for the whole world.

– AMERICA. Legally binding targets don’t work. Individual solutions for countries are better. And anyway, until India and China curb their activities, it’s an unfair attack on the US economy.

Who do you support?

Here’s the latest from Bali.



This headline is clumsy as I’m struggling for a word or phrase that accurately and objectively describes a range of organisations. I wanted to find one that describes a range of organisations involved in a range of scenarios.

The BBC’s Arabic Service has been speaking to a former head of Israeli intelligence who argues that it’s time for his successors to speak to Hamas. Gordon Brown has been arguing that the British and their allies should talk to the Taliban. There’s no shortage of bloggers who argue that the Americans should speak directly to the insurgents in Iraq. Look to the past, and Northern Ireland springs to mind. Some would argue that the decision of Catholic MPs to talk to the British government and Sinn Fein kick started the peace process.

So is it the right thing to do?


Joe Horn lives in Texas and in November he shot dead two burglars in his home, as you can hear on the 911 call that’s been released. Now this story has taken off online with the racial element (he is white, the men he shot dead were Hispanic) taking centre stage, but what about the more general issue of how far you can go to defend your home. As far as this?

Hear the 911 call here.


This from Anders…’Someone has told me that your programme might be axed.

Hope it is not true – great programme.’

We also hope it’s not true. If it is, no-one’s told us so you’re stuck with WHYS for the foreseeable future.

Have a good weekend. Speak to you later.

33 Responses to “Fighting climate change – the US or the EU way?”

  1. December 14, 2007 at 14:43

    re non negotiating with terrorists
    one mans freedom fighter is another mans terrorist
    as was proved by israel; and ireland , non negotiation is a huge failure, the suffering of palistein people in thier own homeland [in gulags that are worse than german gulags is that step beyond humanity]

    are we not now able to see that one god created us all, that we each are given to live from his non descriminating love equally[he knows and loves each [each lives by his will alone,god is either real[having given the land to israel or he is not, he is real , thus his deed of gift stands, but in failing to heed we are all brothers israel invalidates the very mandate by which authority they claim rights to the land

    who living was not given life by god
    that we do to the least we do to god
    god is grace
    live with it
    it isnt worth dying over
    who wills to explain to god having killed [a life he alone could give to live]
    wake up my brothers
    time to be as one for the only one
    make peace or dad gets mad [may we be deserving of his grace
    as men leave behind the pettyness of our past positions
    and stand as one for the only one

  2. December 14, 2007 at 14:58

    Hi WHYS,

    Bali- The situation remains the same. They EU, USA, and the whole world has to agree. If they don’t then nobody will actually participate.

    Global Warming Policy- It would be like having the whole world but the United states sign a “No Doping” policy for the Olympics. Every other participating country would know that I they are going to have a chance to win against the US, they are going to have to allow their players to dope too.

    The global economy works the same way, If you can’t get one of the biggest players to accept the same handicap as the emerging economies, the later will be forced to do what is necessary to compete. Fighting Global warming cost money and resources. With out full participation by the world, 5 years later you will have the morons that sit around saying, “they didn’t even abide by their own resolution, why should we?”

    Right to defend- I Saw this on CNN last night. I don’t think there has ever been a more cut and dried case of Premeditated murder caught on audio tape. Two crimes never offset. Whoever would agree that this callus calculated murder should be absolved because he shot some other scum bags breaking into his neighbors unoccupied apartment, really should check their own moral compass. I refer the Christians to Matthew 5:38-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[a] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. Then there is the whole “do not kill commandment.” For others, well it is just wrong and illogical to kill unarmed men over some crap stolen from your neighbors house.

    Can I understand being pissed off, yes. Shoot them with a camera. approach them with a fire arm and protect yourself if you must. But don’t shoot unarmed idiots in the back and expect not to be called a murder.

