Page last updated at 02:36 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Obama 'must act now' on climate

Generating station in Sun Valley, California, file pic
McCarthy said Obama had a window of opportunity to draw up green policies

The planet will be in "huge trouble" unless Barack Obama makes strides in tackling climate change, says a leading scientist.

Prof James McCarthy spoke on the eve of the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which he heads.

The US president has just four years to save the planet, said Prof McCarthy.

If major policy changes do not happen within Mr Obama's term of office, they will not happen at all, he warned.

"We have a moment right now of extraordinary opportunity, with a new president, positioned with scientific leadership that has known no equal in recent times," the AAAS president told BBC News.

"The calibre of scientific advice that is close to this man is truly exceptional.

"If in his first term, in the next four years, we don't make significant progress in these areas, then I think the planet is in huge trouble.

"Without US leadership, which has been sorely lacking, we will not get to where we need to be."

Moment of opportunity

Climate change is high on the agenda of this year's AAAS meeting in Chicago.

Former US Vice President Al Gore is among the speakers at the event, with 10,000 scientists expected to attend across the five days of the meeting.

FROM THE BBC WORLD SERVICE

On the eve of the conference, Prof McCarthy told BBC News there was now a moment of opportunity to draw up policies that would be effective in combating climate change.

He said: "Many scientists have wondered whether President Obama will be able to make commitments to investments in energy technology and understanding climate change - that were an important part of his campaign.

"I know many of my colleagues looking at the fiscal situation, have felt that these good ideas might be put on the back burner.

"That would be a terrible thing if that happened.

"This is our window, with the science advice he has, with the realisation that these issues are pressing, if they are made second order I think we have really lost it."

Print Sponsor


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Medical News Today Intrepid Explorers And The Search For The Origin Of Species - 2 hrs ago
Herald Sun Four years left for us - 3 hrs ago
Xinhua News Agency AAAS annual meeting focuses on global climate change - 9 hrs ago
Telegraph Barack Obama has four years to save the world - 28 hrs ago
Hindustan Times Kissing, climate change to heat up science meet - 32 hrs ago



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific