Blair: Taking no action ‘grossly irresponsible’

A GLOBAL deal in the Copenhagen climate talks will set a framework for the future and help change to happen faster, former prime minister Tony Blair said yesterday.

Blair said while it may not be fast enough for some, it would still “set the world on a new path to a low carbon future” and to take no action would be “grossly irresponsible”.

He confronted climate change sceptics, saying the world should act even if only as a precaution to the predicted consequences.

Speaking in Copenhagen ahead of talks between leaders this week, the former premier said: “My simple message today is this: there can be a deal at Copenhagen. There should be a deal. It will not be all that everyone wants, but it was never going to be.

“We should take the most ambitious level of commitment to cutting emissions, from both developed and developing nations, that is on the table now, accumulate it, make it the basis of the agreement, add to it in ways that we know can make a difference within the next ten or 15 years, especially in areas like deforestation, and get moving.

“The truth is such an accord would itself set the world on a new path to a low carbon future. As our understanding of the science and technology then increases, precisely under the impetus of such an accord, we can review progress and accelerate.”

He said there was “a huge amount of scientific support” for the view that the climate was changing as a result of human activity and added: “Therefore, even purely as a matter of precaution, given the seriousness of the consequences if such a view is correct, and the time it will take for action to take effect, we should act.

“Not to do so would be grossly irresponsible. Also the same science is telling us that time is running out. So action has to be now.”

He said some would argue the commitments being made at Copenhagen will “fall short of what the science tells us is necessary”, but, he said: “They would mean a big change in policy that would itself have a highly incentivising effect on the future development of technology and the propensity of business to invest in clean energy and use it... Let us get it under way. And that really is the objective for Copenhagen: to get us moving. To be the signal set that makes us switch track to a low carbon future. And to make sure everyone is on the train, going in the same direction.

“The purpose of Copenhagen is to set a framework for that future that makes the changes happen faster.”


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