The Week That Was
Dec. 18, 2004
1. New on the Web: BIG GUNS ARE BASHING GEORGE BUSH OVER HIS LACK OF ENTHUSIASM FOR THE COMPLETELY INEFFECTIVE YET ECONOMICALLY DAMAGING KYOTO PROTOCOL. British PM Tony Blair has been persuaded by his science adviser that "global warming is a greater threat than terrorism" and now plans to get Dubya to agree. He also wants to get W to agree that there is a scientific consensus" and plans to hold a 3-day bash next February in Exeter, the new home of the UK HADLEY CLIMATE CENTRE. WE PLAN TO SPOIL HIS FUN - MORE ON THAT LATER.












2. Letter to The Economist:

Sir, Your endorsement (Dec 9) of the self-appointed "National" Commission on Energy Policy surprises. Their report panders to global warming alarmists but lacks the courage to propose any real steps for energy conservation, like a stiff tax on motor fuels.

Yours etc,
S Fred Singer

3. British PM wants to produce a 'consensus'

Source: Number 10 Press Briefing, 9 December 2004

Asked what efforts the Prime Minister was making to get President Bush's support on Britain's G8 priority to tackle climate change the PMOS [Prime Minister's Official Spokesman] said that in terms of President Bush and climate change as we had said when we returned from the White House in November we had discussed the issue. The Prime Minister reported as such to the House of Commons on the 17 November. We had also said we were seeking a consensus on the way forward and that consensus would be taken further forward in February whenever as announced we would be holding a scientific conference, to be held in Exeter, of international experts on this subject.
People should recognise that the US position was not just a position singular to President Bush. The Senate, after all, had voted 96-0 in rejection of Kyoto and that position had been there since President Clinton's tenure. The key was also to recognise, as the Prime Minister had said in Johannesburg, that while we believed Kyoto to be very important … we also had to recognise that Kyoto by itself was not enough to tackle the issue.
What we had to do was push forward on the technological front to try and make compatible more environmentally friendly technology whilst at the same time not harming economic growth in the world. If you harmed economic growth then you did not have the resources to keep pushing forward world development. At the same time you had to tackle the real problems of climate change. It was how you reconciled those problems and how you achieved a consensus that was why we were making it a G8 priority. In reality the issues of climate change and Africa were related and therefore that was why they would form the backbone of our G8 presidency approach. ….

Asked how important it was to get the Americans on board, the PMOS said that it was important that we got the world as a whole on board and that we got a consensus, a consensus about science, a consensus about the possibility for change and a consensus about the nature of the problem. That was what we were trying to do with the Exeter conference and our G8 Presidency. [emphasis added]
Asked if the US was moving towards the British position the PMOS said that our G8 Presidency had not yet begun and the point about the Exeter conference was to try and work towards that consensus. We could not speak for the Americans about what there (sic) view was but the important thing was that we tried to reach a genuine consensus. That would not happen instantaneously but the more we discussed it and the more we pushed forward the technology the more chance there was of reaching that consensus.

SEPP Comment: Lots of incoherent talk about "consensus" - even about the science. We also think the PMOS should learn how to use commas.

4. No Science Consensus From Russia

Next year the Kyoto protocol will be an international treaty. For those who heavily lobbied Russia to ratify it, this is cause for celebration. But for most of the world, it is bad news, says Andrei Illarionov, adviser to the president of the Russian Federation.. He says the Kyoto protocol is destructive for science and the environment, for public health and safety, for economic growth and for the international fight against hunger and poverty.

Fluctuations in climate have existed for thousands of years, he says:

o Temperatures were higher in the Roman and medieval "climatic optimums" -- periods during which no fossil fuels were burned -- than they are today.

o Historically, global temperatures have varied even more than the 0.6 degrees Celsius reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Furthermore, the Kyoto treaty will wreak havoc on nations around the world:

o Carbon dioxide (CO2) provides benefits to humankind through longer growing seasons and more productive agriculture, which would help fight famine; attempting to limit CO2 as outlined Kyoto would impede the fight against hunger.

o The 17 pro-Kyoto countries (including developed European nations) have slower economic growth rates than the 11 non-Kyoto countries (including the United States) --1.9 percent of gross domestic product, compared to 3.3 percent per year.

Even with Russia on board, the Kyoto treaty will do little, considering that 75 percent of the world's CO2 is emitted by countries not subject to Kyoto restrictions, says Illarionov.

