Miliband’s stark warning: Climate Change an issue of National Security

Observer front page - 16/02/14 The Observer carries a warning by Labour leader Ed Miliband that climate change is now a national security threat. Dame Helen Mirren is pictured. She tells the paper of her concern over rising levels of screen violence towards women.

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The storms and flooding continue to generate headlines with reports of the latest disruption providing the backdrop to a variety of stories in Sunday’s newspapers.

The Observer leads with comments from Labour leader Ed Miliband that Britain is “sleepwalking into a national security crisis” because of a failure to recognise that climate change is causing the extreme weather.

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Money Money Money

Abba in 1977

Swedish pop legends Abba wore garish stage costumes to save money on their tax bills, according to a new book to mark their Eurovision success 40 years ago.

According to a story in the Mail on Sunday, the group took advantage of a law which meant their clothes were tax deductible if not also used for regular wear.

Band member Bjorn Ulvaeus recalls that the “terrible” clothes also meant people would remember the then-aspiring superstars.

In an interview with the paper, he urges “decent people” in the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats “to come forward and say, we can’t have this ambivalence any more because it will be disastrous for this country”.

A photograph of the devastation after a tidal surge ripped through Milford on Sea in Hampshire on Friday night is featured on the front page of the Mail on Sunday.

However, the newspaper also carries comments from Met Office expert Mat Collins that it says appear to contradict a suggestion from the organisation’s chief scientist that climate change does have a role to play in the stormy weather.

“There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter,” it quotes Prof Collins as saying.

The lead story in the Sunday Express says dangerous levels of bacteria that can cause typhoid fever, dysentery, hepatitis and antibiotic-resistant bugs similar to MRSA have been discovered in floodwater near the Thames.

The paper also reports that Treasury chiefs are reviewing the possibility of exempting flood victims from VAT payments on home repairs and replacement goods.

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‘Short-term agendas’

Roof from block of flats in Poole, Dorset, after it was blown off during storms on Friday 14 February 2014 Images of storm damage continues to appear across the papers

A front page story in the Sunday Times says that five aircraft unable to land at Heathrow and Gatwick during Friday’s storms were forced to declare emergencies, some perilously close to running out of fuel.

In an editorial, the Sunday Times accuses successive governments of failing to plan for extreme weather.

“The government’s own impact assessment seems to assume that flood risk will remain the same over time, despite official projections that clearly suggest it will increase,” it adds.

Writing in the Independent, Richard Ashley, a scientist who in 2007 co-authored a government study into flooding says there has been a “systemic failure to take a longer-term and strategic approach to environmental hazards”.

“Many in government either don’t believe, or don’t wish to upset those who don’t believe, that the climate is changing,” he writes.

“An interest in floods falls away rapidly after a major event, short-term political agendas return and only what affects the outcome of the next general election becomes important.”

The Sun on Sunday also suggests the storms “underline the need for changes in the way we prepare for, and cope with, such extreme weather”.

“While David Cameron was right to say money is no object in the relief effort, future policy must focus on prevention,” it adds in an editorial

Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph carries a report that councils in some of the areas worst affected by flooding – in Surrey and the Somerset Levels – have published plans to build on land that is currently under water.

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