Forty US senators have sent a letter to President Bush, urging him to “provide leadership” on climate change, and warning that the US could lose its competitive edge in a “carbon conscious” world.

A year after the Senate passed a resolution calling for mandatory programme to reverse global warming, the letter read: “We are writing to express our continuing concern about the threats posed by global warming and our support for a mandatory programme that would reduce emissions from today’s levels within 10 years”.

It continued that it urgent action was needed as the cost and difficulty of countering climate change “increases every year”. The senators conclude: “As we consider legislation to address global warming, we urge you to provide leadership on this critical issue by supporting our effort.”

While most of the signatories are Democrats, the list includes key Republicans including John McCain, who is a probable presidential candidate in 2008.

The trouble is does Bush know what leadership is?