UK would be a climate leader with me in power, says Miliband

Challenger for Number 10 Downing Street says current government has not taken global warming seriously

Labour leader Ed Miliband was UK energy and climate change chief 2008-2010 (Pic: Flickr/Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

Labour leader Ed Miliband was UK energy and climate change chief 2008-2010 (Pic: Flickr/Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

By Alex Pashley

A Labour government would ensure Britain played its role in securing a comprehensive global climate pact if elected, its leader Ed Miliband said today.

The challenger for prime minister vowed to achieve robust carbon-cutting plans for all countries in prevent a temperature rise of 2C by 2100, Miliband said in a speech in London two weeks before Britons go to the polls.

“When it comes to climate change, we will help set ambitious emissions targets for all countries, reviewed every five years, based on a scientific assessment of the progress towards the 2 degree centigrade goal,” he  said at the international affairs think tank, Chatham House.

“Climate change threatens the future of everyone no matter where they live,” he said.

Labelling climate change a national security threat, he said Britain must cooperate with its global partners.

Nearly 200 countries are working on a global pact to curb greenhouse gas emissions, set to be finalised in Paris this December. Scientists say the world will warm to dangerous levels if fossil fuels continue to be burnt at their present rate.

Ed Miliband: Copenhagen was necessary failure on road to Paris 

This year’s summit in the French capital would be Britain’s “chance to demonstrate” its leading role, which he said he was “privileged to shape at the Copenhagen summit” as former Energy Secretary in the last Labour government,.

Miliband said he would set a goal of net zero global emissions from 2050, backed “transparent, universal rules” to vet countries’ pollution-reduction commitments, and called for countries to have plans to adapt to climate impacts.

The world needed an “equitable deal” with rich countries providing support for poor nations.

Britain, as a member of the European Union has committed to cut emissions by “at least” 40% on 1990 levels by 2030 as its contribution to reining in global warming,

But in a speech focussed on foreign policy, climate change featured lightly against discussions on Britain’s membership of the European Union, defence budgets and the Middle East.

He called to re-imagine the UK’s foreign policy and regain influence through multilateral institutions, after David Cameron presided over the “biggest loss of influence for our country in a generation” through “small-minded isolationism”.

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