“The impact of spiralling pollution on the planet poses a threat to civilisation just as catastrophic as much-vaunted weapons of mass destruction, Britain’s top scientist warned today.

Lord Robert May, president of the country’s leading scientific body, the Royal Society, issued the warning as a 12-day conference was set to get underway today in Montreal to decide the fate of the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations’ troubled treaty for curbing greenhouse gases.

“The impacts of global warming are many and serious: sea-level rise … changes in availability of fresh water … and the increasing incidence of extreme events — floods, droughts, and hurricanes – the serious consequences of which are rising to levels which invite comparison with weapons of mass destruction,” Lord May said in an advance copy of a speech released today to coincide with the start of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on the same day.

The Montreal meeting is the first by the convention since the UN’s pollution-cutting Kyoto Protocol, signed by 156 countries, took effect on January 16.

But a notable non-signatory of the pact committing industrialised nations to reducing or offsetting emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases is the planet’s heaviest polluter: the US.” [Read more]

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