Blair gets an Official Warning over Inaction on Climate

The US is usually seen as the villain over climate and rightly so – see – click here

However, the day after the Montreal meeting, Tony Blair faced the wrath of his own watchdog on sustainable development. For the first time ever the “Sustainable Development Commission”, measured government performances in certain key areas such as biodiversity, energy usage and climate change.
Using a “traffic light” system to monitor progress, where green means good, yellow is cause for concern, and red is little or no progress at all, the SDC measured a whole raft of measures. Whereas Blair has made climate one of his central issues of concern this year, including at the G8 meeting in Scotland, the SDC noted that the Government’s total carbon emissions had “increased by 8% since 1999-00, despite the 12.5% reduction target for 2010-11”. Only because some government departments had made progress to wards sourcing from renewable energy was the Government given a yellow warning light not a red. It is an embarrassing reminder of failure on Blair’s behalf. The government did not receive any green lights at all in any policy field.

The Hottest Year Ever

It’s official! Last week the World Meteorological Organisation confirmed that 2005 was the second hottest year on record, and likely to be in the top four warmest years since 1861. The WMO pointed out that the last ten years -1996-2005 are the warmest on record. 2005 also suffered an “unprecedented” number of deadly hurricanes and the Arctic sea-ice dropped far below the average for the fourth consecutive year.

This week NASA has said that 2005 is actually the hottest year on record, with a leading climatologist Dr Michael Coughlan, head of the National Climate Centre at the Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology, saying the world is warmer now that at any time since pre-historic times: “One probably has to go back into prehistoric times – and way back in them – to be seeing these sorts of temperatures” he says.

Polar Bears Drown in Warming Arctic

These rapidly warming temperatures and the declining sea ice (see above) are having a devastating effect on the wildlife of the Arctic. For the first time scientists have found drowned polar bears due to the melting ice. The bears, some of whom were swimming sixty miles across the sea, were not used to swimming such distances. In twenty five years of survey drowned bears had not been encountered before. “For anyone who has wondered how global warming and reduced sea ice will affect polar bears, the answer is simple — they die,” argues Richard Steiner, a marine-biology professor at the University of Alaska.

For more info see the Wall Street Journal or Sunday Times.