Ed Miliband addresses net zero targets
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The former Labour Party leader launched into an impassioned rant on BBC’s Newsnight as he laid down his party’s vision for a green Britain. Ed Miliband told Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis the Government has shown an “absence of leadership” over COP26, which is due to be held in Glasgow this November. Earlier this year, the Government appointed former Secretary of State for Business and MP for Reading West, Alok Sharma as the full-time President for COP26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Mr Sharma has since acted as the UK’s premier climate envoy, working with foreign governments on ways to tackle the climate crisis.
Last week he completed a trip to China, where he urged his Chinese counterparts to put more effort into driving down carbon emissions and cutting out fossil fuels.
He said: “The clock is running down fast and the next decade will be decisive.
“All countries need to pick up the pace on driving down emissions and safeguarding people and nature from the worst effects of climate change.”
However, Mr Miliband has now claimed the impending climate summit is too important to be left in the hands of “good guy” Mr Sharma.
He said: “The things you’ve got to understand about these summits, with the host of this summit, your success and your ability to manage the summit depends on your moral authority,” the Labour MP said.
“What we’ve seen this year, I’m afraid, is perilous and an absence of leadership, so when you cut overseas development aid and you’re the only G7 country to do it, vulnerable countries, poor countries look at you and say ‘are you serious? Are you serious about what you’re trying to do?’
The former Labour leader encouraged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take a more active role in the proceedings which will thrust Britain into the international spotlight just two months from now.
He added: “Right the way along we’ve seen an absence of leadership.
“Now, I don’t despair, this summit has got to succeed and it isn’t too late but there are some things that the Prime Minister has got to do, and the first thing is you can’t just leave it to Alok Sharma.
“He’s a good guy, Alok Sharma, but this is about a Prime Minister, he’s got to take charge of this in the next two months.”
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The UK Government is committed to tackling the climate crisis, with goals in place to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
The target was amended from a previous commitment to hit an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050.
And in April this year, the Government announced it “will set the world’s most ambitious climate change target” to reduce emissions by 78 percent by 2035, compared to 1990 levels.
According to the Government, hitting net-zero means “any emissions would be balanced by schemes to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, such as planting trees or using technology like carbon capture and storage”.
The Labour Party, however, thinks it can do better than the Conservative Government with much more ambitious net-zero targets.
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Mr Miliband said: “The manifesto said rightly that the substantial majority of our emissions will be cut by 2030, going well beyond what this Government is promising. I hold that commitment.”
The former Labour leader went on to praise US President Joe Biden who has committed a trillion-dollar package to tackle climate change, saying he wants to be just as ambitious.
He added: “If we really treated this like an emergency – it’s not the same as Covid – but if we really treated it like it was an emergency, we wouldn’t be investing in the green recovery.
“We would be borrowing to invest because it makes sense to do that.”
In November last year, the Prime Minister revealed his 10 Point Plan for tackling the climate crisis.
As part of the plan, the Government has committed to leading a green industrial revolution that will support as many as 250,000 jobs.
The Government is focusing its efforts on offshore wind farms, low-carbon hydrogen energy, nuclear, backing electric vehicle manufacturers, supporting public transport and protecting Britain’s wildlife and nature.
Mr Johnson said: “Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future
Express.co.uk has asked Mr Sharma to comment on Mr Miliband’s statements.
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