By Monitor
SIR David King, the British government's Chief Scientific Adviser, is retiring at the end of this month after eight years in the job. In an interview in The Times he looked back at the issues that have dominated his time in office and forward to the likely problems of the near and mid-term future. Sir David was an early advocate of taking global warming seriously and thinks this will be the priority task for many years to come. In the interview he was scathing about the American position, especially its “embarrassing” performance at the recent UN conference in Bali in resisting “until the very last moment any atempts at setting an agenda which will actually manage the problem. He called for “a dramatic change in every form of energy that we're using and in every part of government that's involved, including urban planning.” Sir David's other major concern is the prospect of a global pandemic caused by bird flu that could rapidly spread around the world among humans. because so many people are travelling by plane. Many millions could be affected and he thinks that the effort to prepare for such an emergency has not matched the seriousness of the threat. “We're planning for a fatality rate of 300'000 in Britain so imagine this happening all over the world.”

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