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The Prime Minister's speech to the Labour Party Conference raised further concerns about his commitment to the Kyoto Protocol and international action to tackle climate change, Friends of the Earth said today. The environmental campaign group said the speech showed Blair had lost direction on the international stage and at home, where emissions are on the rise.
While acknowledging the "serious problem" of global warming, Tony Blair appeared to pin his hopes almost entirely on "technology" in the speech and raised the spectre of new nuclear power stations as a solution. He said there would be a review of UK energy policy next year.
Friends of the Earth said that nuclear power would not and could not provide a solution to global warming and called for more concrete action to cut carbon dioxide emissions in the UK now.
Recent figures suggest that Britain is no longer set to meet its Kyoto targets by the period of 2008-2012, let alone how the Government will meet the manifesto commitment of cuts of 20 per cent by 2010.
Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Tony Juniper said:
"Tony Blair had an ideal opportunity to show his commitment to international action to tackle climate change, but failed to do so. His emphasis on technology echoes the message coming from the White House and suggests that Blair has accepted Bush's thinking and that tackling climate change is no longer a priority.
"He also failed to explain why UK emissions of carbon dioxide are still increasing - or to explain what he is going to do to tackle this. His Government must of course invest more in clean technologies - but that should not include nuclear power which is dangerous, polluting and does not provide a secure energy supply.
"Unless we tackle climate change there is no way that the twin evils of global poverty or environmental degradation will be solved. Increasingly the Prime Minister's talk on climate change appears to be just hot air."