World Is Heading For A Heart Attack, UN Climate Expert Claims
Political leaders who reject urgent action to cut emissions should be punished at the ballot box because the world is heading for a “heart attack” caused by rising temperatures, according to one of the UN’s top climate officials.
Halldor Thorgeirsson was speaking before today’s opening of a meeting of scientists and government officials from around the world to negotiate the final wording of a major report on climate change. The negotiations, which take place in private over the next five days in Stockholm, Sweden, will include a debate about how the report should explain an unexpected slowdown in the rate of warming since 1998.
A draft of the Summary for Policymakers by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, seen by The Times, appears to concede that there are weaknesses in the computer models on which many politicians and scientists rely for doom-laden predictions.
Mr Thorgeirsson, speaking at Imperial College in London last week, likened the world’s consumption of fossil fuels to a patient with a weak heart eating high-fat food.
He said: “There are two paths: one is to act early and avoid the disruptions that are waiting and reduce the loss of quality of life and economic wellbeing resulting from it. Or we do it the hard way by going through major climate disruption and then waking up.”
Asked why progress was so slow on cutting emissions, he said: “It’s a question that needs to be asked at the ballot box. This is a question that needs to be asked of leaders at all levels.”
Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which argues that the threat from climate change has been exaggerated, said: “If the [global warming] pause carries on for another five years then the climate models are in serious trouble.”
He said that Mr Thorgeirsson should realise that politicians were already being punished at the ballot box, not for being too cautious on climate change but the opposite.
“He has got it the wrong way round, as we have seen in Australia and will see today in Germany. Politicians have realised that there will be a public backlash if you show yourself to be too concerned with Green stuff,” he said.