Memorandum from Greenpeace
The Foreign Affairs Committee Inquiry covers
a very broad spectrum. Greenpeace are experts on environmental
matters and therefore contain ourselves to those in which we have
such expertise. In this Memorandum, we make observations in respect
of two aspects of the relations between the United States and
the United Kingdom: the undermining of global security in respect
of missile defence; and the failure to adhere to international
obligations in respect of the Kyoto Protocol.
1. In March of this year President Bush
made clear through various public statements that the US Administration
would not support ratification or implementation of the Kyoto
Protocol. Despite various high-level meetings, including meetings
between the US President and the UK Prime Minister, and the EU-US
Summit in June, the US has not changed its view.
2. The Kyoto Protocol and the Kyoto Process
represent the result of a ten-year international effort to lay
the foundations for an international regime to combat climate
change. Basic elements of the Protocol such as binding targets
and timetables, market oriented mechanisms in order to achieve
cost effectiveness, a compliance regime and tools for co-operation
between developed and developing countries, are of profound importance
in a global system aimed at tackling climate change.
3. A recent report from the world's top
scientists (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or "IPCC")
found that "There is new and stronger evidence that most
of the observed warming over the last 50 years is attributable
to human activities"
and that "there is high confidence that recent regional changes
in temperature have had discernible impacts on many physical and
In respect of the impacts of climate change, the IPCC has reported,
amongst other things, that:
more people will be harmed than will
benefit from climate change;
many natural systems are at risk
including glaciers, polar and alpine ecosystems, boreal and tropical
forests, coral reefs and atolls, mangrove and biodiversity hot
floods, famine, and refugee migrations
are very likely as climate change tips the balance in overburdened
regions of the African continent;
some of the richest biodiversity
on Earth is likely to disappear;
climate change is likely to intensify
threats from infectious disease; and
flood patterns will place large portions
of Europe at high risk.
4. The US has approximately 5 per cent of
the world's population, but accounts for the largest single share
of global greenhouse gas emissions, about 25 per cent of global
CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. Notwithstanding this, the US
has stated that they cannot adhere to an agreement that would
damage the US economy and which does not place the same demands
on developing countries to reduce their emissions. Many domestic
US studies have shown that US emissions can be reduced with a
real benefit to the US economy. Further, it has been internationally
agreed, including by the US, that it is only right and fair that
developed countries such as the US and the UK should commit to
binding emissions reductions first. There are also mechanisms
within the Kyoto Protocol to facilitate the transfer of clean
technology to the developing world so that these nations can improve
their standard of living and grow their economies without adding
to the burden of global emissions.
5. The EU has been sharply critical of the
US decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and has been firm
in its own decision to adhere to the Protocol and to ratify the
same. Following the EU-US summit on 14 June this year, the Prime
Minister of Sweden, then EU President, said in a statement, "The
European Union will stick to the Kyoto Protocol and go for a ratification
process." The Swedish Environment Minister said that "We
regret that President Bush continues to reject the Kyoto Protocol.
Abandoning the Kyoto Protocol would mean postponing international
action to combat climate change for yearsand we are already
late. We cannot accept this. The EU ministers have therefore confirmed
that they stand firm behind the Kyoto Protocol and are ready to
proceed with the ratification of it. Without the US the Protocol
will be less effective of course since they account for a large
part of world emissions." 
6. Prime Minister Tony Blair has confirmed
the UK's position, for example in this response to an oral question
in Parliament: ". . . this country has made its position
clear. We continue to believe that the Kyoto Protocol provides
the best framework to deal with climate change, which is a problem
that affects rich and poor countries alike. It is of vital importance
to the future of the world that we deal with that and the reduction
of CO2 emissions. We obviously want to hear the views and ideas
of the new [US] Administration as to how we reduce those emissions,
but for our own part, as I have said before, we think that the
Kyoto Protocol is the right way forward."
7. On the 23 July this year at the 6th Conference
of the Parties, in Bonn, Germany, the international community
(with the exception of the United States) agreed the rules for
implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. Greenpeace notes that the
Kyoto Protocol is one of the key international legal instruments
required to balance the expansion (globalisation) of international
trade and economic law with environmental sustainability requirements.
Rejection of the Kyoto Protocol by the USA could fatally undermine
this pillar of international environmental law, should it not
enter into force. If it does enter into force without the USA,
it would be unfair on other countries (including the UK) if energy
intensive businesses in the US were to obtain competitive advantage
from an effective subsidy of their pollution.
8. The World Trade Organisation is an intergovernmental
organisation with 142 member states. Its members are required
to comply with the trade rules established in a set of agreements
generally termed the WTO Agreements, also resulting from the Uruguay
Round. Its agreements provide the ground rules for international
commerce. The WTO is intended to serve the private sector, not
governments: "Although negotiated and signed by governments,
the goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters,
and importers conduct their business." The Uruguay Round
and subsequent "sectoral negotiations" added to the
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) a series of new
obligations that extend far beyond trade liberalisation's traditional
focus on goods. To enforce these disciplines, the WTO has one
of the most potent dispute settlement systems in existence at
the international level.