    Dwight in cleveland

  3. December 14, 2007 at 15:45

    To fight climate changes a general fund paid for by the oil and coal producers should be created.
    The fund would be used to pay for developing nations near large supplies of water to break it down into hydrogen and oxygen gas. Both should be safely released into the atmosphere, but the oxygen could be collected and sold to the developed nations. The hydrogen would go up about one hundred miles and chemically combine with oxygen and form ice crystal. The ice crystal would reflect sun light and cool the earth down. The program would have to be monitored because it would be so effective it would push the earth into a new ice age. 90 percent of the time the earth is in an ice age.

    The fund should also be used to develop technology for mining helium 3 from the moon which would be used to power small or large fusion reactors, thereby ending dependence on carbon energy sources.

  4. December 14, 2007 at 15:53

    Put up two numbers mandate developed countries at 25 percent by 2020

    With aspirational target of 35 % by 2020

    Developing countries 10 percent 2020

    With aspirational 20 percent 2020

    Also at point of export to put 5 percent compliance carbon levy on all

    exports to no complying [or recalcitrant [non complying developed country exports

    ,to be spent in producer country [further developing carbon capture

    at rate of 80 percent actual sustainable carbon reducing activity

    with 20 percent put into fund for other projects in developing countries

    administered , by committee ,

    comprising 3 major developed countries 4 underdeveloped countries

    meeting quarterly ,at 50 percent upfront and 50 opercent upon completion

    either that or figure carbon cost onto each product [according to actual cost and on luxury items

    food regarded as neutral co2 cost [but co2 levy on transport.

  5. December 14, 2007 at 15:53

    Fighting climate change in anyway possible all good.

  6. 6 gary
    December 14, 2007 at 16:15

    Hello All,
    Neither the US nor the EU positions influence my thoughts on global warming. I am a rational, rather than a political person. For the rational being, there exists two principal environments; the political environment, the so-called “art of the possible,” and the natural environment, the defined and unyielding realm of natural law. I observe and hypothesize, and here are my ideas: Politicians will do what the rabble tells them they must do. Since the intelligence of the rabble seems (by my long observation) to be inversely proportional to the size of the crowd, the actions taken by the politicians are likely to be, at the very best, flawed. The temperature of the Earth is currently rising. The proponents of profligate oil and coal usage are correct; this rising temperature cannot be inextricably linked to their activities. Scientists have been incorrect in the past. To them I would say: “If the world is warming, climates will change.” Because people are stubborn and not perfectly adaptable, some, maybe many, will die. Their relatives will be sufficiently irritated to look for a scapegoat, maybe you’ll be it.
    These points are trivial. The facts are: We use a lot of oil (and water) to produce food. When the climate changes, the rain may fall other places than “on the plane.” These places may be inconvenient for growing wheat or animals. In fact, it may fall in some other country entirely, and so starving people will have to deal with foreign politicians and their rabble to obtain food. Does this sound familiar? “Well, you say, we can trade our brilliant ideas for food.” This may work until the “end of oil,” when the amount of food that it is possible to produce will be less than the hungry mouths need, and you may have only your ideas (and maybe your politicians) to eat.
    The people of Earth need, as a single society, to stop quarreling about trivial things, to find every energy economy, to produce food without enormous dependence upon mechanization and fossil energy, and to husband our environment by methods as clever as our ingenuity can possibly devise. If we do not, the dawning of the next century will see a human population much less well fed, much more irritated, much more likely to engage in “mutual destruction.” Sounds a bit grim, doesn’t it. Oh well, I’m only human. I’ve been wrong in the past.
    later (maybe),

  7. 7 Ian from Arizona
    December 14, 2007 at 16:16

    Ros & WHYS Staff:

    Al Gore is correct, it is the US that is holding up the process and that the rest of the World should go on without us. Scientist agree, The UN agrees, to my understanding the majority planet agrees, that climate change is happening and it is caused by humans. Even though American business and research studies have shown that “going green” is not only good for the environment but it is good for the bottom line. Politicians are blinded by special interests and oil money. Something needs to happen, and if the US can’t get on board now, the rest of the World should move on without us. We will catch up in 2009 after President Bush leaves office.

    All the best!

