Let's get our act together, Miliband tells climate ministers

A A A

Environment ministers must "get their act together" to put international talks to tackle climate change back on track and deal with unresolved issues, Ed Miliband said today.

Speaking in Copenhagen, the Climate Change Secretary urged delegates to make progress before national leaders arrive later this week.

He said: "We need to collectively get our act together and move on and find ways in which we can solve the difficult issues, because these issues that I've mentioned can't all be left to leaders.

"It may be the case that some final issues remain when leaders arrive.

"I've always said the leaders' role in this process is incredibly important to get the final pieces of the jigsaw in place. But what we cannot do is leave a whole slew of issues to leaders.

"I think that the very clear message for negotiators and ministers is we need to get our act together and take action to resolve some of the outstanding issues that we face."

Pacific island Tuvalu has asked for the target to limit global warming to 2C to be brought down to 1.5C.

Mr Miliband said the request should be heeded but the existing plan was "deliverable".

He went on: "The presence of countries like Tuvalu who face immediate and growing threats to their very existence is a salutary reminder of the urgency of this crisis. I think we should go for the most ambition that we should get.

"The truth is, as a result of the emissions already in the atmosphere we are likely to see warming of 1.4 degrees.

"That's why we have taken the position because we think it is a deliverable position to limit warming to no more than two degrees."

A key issue facing those at the meeting is whether they are willing to deliver on the commitments made.

Mr Miliband said: "There are two outstanding issues that I think all countries face, frankly, in this, which is whether we are willing to stand behind our commitments and say that we're going to do what we promise and, secondly, the precise system of monitoring, reporting and verification to make sure people actually follow through on what they promise."

He was joined by International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander, who said the fight against global warming was tied to the battle against poverty.

Mr Alexander said: "The challenge of tackling dangerous climate change and tackling extreme global poverty are now indivisible. For the developing world, climate change is not a future threat, but a contemporary crisis."



Mr Miliband said ministers needed to show more willingness in the talks and understand the urgency of the situation.

He said: "We're now getting close to midnight in this negotiation and we need to act like it.

"That means more urgency to solve problems, not just identify them, more willingness to shift from entrenched positions and more ambitious commitments."

And he warned: "We're not yet on track for the kind of deal we need. This is the critical opportunity. Britain is working in formal and informal settings as persuaders for the ambitious and comprehensive agreement we want.

"If we want to do a deal, we will all need to create greater momentum and make active efforts to find solutions. We need more progress before the leaders arrive."

Mr Miliband attended a meeting of about 40 ministers yesterday ahead of this week's ministerial-level talks at the conference in the Danish capital.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has been in Copenhagen to urge negotiators to secure a deal that would protect the world's forests, in the wake of the Prime Minister's call for 25 billion dollars (£15 billion) in funding from rich countries up to 2015 to reduce deforestation, which accounts for almost a fifth of total global emissions.

Mr Alexander is in Denmark for meetings with his counterparts as part of efforts to get a deal which is fair to developing countries that have done least to cause the problem of global warming but are set to be hit hardest.

Former prime minister Tony Blair has urged nations to secure a deal, saying that even if it is not all that everybody wants, there should be and could be an agreement.

Mr Blair said: "We should take the most ambitious level of commitment to cutting emissions, from both developed and developing nations, that is on the table now, accumulate it, make it the basis of the agreement, add to it in ways that we know can make a difference within the next 10 or 15 years, especially in areas like deforestation, and get moving.

"The truth is, such an accord would itself set the world on a new path to a low-carbon future."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones