Blair: Climate talks may be toughest of a lifetime, yet must succeed

2 April 2009

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said this week that, despite the current economic crisis, world leaders must stay committed to tackling global warming at crucial UN climate talks in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

Speaking at a climate event in Stockholm's City Hall hosted by the Swedish Postcode Lottery, Tony Blair said, "Yes, the financial crisis is severe, but unfortunately that doesn't mean to say the climate is not still changing."

As current G20 leaders gathered in London to agree a global economic recovery package, Mr Blair warned that agreeing a fair and effective international deal at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December could involve even tougher negotiations saying, "This is probably one of the toughest negotiations that international leaders will ever be involved in. It makes even the world trade talks seem relatively simple. It's highly politically sensitive, it's technically quite challenging and it's got massive implications for economies." He warned, "If we do not act then it is an inaction of the most gross irresponsibility."

Mr Blair was in Sweden to support his joint initiative with The Climate Group, Breaking the Climate Deadlock, and discussed Sweden's ability to accelerate political momentum for a new global deal at a private meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. Sweden assumes the EU Presidency later this year.

Former US President Bill Clinton, also speaking at the event, said: "What bothers me is I see in the American press - and I'm sure it's happening elsewhere in the world - the people who never believed in this, who never really wanted to do anything about it, using the current economic crisis as an excuse to say, we'll we can't do this or that or the other thing...We have to convince people that this is good economics or we'll never get this done."

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