by Ray Fleming

T HERE must be quite a few people in Britain at the moment who would welcome a bit of the global warming scientists have been going on about for the past decade. But yesterday on BBC Radio 4's Today programme the government's outgoing Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Sir John Beddington, reminded everyone that climate change, the consequence of global warming, is to blame for the erratic climate patterns that are beginning to show themselves in many parts of the world. Global warming can lead to climate change that reduces temperatures as well as increasing them. Sir John listed major problems in such areas as world food supplies, water and energy resources and global population growth -- one billion more people in the next decade -- many of which will be made even more serious by the effects of climate change. He also pointed out that the damage from the failure to take effective measures in the past twenty-five years against the harmful emissions that lead to global warming cannot be recovered or minimised.

Like many scientists before him Sir John pleaded with governments to recognise the warnings in the current unprecedent volatility of global climates and to take effective action for future generations. No one questions the difficulty of getting international agreement on preventive measures but that does not mean that the effort to do so should be abandoned. It should be increased.