Let's hope Stern warning is heeded

PUBLISHED: 11:24 02 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:08 06 May 2010

SO NOW we have had a Stern report on global warming and the disaster about to engulf the human race if we don t do something quick, what next? I must admit that reasonable and communicative Sir Nicholas puts over a convincing case when it comes to telling

SO NOW we have had a Stern report on global warming and the disaster about to engulf the human race if we don't do something quick, what next?

I must admit that reasonable and communicative Sir Nicholas puts over a convincing case when it comes to telling us what to expect if we carry on as we are.

I was going to say that, as I listened to his argument, I warmed to him but I suppose that if we all did that - all ten billion or so - then the heat generated would speed up climate change to some degree.

So perhaps we should all be coolly detached.

A lot of people are, of course. They are the ones who think that if one more plastic bottle goes to landfill rather than the recycling bin, what does it really matter?

If it were just one, then it would not matter a jot. But when these bottles add up to millions and billions, then we can appreciate what Sir Nicholas has been warning about.

Warnings about the ozone layer becoming depleted and climate change have been made for years. They were taken up by eco-warriors and the green brigade, but for a long time these groups were regarded as being on the fringe of nuttiness by most of us.

But not any more, I think. The appalling desecration of the rain forests in South America and in other parts of the world have been going on without much criticism for ages but now, at last, it is dawning on the world in general that this is not a good thing.

The industrial chimneys belching smoke and noxious chemicals which prompted people merely to wind up their car windows as they drove past them are now seen as death stacks.

Tony Blair says Sir Nicholas' report is the most important document to have landed on his desk in his nine years in power. I would have thought that one on whether we should go to war on Iraq was of equal importance in a different sort of way, but that's by-the-bye now.

But what to do to combat the impending peril?

Charging 4x4 drivers £600 or more a year car tax may prompt much wailing from the Chelsea tractor drivers but I don't suppose it will stop many of them from splashing the cash on the gas-guzzling monsters.

We are going to have to go a lot further than that to avoid Sir Nicholas' doomsday vision of droughts, floods and economic chaos brought on by global warming.

My worry is that we as a nation won't have a lot of say in the outcome. We are only ninth in the league of polluters, topped by the USA way in front of China, Russia, India, Japan, Germany, Brazil and even Canada.

Persuading some of them to change their ways meaningfully could be a battle destined to fail. But try we must, or we will go down spluttering, burning up or drowning.

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