International co-operation on climate change is vital, with policy and investment in innovation necessary for progress, according to Ed Miliband MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, in a recent speech to the Fabian Society.
He said, ‘There is no more important and no more difficult a challenge in politics at the moment than getting an ambitious agreement at Copenhagen.’
Miliband highlighted the need for decisive action. He said, ‘If we leave climate change to a question of managerialism around targets, finance and technology, we will be sunk.’
He also noted the implicit moral issues regarding climate change. ‘At the core of action on climate change is a fundamental moral question about whether we care about the legacy we leave to future generations: about whether we think it is fair or just to take advantage of the planet’s resources as if there were no tomorrow.’
Miliband also stressed the importance of growing a greener economy as a counter to the recent financial downturn. ‘Part of the reason I am optimistic not pessimistic about the prospects for a global deal, is that the debate about climate change has been transformed by the debate about the green economy.
‘Suddenly, people can see the argument that this is an essential part of building the post-recession economy-in developed and developing countries.’
The need for cooperation between countries was also highlighted, specifically in the developing nations. He said, ‘…when we look ahead, 75 per cent of the predicted increase in global emissions over the next two decades come from developing countries, 50 per cent from China alone.
So there is no global deal worth its name without developed and developing countries action.’
He added, ‘We need to show a willingness to take action on public finance and we will be saying more about this soon. In this context, we need to understand that it is not an abdication of responsibility to help build a global carbon market, but it is a way of helping ensure we have the scale of finance we need for developing countries.
Milband also stressed the need for new technologies and innovation to match the threat of climate change. He said, ‘And we need to be helping to drive forward the key technologies and sharing the know-how about them. This is why action on CCS and coal is so important. It’s not just about UK emissions, it is about pushing forward CCS as quickly as possible.’
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