Source: Andrei Illarionov, "Kyoto's Smoke Screen Imperils Us All," Financial Times, November 15, 2004. as reported by EnviroTruth

5. Essay Claiming 'Scientific Consensus' for Global Warming is Ridiculed
By Marc Morano Senior Staff Writer, Dec 7, 2004

( - A Science Magazine essay claiming there is a "scientific consensus" about human-caused "global warming" was ridiculed Monday by a British scientist, who compared such a "consensus" to the near-unanimous elections that existed in the old Soviet Union.

Benny Peiser, a United Kingdom social anthropologist, called the Dec. 3 essay, "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change," a "disturbing" study.

"A one-hundred-percent record of 'scientific consensus' on anthropogenic climate change would be a sensational finding indeed. In fact, such a total result would be even more remarkable than any 'consensus' ever achieved in Soviet-style elections," Peiser noted sarcastically.

The Science Magazine essay analyzed 928 abstracts containing the keyword "climate change," all published in peer-reviewed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003. The essay found that not a single one of the studies showed climate change to be naturally occurring.

The essay was written by University of California professor Naomi Oreskes, a member of the University's Department of History and Science Studies Program. According to Oreskes, "None of these (928) papers argued that [current climate change is natural]."

"This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with [United Nations] IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies," Oreskes wrote.

"Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect," she added.

But Peiser, a senior lecturer in Social Anthropology & Sport Sociology at Liverpool John Moores University and the editor of CCNet (Cambridge Conference Network) webzine, labeled Oreskes' essay a "disturbing article.

"Whatever happened to the countless research papers published in the last ten years in peer-reviewed journals that show that temperatures were generally higher during the Medieval Warm Period than today, that solar variability is most likely to be the key driver of any significant climate change and that the methods used in climate modeling are highly questionable?" Peiser asked.

"So how did the results published in Science achieve a 100 percent level of conformity? Regrettably, the article does not include any reference to the [unpublished?] study itself, let alone the methodology on which the research was based. This makes it difficult to check how Oreskes arrived at the truly miraculous results," he added.

Iain Murray, a senior fellow in International Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wrote a letter to the editor of Science Magazine questioning why the study was even published.

"I was surprised to see Science publish an article crowing over the existence of a scientific consensus on global warming and then advancing the non-sequitur that political action is therefore needed. Neither is a point worthy of consideration in an objective, scientific journal," Murray wrote in his letter to the editor, dated Dec. 6.

"...the message of the article -- that politicians must act on the basis of the science -- is clearly a political point rather than a scientific one," Murray continued.

Science Essay on 'Consensus' is Faulted
Letter by Prof David Douglass

To: Dr. Naomi Oreskes
Dept of History and the Program in Science Studies
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla Ca 92093

I wish to make several comments in regard to your essay.

Scientific consensus. Truth in science is never found by consensus. The following is from a piece that I published in TCS last July on this subject.

Scientific knowledge comes from observations and not from consensus.
Indeed, scientific truth by consensus has had a uniformly bad history. Michael Crichton speaks for me and many scientists in a recent Essay on this subject. In the Michelin Lecture at the California Institute of Technology he eloquently describes "consensus science" as a pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. It is a way to avoid debate by claiming that a matter is already settled. He states that the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Crichton cites a few historic examples of scientific truth being suppressed by "consensus": Galileo Galilei and the Copernican system; Alexander Gordon and puerperal fever; Joseph Goldberger and pellagra disease; and Alfred Wegener and continental drift. Then there are also the cases of scientific consensus in favor of things that were not true: Carl Sagan and "nuclear winter"; Paul Ehrlich and mass starvation of millions due to the "population explosion"; the National Academy of Science abetting the "ice age scare" of the 60's and 70's.

Let me also quote Margaret Thatcher who has a degree in science.

To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects. -----Margaret Thatcher

Now let me address some errors of fact in your Essay.

1. "IPCC states... that the consensus of scientific opinion is...". The consensus here is among the small controlling group [many are not even scientists] who write the executive summaries. The contributing scientists were not allowed to review or comment on this summary.

2. "... all major scientific bodies...have issued statements... . others agree. the American Geophysical Union... have issued statements ..."

This consensus in the various organizations is achieved again by a small number of very active people who believe in the Global Warming Hypothesis. I am a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and have written a letter that was submitted to WSJ about how it happened in the AGU.

