Gore's Global Warming Agenda Gets Notice -- in U.K.

Former Vice President Al Gore has been trying to get this country's attention about global warming. And he says he isn't interested in going back into politics -- at least not in the United States.

But perhaps the United Kingdom is another story.

Earlier this week Gore was appointed an international consultant on climate change in the United Kingdom.

The announcement came timed to the release of a new report from British economic adviser Sir Nicholas Stern warning of devastating economic and social disruptions for the global community -- on the scale of the Great Depression and the two world wars -- if world leaders don't take aggressive, immediate action on climate change initiatives.

That is exactly the point Gore has been trying to make here in the United States for years. His film, "An Inconvenient Truth," makes that point. He has criticized the Bush administration for not signing the Kyoto treaty and not pushing global warming to the top of the agenda.

In this morning's press briefing, White House press secretary Tony Snow repudiated the claim that President Bush wasn't serious about climate change initiatives.

"He's talked about ethanol. He's talked about nuclear. He's talked about biodiesel," Snow said. "And he's talked about the importance of being aggressive in … innovating our way out of it."

But British Prime Minister Tony Blair's mounting displeasure with countries like the United States, China and India was evident in his remarks Monday. He described the Stern report as the most important account on the future published during his time in office.

"Unless we act now, not sometime distant, but now, these consequences, disastrous as they are, will be irreversible," Blair said. "There is nothing more serious, more urgent, more demanding of leadership, here of course, but most important, in the global community."

In a written statement, David Hawkins, director of Climate Change at the National Resources Defense Council also defended the findings of the Stern report.

"The report should shatter once and for all our state of denial on the impacts of global warming," Hawkins said. "The good news is that solutions are already at hand to avoid a dangerous climate disruption -- if only our elected leaders decide now to get on with the job."

The White House Council on Environmental Quality described the Stern report as "another contribution" to the "abundance of economic analysis on the issue of climate change".

"The U.S. is well on track to meet the president's goal to reduce greenhouse gas intensity of our economy 18 percent by 2012," the statement said.

Stern himself had harsher words.

"Finger-pointing at China and India won't do anymore: The United States, with the world's largest economy, has to lead," he said. "The president needs to stop hiding behind his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol and lay a new position on the table."

The release of the Stern report comes one week before the United Nations Climate Change Convention in Nairobi.

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