Minister of State for the Environment, Elliot Morley welcomed an international initiative to co-ordinate global environmental monitoring systems, which takes forward decisions announced at the G8 summit in Evian.

Earlier today, US Secretary of State Colin Powell opened a high-level meeting in Washington on global observations, which is aimed at launching an initiative to strengthen global earth observations that improve our understanding of environmental degradation and climate change.

Mr Morley said:
“The UK Government is committed to action to combat global warming, and to taking this forward internationally through the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). We already have enough information to show that the global climate is changing due to human activities. The need for international action is urgent and science and observation provides important underpinning reasons for action.

“The Government fully supports the recent action plan announced by the G8 on the need to improve further climate observations. The global observation systems will further deepen our understanding and provide the basis for policy decisions in the coming decades.”

European countries including the UK contribute strongly to global monitoring effects and these will be enhanced through the development of GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) over the next several years.

The UK Hadley Centre is the world’s leading climate modelling centre. Earlier this week it presented further evidence that global warming due to human activities is already underway. Dr Peter Stott’s paper, which is being published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal, identifies human-induced warming trends at continental levels including Europe, North America and Africa.