Leading U.K. scientist excoriates U.S. on climate-disruption obstruction

As superstorm Hurricane Rita bears down on Texas and Louisiana, Sir John Lawton, chairman of the U.K.’s Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, told the Independent that neoconservatives in the U.S. ought to reconsider their obstructionist stance on climate change. “If this makes the climate loonies in the States realize we’ve got a problem, some good will come out of a truly awful situation,” said Lawton. Rita and Katrina before it are likely signs that human activities are changing the climate, said the leading British ecologist, whose commission advises the queen, the U.K. government, and the public on environmental issues. Asked about describing the leaders of the world’s only superpower as loonies, Lawton elaborated, “I’d liken them to the people who denied that smoking causes lung cancer.” He is the third prominent British scientist to attack the Bush administration for continuing to profess uncertainty about the global warming phenomenon.