06 July 2005
Lord May of Oxford, President of the Royal Society, today (Wednesday 6 July) issued a statement, ahead of the G8 summit in Gleneagles.
Lord May said: "The leaders of the G8 nations must lead the global initiative on climate change by committing to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. The science speaks clearly climate change is happening and it is largely caused by the emissions that humans are pumping into the atmosphere. It behoves our world leaders both to recognise this and to take the urgent action it demands of them.
"Anyone doubting the scientific consensus on the issue should read the climate change statement signed by the national science academies of the G8 nations, along with Brazil, China and India. This calls for prompt action to reduce emissions and warns that any delay will increase the risk of adverse environmental effects and will likely incur a greater cost."
Lord May also pointed out that, "The challenge of poverty in Africa a second key issue for the G8 summit is inextricably intertwined, with Africa being set to experience some of the worst effects of climate change while being the least able to cope with them.
"The G8 leaders must consider decisive parallel action on Africa and climate change. Otherwise they may find that they have given Africa the promise of a more optimistic future with one hand, whilst snatching it away with the other."
Lord May also commented on the report published today by the House of Lords committee on the economics of climate change: "Clearly the mix of measures to tackle climate change needs to be informed in part, although not solely, by economics. This report is excellent in setting out the many facets and complications of the actions needed. In particular we welcome the endorsement of the Royal Societys recommendation that a carbon tax is a more effective measure than the climate change levy.
"However, this report fails adequately to recognise the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is happening. This runs the risk, doubtless unintended, of giving credence to the dwindling band of climate change sceptics.
"To draw an analogy, its as if a committee had been conducting an inquiry into the economic consequences of AIDS and, in order to be seen as taking a balanced view, had given equal weight to the tiny handful of people who do not believe that HIV causes AIDS."