Miliband urges PM to ‘get off sun lounger’ and treat Cop26 with ‘seriousness’

Ed Miliband has set out his five demands to keep the 1.5C pledge ‘alive’ ahead of the climate talks in Glasgow.

Miliband urges PM to ‘get off sun lounger’ and treat Cop26 with ‘seriousness’

Ed Miliband has urged Boris Johnson to “get off his sun lounger” and treat Cop26 with the “seriousness” it deserves.

Speaking at an event organised by the Green Alliance on Wednesday, the shadow business secretary set out what a Labour government would prioritise to keep “1.5 degrees alive” ahead of the crucial Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow.

Mr Miliband said Labour would do five things: support the most vulnerable; pressure the big emitters; mobilise major businesses and financial institutions behind climate action; protect nature, and lead by example at home.

He said: “There is no route to success without reassembling the high ambition coalition.

“So we need to deliver and exceed the 100 billion US dollars (£73.3 billion) of finance promised at Copenhagen, with a 50:50 split between mitigation and adaptation.

“We need to recognise the need for additional funding in the future for loss and damage since it is developing countries who will be hit hardest by climate breakdown and crucially we need to deliver on the promise Boris Johnson himself made at the G7 summit to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022.”

He went on: “Second, we need to demand every big emitter delivers on 1.5 degree compliant targets.

“We should not at one and the same time be celebrating a trade deal with Australia, which still has no commitment to net zero, and has not updated its 2030 target from Paris, while they are so catastrophically failing to deliver.”

Mr Miliband then noted that while the UK may be 1% of global emissions, according to Carbon Tracker, the investments of companies and financial institutions based in the City of London account for approximately 15% of global emissions.

Highlighting the need to hold financial institutions to account when it comes to their climate transition plans, he said: “The biggest single decision we can make as a country is to mobilise our world-leading global financial centre behind climate action equal to the scale of the emergency.

“So Government should ask all financial institutions not just to report on climate risks, as they plan to, but to bring forward by 2023 credible transition plans that are consistent with a 1.5 degree pathway.

“This would make a profound difference in the flow of finance out of fossil fuels and into green energy.

“We should ask all our FTSE 100 companies to do the same and have their own climate transition plans, consistent with 1.5 degrees, by 2023.

“And furthermore, we should be asking in Glasgow that all major economies follow suit.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“We cannot let Cop26 be the greenwash summit.

“It’s time for the Prime Minister to get off his sun lounger, be a statesman, put away the easel and make Glasgow the success we need it to be.

“This summit must succeed.

“It still can.

“But we need a step-change in action from our government and governments across the world.”

The former Labour leader also criticised Rishi Sunak for not being “green” enough.

When asked about the role of the Treasury in the fight against climate change, he said: “I think it feels like there is a particular problem in relation to this Chancellor.

“This is just an observation… it is almost like he wants to position himself as the non-green Chancellor.

“Rachel Reeves wants to be the green chancellor, he (Rishi Sunak) wants to be the non-green Chancellor.

“I think that’s a big problem here.”

On Tuesday, Alok Sharma said action by G20 countries will be “make or break” for keeping the goal to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C within reach.

In a speech in Paris less than three weeks before Cop26, Mr Sharma, president of the summit, warned leaders of major economies such as China must step up with a new climate plan.

Cop26 president Alok Sharma
Cop26 president Alok Sharma (Justin Tallis/PA)

Current action and pledges leave the world well off track to meeting the 1.5C goal and avoiding the most dangerous heat waves, floods, damage to natural systems, rising sea levels and diseases that higher temperatures will bring.

Mr Sharma said: “If temperatures continue to rise we will step through a series of one-way doors, the end destination of which is climate catastrophe.”

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