A RIBBLE Valley MEP is calling for action to combat the “slow moving disaster” of global warming that he claims will have consequences as far reaching as war.
Liberal Democrat Chris Davies says that economic problems have sapped the will of governments to act, but warns that it is in Europe’s interest to invest in new greener technologies to avoid being overtaken by China.
Mr Davies – a long-time campaigner on environmental issues – is responsible for drafting the European Parliament’s response to proposals for reducing CO2 emissions.
In a discussion paper he points out that global warming emissions increased last year by nearly 6%, far exceeding the rate which the majority of the world’s scientists say will lead to dangerous temperature increases.
The British Government has already set ambitious goals to reduce UK emissions through greater energy efficiency and development of low carbon power stations, but its plans require the support of EU measures that have yet to be approved.
Mr Davies says that Europe must set itself tough targets to promote investment. He points to the fact that most solar panels are now made in the Far East as evidence that industry here is not doing enough to keep up.
He said: “Britain in the 1950s failed to modernise its manufacturing industry and was left behind while Germany underwent an economic transformation. In the same way the whole of Europe is now at risk of being overtaken by China and the Far East.
“Renewable energy has an important role to play, but many countries will also have to make use of nuclear power and carbon capture technology to reduce emissions. We must put in place the mechanisms to promote investment, and we must do it fast.”
Mr Davies says that if MEPs reject the plans put forward by the European Commission the effect will be to undermine worldwide efforts to combat climate change.
“It would be a damning blow to all who recognise that global warming is a threat to billions of people on the planet.”