Sir: The flood in Eastern Europe and the chaos in store due to the El Nino effect ("Nature's child causes chaos the world over", 28 July) should alert governments to the fact that climate change needs to be taken seriously. As you note, while El Nino is a natural phenomenon, it may be exacerbated by human-induced climate change. The increased occurrence of extreme weather events, such as flooding, is one of the effects predicted by climate change scientists. Over the last decade, we have already seen a worrying trend, with natural catastrophes four times as frequent as during the Sixties.
Officials from 166 governments meet in Bonn this week to negotiate legally binding reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions, to be agreed at the Kyoto Climate Summit in December.
Progress to date has been excruciatingly slow, hampered by the reluctance of countries such as Australia, Japan and US to support such targets. The UK government is committed to a 20 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions by 2010 but urgently needs to translate this into a credible policy package.
It also needs to convince its global partners that climate change needs acting upon, to avoid the kind of losses to human life and economic well being we have seen in Eastern Europe.
Dr UTE COLLIER
Senior Research Officer
Friends of the Earth
London N1Reuse content