Blair: “grossly, unforgivably irresponsible” to miss chanceJune 3, 2007 at 1:54 pm | Posted in Blair, Climate action, Climate change, G8, Merkel | 3 Comments
Our local news reporter covered today’s Blair/Merkel press conference well.
G8 has ‘duty’ over global warming
Jun 3 2007
Prime Minister Tony Blair has warned the leaders of the rich world they have a “duty” to make progress on climate change at this week’s G8 summit in Germany.
Speaking after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Mr Blair said that it would be “grossly, unforgivably irresponsible” not to act to prevent the massive suffering which could be caused by rises in average global temperatures.
Mr Blair said that the Heiligendamm summit which opens on Wednesday presents “a huge opportunity” to make a “historic breakthrough” in the process of agreeing a new phase of climate change measures after the Kyoto targets expire in 2012.
The talks were designed to give extra momentum to the drive for agreement when the G8 countries – the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia – meet with the “plus five” states China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico this week.
Mr Blair hailed US President George Bush’s call last week for a “new global framework” on climate change as a first sign that Washington is ready to take part in international compacts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.Environmentalists have voiced concerns that Mr Bush’s proposal for a separate summit in the autumn may divert energy from the G8 process leading to the United Nations-sponsored Bali summit this December.
But Mr Blair insisted: “President Bush’s announcement a few days ago is an important step forward. The US for the first time wants to be part of a framework which commits the world to agreeing a long term global goal to reduce emissions and national targets below that.”
In a speech to the Globe organisation in the Bundestag parliament building in Berlin, he said there was now an “overwhelming consensus” that human activity was altering the world’s climate.
And he warned: “We have to make quicker and bolder progress if we are to respond to the scale of the threat we face and the consequences if we fail to act. The science tells us time is running out. Given the evidence, given the scale of the disaster should that evidence be correct, it would be grossly, unforgivably irresponsible not to act.”
Looking ahead to this week’s G8 meeting, he added: “We now must move quickly. We simply don’t have the luxury of the five years it took to achieve us to agree Kyoto. That is why the G8 plus 5 discussions are so important in the coming days. Climate change poses a huge challenge. But together we can rise to this challenge and ensure we don’t inflict lasting and irreversible damage on our world. Now is the time to act. It is our duty to do so.”