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Monday, July 28, 2003

:: Sir John Houghton :"Climate change is a WMD" ::
Sir John Houghton a former head of the UK's Meteorological Office and co-chair of the International Panel on Climate Change has said that climate change kills more people than terrorism and poses at least as great a threat to human security as "chemical, nuclear or biological weapons, or indeed international terrorism".

Although Sir John acknowledges Tony Blair has used positive sounding rhetoric, he charges Mr. Blair of failing to match words with action, and says that despite the announcement of plans for new off-shore wind farms the UK's renewable energy capacity currently lags behind those of other European nations.

In 2000, a Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution recommended that the UK make greenhouse gas emissions cuts of 60% by 2050.

Sir John says that this should be achieved using a "mechanism for negotiating each country's emission target" and a globally implemented plan known as "contraction and convergence".

Contraction and convergence (a process which aims for reductions in the concentration of C02 in the atmosphere and equitable per capita entitlements to emit CO2) has the advantage that it would enable the following principles to be implemented:

The precautionary principle

The principle of sustainable development

The polluter-pays principle and

The principle of equity.

Although the US represents 1/20th of the world's population it emits 25% of the world's CO2 and Sir John states that the failure to tackle the problem of climate change, and instead increase emissions by 14% since 1990, represents an "enormous abdication of leadership"... made worse by an anticipated increase of a further 12% over the next decade.

In conclusion, Sir John calls on Tony Blair to exhibit greater leadership on this issue and to set about organising a "coalition of the willing" if he cannot persuade President Bush that climate change represents a weapon of mass destruction which requires urgent action.

See the full article by Sir John in today's Guardian here.