Blair launches new Climate Group

Prime Minister Tony Blair has pledged support for the Climate Group, a new non-profit organisation "dedicated to accelerating the world's response to the biggest issue facing the planet today - climate change."

The group is not short of ambition - it sees its role as a "catalyst" to take the world "beyond Kyoto". Chief executive Steve Howard says that "by bringing the key players together for the first time, we believe that the world can turn the corner on climate change."

Mr Blair welcomed the group's initiative to "demonstrate the benefits of taking early action" to cut greenhouse gas emissions. "The cost of not acting in this case is so overwhelmingly greater than any short-term cost of action, that we have to act and we have to act now," he said.

The group was founded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and its supporters include HSBC, Swiss Re, Lafarge, BP, environmental group WWF and the UK and German governments.

A high-profile launch in London was followed by a conference in Toronto for leading "reducers". The organisation aims to set up working groups to identify best practice in areas such as banking, transport and retailing, supported by case studies and an annual "climate index" tool. Next year, it aims to launch "carbon university" to help organisations improve their emissions performance.

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