----begin letter-----
Truth by Assertion

Antonio Regalado reported (WSJ Dec 17) on a recent Statement, Human Impacts on Climate Change, issued by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) council. Regalado's piece, Panel Shifts Stance on Global Warming, is an accurate report of the AGU Statement. However, the Statement does not necessarily represent the views of the 41,000 members of the AGU. The AGU council consists of 28 people, most of whom are not climate scientist, who speak only for themselves. This Statement was prepared by them in secret during a large meeting of the AGU in San Francisco but announced the next week at a press conference in Washington with no prior opportunity for the other 40, 972 members of AGU to see and comment on it.

The essence of the Statement can be characterized by the sentence: "... carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will cause global surface climate to be warmer." The rest of the Statement asserts that this is true but this is only a Hypothesis that must be tested against observations. The Statement goes on to say that the climate system is difficult to predict, yet computer models predict: mid-continents will warm; warming will be greater at higher latitudes; some polar ice will melt; oceans will warm; sea levels will rise; and hydrological cycle will change. Quite a list of catastrophes. These predictions are offered as evidence to support the Hypothesis. However, this is not evidence. These are only a manifestation of and an extension of the Hypothesis. A consensus of the 41,000 AGU membership implied or even honestly obtained is also not evidence.

What is the evidence that the Hypothesis is correct? The Statement only offers this: "... no single threshold level of green house gases ... at which the beginning of dangerous level anthropogenic interference with the climate system can be defined. Some impacts have already occurred..." What are these impacts? They offer neither examples of impacts nor any other evidence to support the Hypothesis.

Have the models been successful in predicting anything? They, of course, predict global warming. This is not surprising given the expressed belief of some of the model builders in the global warming Hypothesis and the many parameters in the model that need to be determined. However, the models also predict unambiguously that the atmosphere is warming faster than the surface of the earth; but all the available observational data unambiguously shows the opposite!

Truth in science is always determined from observational facts. One finds the truth by making a hypothesis and comparing observations with the hypothesis. It is absolutely essential that one should be neutral and not fall in love with the hypothesis. If the facts are contrary to any predictions then the hypothesis is wrong no matter how appealing. Truth by Assertion is not science

---end of letter---

Lastly your statement: "The 928 papers... .Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position". This statement is more than remarkable. It is not true. There are hundreds of published papers in disagreement. I cite only one:

Altitude Dependence of Atmospheric Temperature Trends: Climate Models vs Observation. by David H. Douglass, Benjamin D. Pearson and S. Fred Singer. This was published last July in Geophysics Research Letters, the most prestigious journal in geophysics. This paper is devastating because it shows that all of the models disagree even in sign with the observations in regard to greenhouse gas warming. The last sentence of our abstract states. "This disparity indicates that the three models examined here fail to account for the effects of greenhouse forcings."

To this date there has been no attempt to refute our conclusions.

David Douglass
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Rochester

SEPP Comment: We have just learned (from Willie Soon) that Oreskes admits she may have used the wrong keyword in her search. This might account for her strange result - which will probably be quoted widely even if she withdraws it.

6. Scientific Consensus That Global Warming Is Unimportant

Global warming: the debate heats up: Human influence on climate change not widely accepted
The Edmonton Journal, 9 Dec 2004

Re: "Global warming skeptics are full of hot air: Scientific community agrees that emissions are changing the climate," by D.W. Schindler Letters, Dec. 7).

From the day, now some years ago, that Schindler and 56 of his biological colleagues wrote a massive appeal to governments to act on the catastrophe that was human-caused global warming, he has been promoting the doomsday effects, based on the fictions of the Kyoto Protocol.
Schindler is not a climatologist, nor an earth or atmospheric scientist. He is an ecologist. He should be qualified to comment on the effects, but not on the causes of any global warming.
The surveys he quotes, such as that by Naomi Oreskes, are highly subjective. If she has not found any peer-reviewed articles that challenge the "Kyoto science," I suggest she has either been selective or she has not looked beyond certain scientific periodicals.
As Canada's first PhD in climatology, Dr. Timothy Ball, quips: "The Kyoto Protocol is a political solution to a non-existing problem without scientific justification."
Albert F. Jacobs, Calgary
A low-priority threat