9. In all the circumstances it would be
appropriate for the UK to bring the US before a WTO dispute settlement
panel, because the US position on Kyoto is providing the equivalent
of a hidden subsidy for their domestic energy intensive industry,
inconsistent with WTO rules.
10. US plans to develop a Missile Defence
system are not in Britain's security interests. US plans for missile
defence risk triggering a dangerous and destabilising arms race
with China. Missile defence may make the United States more willing
to intervene militarily in future and less likely to pursue diplomatic
solutions to conflict. The involvement of British military bases
as the "forward eyes" of a missile defence system, would
make Britain a target for US enemies seeking to disable US defences.
11. The US assessment of the threat from
ballistic missiles has overestimated the capability of so-called
"rogue states" to target the United States, whilst underestimating
the ongoing dangers posed by the proliferation of nuclear, chemical
and biological weapons, including the risk that such weapons could
fall into the hands of terrorist organisations.
12. Missile defences could not have prevented
the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. As Senator
Joseph Biden said, on the eve of the attacks, "Our real security
needs are much more earthbound and far less costly than National
Missile Defence . . . the Joint Chiefs say a strategic nuclear
attack is less likely than regional conflicts, or major theatre
wars, or terrorist attacks at home and abroad. We will have diverted
all the money to address the least likely threat while the real
threats come into this country in the hold of a ship or the belly
of a plane or are smuggled into a city in the middle of the night
in a backpack."
13. "It should now be obvious to everyone
that people who have the fanaticism and capability to fly an airliner
laden with passengers and fuel into a skyscraper will not be deterred
by human decency from deploying chemical or biological weapons,
missiles or nuclear weapons or other forms of mass destruction
if these are available to them. We must therefore redouble our
efforts to stop the proliferation and the availability of such
weapons." (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth
14. Britain should use its special relationship
with the United States to impress upon the Bush Administration
the dangers of pursuing missile defence and the need for US support
for concerted, international efforts to eliminate nuclear, chemical
and biological weapons and their delivery systems.
15. US plans for missile defence are already
triggering a new, and destabilising nuclear arms race with China,
which has the potential to draw in other countries in the region
such as India and Pakistan. According to the Pentagon, "China's
stated doctrine reportedly calls for a survivable long-range missile
force that can hold a significant portion of the U.S. population
at risk in a retaliatory strike."
China is currently engaged in an aggressive nuclear modernisation
programme, aimed at giving it the capability to overcome a potential
US missile defence system.
16. As the Pentagon puts it, "China
currently has over 100 nuclear warheads and is increasing the
size, accuracy and survivability of its nuclear missile force
. . . However, as its strategic requirements evolve, it may change
the pace of its modernisation effort for its nuclear missile force
(particularly if the United States deploys NMD)".
17. In August 2000, the New York Times
also reported that US intelligence chiefs had warned the Clinton
administration that, "China would expand its relatively small
arsenal of roughly 20 long-range nuclear missiles to a quantity
large enough to overwhelm the limited defensive system that the
Clinton administration is considering. One person who has seen
the report said it estimated that China could deploy up to 200
warheads by 2015, prompting India and Pakistan to respond with
their own build ups."
18. Most worrying of all, are recent media
reports that the Bush administration might seek to overcome Chinese
opposition to missile defence by acquiescing with China's plans
to build up its nuclear missile force, and the possibility that
the United States and China might also discuss resuming underground
despite being signatories to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
19. Missile defence is unlikely to operate
as a purely defensive measure. Rather, it will be used in combination
with US offensive forces, making the US more likely to intervene
militarily in future crises. The Bush Administration is pursuing
missile defence as part of a military strategy based on "new
concepts of deterrence that rely on both offensive and defensive
Missile defence would thus be used as a global shield, in conjunction
with US offensive forces.
20.These offensive forces include US nuclear
forces, many of which are currently being modernised to fulfil
more aggressive warfighting roles. Despite the Bush Administration's
rhetoric about cutting nuclear warhead numbers, US nuclear forces
remain the largest and most sophisticated in the world. The US
Department of Defense is currently considering proposals from
Sandia and Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratories for new, low-yield
nuclear weapons with highly accurate delivery systems, so-called
mini-nukes, aimed at destroying deeply buried targets.
Missile defence is also likely to be used in conjunction with
ambitious US plans for the militarisation of space.
21. British defence officials have admitted
that, "Britain would become a target of `rogue' states"
if the government allowed the US to use its bases at Fylingdales
and Menwith Hill.
According to the Guardian, the Secretary of State for Defence
has acknowledged that the possibility of Britain becoming a target
is "one of the implications we would have to think through".
Visiting Professor at the Centre for Defence Studies, Sir Timothy
Garden warns: "The upgraded X-band radar sites would become
the forward eyes of an NMD system. They would therefore become
the priority targets for any enemy, which wished to penetrate
a US NMD system. Nor would an attack on them necessarily be carried
out by ballistic missile."
22. To date, the Bush Administration has
shown scant regard for international law, preferring a strategy
of multilateralism "a" la carte". In the last six
months, Bush has opposed key items of British Government policy
on proliferation of weapons of mass destruction including the
rejection of the Biological Weapons Convention protocol, refusal
to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and apparent abandonment
of Programme of Action for Nuclear Disarmament, agreed at the
nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2000.
23. In July 2000 the Foreign Affairs Committee
recommended that the Government "articulate the very strong
concerns that have been expressed about NMD within the UK,"
and urged the Government to "impress upon the US Administration
that it cannot necessarily assume unqualified UK co-operation
with US plans to deploy NMD in the event of unilateral US abrogation
of the ABM Treaty."
24. However, instead of making these concerns
clear, the Prime Minister at his first summit meeting with President
Bush agreed on the "need to obstruct and deter these new
threats [from ballistic missiles] with a strategy that encompasses
both offensive and defensive systems."
Whilst the Government has declined to tell Parliament whether
it will grant the US permission to use British bases as part of
a missile defence system, the Prime Minister's spokesman indicates
that the UK sees US missile defence plans as "a good idea".
Similarly, a briefing from the Office of the Secretary of State
for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs states, "Missile Defence
is not an alternative to our wider non-proliferation effort, but
part of it."
Greenpeace believes that if the special relationship
between the US and the UK has any meaning in the twenty first
century, the Government should be prepared to stand up for Britain's
interests and to:
use its influence to ensure the US
return to the international fold and agree to meet its international
obligations to combat climate change; and
press for redoubled international
efforts to strengthen the non-proliferation regimes.
The Government should:
1. Implement the Foreign Affairs Committee
recommendation to "articulate the very strong concerns that
have been expressed about NMD within the UK."
2. Reject any approach from the United States
to use bases in the UK as part of the missile defence system.
2. Press the United States to support negotiations
for a strengthened Biological Weapons Convention verification
3. Lead international efforts to bring the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty into force, including US ratification
of the treaty.
4. Push for full implementation of the Programme
of Action for Nuclear Disarmament, agreed at the 2000 NPT Review
5. Support international efforts to develop
and strengthen the Missile Technology Control Regime.
6. Support multilateral approaches to preventing
the militarisation of space.
7. Take all necessary steps to ensure US
compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, and if all else fails, bring
the US before a WTO dispute settlement panel in respect of their
subsidisation of domestic energy intensive industry.
1 IPCC Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, page
IPCC Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability,
page 4. Back
EU Environment Committee press release, 14 June 2001. Back
Hansard, 4 April 2001, column 332. Back
Senator Joseph Biden Jr (Democrat - Delaware), Chair of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, quoted in Nick Cohen, "Too close
for comfort", The Observer, 16 September 2001. Back
Hansard, 14 September 2001, column 619. Back
US Department of Defense, "Proliferation: Threat and Response",
January 2001, page 14. Back
Steven Lee Myers, "U.S. Missile Plan Could Reportedly Provoke
China", New York Times, 10 August 2000. Back
David E. Sanger, "U.S. To Tell China It Will Not Object To
Missile Buildup", New York Times, 2 September 2001. Back
President Bush, Speech, National Defense University, 1 May 2001. Back
Richard Norton-Taylor, "Size doesn't matter", The
Guardian, 25 April 2001. Back
James Dao, "Rumsfeld Plans to Seek a Military Strategy Using
Outer Space", New York Times, 8 May 2001. Back
Richard Norton-Taylor, "UK at risk of 'rogue' reprisals if
it gives space to US missile shield", The Guardian,
7 April 2001. Back
Richard Norton-Taylor, "Son of Star Wars", Guardian,
19 April 2001. Back
Sir Timothy Garden, "Looking at National Missile Defence
from Europe", Paper for the Danish Foreign Policy Committee,
25 April 2001. Back
House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Eighth Report, "Weapons
of Mass Destruction", HC 407 of 2000-2001. Back
HC 407 of 2000-2001. Back
Joint Statement by President George W. Bush and Prime Minister
Tony Blair, Camp David, 23 February 2001. Back
BBC News Online, "Number 10 in Missile Row", 2 May 2001. Back
Memorandum from the Office of the Secretary of State for Foreign
and Commonwealth Affairs, Rt. Hon Jack Straw, 1 August 2001. Back