    Ian from Arizona

  8. 8 JF Chalmers
    December 14, 2007 at 16:33

    All GHG emitters, rich and poor need to get on this… Its apparent a developing country will need more time than developed nations but ALL must agree to cuts NOW! Its the cold, hard numbers that matter… its the cumulative GHG levels in the planets’s atmosphere that must fall. Developing countries now need to look at the possibility that continued climate change will lead to such disasters as sea level rise and droughts and, in turn, economic downturn in the long run. Greed is what drives a capitalistic system and it’s greed – and stupidity – what will inevitably scuttle or greatly water down any possible agreement at Bali. Human nature appears to be lacking in respect to long term planning and unfortunately, countries will likely only agree to cut CO2 emissions when forced to as climate disasters – drought and starvation for example – begin full throttle. Worse is that once the real pain begins it may well be too late anyway, especially for the poorest people in those same countries who’s prior government’s refused to accept the needed cuts originally urged by the IPCC in late 2007. Even if GHG emissions fell to zero today climate change itself will takes decades to slow as the momentum has already built up. I suspect many scientists privately know this but are staying quiet as not to undermine the optimism needed at negotiations such as Bali. Regardless of this grim possibility, what happens in the next few days there will likely decide much of this planet’s future history anyway. The Kyoto Protocol was rightly ambitious and needed but was wrong and doomed to failure in two respects… it did not include all countries in realistic and negotiated custom targets to reduce CO2 emissions and it did not include the other side if the climate change equation; halting degradation of the planet’s carbon sinks such as deforestation in the tropics. Also a regulated carbon tax/credit system is needed now to pay the costs of these carbon sinks as well as for the technology to reduce emissions. However, such a system cannot be effective without set targets or enforcement. Yet, despite the enormity of all these facts, I honestly believe the best we can hope for form the Bali delegates is an agreement that will save a few rainforests which are needed to soak up some of the excess CO2 that exists now. The political will to recognize climate change as a real threat to our collective prosperity as a species has not yet materialized and may not until the costs of inaction are too great to ignore which risks passing the tipping points alluded to by the science. Once again the inability of countries such as the US or India or, to my embarrassment, Canada to make the require sacrifices in the near term spells tragedy for our children and grandchildren in the long term.

    But then again without hope there can be no future so lets be naive and hope for a miracle anyway!

  9. 9 Dolapo Aina
    December 14, 2007 at 16:35

    believe the climate change issue isnt complicated at all. It only seems like it due to the positions some emitting countries have adopted.It is quite glaring that this global issue can be tackled because alot of public figures have been canvassing for reductions and the necessary steps. Al Gore cant be wrong nor can the climatogolists.
    Dolapo Aina,

  10. 10 Alison, Idaho
    December 14, 2007 at 16:57

    I am continually embarrased by the hypocrisy of my own country when it comes to climate change…running around the world telling everyone they need to come up with their own regulations and then seeming to do nothing in our own country. I’m with the EU on this one.

  11. 11 steve
    December 14, 2007 at 17:10

    I wonder if Canadians want their government to tell them what they can do in their homes too? Nova Scotia has banned adults from smoking in an automobile with a person under the age of 19 present. Nice nanny state you have there. Do they have government officials dressing Canadians in the morning? Do you need permission to use the bathroom? Of course knowing it’s canada, they probably specifically meant TOBACCO so that it’s legal to smoke pot, just like in Toronto you can apparently smoke “medical” marijuana indoors but cannot smoke a cigarette. This is what happens when hippies get into power.

  12. December 14, 2007 at 17:25

    I think no binding targets will be negotiated in Bali. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon set the pace himself on Wednesday: When he spoke to the delegates, he was telling them “the time to act is now”. A few minutes later he stood in front of the press, claiming that setting binding targets might be “too ambitious”.
    I hope he will use his skills in secret diplomacy to broker an ambitious climate pact over the next couple of years. But until now, Mr Ban has proven to be a weak UN Secretary-General. Too weak, maybe, to solve a problem of this dimension.

  13. 13 Chernor Jalloh
    December 14, 2007 at 17:43

    Climae change must be fought globally.It is just like global the war on terror.

