Tony Blair calls for action on global warming, critics heap scorn

U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair made a major speech yesterday that referred to global warming as the earth’s “greatest environmental challenge,” and though he never mentioned U.S. President Bush by name, he pointedly called on the world’s wealthiest countries to take the lead in battling it. Saying that international cooperation was vital, he laid out three goals for 2005: to reach agreement among the G8 nations about the nature and causes of global warming; to agree about scientific and technological means to address it; and to persuade large non-G8 countries like China and India to take steps to scale back emissions. He also pledged to address aviation emission limits and redouble domestic efforts to move the U.K. closer to its overall emissions goals. Blair was promptly scoffed at by just about everybody — from the right by Tory leader Michael Howard, from the left by Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson Norman Baker, and from outside the government by several environmental organizations. All said the same thing: Blair’s well-meaning words belie his insufficient action.