Blair opens new front in fight against greenhouse gases

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Tony Blair opened a second front in the fight against climate change yesterday when he launched an international body to facilitate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Tony Blair opened a second front in the fight against climate change yesterday when he launched an international body to facilitate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Prime Minister's endorsement of the Climate Group, which will bring governments, states, cities and companies together to combat global warming, signals his commitment to move forward despite problems with the Kyoto Protocol, the world climate treaty, which commits its signatories to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. It has been rejected by the US President George Bush and cannot come into force unless it is ratified by Russia.

But Mr Blair told a London audience, which included the heads of some of the world's biggest companies, that climate change was "probably the most important issue that we face as a global community".

The Climate Group, founded by the Rockefeller Brothers fund in the US, will co-ordinate efforts to cut emissions across the world by anyone that wants to take part. It is holding a conference in Toronto next month and will launch a "carbon university" next year, which aims to educate organisations wanting to reduceemissions.

Dr Steve Howard, the chief executive, said: "By bringing the key players together the world can turn the corner on climate change."

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