Page last updated at 09:15 GMT, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 10:15 UK

Climate change - where the centre leads

Jose Maria Figueres, Juan Mayr and Marina Silva
VIEWPOINT
Jose Maria Figueres, Juan Mayr
and Marina Silva

This week sees a series of meetings that could create the right conditions for achieving a new global treaty on climate change. In the Green Room this week, three senior political figures from Latin America - Jose Maria Figueres, Juan Mayr and Marina Silva - argue that middle-income nations such as theirs are leading the way.

Coal mine
The industrialised world has failed to cut its own emissions sufficiently to grant either moral authority or practical advantage in this discussion

On 22 September, world leaders meet at the UN in New York for high-level talks on climate change - a summit followed two days later by a discussion at the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh on the global financial situation.

Moving out of the current financial crisis and addressing the problem of climate change can be jointly achieved by shifting the world towards a low carbon economy.

Analysis by Lord Stern and many others has shown that the economic case for taking measures now to mitigate and adapt to climate change is overwhelming.

The meetings this month in New York and Pittsburgh should focus on this.

The importance of these meetings can hardly be overstated. Success at December's UN climate meeting in Copenhagen, where leaders will gather with the hope of reaching a new global agreement, will be determined in no small part on the progress made now.

Transition elements

The scientific evidence is clear: the world cannot support the continuation of "business as usual".

There is a growing consensus in the scientific community that the upper boundary of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels safe for our planet is 350 parts per million (ppm).

Leaders who pay lip service to the science of climate change - who tacitly recognise its devastating implications and then do nothing to halt its advance - are trafficking in hypocrisy

Today, as a direct result of human activities, it stands at 386 ppm. It is therefore essential that each nation shifts its economic development towards a low carbon model, one that can sustain the economy and the ecology of the planet.

Transition to a low-carbon economic system will only happen if all countries co-operate; commitment from every developed and developing country is required.

Industrialised nations, as the primary carbon emitters, will have to act urgently. Of equal importance is the need for developing nations to embark on a path of economic growth which "leap-frogs" carbon-intensive industrialisation.

New maturity

The dilemma of how to foster economic growth without worsening our climate is not a new problem.

And it is not one that is limited to the developing world. Indeed, with the exception of a few, mostly European, countries, the industrialised world has failed to cut its own emissions sufficiently to grant either moral authority or practical advantage in this discussion.

While some nations are in fact taking action - Denmark for example has raised its GDP while lowering carbon emissions and energy consumption - there are many that are only prepared to make weak commitments, which are well below the levels required.

December's UN climate summit presents a real opportunity for the negotiators from 192 nations to act in the global interest.

Man in floodwater
Climate change brings increased flood risk to some poor countries

But if such changes prove challenging for the world's wealthiest countries, imagine the difficulty they pose for economies still reaching maturity.

In this light, it is important to note that nations such as our own are also taking action, and our determination is unshakable.

Plans have been put in place to lower emissions, forgo unsustainable practices and make a transition to new clean energy technologies.

For example, Costa Rica's climate change plan calls for a transition to carbon neutrality by 2021 - an ambitious but achievable programme.

Brazil plans to decrease emissions from deforestation - its main source of greenhouse gas emissions - by 80% before 2020, and plans to establish a target to reduce all emissions in the coming months.

Other examples include the "Long-Term Mitigation Scenario" published by South Africa in 2008, and plans by the Maldives and other island nations to achieve carbon neutrality in the mid-term.

South Korea is investing approximately 80% of its fiscal stimulus package in climate-related measures.

Those commitments are significantly higher than most of what is being proposed by developed nations.

Four elements

The challenge is straightforward: how to curb greenhouse gas emissions and sustain economic prosperity at the same time.

To secure a practical pathway to a clean energy economy - one that is measured in both higher incomes and a more stable climate - we must strike a new partnership between developed and developing countries.

There are four elements to emphasise:

  • Climate change is a moral, economic and environmental imperative that cannot be evaded. Leaders who pay lip service to the science of climate change - who tacitly recognise its devastating implications and then do nothing to halt its advance - are trafficking in hypocrisy, and should be held accountable for doing so
  • The developing world is not uniform - it is as diverse as the major industrialised economies. Those who have set ambitious programmes should be recognised and should benefit from additional incentives. Those who have not must be led to see that additional action will result in additional investment and opportunity
  • It's time to talk dollars and cents. The developed world must follow the call of those like UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown in helping to finance that process of transition. His proposal for $100 billion annually in new investments is the minimum that we should expect to secure at the G20
  • Most importantly, the overwhelming scientific and economic case for striking such a partnership must be well communicated to all people in all countries. Leaders must speak to this and civil society must add its voice loudly.

And here's what needs to be said.

A new partnership supported by substantial investments and political leadership is the only way to marshal the political consensus required to make genuine progress on climate change.

It's fair for developed countries to require more clarity of commitment from developing nations - even if they are voluntary commitments.

However, partnerships run both ways, and it is equally fair for developing countries to expect developed nations to make more ambitious commitments than they have so far been prepared to do.

For the developed world, the transition to a new clean energy economy will create jobs and growth, mitigating the current recession and laying the pathway for economic and environmental recovery.

For the developing world, it is an opportunity to progress towards a sustainable economic model, avoiding climate-damaging industrialisation in the process. This will create further prospects for expansion and job growth.

The time has come for a fair, binding and ambitious climate change agreement and concrete action by all nations.

That's why this week meetings are so important. And that's the prism through which their success should be evaluated.

Jose Maria Figueres is a former President of Costa Rica, Juan Mayr is a former Environment Minister of Colombia and Marina Silva is a former Environment Minister of Brazil

The Green Room is a series of opinion articles on environmental topics running weekly on the BBC News website


Do you agree with the writers? Is a true partnership between countries with different levels of development possible on this issue? Are middle-income nations such as Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica and South Korea showing the way? Can greenhouse gas emissions be cut significantly without affecting wealth and growth?

Remember when the world was flat? How about when the Earth was the center of the solar universe? Or when the Earth's crust was a solid unmovable mass? These were all "truths" at one point and the scientists who changed them were evil crazy men, but they were right. Why are we so reluctant to look at science with a critical eye? Is the majority of the world really that uneducated? Lets learn from the past (for once) and entertain the notion that our brightest scientific minds might be right. P.S. Who on Earth proved the IPCC wrong??!!
Raysa, Reno, NV

Two comments: First The idea that decarbonising will be expensive does not ring true. Most organisations and individuals can double their energy efficiency with measures which pay for themselves in less than ten years. That means that we can halve our emissions at negative cost. Eliminating the second half of our emissions will cost money, but as the cost of renewable energy falls and fossil fuels rise the cost will be quite low. Both routes however need investment, so there is a large up front cost, but the long run cost is low. 2.A skeptic is someone (like me) who says to any proposition "prove it". I say "prove it" to the proposition that it is SAFE to continue emitting CO2.
Martin Normanton, walsall, UK

if we all work together we will achieve the ultimate goal of a long life for our wonderful planet and all its wonderful nations , we must look forward and not dwell to much on the past and concentrate on new and clean energy , most important of all peace throughout the planet then we can all work together and help each other, rich or pore nations , we have a lot to learn but thanks to people's awareness we are getting there and we will I'm sure , we have some grate leaders in the world lets see them all work together .
mark lucas, jersey channel islands united kingdom

I love the way people come on here and say just because IPCC say climate change is happening it is, and because X scientists agree with this position then it must be true. Utter nonesense. Does anyone know what the scientific method actually is? Science is never done by 'concensus', as appears to be the case with man made climate change. For those who love to shout the 'deniers' down, here's how the scientific method actually works: 1. A theory is developed. 2. The theory is tested against experiment. 3. If observation fits theory, then theory survives test. 4. Theory is tested again against experiment until it keeps passing and is accepted as a law, or fails and is adapted. Man made climate change has failed the test against experiment. The theory (computer model output) does not fit observation over the last decade (temperatures). Ergo, the theory, as it is currently thought to work, is evidently incorrect in some way. That is how science is really done. Not by concensus. IPCC went political a couple years ago with some truely unsubstantiated remarks concerning their belief humans were causing climate change. The data simply does not support that conclusion. Sorry guys. By all means do the modelling again differently, but I'll only accept it when observation fits theory.
DM, London, England

Now, I'm sure this article was lovely, but I stopped reading due to the egregious falsehood of the following line: "... growing consensus in the scientific community that the upper boundary of atmospheric [CO2] safe for our planet is 350 ppm." That statement is purposely misleading. As a geologist, I know that there have been billions of years of earth's history when CO2 in the atmosphere has been significantly greater than 350ppm. It was not "unsafe" for the planet then, so why would it be now? Perhaps what was meant (and this is so often the case in climate change literature of any kind) is that if atmospheric CO2 keeps rising at the current rate, then things are going to get pretty messy, especially for humans. Seasonal temperatures, ice caps, sea levels, rain patterns, ranges of animals and plants will change, some may even die out, but the earth will not be destroyed. The earth has survived much crazier things in its 4.6 billion year history - there have been 5 mass extinctions, many asteroid impacts, myriad continental configurations, huge changes in climate, periods of intense and widespread vulcanism. If we could focus the climate change talk on its effects on our own species, and remove doomsday talk of destroying the earth, there would be much less dissension. It's hard to argue against clean air and water, enough to eat, and a nice place to live.
Jen, USA

Well said, Nicola from Glasgow! The scientists know the truth, but people like George from Kentucky decide that they know better because that is what they want to believe. It is irresponsible and ignorant.
James, Middlesbrough, UK

Ronald, I would imagine it is indeed difficult to find a 'reputable scientist' 'not dependent on grants,jobs,or politics' - without receiving money from such sources for doing work, said scientist would be (by definition) unemployed! It saddens me to see how the deniers so misunderstand the way science works. If your reading has lead you to believe that vitually no 'reputable scientists' believe that anthropogenic forcing is happening, then you might want to read something else - your sources are deluding you.
Andrew Watkins, Glasgow, UK

What total nonsense--the premise that the center leads in anything--what a hoot! Please--show me just one example of the center leading in anything. The article is rubbish for that reason and another unmentioned at all: as far as I know, the ONLY nation in the world that has a constitution that protects mother earth is Bolivia, as a result of her newly adopted--Pres. Evo Morales inspired--constitution. If humanity is to survive, Bolivia's constitution should be the starting point for future environmental considerations. Although it is head and shoulders above the rest, even it does not adequately address the main issue--over-population of the planet. Regards,,,Jhon
Locojhon, Trumansburg, NY USA

To my mind there are three key problems we face as a planet: 1) Unconstrained population growth 2) Lack of focus and application on ecological issues we can affect 3) Excessive emphasis on climate modelling to set and direct global priorities. The scientific basis upon which mathematical climate models are based is sound, however they have fundamental problems: - The historical data upon which they have been developed is frequently in disrepute. - Their ability to forecast short term (decadal) climate has been shown to fail simple statistical tests of accuracy. - The ability to predict long term climate trends has been shown to be mathematically impossible. The bottom line is that climate modelling has become a political tool rather than a reliable scientific enterprise. We will all suffer as a result of this mania. For those swift to condemn I add the following: I do believe that the planet is currently warming and this forms part of the constant natural temperature flux that both pre-dates and will outlast mankind. What I question is the amount to which mankind affects this natural temperature variation.
David, Norwich, UK

Those who link poverty with global warming do have a point. Poverty denies us the ability to resource change, poor countries tend to have higher rates of population increase putting increased pressure on reources. The so called renewable fuels used by the poor are in the form of wood (charcoal etc) which is being harvested but not being replaced. The long and short of it is we need to find the financing first before we have any chance of addressing the causes of global warming.
William, Grange-over-Sands

Many people say that there is a consensus amongst scientists on this issue, when there is in fact a mass of scientists who disagree with the anthropogenic global warming theory: http://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/al_gore_global_warming/2008/05/19/97307.html 'An incredible 31,072 Americans with university degrees in science, including 9,021 Ph.D.s, have signed a petition that flatly denies Al Gore's claims that human-caused global warming is a settled scientific fact. 'In 2001, OISM circulated what was known as the Oregon Petition, and according to Lawrence Solomon, executive director of Energy Probe and author of "The Deniers: The World-Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud," that effort, spearheaded by Dr. Frederick Seitz, past president of the National Academy of Sciences and of Rockefeller University, gathered an astounding 17,800 signatures. To establish that the effort was bona fide, and not spawned by kooks on the fringes of science, as global warming advocates often label the skeptics, the 2001 effort was spearheaded by Dr. Seitz, a towering figure in the world of science. Solomon wrote, "The Oregon Petition garnered an astounding 17,800 signatures, a number all the more astounding because of the unequivocal stance that these scientists took:

Neil Thomson, Bournemouth, UK

What has the destruction of rainforests in Brazil and other South American countries done to increase C02 levels? Probably alot. AGW still has not been proven, despite prophets like Al Gore flying around the world proselytizing while raking in huge amounts in profits as a result. Why no discussion about global temperatures dropping since the late 90's? Why no discussion about the false hockey stick graph? That was found to be absolutely wrong, stemming mainly from temperature collection stations on rooftops and in parking lots where the temperatures are much higher than the ambient temperature. I love the 'proof' that other comments have provided, like 'unpredictable rain in Kenya'. Yep, that is proof positive.
Michael D, Morristown, NJ

It is impossible to be a 'climate change denier' because the earth's climate has been cycling, through millions of years,well before the human species arrived. Indeed various chemicals may pollute the air and alter some localised climates...and yes, let's get rid of pollution! But to blame it all on CO2 is barking up the wrong tree. CO2 is but a minuscule fraction-composite of our atmosphere. There are many much greater forces working all the time to influence our climate changes. CO2 barely rates a mention in the overall scheme of causes of climate variations.
phillip soffermann, australia

If you look at all clothes purchased by people in the UK, how many come from Malaysia or Thailand? They were cheaper, great, but how many km of rainforest was killed and planted with palm trees to support these factories? I know this was a simple analogy but if we all knew things like this when we buy, we may stop buying things from such low cost areas. All people invest in the stock market. Through their pensions, even if they do not know what is in it. If we as people channel money into environmentally enhancing companies (such as those developing green technology, or actively do business in harmony with their local environment) then these business would become stronger and polluting, wasteful, inefficient companies who destroy the environment would turn a natural virtuous cycle into a healthier world. 3) We cannot tell others what to do, until we ourselves become self sufficient. Be it, grow our own veg, plant trees in our gardens or tell our MPs to plant more trees in cities etc. In 1950, 30% people lived in urban areas, 2010 50% or half live in urban areas and by 2050 70% of people will live in urban areas. The living population will care less about the environment, as they will not contact it. People in cities just contact roads, concrete and buildings. We must change our urban areas to encompass trees and wildlife; otherwise people will continue to care less about it. I look forward to views. Everyone has an equally valued view, after all we all impact the climate and environment.
robert, London, England

Firstly I fully agree with Chris Henderson's messsage earlier. Secondly what is needed now is not more scientific research to convince the remaining doubters but true leadership to make progress towards achieving what the world needs. We, ordinary members of the public, must take responsibility by pressing our politicians to stop making climate change a political football, and to take radical, conserted action. I cannot believe that the way forward lies in the continued creation of schemes to price emissions that, in reality, are means to move the problem from one place to another by the trading of emissions credits, and are largely seen as money-making opportunities by the market players. The focus of our political leadership must be on emmisions reductions per head in each country, there is simply no other way. This may sound at least ambitious, and to some unrealitic, but the article provides examples where this has been done. Furthermore, and perhaps most important of all, we each have a responsibility to change our lives to be more sustainable and to demand products, services and legislation that support this objective.
Chris Loran, Southampton, UK

Please can any of the deniers on this comments page point me to the peer reviewed science showing that climate change is not man made.
Charles Mossman, Crediton, UK

Since there is no global warming,let alone any AGW is PROOF POSITIVE of a Government agenda in which scientists are recieving grants with strings attatched. (1) - Just read this EPA paper by Dr Calin Proposed NCEE Comments on Draft Technical Support Document foe Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act http://cei.org/cei_files/fm/active/0/DOC062509-004.pdf (2) - Go to Dr Casey's site and you WILL realize how weak Climate Sensitivity Factor is and the failure of the AGW hypothasis. http://www.spaceandscience.net/id16.html As to the legislation pending in the Senate, Director Casey was straight forward in his opinion adding, "Since there is no global warming we have no need to pass any form of legislation to regulate it and that certainly includes the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Since there is no global warming we have no need to impose an unbelievable global warming tax on the American people especially amidst a national and global financial crisis, that doesn't seem to have reached bottom yet.
Barry Day, Scone NSW

Anyone struggling to understand the sharp dichotomy between the "deniers" and those of us who believe in climate change, would benefit from reading about cultural theory. The public "debate" will never be solved. The two groups are arguing from different premises.
John, Bristol

Sadly the unaccounted for populations, pastoralists are on the verge of disappearing from the earth due to cyclic droughts.The fragile environment is turned upside down by civil wars funded from out side and charcoal exportation to oil rich countries of the Gulf who do not need but enjoy charcoal cooked meals for fun. International donors give lip service to environmental rehabilitation and protection because who will notice what happens in Somalia and whose interest does it serve among the rich? Nil. Where are those concerned and voices for Climate Change?
Fatima Jibrell, Bosaso, Somalia

When trying to work out what to believe about the science behind climate change, should I listen to the IPCC, the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences, the Royal Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the European Science Foundation, the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, the American Geophysical Union, the European Federation of Geologists, the European Geosciences Union, the Geological Society of America, the American Meteorological Society, the Royal Meteorological Society, the American Astronomical Society, the American Institute of Physics... or George in Kentucky?
Nicholas Mayes, Glasgow, Scotland

I wholeheartedly agree with Jon from Cambridge: the science is not proved. Additionally, if it weren't for our CO2 blanket, life (including us) wouldn't have survived the last ice age. Moreover, we are currently, it seems, emerging from a mini-ice age. The planet has seen both much hotter and much colder times before, and we humans tend to exaggerate our own part in what happens, way beyond our significance in cosmic terms. However, equally, taking 'green' measures to the top of our bent will make our planet a much pleasanter place to be, for all of us, other life-forms included. By all means, let's max efforts to reduce pollution (all pollution!) - but don't let's be surprised if it fails to cool the planet. The sun's a bit bigger than we are, and has its own agenda.
Val Gaize, Studley, UK

Some of the comments from the armchair sceptics are unbelieveable. Show me a peer-reviewed scientific paper that disputes anthropogenic climate change. You will find none, or very few. Scientists are not divided on this subject. The only people who choose to deny it are people who are unwilling to give up their gas-guzzling cars and unsustainable lifestyle.
Alan, UK

A great article thanks, and extremely relevant because tackling the climate emergency requires solutions that are truly collaborative between nations of different resources and vulnerabilities. Our earth's atmosphere is a global common that now needs careful scientific management - not unbridled economic growth. It is well documented that the debate on climate change was misled for decades by propoganda funded by large oil and energy industries, most of which are now investing in alternatve energy themselves. Ian Plimer's claims are unsupported by scientific evidence or were refuted long before his book was published. The vast majority of scientists worldwide support the IPCC findings. Yet the denial cry is still taken up by people with a range of conspiracy theories and psychological drivers, and fuels dangerous seeds of doubt about the undenialbly dangerous environmental disasters that are unfolding on our doorsteps.
Dr John Petheram, Ballarat, Australia

Thie article like most one reads on this subject fails to accept that deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are essential. This will cause a global economic downturn which is unavoidable and must be accepted if there is going to be any chance pf sdefeating Global Warming. We can survive but it won't be easy as most commentators seem to think.
John B Davies, London, England

Regardless of the validity of proof regarding the reasons behind climate change, surely reducing the amount of toxins we pump into the atmosphere and the amount of energy we use is a good thing for humanity. Everyone but the most greedy and thoughtless of industrialists must see this as a good thing.
Dave, Newcastle, UK

A good article, some interesting points raised. However to those claiming that humans have had no effect or else part in climate change go spend a few weeks in an equatorial developing country and then tell me climate change is not man made. I spent three months in between Kenya and Uganda. Unpredictable rainfalls, and these last two years rains thta have been inconsistant or not come at all, the main forest and water catchement tower the Mau forest complex in Kenya has been severly reduced in particular in recent times and the effect is regional. The rains, the rivers and the lands fertility.
Suzanne Rush, Cork, Ireland

I do not see why people still need scientific proof that global warming is caused by human activities. It is almost common sense now. e.g. coal plants use coal dug up from deep underneath and generate electricity and outputs millions of tonnes of carbondioxide that is not stored back. Sunlight comes from the outside of the earth and not inside and therefore the heating starts, since the radiation cannot escape back. That alone explains that we cause global warming. The idea for developing countries to leap-frog carbon intensive industrialisation is perhaps the best way out so that there are no 'new' carbon polluters. Developed countries spend billions on space programs that look at distant stars and if only that money was instead used for global warming we'd be in a better position today.
Eshwar Andhavarapu, Pretoria, South Africa

South Korea IS a developed nation. South Korean car manufacturers such as Hyundai and Daewoo build millions of cars. Likewise China is surely industrialised- everything we buy seems to be 'made in China' and the idea that the UK with very little industry left can somehow offset the emmisions of 1.2bn Chinese is ridiculous. The UK could go back to the stone age and global emmisions would drop by less than 1%.
Peter, Notts

The west has held its hypocritical stance when it comes to climate policy. The way the system works allows the countries themselves to offset their carbon emissions through projects abroad, rather than dealing with the issues at home. It is clear that many people (from reading the comments this includes many of our friends across the Atlantic)fail to believe that climate change is even caused by humans, politicians are wary of the costs to the western economies if climate targets are imposed upon them. The fact is that yes climate change has occurred for millions of years, we know there were ice ages, and times when the planet has been warmer than it is now. The problem is that these changes have never occurred over such a short duration in time, and there has never been 6 billion people living on the planet, tearing down trees and burning fuel like they're going out of fashion. Whilst people deny their responsibility for climate change, it will not be possible for their countries to commit to targets as they will not be able to reach them. We need strong leadership, and possibly the UN to step in and start imposing large fines for 'climate abuse'.
Chris, Middlesbrough, UK

I read a great many comments of people concerned about concern and spending on environmental issues derailing the global economy. The global economy is not on rails. It expands and contracts and to assume that it will just keep on growing in the same direction as it has been since the industrial revolution is perhaps naive. That direction was caused by an under-valuation of public goods like clean air, drinkable water and healthy happy pandas. When those public goods start being considered in the global economy then the global economy will start shifting toward a more sustainable balance. Nothing is going to be derailed, only rebalanced.
Ryan, Toronto, Canada

I work in the mining industry and, whilst no climate specialist, I see millions of tonnes of coal being consumed. The science may or may not be right, but I'd prefer to take precautions in case it is and reduce the carbon consumed. I have seen that with some attention, significant changes in efficiency can be achieved without great inconvenience. If reducing carbon means I'll be out of job - fine. At least I'll feel I'm not creating a problem for my kids.
David Pearce, Chepstow, UK

There seems to be a a bunch of cowboys who have read and commented in your article. Althought the debate on climate change has raged for the best part of two decades some people still seem to follow the garbage and propaganda spread by the American repulican party these people still do not understand the basics. Initially there were investigations and inquiries in which these republicans Admitted to falsifying and fabricating facts, figures and evidence against global warming and climate change. Although to the ignorant it may seem hypocritical of governments to preach of global warming when during the 70's and 80's there were fears of global cooling. There concerns were justified and if it were not from a worldwide ban on the use of leaded fuels then the climate would be far worse than it is today. Even if you do not "believe" in global warming and climate change and think that is a far fetched conspiracy then you are wrong, the hard facts prove that. BUT if you fail to see reason then surely you will recognise that the earths resorources are finite and that conserving them and protecting them is vital. There is nothing wrong with recycling! CO2 emissioins still contribute to the atmosphere, and are the cause in the increase in conditions such as asthma. This was obviously demonstrated prior to the Bejing Olympics in which they had to radically reduce the output of CO2 to stage the games. They took 50% of the cars of the road and shut down many factories down for the week before the games. This changed the local climate and the cloud of smog that had been a constant stain on the skyline cleared dramatically improving the air quality in a city where people wear face masks in the street.
Cameron, Edinburgh

If any of the deniers, especially the ones who 'doubt' the science can read the IPCC report and and point to the evidence that they 'doubt' or, better still, produce similarly peer reviewed evidence to the contrary, maybe people will start treating them more like intelligent adults and less like kids who stick their fingers in their ears and shout.
Nat, London, England

Climate modelling is nothing more than scientific speculation. Anyone who's involved themselves in numerical modelling techniques in other, more developed areas of numerical modelling (CFD, FEA etc.) still would be reluctant to bet their mortgage (or a company's future) on the results without real-world verification. And yet our governments wish to spend hundreds of billions of dollars based on preditions from the extreme extrapolation of models of poorly understood phenomenon. We are doomed, and not from AGW in the first instance! Who's going to pay the bill when someone finds a discontinuity in their Reynolds number?
Andrew Rabbitt, Northampton, UK

An excellent exposition. All your four key points cannot be argued against. The science is in, it is clear and can be seen all around us. Leaders cannot hide behind the electoral cycle in their respective countries any longer. To mouth platitudes but do nothing until after the 'next election' would be - as you say - the ultimate hypocrisy, because they all know the scientific truths. Such inaction is to consign the next generation/s to world-wide unrest, displacement, famine and climatic disaster. Please ignore the denialists posting above, who would sentence their descendents to misery and the world to mass deaths, for the sake of protecting short-term vested economic interests. To suggest that the thousands of climate scientists from around the world behind the IPCC reports are colluding in their own interests is way beyond conspiracy theory and is even a little 'Waco', given the wealth of scientific evidence. To them I say: read the reports of the IPCC and Lord Stern, plus the economic modelling of the UK or the Australian Treasury (available online). You will then see that if the world acts now, standards of living need not fall - the world GDP will continue to grow along with the requisite emissions control.
Ross, Sydney Australia

For the doubters the evidence is now incontrovertible. You just need to open your minds and look for it. In terms of a human lifespan this will happen over decades but there are already signs of it happening now and fast - http://tinyurl.com/lneqfs and http://tinyurl.com/lglgba. Strong government action is required to kick start the action that is required and that is really all about partnership and sustainability. And... dare I say it... to ensure that we can sustain ourselves, some element of population control may be required. World Population in 1945 approx 2bn, world population now 6.7bn, world population estimated in 2050 9.3bn!
William Allbrook, Malmesbury UK

Again people, climate change is happening, the change measured appears to great for what we understand. To continue is like having a huge fireworks show in California. That's my belief, justified by the overbearing weight of scientific evidence as interpreted by experts. Well said Richard. As for the tax paranioa, free market brigade, where do you think your food comes from? the free market? I don't think so.
Craig, Edinburgh

Even if you deny the existence of a correlation between global warming and emmissions of carbon dioxide/monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxides &c.; it is beyond doubt that the current consumption rate of fossil fuels is simply unsustainable. Whilst nuclear power functions well as a temporary mitigation, worldwide uranium stocks would (it is estimated) only support global electricity demand for two years. Thus, regardless of your stance on global warming, it is imperative to both reduce energy consumption (by being more efficient) and use renewable sources.
Sasha Millwood, Essex, United Kingdom

I do not believe the scientific evidence can be scrutinized threw a few words or casual debate. What is undeniable is climate change and poverty, and these issues should be tackled in measures which are most effective. None of which involve a great deal of high technology or unaffordable investment.
Weisi , Cambridge

Basically, I agree with this positive moment in order to reach the agreement regarding a new international framework. But for that purpose, UN itself is not sufficient to be creative forum for that purpose. Therefore, it is a crucial task for our generation to establish World Environmental Organization or Global Sustainable Development Organization which coordinate, govern, and balance between environmental, economic, and social indicators in a comprehensible manner for our sustainable future.
Minoru Isohata , Gyoda, Japan

How about that? Just look at that starving man! I am sure glad to be an American!
Nicholas Stephen Mary Ognissanti, Clementon, NJ

Over-population of the world is the root of this problem.Also if all nations yes ALL agree to bring in line their contraception & sterilisation programmes including poor countries (I mean in particular poor countries) & we all agree yes ALL agree to the same rules globally for responsibility/capping & monitoring of CO2 emissions then we're in with a chance.If not forget it.
Mrs K H Hemmings, Wrexham Wales

It's barely relevant what impact mankind has made on the climate, it must be our aim to look after the world in which live as best we can. It would be grossly selfish to place the needs of our economies over our ecosystems. Neglecting our planet will prove a mistake somewhere along the line - whether it be in temperature increases, radiation exposure or another defining factor - and the right elements need to be preserved. Money is a man-made concept, and I don't believe it's the right entity to fight for.
Chris Ironside, Aberdeen, Scotland

All credit for acknowledgement of the simple fact that this is one planet: it will be of no benefit for one nation to cut emissions whilst another increases them. Unfortunately the article fails to address the elephant in the room...population. How can 'poor' nations meet targets whilst experiencing uncontrolled, exponential population growth?
John, England

When we sit in the international forum we have strong nationalism to oppose international solutions. When we are inside the nations we have opposition parties and other important issues. When we are in a kinship gathering, we have very strong religious and ethnic feelings. We are loaded with many perceptions. Concern for the environment is one among them. It's a silent feeling, self motivating, and moves through an internal force. Though, it does not manifest strongly but it's not a weak force. Need is to organize these internal forces in to a big movement. The article suggests four key areas for restrictions on carbon emissions but why not population is being discussed in the international forums. The use of fossil fuels, concrete structures along with industrial pollution is making human beings as 'Aliens of Planet Earth'. This culture can be established on any other barren planet, why to make our planet barren to establish this culture?
Sanjay Singh Thakur, Indore,India

The first carbon study was undertaken by Margret thatcher when she was crushing the coal unions in the UK and needed a backing. Simply putting two graphs together and saying carbon equates to temperature rise is as immature as the sunspot theories (which i do think holds more credit). Surely with modern tech they could create an environment pump it full of carbon and see if it makes any difference to temperature retentions, rather than the current graph model. The whole scientific model which the western world prides itself is not used in the climate debate. Both sides of the argument have there point and are pulling up coincidences to prove it, how about some real research. There have been numerous instances now of reports undertaken under various international bodies which have questioned carbon being the reason, yet these reports are shelved and deemed as unreliable. As of yet I'm firmly on the line that it is just being brought in to replace the economic structure that oil currently provides for western economies. I personally believe we should clean up the planet, but not for global warming. The sheer number of carcinogens we burn daily simply as they are the cheapest and most profitable to use is motive enough.
Luke S, Sydney Aust

Since there are comments on here mentioning Ian Plimer, I would like to highlight George Monbiot's questioning of the same, as shown on his website http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2009/09/14/answers-come-there-none/ Please read all of the information here before you make your mind up about Plimer. It seems he is not able to back up many of the claims he makes in his book. Be very cautious!
Lisa, Glasgow

We live in a society that simply could not exist if it's scientific community was not capable of figuring out how things work and putting that into practice to our benefit (or at least what we perceive as our benefit). All of us in the industrialized nations live lives of comfort that would be impossible without a scientific community that is, broadly speaking, knowledgeable, capable and honest. We enjoy and believe all the good news they bring us and now that they are trying to tell us there is a problem we suddenly know better than they do? The majority of scientists have agreed that climate change is a threat to us and caused by us. In doing so they are working for our benefit - just as they (broadly speaking) always have done.
Michael Baxter, Victoria, Canada

Climate change deniers are a tiny minority, but a disproportionately vocal one. By making constant efforts to swamp online discussions like this one, they aim to foster doubt in people's minds where none should exist about the reality of climate change. Don't be fooled.
Chris Henderson, London, UK

Why do the BBC continue to allow such alarmist nonsense to be presented as fact? The only people that actually believe the "science is settled" on climate change are those that have been duped by the constant repetition of the mantra. A few hours research on the internet makes it abundantly clear that this is not the case. The facts are that the correlation between warming and CO2 is very poor. Far from there being "overwhelming evidence" to support the theory of catastrophic man made warming there is actually none, none at all. The predicted hotspot over the tropics cannot be found despite billions spent trying to find out. Also, none of the computer models the doomsday scenarios are based on managed to predict the current 10 year cooling we are experiencing. There is no evidence whatsoever that man made warming is a significant problem for mankind. On the other hand there are a great many groups who have a vested interest in making us believe we are on the edge of catastrophe. Politicians who wish to tax us; Marxists who wish to gain power through rationing the energy supply; environmentalists who want to limit mans impact by reducing economic activity and businessmen like Al Gore who seek to profit through trading in carbon credits. The BBC and our scientific institutions are disgracing themselves by continuing to present only one side of this story when it is becoming very clear that much of what is claimed has no real basis in fact. I doubt you will publish my letter as you never do.
Chris Phillips, Guildford UK

It's unbelievable what people allow themselves to think. The vast majority of the scientific community now agree that humans are directly causing climate change. Neither governments nor scientists have any real incentive to claim this or act on it given the adverse impact on the economy that such action will inevitably have. Yet - after over twenty years of warning - governments are now at last starting to take action. And yet there are still far too many out there who obstinately refuse to believe it, preferring instead to entertain notions that there is no problem, thus justifying their support of the economy over the environment. They'll even go so far as to construct conspiracy theories to vindicate their illusion (the government, the environmentalists and the press are all in it together to somehow rob the little people of all thier money....yeah, right!). Well guess what - There will be no viable economy to speak of without a functioning environment. I don't have kids or grandkids, but I pity those who do - There may just be enough of these fools out there to make sure they haven't a planet to live on.
Steve, Bristol

As usual developed countries are expected to take the brunt and make higher emmision cuts although many have colder climates than the developing countries and need to heat homes. When will I hear the world being asked to reduce birth rates, especially those developing countries with extremely high birth rates.
Rob Barton, Market Drayton

Most people are insufficiently qualified (academically) to comment on this issue. I often hear 'we need a debate'! I have news for you: the debate has already happened (it is called the 'scientific method'). Now all that needs to happen is that those who are not qualified have to do what they are told by those who are. Get used to it because things will never be the same again.
Dr. Smug, Preston, UK

The problem with this entire debate as demonstrated by the comments above is a distinct lack of trust in anything that anyone on the other side has to say. Anything resembling debate very soon turns hysterical. There are 2 very clear sides to this argument, one side are deniers and therefore seen as pariahs and capitalist pigs by the other side who urge change and are seen as communist hippy earth mothers by the deniers. In terms of the scientists, the deniers are sceptical of evidence that has come from state sponsored research because of some huge conspiracy, likewise most of the research put forward by deniers appears to have come from industry sponsored research where the industry finger is most definitely in the pie (eg Ian Plimer is supposedly a director of 3 mining companies). There is only 1 exception that I'm aware of to this stereotype and though he's not a scientist he does have a clear and consistent view on the worlds supply of oil and gas, Matthew Simmons, he runs a Investment company that advises the energy industry. I'm not sure this debate will ever be finished but it surely needs a lot more trust on both sides to be more constructive and if that's not possible some truly independent voices though where they'd get there funding without finger pointing god knows! I'm just off to put out the recycling...
Frank Murphy, Princes Risboro UK

We have nothing to loose by cutting waste and unsustainable consumption and we and more inportantly our descendants have everything to gain. The supposed conspiracy theories behind MMCC do not convince but of course Darwin still gets a hard time.
Christopher Hall, London England

I wonder if any of the people posting denials of man-made global warming are funded by energy companies. indirectly of course! It would be a preposterous conspiracy theory to propose that anyone should be paid to post energy guzzling supporting comments across many different parts of the global media.....
chris tappenden, bewdley, worcestershire

but by 2050 all the system must change for good? stop eating the money lot of it!!!!!!!!!!!
paul antony razzell, rushden northants

It seems to me that, even you have no truck with the theory that climate change is a man made problem, there still remains an undeniable truth: The world's resources are limited, there are only so many areas that were once forested that have now changed into fossil fuels. One day, we will run out of coal, oil and gas. That is undeniable whoever you are. On that basis, it seems only to be common sense that we should develop more and more ways to ensure that a dwindling resource lasts as long as it possibly can. Since the use of all of these finite resources is what causes an increase of CO2 in the planet's atmosphere, then making them last longer and developing alternative power sources will surely bring about a decrease in CO2 emissions. That should bring benefits to everyone. Or do the people who quite rightly question the climate change lobby believe that the earth's fossil fuel supplys are infinite?
Geoff K, Bristol UK

