Tory moderates have attacked climate change sceptics as “flat-earthers” and urged David Cameron to show Churchillian leadership on the issue if he becomes prime minister.
The Tory Reform Group, the main body for “One Nation” Conservatives, warned that the world is “drinking in the last chance saloon”. It rallied behind Mr Cameron in his battle with Tory MPs, MEPs and grassroots members, many of whom are sceptical about climate change, as The Independent revealed last week.
In a pamphlet published tomorrow, the group, whose president is Kenneth Clarke, called for an incoming Tory Government to take the lead in co-ordinating international action; embrace innovation and new technologies and enable businesses to move to a low-carbon economy.
Tim Yeo, chairman of the Commons Environmental Audit Committee, said in the report: “It is essential to understand the urgency of the task and to believe in the possibility of success. As the Arctic melts before our eyes the remaining flat-earthers who say nothing is happening are being silenced.”
He added: “On climate the world is drinking in the last chance saloon. Some people may conclude that it is already too late and therefore not worth trying to avert disaster. On the contrary, the challenge can be met and those who respond first will enjoy considerable financial rewards as well.”
John Gummer, the former Environment Secretary, said in another essay: ““We must take measures to reduce the world’s dependency on finite resources. We are living beyond our means and pressures of growth and increasing wealth are pushing us ever closer to disaster.”
Mr Gummer added: “For too long Britain has stood on the side-lines and allowed others to take the strain and reap the rewards. It is not too late to seize the initiative and recover our reputation for leadership and commercial acumen. This nation of shopkeepers could sell products and services that will develop the sustainable lifestyles that the world needs to survive.”
Today a leading scientist said that claims academics manipulated global warming data do not undermine the case for man-made climate change. The University of East Anglia (UEA) has announced that an independent review will investigate allegations that a series of stolen emails showed scientists at its Climatic Research Unit were manipulating data.
Lord Krebs, a crossbencher and former chief executive of the National Environment Research Council, told peers: "The data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia agree with the two data sets collected independently in the United States... and all three data sets show that thermometer measurements of the global temperature have risen by 0.75C since 1850."
Lord Rees of Ludlow, another crossbencher who is President of the Royal Society, said rises in levels of carbon dioxide, which were "entirely uncontroversial", should "in itself motivate very strong action" at the Copenhagen summit.