Green campaigners challenged Tony Blair to turn words into action yesterday after he suddenly adopted the heroic role of front-line warrior against global warming.
The Prime Minister proclaimed: "We need a green industrial revolution for the 21st century, that sustains growth, but protects the environment."
In a speech billed as "major" by Blairite spinmeisters, he warned that climate change has the potential to unleash a global human and economic catastrophe if left unchecked.
He said that the world cannot afford to ignore the evidence that is provided by melting glaciers, declining sea ice and increasingly frequent extreme weather.
He forecast that sea levels could rise 35 inches by the end of the century.
Mr Blair urged a consensus among major industrialised countries for "vigorous action" and he promised that Britain will use its presidency of the European Union next year to seek curbs on aviation industry emissions.
The Prime Minister's speech coincided with a call from a top government adviser for a big expansion of nuclear power to meet half of Britain's electricity needs.
Industry department strategy director Adrian Gault argued that nuclear power must play a major role in electricity generation if Britain is to meet its commitments under the Kyoto protocol.
A Greenpeace spokesman rejected expansion of nuclear energy as an "environmental threat," but he praised Tony Blair as "absolutely spot on when he says climate change poses a huge threat to our world."
The spokesman added: "We need to see more action in Britain, otherwise it is possible that we will miss our renewable energy targets. "His government has to get behind wind energy in Britain and, at the same time, cash in some of his credibility in Washington and speak very bluntly to President Bush about the effect that US intransigence is having on Kyoto."
Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper urged: "Tony Blair must use the review of the British climate change programme later this year to set out the actions that we can take at home."
FOE transport campaigner Tony Bosworth pointed out that 25 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions come from transport, including cars and planes.
"The government is not going to meet its medium or long-term targets unless it acts to control emissions from transport," Mr Bosworth warned.
Official inflation figures understate the real extent of rising costs, but even the government's own CPI scheme lays bare the ongoing misery for working people and those dependent on benefits.
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