Gordon Brown: 'We can make the difference'

Gordon Brown is seeking an ambitious, effective and fair plan, and he asserts that it is in the best interests of everyone to warm to it

A A A

In 71 days, the international community will gather in Copenhagen to determine a new global agreement on climate change. At stake is the future of every child on this planet. There is no higher priority for me, or for this government, than forging an agreement in Copenhagen that sets the world on a path to avoiding dangerous warming – to keep the global average temperature increase to two degrees celsius.

As set out in our document The Road to Copenhagen (www.actoncopenhagen.gov.uk), we want an agreement that is ambitious, effective, and fair. Ambitious: it must set a trajectory for reducing global emissions by at least 50 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050. Effective: it must establish a legally binding regime, and a global carbon market. And fair: it must provide developing countries with financial and technological support to help them adapt to climate change and to embark on low-carbon development paths themselves.

With UN negotiations proceeding too slowly, the UK government has been leading efforts to unblock the deal. In June, I was the first developed-country leader to table a concrete proposition for climate finance for developing countries, suggesting a working figure of £61bn ($100bn) a year from private and public sources by 2020. At the UN and G20 summits this week, I have been talking directly to other global leaders about this, and next month I will be working to agree the EU's position. And let no one be in any doubt – we can do this because of our strong engagement in Europe. No party which detaches itself from the EU mainstream can claim to be committed to acting on climate change.

And at home we are implementing a radical set of climate policies. Our Climate Change Act makes the UK the first country to put our emissions cuts into law – by 34 per cent by 2020, and by 80 per cent by 2050. And the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan we published in July (www.decc.gov.uk) is the first in the world to give every department responsibility for its own "carbon budget".

The Transition Plan represents a revolution in energy policy that will not just reduce emissions but increase our energy security and create jobs in the new green economy. Our Great British Refurb campaign will insulate every loft and cavity wall by 2015, and fit every home with a smart meter by 2020. From next year, feed-in tariffs will give cash back to households and communities installing decentralised energy. We are increasing renewable-energy production sevenfold in the next decade. We are forging ahead with a programme of new nuclear build. We will only approve new coal-fired power stations that are fitted with carbon capture and storage, with the world's largest demonstration programme for this vital new technology. And we have a £400m programme of investment in the new generation of electric vehicles.

Meeting these plans will create around 400,000 jobs in green manufacturing, low-carbon energy and environmental services over the next eight years. Through our Low Carbon Industrial Strategy and £400m investment fund, we will reap the economic benefits for Britain of the global shift to low carbon.

So we are leading the way on climate action – but we need more than just government to do this. As with Make Poverty History, we will get the agreement we need at Copenhagen only if governments can show they have public support. So I would urge as many people as possible to go to Ed Miliband's new campaign website, www.edspledge.com, and sign up their backing for an ambitious deal. Together, we can make the difference.

The level of CO2 in the atmosphere is now 386 parts per million. In 1958, it stood at 315ppm. Before the Industrial Revolution, it was 280ppm

News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
News
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own