A HAMPSHIRE peer has warned the battle to halt climate change will involve the whole planet - with people everywhere having to make "significant changes".

Lord Montagu has spoken out after a "mini-hurricane" ripped through part of the 7,000-acre Beaulieu Estate last December, resulting in trees toppling over "like packs of cards".

Two areas of Old Park have had to be replanted and more work is due to be carried out next spring.

Speaking at the annual Beaulieu Estate Dinner Lord Montagu said: "Whether the cause of minor storms like this can be attributed to climate change is difficult to say, but if only half the warnings issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are correct, we must prepare for significant changes.

"The IPCC predicts the planet will be 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels by as early 2030 - that's only 12 years away.

"This could trigger droughts, wildfires, flood and food shortages in many parts of the world.

"The IPCC warns that this can only be curtailed by drastically reducing carbon dioxide emissions, which will require unprecedented international support for what ever measures are considered necessary.

"That is turn will require serious commitment from each country's government and significant changes for every one of us.

"In its recent report the IPCC stated that 'historians will look back at their findings as one of the defining moments in the course of human affairs' - a dire warning."

Lord Montagu said it was difficult to know where to start without an agreed set of objectives.

He added: "The IPCC may of course be wrong, but even if only in the name of contingency planning we all need to start looking at how our lives and businesses will need to change if we are going to help reduce CO2 emissions and mitigate the effects of rising temperatures and sea levels."

The peer called for a strategic national plan to tackle the issue.

"In the New Forest many will be asking how the tourism industry's needs can be reconciled with the desire to reduce emissions from car journeys that bring visitors to us and are part of all our lives," he said.

"A great deal of thinking has been devoted to this issue locally, but without a national plan local initiatives will have only a limited effect."

The head of an organisation often dubbed the guardians of the Forest was the guest speaker at this year's dinner.

The Official Verderer, Lord Manners, told guests: "I believe the Forest to be in good heart, but we do face a number of challenges."


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