Last thing we need is a ‘comfortable consensus’ on climate crisis, warns Ed Miliband | Ed Miliband
The UK must tell the truth about the ‘terrifying and demanding’ scale of the challenge the world faces to avoid climate degradation as it prepares to host a landmark summit of world leaders later this year, Ed Miliband has warned.
A “comfortable consensus” among politicians, policymakers and some NGOs, focusing on long-term net zero goals rather than short-term actions, could prove disastrous, he said. Instead, Boris Johnson’s government must focus on persuading countries to implement immediate and far-reaching emissions reductions and do everything to make the Glasgow conference in November a success, including by enlisting the help of former prime ministers like Theresa May and Gordon Brown.
“We need to tell the truth from the government,” Miliband, a former Workforce leader who now heads the party’s climate team, the Guardian said in an interview last week. “It’s not just about net zero goals for the middle of this century, it’s not just about a coalition for action in various fields … and it certainly isn’t about Boris Johnson having a moment to have a good photo-opportunity. It’s incredibly serious and incredibly difficult and we have to be honest. “
Miliband is one of the most seasoned climate advocates in frontline politics and was the country’s first secretary of state for climate change in 2008. when the UK introduced the world’s first climate change bill. At the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, he is famous for speaking at a key moment in a way that some support, preserved the summit of complete failure. In 2010, the following year, he became the youngest leader of the Labor Party, before being defeated in the legislative elections by David Cameron who offered voters the choice between chaos with Miliband, or “”stability and solid government with me ”.
This year’s summit is seen as a last chance to meet Paris agreement targets and also to limit temperature rise to well below 2 ° C above pre-industrial levels, with an aspiration to stay below 1.5 ° C at your fingertips. It will be the UK’s most important moment on the world stage for generations, he said, warning that the latest UN emission figures, which clearly show that the world is on track for catastrophic 3 ° C warming, have been ignored by too many politicians. “It’s like these numbers are the embarrassing uncle we want to pretend doesn’t exist – so let’s talk about everything else, let’s talk about 2050, let’s talk about 2060… but we don’t have the luxury of time… The pressure , the action should be now.
The British government has been widely criticized for its plans to a new coal mine and this weekend he scrapped his flagship grant program for green houses, the centerpiece of Johnson’s promise to ‘build back greener’.
Miliband said: “We have a special responsibility as hosts and we fall short of those responsibilities. I feel like it could be a key priority for the Prime Minister in a rhetorical sense to show he is ‘green’. But that is not the purpose of this conference.
For the remaining eight months, Miliband said the focus should be on four things; tell the truth about the scale of the challenge and the need for more immediate emission reductions; promote a global green recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic and underline its economic, social and environmental significance; securing hundreds of billions of pounds in support for developing countries; and a renewed diplomatic effort led by Johnson but also using other former political heavyweights and prime ministers from Gordon Brown to Theresa May.
In the Guardian last week, Alok Sharma, chairman of the UN Climate Summit Cop26, said the summit’s goal would be to put the world on track to reach net zero by 2050 and urged countries to set new, tougher emissions targets for 2030. But Miliband said that , although he welcomed the mention of more immediate action, the message did not have the “weight, amplification and priority” that it urgently needs.
“I don’t want to pretend it’s easy. The gigatons figures [predicted greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 2030] are terrifying and demanding, but just because it’s incredibly difficult doesn’t mean you have to pretend the numbers don’t exist or that’s not what science tells us …
“This summit must keep 1.5 ° C alive … We need strong and decisive leadership and political weight to make CoP26 a success and to face the climate emergency with urgency and ambition required, and it starts at the top with Boris Johnson. “
The work has faces criticism from some of its activists and young party members who say the first radical climate jobs agenda defined under Jeremy Corbyn is largely absent from Keir Starmer’s leadership.
Last year, the Labor Party released plans for a green recovery and called for the creation of a “zero carbon youth army”Plant trees, insulate buildings and work on green technologies. But critics say that, overall, the party leadership has failed to push for a far-reaching new green deal in response to the pandemic.
However, Miliband tried to reassure his supporters – particularly the large number of young people who voted Labor in the last two general elections – that a radical climate justice agenda remains the “beating heart” of the party.
“We are not giving up on the ambition of our 2019 manifesto. We are not giving up on the green new deal, which is only becoming more important in light of the Covid pandemic. “
Last week Miliband unveiled Labor plans for an “electric car revolution”In the UK, with plans to create jobs by co-financing three new battery factories, interest-free loans to make electric cars more affordable and a revamped network of charging points, although he said that he did not yet own an electric car himself.
Milliband has defended the cop tops against claims that they are just gossip. “It is a forcing mechanism … to force countries to collectively face – with all the shortcomings we have – the scale of the task we collectively face.”
And he said that despite the daunting scale of the task, he was not “fundamentally grim,” pointing to growing political will around the world, especially in the United States, where he said the ‘Biden administration, that this weekend invited 40 world leaders to a virtual summit on the climate crisis, now considered maintaining the temperature at 1.5 ° C as a “central objective”.
“The momentum for change is now unstoppable. The question is the pace of change.
He insisted that if the crisis is treated as a real emergency and urgent action ensues, there is always the possibility of creating a more equal, more sustainable and better world for future generations.
“It’s still available, but we have to continue and treat it as an emergency. “