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Blair to Lead on Global
Climate Change Deal

In addition to trying to broker a peace deal for the Middle East, Tony Blair is looking to save the planet by tackling global climate change.

The former Prime Minister is to lead a new international team which will work to secure a global deal on reducing emissions. 

Blair told The Guardian today that he has been working on the project with a group of climate change experts, including London's Climate Change Group, since leaving office
last summer.

According to the newspaper’s report, Blair’s plan to prepare a blueprint for a global agreement on reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2050, already has the backing of the White House, the UN and Europe.

Reuters this afternoon reported that Blair had discussed the project with George W. Bush, Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“This is extremely urgent," claimed Blair. "A 50% cut by 2050 has to be a central componenet of this... We need a true and proper global deal and that needs to include America and China.”

The initiative will be officially launched in Tokyo this weekend, following a meeting between Blair and Yasuo Fukuda - the prime minister of Japan and current president of the G8.

“People often say to me there are a lot of climate change plans out there”, added Blair. “And I say ‘how many of them are politically doable?’ So the experts are providing technical knowledge, and specialist insight, but what I'm trying to do is guide it politically.”

Ashok Sinha, Director for I Count - the campaign of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition said: “We welcome Blair’s initiative to broker an international deal and see global emissions cut by 50% by 2050. However, this isn’t a level playing field.

"The UK Government is aware that the science tells us that this overall goal won’t be achieved unless industrialised nations hit at least an 80% emissions reduction target - and not the 60% target which is currently proposed in the UK’s Climate Change Bill going through parliament. 

“Unless the UK target is raised to at least 80% we’ll lose credibility amongst countries, such as India and China, and we’ll fail to demonstrate that we understand the science,” added Dr Sinha.

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published: 17:20 - 14 March 2008