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

Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
Life & Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 63rd anniversary of the Peak District National Park
tech
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Life & Style
Michael Acton Smith founded Firebox straight out of university before creating Moshi Monsters
techHe started out selling silliness with online retailer Firebox, before launching virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
News
Ethical matters: pupils during a philosophy lesson
educationTaunton School's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success
Arts & Entertainment
Play It Forward: the DC Record Fair in Washington, US
musicIndependent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads on Record Store Day
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Online Advertising Account Executive , St Pauls , London

£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Advertising Account Executive - Online, Central London

£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Senior Infrastructure Consultant

£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...

Public Sector Audit - Bristol

£38000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have experience of ...

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal