Communiques at international meetings do not often contain the words “we disagree” but it says a lot for the healthy openness of US–EU debate that they appeared in the summary of Thursday's discussions in Gothenburg on the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty. Any hopes that Mr Bush would compromise on the anti–Kyoto Treaty stance he took immediately on assuming office in January were quickly dashed. At the same time he was careful to position himself as committed to finding solutions to the problem of carbon emissions; his approach is to call for more research – a line that Margaret Thatcher, George Bush I and Ronald Reagan all took in their times even though almost all the world's expert scientists continue to say that the problem is real and needs urgent action. The disagreement in Sweden this week will be amplified many times over when the next stage of discussion on implementation of the Kyoto Treaty takes place next month in Bonn. This will be a full UN intergovernmental meeting at which the United States is likely to find itself in a very small minority of states opposed to the treaty. Of the other industrialised nations on whose adherence the effectiveness of the treaty depends, Russia and Japan are the only ones to have expressed any misgivings. The fifteen member states of the European Union have thus far maintained a united front on the necessity of implementing the Kyoto Treaty but some anxious glances have been directed at Italy's new prime mininster Silvio Berlusconi whose right wing ideas might resonate with those of Bush.

Monitor

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