Climate change is real and we (along with every life form on this planet) are a part of it. But the dooms day fantasies peddled by the likes of Prince Charles, Al Gore and hippies are not. Unfortunately politicians are unable to tell the difference between an unbiased scientific paper and a hippy corporation misrepresenting and selectively choosing any data they see/make. So undoubtedly our and others politicians will embrace (so he/she can smile in pictures saying how he/she is saving the world) and waste a lot of our money on what ever get rich quick scam some self declared environmentalist is running. It's the equivalent of correctly diagnosing a bacterial lung infection, then paying a witchdoctor to make a magical charm to heal the patient. I should know, I live with such an "environmentalist". All they do is religiously accept any "facts" that support their beliefs (ignoring how unsupported and biased such claims often are). While automatically declaring any data that doesn't support them as a conspiracy by *insert random government or company* which is trying to stop the hippy revolution. (Notice that politicians are being pressured to quickly make an agreement this year, instead of taking the time to investigate any claims that are being made)
James, UK

How can there be a 'free market solution' when there is no financial cost on the majority of environmental goods? We have limited carbon markets but that's it, we have to recognise the true costs of our consumption of the environemnt and that's the point in environmental taxes.
Jess, Sheffield, UK

I sadly agree with the writers. The only way to get out of this mess is through monetized incentives. Unfortunately it is that same greed that got us into this situation in the 1st place: money, money and money! For that reason I wish that the world leaders would realize that climate change is not another investmnent opportunity and should instead be motivated by a strong will to restore the situation. Anyway, there is another subject that has not yet been considered seriously - because it is a very sensitive one - but should be discussed: overpopulation. We are way too numerous on Earth and along with the nations' efforts to go green, we should think of an implicit way to control population growth. Resources are decreasing, population is increasing: you do the math.
Fadi Haddad, Geneva, Switzerland

It all comes down to efficiency in the end - it's our role as inhabitants of earth (and especially those of use who are engineers)to think about what we do. It makes sense for us to improve the way we do things, to use the earths resources efficiently and to limit any emissions / pollution. I think it would help if the political heat were taken out of the argument and a concentartion be placed on making everything we do more efficient in terms of resources and effect.
Jane Belton, Manchester

I agree with Peter in Edinburugh, there seem to be plenty of people who are pushing that governments are just trying to control us using any means necessary. When will these people learn that climate change is happening? Look outside at our cold summers and hot winters! Evidence is unavailable to those who don't wish to read it...
Adam, Cardiff

Why are there still naysayers about climate change? What about the unbreathable air in cities around the world? Is that a hoax too?
Jon , Bangkok, Thailand

This is the kind of political leadership that will be necessary to break the current deadlock. More and more leaders are learning about the economic opportunities presented by the climate crisis, and the consequences of the failure to act. We can only hope that the three Latin American leaders' clear statement will create momentum for a truly cooperative effort to rebuild the global economy in a sustainable fashion. The alternative is just unacceptable.
steve sawyer, Antrim, NH USA

@Ronald, Jon, Ferhan & Francis You say that scientists who believe Climate Change is manmade are all funded, and therefore lying and then you say we should listen to Ian Plimer. The same Ian Plimer that sits as director of three Australian mining companies: Ivanhoe, CBH Resources and Kefi Minerals. The same Ian Plimer that rejects claims of a conflict between his commercial mining interests and his view that man-made climate change is a myth. The same Ian Plimer that has said that the proposed Australian carbon-trading scheme could decimate the Australian mining industry. Whether Climate Change is man made or not, we should be living sustainable, pollution free lives. We have but one planet after all, and we have to live on it for the foreseeable future.
Steve Beech, Wales UK

Just for fun shall we read some peer reviewed scientific papers on climate change? It may even inform our opinions. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/292/5515/270 http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686?paged=60 Enjoy
Steve Hall, Hull

The real problem isn't climate change but overpopulation. All the problems today come back to this one issue. Deforestation, Climate change, extinction of species, destroying the worlds oceans, wars, famine etc. This planet is overpopulated by many billions of humans and this just isn't sustainable. It doesn't matter if we are causing climate change or it's a natural occurrence because the other issues are much more problematic and should be more of an issue to politicians. Unfortunately no politician has the guts to say this. If the human race keeps reproducing at this rate then there will be no need for debates on climate change or green taxes because we will be in the midst of either a 3rd world war, or a mass outbreak of disease etc. To be honest the way things are going at the moment it's the best thing that could happen to Planet Earth.
Chrs Ford, Teignmouth, Devon, UK

The developed nations have absolutely no moral basis upon which to preach to the developing world. This is not due to their own performance with regards emissions control. Rather, it is down to the complete lack of any scientific evidence to back up their pro-warming stance. The BBC seems absolutely determined to preach the Global Warming theology, ignoring the fact that the rest of the world has seen it for the sham that it is. As long as media outlets continue to sell the cause, the politicians will continue to 'take it seriously'. This really is a case of the tail wagging the dog and the western media need to take a long hard look at how their sensationalism has distorted political direction to the detriment of us all. As for the environmental movement, don't get me started...
Nik, Preston, England

I am utterly frightened by some of the responses I've just read. Here's an idea...stop taking your rubbish out of a week and see what happens to your little bit of the environment. Then come back and state that pumping billions of tonnes of by-product into the worlds eco-system without thought for the consequence isn't going to make any difference. Whether you agree with climate science or not, it's just good practice not to introduce a large amount of something that wasn't there in the first place. Common sense ot good manners, call it what you will. How quickly people forget the lessons of Ozone. It's going to be another 50 years before the damage done to the atmosphere during the 70's and 80's is repaired, but we did it, we made a change that stopped a global disaster. Thank God we didn't listen to the sceptics then or we would all be wearing UV suites today.
Steven Glenister, Brighton

Whether or not you agree that 'climate change' is a real thing I believe its the wrong argument. I personally believe the climate is shifting and is caused by us but I also think this argument should be more about sustainable development. Currently as a species we are using all of the natural recources availble to us at an alarming rate. Most of the stuff we use ends up in landfills even when most of it can be recycled and turned back into useful products. (even a lot of money to be made there) Fossil fuels (which account for 85% of the worlds energy generation) are running out and produce huge amounts of pollution from CO2, SO2, to nasty unburnt hydrocarbons and soot. This is produced from not only burning the fuels but extracting and transporting the fuels in the first place. We need to look to the future and invest in sustainable technologies to support the worlds growth. Danny
Danny, UK

There is another way of looking at the economic picture - what would the climate change deniers have us do? The answer is that they would have us all be less efficient, MORE reliant on fossil fuels and deforest even more than now. In whose interests exactly is that strategy?
Matt, Surrey UK

as long as we maintain a flawed economic model that favours wealth accumulation at a national and individual level rather than equitable wealth distribution at a global level then climate and poverty will always be items on the agenda that need but never recieve attention. The current economic ethos encourages greed and perpetuates the myth that the wealthy can always buy themselves out.
malcolm mcewen, jersey u.k.

