Blair Delivers Warning On Global Warming

Tony Blair, June 26, 2007.
The world already knows that global warming is a serious problem and the time has come for politicians and experts to come together to map out a practical solution, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday.

Urging the Group of Eight industrialized nations to stand behind his initiative, Blair said he gave Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, host of the G-8 meeting next month, a report by The Climate Group, a nonprofit organization Blair is part of, on how to forge a global deal on fighting global warming.

"Now is the time to get serious about the solution," Blair told reporters at a Tokyo hotel. "The whole world has woken up. What it needs to know is what to do."

He acknowledged that the challenges to come up with a solution were complex because technologies to fight global warming were constantly changing, and the scientific information about climate change also was evolving.

And so instead of trying to set short-term targets right away, what needs to be done is set a direction and come up with answers on what needs to be done.

"The point I'm making is: The challenge is truly profound," said Blair.

On CBS' The Early Show, Blair addressed a report that the North Pole may be briefly ice-free by September.

"I think it just demonstrates how necessary it is to take action on climate change, how urgent it is that we get a global comprehensive deal, one that has America on the one side, China and other developing countries on the other side and we take action that is realistic for sure but radical enough to prevent further damage to the planet," Blair said.

The report, released Friday, called "Breaking the Climate Deadlock," says emissions of gases that cause global warming are up not only in developing nations but also in the U.S. and Japan.

Defining and setting long-term targets for reducing such emissions apply to developed nations, it said.

Carbon dioxide and other pollutants are blamed for rising global temperatures which threaten the environment. But the challenges are enormous because poor nations need growth, which tend to boost emissions.

The Climate Group, which brings together people in politics and business, hopes to get global support for a deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050.

"We've got to make sure that action is realistic. We don't want to damage our economy," Blair said on The Early Show. "But all the evidence is if we start to take these measures, actually the environment and the technology associated with it and cleaner technology actually provides jobs and a boost in the economy."