An international task force of business leaders, scientists and politicians has released a report predicting dire environmental consequences if the leading industrial nations of the world don’t work quickly to combat global warming.
“An ecological time-bomb is ticking away,” says Stephen Byers, the British political advisor who co-chaired the task force with U.S. Republican Senator Olympia Snowe (ME). “World leaders need to recognize that climate change is the single most important long-term issue that the planet faces,” says Byers.
The report was released against the backdrop of British prime minister Tony Blair announcing that he would use the U.K. presidency of the upcoming G-8 summit meeting of the world’s leading industrial nations to push for a renewed international commitment to mitigating the global warming threat.
Report authors say that the G-8 countries must significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, double their spending on green technology R&D, and work with developing countries to strengthen the terms of the Kyoto Protocol in order to avert a global catastrophe of unprecedented proportions. A commitment by the U.S. to significantly cut its carbon dioxide emissions and to shift agricultural subsidies from food crops to biofuels would represent a serious advance in the battle against global warming, the report concludes.
The independent task force was established last March as a joint effort by the Institute for Public Policy Research in Britain, the Center for American Progress in the United States and The Australia Institute. Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairperson of the U.N.‘s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, serves as chief scientific adviser to the task force.