Greenpeace 'has firm evidence' of global warming

GREENPEACE yesterday launched the world's first database of early warning signs for climate change - a long list of floods, storms, droughts and changes in wildlife, weather and ice and snow patterns which it believes are all indicators of man- made global warming.

The environmental pressure group claimed that there was now unshakeable evidence that pollution had begun to change the earth's climate and make the planet a more dangerous place.

The database has been published as a 166-page book called The Climate Time Bomb and the information will also be available on the computer network Internet.

Jeremy Leggett, Greenpeace's director of science, said the report had been sent to the governments of 167 nations that had signed the United Nations climate protection treaty. 'I challenge any of them to read the report and not feel the need for a new urgency in addressing this threat,' he said.

But some British researchers were unimpressed. 'This is a collection of newspaper cuttings not worth the paper it is written on,' said Dr Chris Folland, of the Meteorological Office's Hadley Centre in Bracknell, Berkshire, one of the world's leading centres of climate change expertise. 'It's not scientific - the approach is not a valid one.'

The Greenpeace report has 500 entries which include brief summaries of reports from pressure groups, scientists and governments, as well as hundreds of cases of extreme weather. Newspaper sources have been relied on heavily.

Greenpeace, which claims 5 million paying supporters worldwide, points out that:

Eight of the last 14 years have been the hottest since world-wide temperature records began in the last century.

In the last five years the insurance industry has been hard hit by 15 'billion dollar' climate-related disasters, including floods and hurricanes.

Coral bleaching is killing Tahiti's reef systems - the latest in a world-wide surge of coral damage which some scientists believe is due to warmer sea temperatures.

Dr Leggett said that the insurance industry could be the first major casualty of man-made climate change and it was now starting to take the issue seriously. It had dollars 160bn worth of reserves around the globe which could be exhausted in the aftermath of a series of hurricanes and floods. This 'global insurance collapse' would threaten the world economy.

He accepted that it was in the nature of climate to be highly variable, and there would always be extremes around the world at any one time. 'But what we are seeing now is a peculiar concentration in the number and intensity of events.'

However, Dr Folland, while believing that man-made global warming could be a threat, said: 'There always are extreme climate events happening. It's not yet possible to prove that the climate is becoming more variable.'

There is a scientific consensus that rising emissions of pollutants, especially carbon dioxide and methane, are trapping more of the sun's heat in the atmosphere. This could alter rainfall and wind patterns as well as raising temperatures and sea levels.

But the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which gathers together top scientists in the field, believes there will be no unequivocal proof for about 10 years that the climate is changing. By then the planet will be committed to further change.

Greenpeace wants developed nations to cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent by 2005 as a first step in tackling the problem. But the UN's climate change treaty only calls on them to stabilise emissions at their 1990 level by the year 2000.

The Climate Time Bomb; Greenpeace UK, Canonbury Villas, London N1 2PN; pounds 5.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003