Some developing countries are making good gains, but a lot of them still have to make substantially more effort - including getting over their refusal to talk targets, especially if they want us to talk dollars! The same applies to developed countries - it's not just Denmark that has done well, the UK and Germany have also made big improvements recently. But then others like the US and Australia are behind. I saw a report recently called "G20 carbon competitiveness" which analysed all the G20 countries to see which ones were on track to meet their targets - and the Latin American countries did do quite well.
Chris James, Oxford, UK

"...There is a growing consensus in the scientific community that the upper boundary of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels safe for our planet is 350 parts per million (ppm)..." What is it with that proclaimed "growing consensus"? I thought it was no longer up to discussion and now you are telling us that consensus has not been reached jet? If you believe that the sky is falling than put your money -and not mine- where your mouth is. Don't try to sell this global warming hoax to extort funds but lead by example first. The demonizing tactics by the Green fanatics is counter productive, appalling and laughable. The climate control advocates need to get behind their goal and reduce their own CO2-foot print. But apparently that is not their objective. As long as I see them eager to spend other nation funds I will let them keep on whining and I ignore the ignorant claim that "Climate change is a moral, economic and environmental imperative that cannot be evaded." Climate has been changing for millions of years and now it is a moral imperative? May be you need to submit a petition and the concern to the almighty so he will be reminded of his moral imperative. But that is silly for me to ask because to become the "master of the universe" is the goal of the Global warming hoax. It won't work on me! You need to find a better way to brainwash ALL the people. Much more fear mongering might just do that. Meanwhile, I get prepared for the global cooling that has been underway for the past 8 years. I am on the side of the Russian scientists who are prepare for cooling as well. That much for the consensus.
Werner Strasser, Versailles KY USA

It is hard to let some poeple to see that the future is more important than the current crisis. But before we challenging others let us ask ourselves what we will do to protect our living land. Even if it is just a white lie, we'd better move to take actions and keep eyes of looking of these who made their commitments to acheive one goal---save the planet, save the home.
Monica, Shanghai China

As a mature student who is two thirds of the way through a Master's degree course in International Development and whose research project involves a thorough understanding of climate change issues, I feel that it's about time that the media start treating people who deny the anthropogenic causes of the current changes in the world's climate in the way that we all treat exponents of a 'Flat Earth Theory'. That is, simply ignore them or indeed simply refer them to the 'Flat Earth Society, Box 2533, Lancaster, CA 93534 USA'.
David Roberts, Sheffield

Well, there are certainly some fierce and devided opinions above. It seems to me that people are complaining because they fear change and although we may split hairs about how desperate the need for Green reform is, how imminent the danger posed by our impact on the environment really is, it is clear that our current system is unsustainable. The quicker we change to more efficient, greener methods, the cheaper it will be in the long run. It will be expensive to put in the infrastructure but the benefits are unquestionable. In order to implement this change we're going to have to look at how our economies work. The old capitalist model, the persuit of profit, is surely part of the problem. Yes, business must be taxed, people must be taxed, government doesn't have a magic want that can pay for changes that benefit us all. Stop whining and get with the programme.
Adam Kidd, Brighton, UK

I am astonished that people in this day and age still refute the impact that man is having on climate change. Yes, climate change has always happened historically, but over periods spanning tens or hundreds of thousands of years, not as drastically as we are seeing in less than a century. Despite not agreeing with him, I must at least congratulate Jon from Cambridge from clarifying that he does not dispute the relevance of being 'green' and exploring renewable energy sources. As for those who say the economies of the industrial and developed world will be destroyed - what rubbish! People will still need energy - if that is derived from Nuclear Power or wind/wave/solar sources, then those industries will add to the economy. Wind turbines will need to be manufactured and serviced, solar energy sources will need refining and improving, wave power sites locating, surveying and so on: the energy will still need to be harnessed, transported, sold, traded, monitored, regulated and so on. The portion of the world economy that currently relies on fossil fuel or polluting energies can simply migrate to new low carbon energy production. As for saying that any reputable scientist who supports the idea of global warming because it's their job, because they rely on grants or are politically motivated, that is absurd. All scientists gather data, then determine what that data tells them - it is often then published and open to scrutiny from fellow scientists. If it was all made they would have been discovered by now!
Duncan Paine, Cheshire, UK

Ronald B. Matthews - "it is hard to find a reputable sientist (sic) who supports this nonsnse who is not dependent on grants,jobs,or (sic) politics for their support". You obviously haven't looked too hard - having said that, over 99% of science is funded by grants of one form or another so you clearly haven't really thought about it very much (are there many, or indeed any, scientists who are self-funded by their own private means?) On the flip-side, 18 months ago there wasn't a single piece of credible scientific research demonstrating that man-made climate change is not occuring that wasn't funded by organisations with an interest in motor manufacturing or oil, or peer-reviewed by other scientists funded by organisations with an interest in motor manufacturing or oil. If you knew what you were talking about you'd have read the Stern Report. You'd know that the cost of inaction is going to be greater than the cost of action. You'd know that there is overwhelming credible evidence to prove, almost categorically, and certainly beyond any reasonable doubt, that climate change is happening and that, almost certainly, it is to a degree a man-made process. You have two choices: - ignore the credible evidence and don't take action - if you're wrong it will be the end of civilisation as we know it; - believe the credible evidence and act accordingly - if you're wrong we'll have spent a lot of money unnecessarily, but it won't be the end of the world.
Rick D'Alaglio, Stockport, England

I find the current environmental backlash very distressing. Comments like those from RB Matthews are very common and I believe the issue is the lack of a definitive study and overbearing 'save the planet' types. I do believe that we are impacting on climate, and should be seeking out practical solutions based on the boring but most economically advantageous method, that of energy efficiency! Waste is at the core of our problems and this is where the main focus must be, supported by diverse energy production methods which make us less reliant on gas and oil from 'rogue' states. Lower energy demand with cleaner, diverse energy solutions will ensure economic growth and quality of life are sustained in the long term.
Gavin, Bo'ness

I do hope Jon from Cambridge will be offering his research for peer-review and publication in a reputable scientific journal. The almost complete absence of peer-reviewed scientific work from the sceptic camp is proving terminally damaging their case. Unfortunately, far too many so-called sceptics seem to believe that "research" involves looking at websites and reading pop science (such as Ian Plimer's recent work of near-fiction). I do hope that Jon is different.
Paul A, London

The biggest polluter will not curb the emissions by COP treaty if at all it happens even if it sign it would not ratify as it did for Kyoto on the name of maintaining development and as did for CTBT on the name of security . will ask others do sign and ratify the same USA who's percap emissions 20 times more than india, and that country ask us to reduce. its like guy who does the more crime is judge here . industrial world should reduce it to the developing world emission before they talk about developing world.
sivaprakasam, chennai

The data presented show that the average temperature of the earth has increased by 0.1 degree in the last 100 years. The climate of the earth changes largely in connection with solar activity which we cannot influence. For example, Greenland is called Greenland, because it used to be green. The warming/cooling cycles we see is most likely the result of other natural causes. I believe that proponents of human-induced climate change have a forgone conclusion that they are using to filter out the data that they are unwilling to consider. This looks like a tax on breathing to me.
R. Frederick, Huntsville, AL

If you want to calculate t he size of a man' carbon footprint, it is necessary to ask ho w ma ny children he h as. It is therefore merely silly to imagine that the problem of g lobal warming can be effectively addressed without simultaneously considering the issue of population control.
dfs, Los Angeles, California

One of the best articles I've read. I with American media had the BBC commitment to this issue. Global Warming is and should be the 'story of the century' but US coverage of it seems secondary to anything that will generate higher ratings. I agree wholeheartedly with this article and working together to cut emissions and solve this problem is a win win situation for everyone!
Andy Ferguson, DC USA

I have severe doubt about the Gore hypothesis that CO2 is behind global warming. THe Australian Parliament had doubts because of Ian Plimer's book, Heaven and Earth... Co2 is not correlated with warming. It appears to me that the hypothesis is unsupported by experimental science. For this reason, I see no reason why the politicians of the world are gambling the global economy on this issue. The assumption is unsupported and the political zeitgeist is Orwellian. I expect BBC to censor this opinion because BBC is part of the problem.
Francis Manns, Toronto Canada

Excellent article. Sadly there seem to be plenty of armchair climatologists who would have it that climate change is somehow a conspiracy and that the evidence is not clear cut. These people are beyond reason, or at least are guilty of something much worse- an unwillingness to engage with the real debate and the evidence therein. But there is hope, however, in that the collective body of politicians, scientists and economists who will shape the future of our planet are beginning to understand the severity of the climate change problem, quite unlike the internet posters who remain in the metaphorical basement, tin-foil hats placed squarely upon stubborn heads.
Peter, Edinburgh, Scotland