D.W. Schindler writes of global warming with the same assurance as my climatology professors of the early 1970s who were determined that our 30-year global cooling trend was going to plunge us into another ice age. The culprit in both cases? Industrial emissions.
The debate over what to do about global warming draws together science, politics, economics and ideologies in an unprecedented mix. Let's follow the chain of assumptions on which the Kyoto Protocol rests: if the Earth's atmosphere is warming and if the warming is unusual and if the main cause of that unusual warming is industrial CO2 emissions, and if nothing is going to happen that would offset this warming and if a warmer atmosphere is bad for the planet, then we should try to follow the Kyoto Protocol.
But even Kyoto's supporters admit its full implementation would make no noticeable difference on global temperatures over the rest of this century.
Each of the links that I have listed above has been challenged in peer-reviewed scientific literature, despite Schindler's bland assurances to the contrary. Astute policy-makers will see they are being asked to commit real resources to a possible problem, with no promise of any real benefit.
Stuart Elliot, Edmonton


18,000 can't be wrong

D.W. Schindler makes some extraordinary assertions in claiming that few
scientists dispute the idea that human activities are warming global
The number of "climate skeptics" is not important, but whether they are right is. The 1992 Heidelberg Appeal says the UN Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control's claims of global warming result from "pseudo-scientific arguments or false and non-relevant data." The appeal was signed by more than 2,000 scientists including 62 Nobel Prize winners. In 1998, more than 18,000 U.S. scientists signed a petition that says global warming is based on "unfounded panic-mongering based on flawed ideas."
The hypothesis that human activities are causing global warming has had much hype. So, many people are surprised to learn that decades of climate research has failed to find any evidence to support it.
Richard S. Courtney, expert peer reviewer for the IPPC, Cornwall, U.K.

Lorne Gunter's criticism of ACIA is bang on

As a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg for 28 years and one of the 11 climate scientists who signed an open letter to the committee that held hearings into the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), I applaud Lorne Gunter for his superb column, "Science skimpy on global warming," (Opinion, Dec. 5).
I hope other media will more critically examine the ACIA and other climate change propaganda coming from the government and lobby groups.
It is not all "rocket science" -- many flaws are obvious. Why, for example, did the Earth cool when human emissions of carbon dioxide were increasing at the fastest rate in history -- between 1940 and 1975 -- if carbon dioxide is causing global warming now?
In the '70s, it was fashionable for environmental extremists and the media to warn of a disastrous ice age. The same people who cried out in alarm about that non-problem now push the Kyoto accord as the "solution" to today's modest global warming. Isn't this at least a little suspicious?
Tim Ball, Victoria


Dion's support premature

Lorne Gunter is correct that the recent Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report is seriously flawed. As one of only a handful of true PhD climatologists in the world, I am very disappointed with the media's sensationalist coverage. I found Gunter's column a breath of fresh air.
One wonders what prompted Canadian Environment Minister Stephane Dion to so loudly proclaim his support for the ACIA when the scientific part of the report, the only section on which a rational assessment can be made, is not due out until early next year.
One of the most ignored of the report's many flaws is the fact that we do indeed have a good handle on the degree to which Arctic warming will occur. It will likely be modest and at the low end of values projected in the recent report. Not very exciting for the media, but reality nonetheless.
Further, the climate record selected in the ACIA report is from land-only stations north of 60 degrees latitude. Had they included data from the Arctic Ocean, they would have found much less net warming because the net temperature change from the 1950s through 1990 in that region is negative.
The ACIA is what I call a "predictable distortion" of science in my recent book on this subject, Meltdown.
Patrick J. Michaels, research professor, department of environmental
sciences, University of Virginia

Why raise the alarm now?

As an atmospheric physicist, professor of environmental sciences at the
University of Virginia, and former director of the US Weather Satellite
Service, I support Lorne Gunter's critique of the Arctic Climate Impact
The alarms of impending disasters are all based on one crucial piece of
evidence: The claim that Arctic temperatures are rising rapidly, at twice the global rate.
In fact, according to the best temperature records the highest values
occurred around 1940.
S. Fred Singer, president, the Science & Environmental Policy Project,
Arlington, Va.

7. BBC Revelation: Climate Change 'Is The Norm'
By Dr Martin Keeley
Geologist, and Visiting Professor at University College London
BBC News Online, 6 December 2004

Even as climate experts and politicians meet in Buenos Aires to mark the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, many sceptical scientists will still be arguing that the international consensus on "global warming" has got it wrong.

Those of us who study the pre-human history of the Earth find the current debate over global warming difficult to fathom. Climate changes - this is what it does. To expect permanent stability in climate patterns displays a fundamental lack of understanding of the complexity and instability of weather.

If the global climate were not getting warmer, it would be getting cooler; stasis is not an option. Ice caps either advance or retreat, and thank goodness. Following the last Ice Age, the climate is warming, and sea-level is rising - but well within their historical ranges.

As environments alter, so fauna and flora either adapt or die out; nature is very unsentimental.

But for the now-infamous and discredited "hockey stick" temperature curve for the last millennium, used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to add body to the case for Kyoto, most observers would not have suspended belief over claims that today's weather is the "mostest" "on record".

This expression is simply a lie. We know from the geological (and archaeological) record that weather variations and extremes are the norm.

Such extremes occur gradually and rapidly, and obviously were not human-induced (anthropogenic). How then can they represent a threat greater than that of terrorism, as the UK's chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, maintains, except to minds unwilling to accept the inevitability of planetary change?

The factors influencing climate and sea-level change are multiple and complex, whether slow or rapid. I still cannot comprehend how anyone can hope to model even present day phenomena, never mind into the future; we still cannot predict next week's weather with any accuracy.

The real question then is not whether climate and sea level changes are occurring and are good or bad things; they have been occurring naturally for billions of years. Nor is the question whether these changes are actually taking place; a moot point at best, as there are conflicting data, but the question is utterly dependent on the time frame.

Rather, environmentalists ask whether climate change is anthropogenic, and if so, can it be stopped. I have come across no rigorous proof that wasteful human pollution has caused any significant climate change.

One would be better off asking the question whether volcanic eruptions alter the weather; there at least we can answer "yes".

The only proof of anthropogenic climate change ever offered, which to my mind is fallacious, is that temperature has increased with Western industrialisation; before industrialisation, the hockey stick would negate the Medieval Climate Optimum and Little Ice Age.

There is a closer correlation between this latest warming and universal suffrage. In science, temporal coincidence between events is no proof of a causal link.

So, as we enter the third millennium, we should preoccupy ourselves not with the silly question of whether at outrageous expense we could predictably influence the weather, least of all by focusing on just a single component. Instead, we should consider how to adapt ourselves to the inevitability of natural climate and sea-level change.

The issue thus framed would completely alter the capital expenditure question facing policy makers, away from tinkering with the emissions from the cleaner, industrialised nations (thereby delaying modelled anthropogenic global warming by little more than a decade), and towards more pragmatic solutions.

These might include the abandonment of sub-sea level lands condemned to flooding (including the Netherlands), shifting to Mediterranean crops in northern Europe, the re-cultivation of cold terrains (eg Greenland), and the aggressive reforestation as a microclimate control strategy to rehabilitate dry lands.

Global warming is indeed a scam, perpetrated by scientists with vested interests, but in need of crash courses in geology, logic and the philosophy of science.

It provides the media with a new scare story, which has been picked up by the focus groups and turned into the new religion, offering us hell if we don't all change our ways. However, believing in anthropogenic global warming is not enough, but that is all it can offer.

8. Arctic Climate Update: Hard questions needed on Arctic climate
Letter by S Fred Singer, The Hill Times (Ottawa) , Dec 6, 2004

As an atmospheric physicist, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and former director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service, I am contacting you to point out the critical flaw in the recent Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) report that was missed by all media covering the story.
The Arctic Council's alarms of impending disasters are all based on one crucial piece of evidence: The claim that Arctic temperatures are rising rapidly, at twice the global rate. In fact, they are not rising at all; according to the best temperature records, the highest values occurred around 1940. The Arctic Council's "evidence" is a single graph purporting to show observed Arctic temperatures from 1900 to 2000. They don't identify an author or reference any scientific publications. With its source unknown, there is no way to verify its authenticity.
At a Nov. 8 press briefing in Washington, D.C., I asked the two scientists involved about this crucial graph; they were unable (or unwilling) to cite its provenance. In any case, there are numerous articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals by many reputable authors (Kahl, Polyakov, Przybylak), which confirm that the Arctic is not warming. [Further references can be seen on the website]
I must conclude therefore that the supposedly hard evidence for warming, presumably from thermometer readings, is either bogus, or, more charitably, based on selected or mistaken data. It is incumbent on the governments that sponsored and paid for the Arctic study to investigate and for the media to ask some hard questions.
SEPP Comment: Thanks to some nice sleuthing work by Dr. Willie Soon, we now know that the people who put the graph together (principally Canadian meteorologist Gordon McBean) carefully chose the Arctic's southern boundary to show max warming effect. In politics, we refer to this as "gerrymandering." We had suspected that right along, but now we can be sure.

