- London Telegraph -
Following the ‘climategate scandal’, Mr Blair said the science may not be “as certain as its proponents allege”.
But he said the world should act as a precaution against floods, droughts and mass extinction caused by climate change, in fact it would be “grossly irresponsible” not to.
The first week of key UN negotiations on climate change saw clashes between the rich and poor world over the failure of countries like the US to commit to strict cuts in carbon dioxide.
Later this week world leaders, including Gordon Brown and President Barack Obama, will arrive.
Mr Blair admitted that the talks are “one of the toughest negotiations that international leaders will ever have been involved in.”
But despite sceptics claiming emails stolen from the University of East Anglia question the science, he said it was urgent to act now.
“It is said that the science around climate change is not as certain as its proponents allege. It doesn’t need to be. What is beyond debate, however, is that there is a huge amount of scientific support for the view that the climate is changing and as a result of human activity,” he said.
“Therefore, even purely as a matter of precaution, given the seriousness of the consequences if such a view is correct, and the time it will take for action to take effect, we should act. Not to do so would be grossly irresponsible.”
A new report from the ‘Breaking the Climate Deadlock Initiative’ found that the current commitments of rich countries would not be enough to stop global warming
But Mr Blair insisted that even a weak agreement would set the world on a path to a "low carbon future" by encouraging investment in green energy and he suggested a review every five years to toughen targets.
He also called for an agreement to halt deforestation that is responsible for a fifth of the world's emissions by paying poor countries not to chop down trees.
Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, called for a crack down on illegal logging and suggested a £15bn fund to set up the new system of forest protection.
Across town Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, was locked in a meeting with more than 40 other environment ministers to try and progress the talks.
On Tuesday the Prince of Wales will arrive at the conference to give a speech that is expected to also call for a deal to stop deforestation.
Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California and Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party are also all due to speak at the conference this week.