There's no real proof that man is responsible for climate change, there is only speculation and conjecture. In the 70's, it was global cooling that was the threat and based on that estimation, we should be in an ice age now. What climate change is really about is controlling the masses for if indeed there were a threat, we would have solved it long ago. We would all be driving fuel cell and electric cars now but instead, we have the government killing the fuel cell and electric cars projects and for what purpose?? What does big government want? Our money? Our lives? What? What is it? Is the planet getting over populated? Maybe we should thin out the herd. Maybe we should start at the top and work our way down. The reality is, progressive big government control is what is holding up everything. A free market solution could be in place literally within months if need be and wouldn't cost the taxpayer a dime. Private industry could lead us right out of this but instead, we have fascist style ideals leading the way. We all know what happened the last time fascism tried to run things, or do we? Maybe we really are a bunch of monkeys..
George, Burlington, KY

I expect this to be highjacked by deniers (probably creationists too). The atmosphere is a chaotic system, no model can predict the future. a wildfire is chaotic too, yuo can't predict where it will go but models can prove that a fires path was affected by fireraisers, that's where we find ourself now, that is the human component. As far as I know there are no scientists that dispute this. It's a natural phenomenon but we are adding to it substatially and we will all burn in the end.
Craig , Edinburgh

If these green technologies were money making businesses, then business people would already be doing them! A "business" that has to get a subsidy from the government to make a profit is not a business! It's a social service agency!
Heather, Lowell, Ma

This butterzone of 350ppm caome from a report that I simply am not able to find online. Not one of the dozen or so blog sites that champions this value actually bothers to link to the study and that alone gives me pause for doubt. Second, methane, far more than co2 is the more problematic of the supposed greenhouse gases. To focus on CO2 and ignore methane is to cripple industrial nations, which is exactly what emergine third world nations want. I love how this article uses the term "middle-income nations" when no such creature exists. There are either First World or Third World with no in between. My trip through fantasy land is thusly concluded.
Keith, Queens, NY, USA

As long as the notion of profit exists we are all doomed.
will, london

Jon, perhaps you'd like to back up your arugment by providing links to some of this 'research' you've found? Sure, some climate scientists are funded by grants. But do you really think they'd be stating that climate change is man made if the evidence they found was contrary? Would they really risk their credibility in doing that? When there are highly prominent, independent scientists (Stephen Hawking, for example) coming out and saying we need to do something about it, to me it's clear we need to act. Ronald, how can you say that politicians are pushing this debate so that they can increase taxes. Rises in taxes are grossly unpopluar. Which right minded politician would really push for them unless they were absolutely necessary? It frustrates me that there are so many people out there who seem to defer action on climate change by still debating the science. Perhaps it's a way of putting off helping solve a problem that we all helped to create? Thank goodness there are at least some leaders in developing countries who are showing the way.
Richard, Lancaster, UK

Hunting for energy conservation & consumption are proportionately effecting our environment that cause climate changes and global warming. Globalization Economy is supposed to be reducing and balancing the people needs; have been deviated.These chain reactions have transformed this beautiful planet into dangerous place to live for generation ahead. I believe G20 to rethink about Climate change versus Bear & Bull Market. Keep the nature and Humanitarian affairs apart from stock market point of view. Then only your wisdom will prevail on the great cause for generation next.
naresh kakaria , chandigarh, India

I know this email will not be published as BBC ( unbelievable ) is determined to continue the propaganda for unfounded claims for climate change instigated by humans and unlike any other subjects is not prepared to facilitate a proper debate about the issue. Please can I urge readers listeners to look at the books and papers published by Ian Plimer Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide
ferhan azman, london

It seems to me that the overarching issue for developed countries is the great uncertainty in the cost (allowance or on their economies) associated with a cap on emissions. While the belief that market forces will work to minimize this is stated, it is clear that with all the "special" provisions awarded to industries and consuming groups, these very forces are being compromised -- potentially sufficiently to challenge actual reductions in emissions. It seems to me that establishing a global tax on the carbon content of all goods that starts out relatively low and rises with some certainty would send businesses and consumers alike a clear message to shift their production/consumption. Further, a tax would generate a revenue source to help pay for mitigating the impact on low income consumers both in the developed economies and around the world. Finally, appropriately rationed out, it could also provide for the needed R&D to shift economies towards greener energy sources (without the direct distortion of picking winners and handing them tax credits, etc. Although this may be required in addition.) All of this requires a global commitment that balances the dollar flows towards climate change against the other potential investments that these monies could provide to assist the developing world address poverty, malnutrition and sickness. PS Full disclosure, I am the Managing Director of an environmental and energy consulting firm that is actively involved in analyzing the economic impacts of alternative climate policies in the USA. In the DC political environment, to be direct and suggest a tax approach would meet with instant political death -- recognizing the cap and trade is nothing more than a masking of a tax.
Less Goudarzi, USA

Thank you for demonstrating the courage of forthright communication. The first step to successfully managing our Dear Mother Earth's environment is the speaking and listening to open and un-biased truths. In order for Countries to move ahead safely and with passion toward a sustainable environmental agenda, there must be a financial shift within each economy. In the Western World financing of Projects by those who can see the path of the future is stagnated by the banking system. Governments need a new type of agency with a new set of idealisms. There are many, such as myself, who have struggled for years to build the future. The banks will not get involved unless it becomes a proven major winner; and then they want to control it for themselves. The Governments require an agency with the power to cross current agency lines, to invest in these new ideas. I state this because new ideas can not fall within the status of the old structure if they are indeed new. This being the case, the old government structures are not able to deal with the new ideas; which therefore become lost. The biggest asset available to assist the development of a new World economy is the mind trust of the inventors which exists within each Country. If these small inventors, of what is possible in the future are able to reveal their dreams; the new reality will be revealed much sooner. Thank you for the work you have done in the past and your stand toward the creation of a better future.
Barrie Wamboldt, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

No i do not agree, the science is anything but clear on the MMCC issue. In fact, the more research i do, the less credible MMCC becomes. Climate is changing, yes, are we responsible? NO. The IPCC have been PROVED wrong- so why are we still pushing this agenda? (note, not the same as saying we shouldn't be 'green' and recycle/use renewables etc).
Jon, cambridge

I work for a major world wide company. Years ago they stopped 98% of a travel for business. All meetings and conferences are now done using multi media. As well every single aspect of the business has been examined and changed to use less energy. Our company's carbon footprint is now considerable smaller than it was just a few years ago. The governments and environmentalists on the other hand are demanding more and more money from everyone. Every day they are introducing a new environmental tax. What do they do with this money? They fly, the meet, they consume. The result is they are using the issue for their own benefit and do not care at all about the environment. It is just another way to steal from the productive members of society. When governments and environmentalists say no more flying, no more fancy hotels, no fancy meals, no more consumption paid for using environmental tax, then I will believe they care. Until then I and most others just believe the whole environmental issue is just another excuse for governments to steal more money from us.
Dave Richardson, Ottawa Canada

I do not agree -from what i can gather from extensive reading on the subject it would be hard to find a reputable sientist who supports this nonsense who is not dependent on grants,jobs,or politics for their support. it is a dream for politicians who see a way to increase taxes and control over the public. i am sure you know this and your support is criminal to say the least, are you really willing to destroy the economy of the industrial and developed world for your selfish gain? you should be ashamed
ronald b. matthews, tobermory canada



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