  14. 14 Eric in California
    December 14, 2007 at 18:14

    Bush is right about this. Why is Europe so keen to employ turn their back on our free market system and employ authoritarian methods?

    We are capitalists, not authoritarians. Bush is right in choosing the free market approach.

  15. 15 John D. Anthony
    December 14, 2007 at 18:26

    Limits have to be set because we’re running out of time. If we wait for people and nations to do it when it’s comfortable our next “paradigm shift” will be extinction.

    John in Salem

  16. 16 Berenice
    December 14, 2007 at 18:29

    How ever the person talking in behave of the US need to stop talking about the great technology and drugs the US has accomplished. The way global warming is going there will be no one in the world to enjoy these things in the future. The US needs to take charge of what industries our doing to our environment.

  17. 17 Alan Marshall
    December 14, 2007 at 18:30

    They looked at things too narrowly in Bali. For example, China, India, and most of the developing world (already generally over-populated) are polluting the world with more and more people. It’s an exercise in self delusion to compartmentalize the greenhouse problem and propose simplistic solutions. At this time, it’s impossible to imagine any possibility of agreement to the multi-pronged commitment that will be necessary from all countries.

  18. December 14, 2007 at 18:30

    A “non-binding agreement”. Does anybody in the US really think that’s going to change US auto or any other company policy?

    I had a supporting role in the movie Tucker which anyone who thinks about changing the auto industry in the US should see.

    The right move for this conference is to deny the tantrum the US is throwing and allow the delay called for by Al Gore, make the language tenuous enough that a new administration will have the incentive to shine on the previous one by actually making a difference, allowing the right alternatives for fuel for instance, ones that don’t end up making us more dependent on oil.

  19. December 14, 2007 at 18:43

    Global awareness of climate change should be accompanied by tangible actions. Rich countries should make at least token economic sacrifices to reduce carbon emissions. It’s a matter of personal will to come to the reduction of carbon emissions as legal actions against countries are unlikely to work in this field. Countries like China and India will overlook calls for measures that are an obstacle to their economic growth. They are likely to give priority to economic needs considering climate change as a long-term threat. It isn’t worth focusing on it practically.

  20. December 14, 2007 at 18:47

    I drive a veggie fueled diesel truck: that’s my individual contribution. The carbon neutral production of that fuel is making a difference. Plants grow to make the WVO, restaurant fryer soy oil fuel offsets the CO2 emissions that is 15% less than diesel fuel to begin with. Consider that in China and the orient they are touting a 1% mix of palm oil with diesel as a solution. Rudolph Diesel’s original engine was designed to run on 100% veggie oil. But yet this fuel has not even been radicalized; not even legalized in the US.

  21. December 14, 2007 at 18:50

    I challenge anyone in the US, and ask anyone in any other country to state and justify a method of reducing global warming in their cars, or even not using a car. That is the real solution.

  22. 22 najet
    December 14, 2007 at 18:50

    I’m from Bolivia, and while I understand that everyone sees the united states as the big bad wolf in this case: but really…it’s not just the united states that will not agree to this, there is still china and india, that emit on their own twice as many polutants. I think it’s unfair that the US is always stigmatized, when they have some of the most protective environmental laws. Where do most of the environmental agencies stem from? So it’s unfair to say that the US does not care for the environment. It would be economical suicide to just cut production and allow china and india to continue to produce (and it wouldn’t decrease as much anyway). Perhaps there should be economic sanctions on china and india to control how much they produce? Another option, make it easier for the “american consumer” to be aware: encourage hybrid production cost reductions?

  23. 23 John D. Anthony
    December 14, 2007 at 19:06

    There’s a term for what just happened in Bali. It’s called “arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”.

  24. 24 JF Chalmers
    December 14, 2007 at 19:14

    Thanks for allowing me to speak today on BBC…

    The omission of binding targets at Bali was a grave mistake. Using past failures in reaching the GHG cuts set out by Kyoto was only an excuse to avoid future cuts. Past performance does not necessary reflect future performance. Those countries who refused to accept targets need to be isolated politically now and, eventually, economically for the good of humanity and biodiversity. Its not longer an issue of any one country but rather an issue for the collective good.

    The choice has been made and nature has made the decision. Resistance [to nature’s demands] is futile.

    JF Chalmers

  25. 25 Jon
    December 14, 2007 at 19:19

    I think the way this whole issue is being characterized underscores some interesting points. Namely, characterizing the competing perspectives on climate change in terms of national identities can only confirm US/realist suspisions regarding the motives of climate change proposals. The EU is in a battle for political legitimacy with the United States and climate change offers a good opportunity to facilitate this end. This conflict is fundamentally realist in nature but is being argued in the language of liberal idealism. The bottom line is that the ideas are serving the ends of realist pragmatism which will ultimately drive the substance of these ideas into oblivion.

  26. 26 George
    December 14, 2007 at 22:22

    Surprisingly enough nations do not believe it in their individual interests to toe the line of cutting back on the causes of climate change.

    It would be nice to see each doing their utmost to keep a viable planet individually and collectively,

    Without playing brinkmanship- how close to self destruction can we come to make every centavo possible up untill we collectively gag and fall over.

    The USA can and should leap with gusto on green technology to crank up new fields of expertise and manufacture. There is green $$$ in going green.

  27. 27 Will Rhodes
    December 15, 2007 at 02:31

    With the vast profits the fuel corporations make – why do we not give them tax breaks on producing a viable alternative to oil, gas and coal etc? Planting a million acres of veggie stuff to fuel cars, trucks and a plethora of other things will not work. One quarter of that field will be needed for the tractors to cultivate the stuff.

    We are not going to get rid of cars, that will not happen, so we need some other form of engine to power them. Homes need to be heated – as has been said, we cannot go back to wood, oil, gas or coal. So we need something to heat homes.

    Before citing targets to reduce this and that, we need the alternative in place at a lower cost than it is now – then people will change over in haste.

  28. 28 Miche Normna
    December 15, 2007 at 05:46

    Talking to terrorists.

    I beleive that it is every government’s job to leave no stone unturned in the quest for peace and only to use force if that is the only alternative left.

    Israel talked peace with Arafat, the man who gave the world three hour security checks at airports and is toalking to Abbas, the man who was the team manager for the first Palestinian team to appear at the Olympic Games (1972) – but the crucial point here was the belief that there was a point to the talks.

    What exactly can Israel talk to Hammas about – they do not recognize that we exist and the only language that they talk in is violence. They say that we will have no peace until we withdraw to our own borders – which they define as somewhere in Poland. They explained their point before we built the defenseive wall by packing people with a mixture of nails, explosives and rat poison and sending them to speak to us on buses, markets and restaurants delivering their message of death and destruction. Because we now have a defensive wall/fence the only way they speak is by sending 400 rockets a month aimed as children going to and from school and we all saw how they explained to Fatah officials that they should go the mosque more often

    But why not speak to your July 7 bombers and give them what they want?

  29. 29 vijay k vijayaratnam
    December 15, 2007 at 19:53

    I am justifiably pleased my concern expressed for more than 2 decades about climate change and environmental awareness finally result in agreement for reduction of co2.By the way i met the president of IPCC in Kyoto at world water forum and ministerial meetins in 2003 .

  30. 30 Tobias Tohill
    December 17, 2007 at 05:14

    To the BBC World Service.
    On the World Service Global News podcast today it was irresponsible and negligent to give Sam Thurnstrum of the US business elite, and Mark Murano of the Republican party a free, unquestioned platform from which to push their unbridled propanda, slate Al Gore and sledged the efforts of the EU in halting their effect on the atmosphere.
    Although principles of modern journalism dictate that both perspectives in any topic of news or political debate have a right to be heard and should be reported, there are limits to this principle and no news is ever free of bias. As such the BBC should take a morally responsible role in its reporting. Today these limits on reporting were crossed.

    I heard the reply “But shouldn’t we always give both sides of the argument”. No, sometimes the argument is already decided, and to continue reporting both sides to support an untruth or a deception.
    For instance, there are two perspectives as to whether paedophilia should be a criminal offence or not. Active paedophiliacs might justify their actions as being a natural tendency? They might say that historically the age of consent was different… they may point out that in Cambodia child prostitution is still practiced and there are few social problems as a result of it… blah blah. They would mix lies and half-truths with doubt and supposition.
    However very few people in our modern societies have any time or sympathy for such tenuous and reprehensible arguments on whether paedophilia is right or wrong.
    To give considerable media coverage to exponents of paedophilia would be seen as amoral, especially as it may encourage those with paedophiliac inclinations to act.
    Today the BBC has let two man justify raping the planet and plundering resources, allowing them to tell lies, half truths, spread doubt and supposition. It let them slate a Nobel Laureate winner, and criticise the decisions of all but one of the developed nations of the world to stop atmosphere pollution.
    To what good effect has this reporting had? The matter is decided, all scientists around the world are agreed. The US has no argument beyond propaganda, wealth and economic muscle – it is morally, rationally and scientifically in the wrong. This is not scapegoating, the US really is in the wrong and has been for a decade. Australia has been as well.
    Please use the World Service to report on how we can tackle climate change and reduce our impact on the environment. Please give us news worth hearing, do not perpetuate lies and deception. The BBC is not in the employ of US business, editorial policy should reflect morally right and constructive reporting rather than sensationalism in reproducing propaganda for the republic hardliners in the US.

    I live in Japan. On TV people here laugh at the news from the US which still has questions like “Do you believe in global warming?”
    There is nothing to believe – just open your eyes.
    Of course it’s easier to see if you are not listening to something that tells you what you are seeing isn`t real, especially if it is bad news.

  31. December 17, 2007 at 12:03

    Hi Ros,

    Its unfortunate that USA always want to take its way when it comes to international matters. Now here we go again US against the rest of the world. On the 10th December I attend a event on climate change where a film from Al Gore was shown. Its very sad to reliase the effect of climate change. For US maybe they will only work up when the whole of New York city will be under water. We need global solutions because water, wind and air can not the controlled. I challenge the US to come on board and work out an international solution. Individuality in a globalized world doesnt work. China and India must be on board to first pollution and emissions.

    Anyway maybe the super power is interested in the consquences of global warming because of the security risks it poses, i.e wars, migration, vanishing of spices, conflicts, floods, diseases, drity, food shotages, lack of clean water.

    This will mean to make wars agianst oth er nations so that they invest in wepeans. Its a very unfortunate situation for the whole world.


  32. December 17, 2007 at 12:12

    Good Morning Ros,

    As an Ex-Pat living in Canada I am somewhat ashamed of the Canadian & US Governments with respect to their responses to world pressure on climate change issues.

    Both governments are making ridiculous statements about their commitments!! Targets for greenhouse gas emissions are being set(?) for 2020 so that nobody in either government will still be around to answer for the failure.

    The few and poor targets that are being set are in terms of specific emissions and not absolute and this obviously, over time, will result in higher emission not lower.

    The Alberta government is especially guilty of this with respect to the Oil (Tar) Sands in Fort McMurray. Even the specific emissions reduction figure is ridiculously low, however the proposed expansions of the Oil Sands industry will result in massive net increases in GGE.

    The main reason for this, I believe, is that in North America our governments are only puppets for big business. Enormous amounts of money are given by all big businesses to our governments as political contributions. The word contributions being something of a misnomer as the businesses do expect a return on that investment, hence the need for government decisions favourable only to business. Of course once this acceptance of finances in entrenched in the system the associated lobbyists ensure that there is no way out for our politicians. They have allowed their hands to be tied.

    In Britain you have, at least tried, to reduce the influence of these contributions.


    Pat Dowling
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada

  33. December 17, 2007 at 12:55

    Greetings Ros Does any sense come out of these meetings.Climate change is just another of the many world wide miracle anwers that mean nothing like the many meetings to do away with atomic weapons etc It appears the human race is intent on self destruction.
    Regards Henry

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