The Environment:
The Most Important Issue That We Face

This was Tony Blair's view on climate change and the environment last year - but it has barely figured in the election campaign. Here's why it should:

10 of the hottest years in the world on record have occurred since 1990

3.5C predicted rise in average UK temperature by 2080. For every one degree rise, Spring advances six days

1.5 per cent rise in UK carbon dioxide emissions in 2004

In its 2001 manifesto, Labour reaffirmed its pledge to cut greenhouse emissions by 20 per cent from 1990 levels, by 2010. They are currently 12.6 per cent lower than in 1990

8.6 months is the estimated reduction in lifespan of average European due to pollution

434,000,000 tons of waste is produced in Britain each year - enough to fill the Albert Hall every two hours

50cm average distance between pieces of litter on UK beaches. Levels of rubbish on beaches have increased 82 per cent in a decade

Rubbish is dumped illegally in UK every 35 secs

22m tons of rubbish from British homes sent to landfill sites every year

10 species of wild flower are believed to be disappearing from each county in Britain each decade

21 native flowering plants have disappeared from Britain in the past 150 years

50 per cent fall in the population of birds living in agricultural fields since 1970 (with tree sparrows down by 87 per cent )

95 per cent of our important, wildlife-rich lowland peat bogs have been destroyed in the past half century

97 per cent of our flower-rich lowland grasslands have disappeared since 1930

17 per cent of household waste was recycled last year. The target is 35 per cent by 2015

19 per cent of municipal waste recycled last year

50 per cent of household and municipal waste is recycled in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands

97m passengers flew between the UK and the rest of Europe in 2003 - almost double the 51m in 1993

32.26m vehicles were on Britain's roads last year, a rise of 3.2 per cent on 2003

100 tons of CO2 will be released by each of the main party's helicopters during the campaign, say the Greens



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