Grim climate warning to Government
The Government has been accused of being "reckless and short-sighted" over green policies, as it was warned there were just 50 months to take action to prevent catastrophic climate change.
The heads of organisations from Greenpeace to the Women's Institute, business leaders and experts called on politicians to grab the opportunity to deal with climate change, which they said was one of the greatest threats to human progress.
They warned that despite record ice-loss in the Arctic, and drought and soaring temperatures in the US, the issue had slipped down the political agenda, but tackling it could be a huge economic opportunity.
In a letter to the Guardian, they said that on current trends there were just 50 months before the world crossed a critical threshold, beyond which it would be unlikely to limit temperature rises to no more than 2C.
The 2C mark has been set by the UK and the European Union among others as a line which the world should not cross to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Signatories to the letter include Barbara Stocking, chief executive of Oxfam, Designer Dame Vivienne Westwood, Bianca Jagger, Green MP Caroline Lucas and Ed Mayo, chief executive of Co-operatives UK.
They wrote: "There is so much to gain from investing with speed and scale in a modern, low-carbon economy, that the failure to do so appears both reckless and short-sighted. Some recent policies seem even to take us backwards.
"More the same, old, economics will not work. To create jobs, more secure energy systems and less pollution, investing in a massive energy efficiency drive, and a programme to expand renewable energy are just two of the more obvious steps that could benefit the economy and the environment."
And Greenpeace executive director John Sauven committed to more direct action to protect the Arctic from oil drilling, while Dame Vivienne said there was a need to inflame public opinion and blame politicians for the crisis.
The groups and individuals are calling on the Government and opposition to say what they will do over the next 50 months to "grab the opportunity of action and prevent catastrophic climate change".