LONDON (UK) / WASHINGTON, DC (US) – The UK Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, is expected to warn President Bush that he must take action on climate change when he speaks at a prestigious scientific conference in the United States on Friday (13 February) [1].

Sir David King is addressing the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Seattle on Friday, where he will speak on “Global Warming: the Imperatives for Action from the Science of Climate Change.”

Last month Sir David wrote in the journal Science that climate change was a greater threat to the world than international terrorism, and criticised the Bush administration saying that “The US government is failing to take up the challenge of global warming”. Earlier this month Mr Blair said that he thought that climate change is the biggest long term threat the planet faces [2].

The United States is the world’s biggest polluter of carbon dioxide, the main cause of climate change, but has so far refused to take international action to tackle the problem. Earlier this month a new report by leading scientists, published in the journal Nature, warned that climate change will threaten extinction for a quarter of the world’s terrestrial animal and plant species by 2050.

Friends of the Earth International Vice-Chair Tony Juniper said:

“The climate change alarm bells are ringing loud and clear. It’s about time George Bush woke up to the terrible threat of global warming and took serious action to reduce US emissions of carbon dioxide. Unless the United States joins the rest of the world in the war on climate change, our environment and the lives and livelihoods of millions of people across the world will be at risk.”

Friends of the Earth US President Brent Blackwelder said:

“There is a major credibility gap between President Bush’s rhetoric about ‘clear skies’ and his continued support for billions of dollars of giveaways in the energy and transportation legislation that will dramatically exacerbate climate change. The Bush administration’s credibility gap has the proportions of the Grand Canyon.”

Last month Friends of the Earth published a report revealing that US oil giant Exxon had caused around five per cent of global, man-made, climate changing carbon dioxide emissions over the last 120 years [3]


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[1] Sir David King is speaking between 6:30PM and 7.30Pm local (Seattle) time.

[2] House of Commons: Minutes of evidence taken before the Liason Committee with Tony Blair (Tuesday 3 February 2004). Question 83:

Mr Ainsworth: I still want to look at the process here rather than the policies because I was very struck, and you would have presumably seen this, by the remarks made by your Chief Scientific Adviser shortly after Christmas in which he said that “climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today, more serious than the threat of terrorism.” Do you agree with that?

Mr Blair: Looking very long term, if I look at when my children are my age, yes, I think it is the key issue that faces us. In the short term, frankly, terrorism and the issues we have been talking about earlier are of critical urgency. I think you can get into a rather cerebral debate about which is more important than the other, but I certainly agree, I think that sustainable development and the issue of climate change is of fundamental importance to the long term security and stability of the world.