Blair Launches New Climate Change Group

U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke today at the launch of the Climate Group, an international coalition of financial institutions, business leaders, environmental groups, and local politicians dedicated to speeding the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions. The group will hold a major conference in May, create working groups to discuss best practices, and launch a “carbon university” in 2005 to serve as a central repository for its findings. In his remarks, Blair called climate change “the most important environmental issue facing the world today.” Several British politicians and enviro groups took the opportunity to blast what they called Blair’s environmental “tokenism,” citing a report released the previous day documenting the U.K.’s failure to meet emission-reduction targets. Though Blair was originally to give the keynote speech at the launch, he spoke for only 10 minutes, which Liberal Democrat environmental spokesperson Norman Baker called “completely unacceptable.” He added: “The only thing green about Tony Blair are his country wellies.”