9. UK 'failing on greenhouse gases': Embarrassment and Desperation
BBC Dec 8

The UK is set to miss a key target on cutting greenhouse gases, Tony Blair has admitted. The prime minister said the UK was not expected to meet its pledge to cut carbon dioxide emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2010. But he stressed it was on course to hit the 12.5% cut demanded in the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases.

The 20% target is a self-imposed goal for the government, which is also outlining in its progress in a consultation on five-year climate change plans on Wednesday. The prime minister has said he wanted climate change to be a key priority during the UK's presidencies of the G8 and EU in 2005.

BBC environment correspondent Richard Black said the admission the 20% target would be missed was a "very great embarrassment" for the government ahead of its G8 presidency. It would be difficult to ask developing nations to take action if too little was being done at home, he said.

Growth in travel means Britain will miss its own greenhouse gas targets
By Valerie Elliott, December 09, 2004

TONY BLAIR admitted yesterday that Britain will miss its targets to cut greenhouse gases. This is largely blamed on the boom in air travel and number of vehicles on the roads, about 26 million, a figure that rises by half a million a year. Another is that utility companies have switched from gas to coal.

It is particularly embarrassing because the Prime Minister wants climate change to be the priority for both his presidency of next year's G8 summit and the European Union. His 20 per cent target was also a commitment in the 1997 and 2001 election manifestos.

It gave the Opposition and environmental organisations an easy platform to mock the Government's efforts to lead the world's clean up. Britain is, however, on course to meet the 12.5 per cent cuts in greenhouse gases agreed as part of the Kyoto protocol and Mr Blair said the country should be proud that it was one of the few in the world to meet its international obligations.

But Sir David King, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, said that even the most ambitious targets may not be enough to avert the worst effects of global warming. By 2050 carbon dioxide emissions might have to be cut by 80 per cent to avoid catastrophic events such as the Greenland ice sheet melting, he said, with a 2C to 2.5C increase in temperature that would raise sea levels by more than 20 feet and put London under water. Heatwave summers such as last year could become a regular event, he said. Although many people enjoyed it, 30,000 people died, and it was the hottest since the 15th century.

Margaret Beckett, Environment Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, Trade and Industry Secretary, and Alastair Darling, Transport Secretary, called for greater efforts to reduce carbon emissions by improving public transport, investing in biomass and biofuels and for extra energy savings in homes and businesses. More incentives for cleaner cars and greener homes are almost certainly on the agenda.

Environmental experts last night suggested that the policy review was as much a wake-up call to all other government departments, public bodies and local authorities as to consumers. One said: "It's a desperate attempt to get some joined-up thinking across Whitehall."

Ministers are in talks with supermarkets to boost their recycling stations and for users to be rewarded with discount cards. New houses are to be more strictly monitored for energy saving devices.

Local authorities are also being urged to boost recycling in their own areas and to persuade households to segregate their waste. Some £255 million today is to be allocated to English councils as part of the purge on waste.

Defra [like EPA plus more] is also to take lead inside Government to offset the air miles (therefore carbon emissions) travelled by Ministers and civil servants on official business. This will done by investing in projects that will reduce greenhouse gases, such as biocooking stoves in Nepal or solar home systems in Bangladesh. Mrs Beckett wants other departments to sign up to similar schemes.

SEPP comment: They are getting desperate

Tim Yeo, Shadow Environment spokesman, said the Government was "all talk" on greenhouse emissions.

The Confederation of British Industry urged the Government not to make British business "a lone crusader" on climate change and said that business leaders were tired of "being the only ones to carry the can". John Cridland, deputy director general, said industry had cut carbon emissions by 6 per cent between 1990 and 2003, while during the same period household emissions were up by 10 per cent and those from traffic up by 4.6 per cent.

Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said: "The UK climate change programme is the last chance for the Government to demonstrate it is serious about taking a lead in tackling climate change. But time is running out.

"If it fails to make significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, the Prime Minister's ability to persuade other countries to take the issue seriously will be seriously undermined."

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