New US demands - tabled at a little-noticed meeting in Montreal earlier this month - threaten to unravel one of the greatest environmental success stories of the past few decades, causing millions of deaths from cancer.
The news comes at a particularly embarrassing time for the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who pressed the President in their talks in Washington last week to stop his attempts to sabotage the Kyoto Protocol which sets out to control global warming: one of the few international issues on which they differ.
Now, instead of heeding Mr Blair, Mr Bush is undermining the ozone treaty as well, by seeking to perpetuate the use of the most ozone-destructive chemical still employed in developed countries, otherwise soon to be phased out. Ironically, it was sustained pressure from the Reagan administration, in which Mr Bush's father served as vice-president, that ensured the treaty was adopted in the first place. It has proved such a success that environmentalists have long regarded it as inviolable.
The Montreal Protocol actually works. Naturally this administration therefore opposes it, we cant have any example of international treaties that function as they are designed, it might give people ideas.