Sir George backs World Wildlife Fund's Arctic Campaign
9 Dec 2004

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Sir George found himself with a Husky puppy outside an igloo - but all within a few yards of the House of Commons
World Wildlife Fund were highlighting the critical importance of ensuring average global temperature increases stay well below 2°C (from pre-industrial levels) - the critical "tipping point" beyond which the catastrophic effects of climate change are irreversible.

"This was an effective way of bringing home to MP's the risks of global warming. I was told of the devastating impacts that could occur should the 2°C limit be exceeded: around 20 million people at risk from sea-level rises and flooding caused by the melting icecaps; increased severity in extreme weather events; wide-scale devastation of precious ecosystems including the barrier reef; the loss of hundreds of thousands of species; 200-300 million people at risk from malaria; 12 million at risk from hunger as crop yields fall; and 2240 million at risk from water shortages, particularly in the sub-tropics."

"I am extremely concerned at the threat posed by climate change to both people. I am in touch with Elliot Morley, the Environment Minister, to see what steps the Government can take, both domestically and internationally, to reduce these risks."

"I support the WWF in their demand that the UK and other industrialised countries should act now to build a global consensus around the need to make meaningful cuts in carbon emissions through the Kyoto Protocol. The UK Government's Climate Change Review presents a golden opportunity to deliver the policies necessary to meet the carbon emissions reduction targets set out in the Energy White Paper (20 per cent by 2010, 60 per cent by 2050) and to explicitly acknowledge the importance of the 2°C limit."

This is the text of WWF Press Release

WWF brings the Arctic to Westminster to highlight the threats of climate change
The Arctic experience was recreated in Westminster by WWF to raise a sense of urgency about the
devastating impact climate change is having on people and places around the world. WWF invited an Arctic “Climate Witness” called Mille Porsild to Victoria Tower Gardens - close to the House of Lords on Thursday 9th December – and set the Arctic scene with a life-size igloo hand sculpted from ice and three Polar Huskies including a puppy.

Arctic explorer Mille Porsild, who measures the impact of global warming on the Arctic, met with politicians to talk about the changing environment which is affecting people and wildlife in the Arctic.

The event marked the launch of WWF’s Climate Witnesses initiative, part of its new climate change campaign. WWF put a human face to climate change by raising awareness about how people across the UK and elsewhere have been affected by severe weather. It is predicted that extreme weather events such as the flooding in Boscastle and the landslide in Lochearnhead, Scotland, this year will become more frequent if climate change goes unchecked.

Matthew Davis, WWF Climate Change Campaign Leader for WWF-UK, said: "We are facing climate chaos. Severe and freak weather events are already affecting people in the UK and if CO2 levels aren’t drastically cut it’s been estimated that two million homes could be at risk from flooding and coastal erosion in the UK by the middle of the century.”

WWF has tabled a parliamentary motion calling on the Government to honour its commitment to cut the UK’s CO2 emissions by 20% by 2010. It emphasises the crucial importance of ensuring that the global temperature stays below 2oC, the crucial tipping point for the environment and would have devastating impacts for people and wildlife.

Matthew Davis added: “With the Prime Minister’s presidencies of the G8 and the EU in 2005, the UK is in a unique position to take the global lead on climate change. But we must take immediate and credible action at home first if we are to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.”

The event coincided with the launch of WWF International’s Climate Witness Programme at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Buenos Aires. Climate witnesses from Fiji, Nepal, Argentina and India have told their stories to the delegations about how climate change has affected, and in some cases devastated, their lives.

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Editor's notes
WWF is now known simply by its initials and the panda logo.

For further information, please contact:
David Cowdrey, t: 01483 412 378 or 07776 177654, e:

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