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Why WWF works on climate change

Posted by George Smeeton on 14/05/12 16:15 PM

On Sunday 6 May, the Sunday Telegraph published an article by columnist Christopher Booker, titled How climate change has got Worldwide Fund for Nature bamboozled.

In response, WWF-UK chief executive David Nussbaum sent a letter to the editor of the Sunday Telegraph, which was published in an edited form under the title '
Conserving the climate' on Sunday 13 May.

The full, unedited, letter that we sent the Sunday Telegraph is copied below.

Dear Sir,

Christopher Booker rightly lauds WWF’s founders for campaigning to save species endangered by human activity. However, in his most recent attack on WWF (“How climate change has got Worldwide Fund for Nature bamboozled”, 5th May 2012) he fails to appreciate the fundamental connection between tackling climate change and our founding mission.

Indeed it was one such founder Max Nicholson who said "WWF is not just about saving whales and tigers and rainforests, and preventing pollution and waste, but is inescapably concerned with the future conduct, welfare and happiness and indeed survival of mankind on this planet." Climate change is endangering the survival of countless species around the world; if we fail to deal with it now, no amount of other conservation work can hope to protect the places, species and communities that are at risk.

Mr Booker has form for promoting the view that climate change is not a scientific reality that needs urgent action. He recycles a range of statements in this piece in an attempt to discredit WWF, but it’s climate science that is under attack. Climate change is not a "fashionable and lucrative… environmental cause", but an all too real problem for humans and the natural world that is rapidly getting worse.

Not only is there overwhelming scientific consensus that this is the case, but organisations like the OECD have warned this year that the costs of inaction on tackling climate change could be colossal, both in economic and human terms. So when Mr Booker terms climate change a "fading belief" and "a threat that never actually existed" he is wrong and under-estimates the intelligence of the readers of your paper.

Yours sincerely,

David Nussbaum, chief executive, WWF-UK

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