Time to stop the bickering on climate change

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Warming ‘already changing world’
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, due to be published today, will make the case that of 29,000 pieces of data on observed changes in physical and biological aspects of the natural world, 85% are consistent with a warming world.

I met some Americans recently who put forward the view that global warming was still an unproven phenomenum. They were not trying to advance a political agenda — it was just that this is what they understood to be the balance of scientific opinion.

Ten years ago, it was probably legitimate to say that the jury was still out on climate change — although the likelihood was far greater than that of an asteroid hitting the earth, which was something that NASA was actively investigating at the time. Five years ago you had to be fairly stubborn if you wanted to maintain the view that it wasn’t happening. As of today, it is, in many respects, the most likely thing in the world.


We still have not learned the art of Middle Eastern Diplomacy

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Iranians release British sailors

During the Iraq war, amid all the tragi-comedy of Comical Ali and the daily briefings which got further and further from any sense of reality, most of us overlooked something which should have been the key to our Middle Eastern future. It was something very simple: every day Saddam Hussein could take his pick of any one of his ministers able to give a briefing in English. Neither Britain nor the USA was able to put up a single minister or military leader who could brief Al Jazeera or any part of the Arab press in Arabic.

Freedom Sunday — why I entered politics

Today is Freedom Sunday, 25 March 2007, the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire, and the focus of a new generation of campaigners against the modern slave trade. It coincides with the release of the film Amazing Grace recounting the life of William Wilberforce. Wilberforce was a politician who became an evangelical Christian and then dedicated his life to a programme of social reforms, the most famous of which — and at the time the most unpopular and controversial — was the abolition of slavery.

Wilberforce stands as a powerful example to both Christians and to politicians. But it was not the example of Wilberforce, but direct contact with human trafficking, which brought me into politics.

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