Fear of runaway global warming pushed 46 countries to line up Saturday behind France's appeal for a new environmental body that could single out - and perhaps police - nations that abuse the Earth.
"It is our responsibility. The future of humanity demands it," President Jacques Chirac said in an appeal to put the environment at the top of the world's agenda.
He spoke at a conference a day after the release in Paris of a grim report from the world's leading climate scientists and government officials that said global warming is so severe that it will "continue for centuries" and that humans are to blame. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report sparked calls for fast, planet-wide action and was embraced by Europeans. A total of 46 countries agreed to pursue plans for the new organization, and to hold their first meeting in Morocco this spring. But key world polluters - including the United States, China, India and Russia - steered clear.
Without naming the United States directly, Chirac expressed frustration that "some large countries, large rich countries, still must be convinced." They are "refusing to accept the consequences of their acts," he said.