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'Obama move will lure India into climate change fight'

Monday, December 22, 2008 , Posted by Linda at 10:21 AM

London, Dec 22 (IANS) US president-elect Barack Obama's groundbreaking move to appoint two global warming specialists as his main scientific advisers is the first step towards persuading India, China and Brazil to join the fight against climate change, says a leading British scientist.

Obama Saturday nominated Harvard physicist John Holdren as his scientific adviser and marine biologist Jane Lubchenco to head the US oceanic research body.

Both have advocated greater government action on climate change and their appointment is thought to signal Obama's first action marking a departure from the Bush administration's policies.

Holdren will become director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the co-chair of the Council of Advisers on Science and Technology while Lubchenco, who criticised the Bush administration this year for not being 'respectful' of science, will direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Warmly welcoming the move, Britain's leading climate change scientist Robert Watson said Sunday that the two Americans will help set an example to the rest of the world by creating a low-carbon economy in the US.

He told Channel Four television that once such an example has been set, it would be much easier to ask India, China and Brazil to join in the global fight against climate change.

The three developing countries have so far been reluctant to join in the fight, saying the US and other rich nations must do much more first, citing the 'polluter pays principle'.

Watson, who is the British government's chief scientific advisor on climate change, was fired from his job as chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2002 apparently under pressure from the Bush administration and the oil lobby.

Watson said US climate change policy was now likely to change 'almost overnight'.

'We (Britain) are already committed to 80 percent reduction by 2015. President Obama is already committed to a similar claim. We need to work together.

'With Europe working the US, we then have a real possibility of bringing India, China, Brazil and other large developing countries on board. But we have to show that the US is willing to act first. If the US is willing to act in concert with Europe and Japan then I believe we can find a fair and equitable agreement for India, China and Brazil,' he added.

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