Letter: Labour lacks concern for the environment

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Labour lacks

concern for the


Sir: On Monday 8 July, parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate change will meet in Geneva to further the negotiations begun in Berlin last year. These aim to develop a protocol for adoption in 1997 for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the risks of climate change.

The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change's recent report has agreed unanimously that it is now possible to detect a discernible human influence on global climate. It shows that early action is required to avoid dangerous interference with the climate system. The UK's own report also highlights the need for immediate action (report, 4 July).

However, we are extremely concerned that the problem of global climate change is not being treated with the urgency that it requires.

The UK target is to reduce greenhouse gases by 5-10 per cent of 1990 levels by the year 2010 fails to reflect the urgency that the science report has indicated as necessary. The UK has yet to implement some serious climate mitigation policies and its target only reflects what business- as-usual emissions levels will produce. This means that the UK does not have the leverage to exercise real leadership in the negotiations.

The UK should commit itself to the CO2 reduction target of at least 20 per cent of 1990 levels by 2005, as embodied in the Alliance of Small Island States protocol. The UK could reach this target by promoting vigorously energy efficiency, energy conservation, renewable energy and sustainable transport policies that have low cost or that save money.

SALLY CAVANAGH, Coordinator, Climate Action Network UK; ROBIN PELLEW, Director, WWF UK; ANDREW WARREN, Director, Association for the Conservation of Energy; BARBARA YOUNG, Chief Executive, RSPB; CHARLES SECRETT, Director, Friends of the Earth, England, Wales & Northern Ireland; KEVIN DUNION, Director, Friends of the Earth, Scotland; Dr DOUGLAS PARR, Campaign Director, Greenpeace UK; JULIE HILL, Director, Green Alliance; SIMON LYSTER, Director General, The Wildlife Trusts; STEPHEN JOSEPH, Director, Transport 2000; FIONA REYNOLDS, Director, Council for the Protection of Rural England; TOM CROSSETT, Secretary General, National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection

Climate Action Network UK

London SW6