Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 4:44 pm on 5th January 2010.

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Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change 4:44 pm, 5th January 2010

I slightly regret the tone of the hon. Gentleman's remarks. I welcomed the cross-party support for the Government's work at Copenhagen, from the hon. Gentleman himself and from those on the Liberal Democrat Benches-and, indeed, from the Leader of the Opposition and from the leader of the Liberal Democrat party. All of us who went to Copenhagen sought to get the best agreement we could and I believe that we can build on the accord that was reached. Petty and partisan remarks about my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and others, however, really do not become the hon. Gentleman.

Let me deal now with the hon. Gentleman's specific points. On the question of the accord and whether there should be a global campaign for it, I believe it is necessary to seek to encourage more countries to sign up to it. It is not just me that thinks that, as the President of the Maldives, Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia and a coalition of developing and developed countries signed up to the accord. It is not an agreement to disagree. I said clearly in my remarks that it is a matter of regret that the emissions reductions were not lodged at the time of the agreement, but they will be lodged by 31 January, and I hope that those will be targets. I mentioned all the countries that have targets and we can build on that, but perhaps the hon. Gentleman did not understand that these will be lodged as part of the agreement by the end of January. As I say, it is something on which we can build. That is my first point to the hon. Gentleman.

On the second point, of course developing countries emphasise the overriding importance of development. Indeed, the words that the hon. Gentleman cited were taken either from the Kyoto treaty or the Rio convention, which both emphasised the overriding priority of development for developing countries. I disagree with the hon. Gentleman's characterisation of how we talked about Copenhagen. When he or I talked about Copenhagen, we did not talk about it simply in sacrificial terms; we talked about it as being good for our economies. We did not talk about it simply in ideological terms either; we talked about what countries could gain from it and we talked about how it could unite rich and poor nations alike.

I am all for slogans about the need for a new politics of climate change and all that, although I will have to talk to the hon. Gentleman at some point about what that means. I think it best to build on the progress made at Copenhagen-although it was disappointing-and, more important, the progress made over the last year, and to use the opportunities that we shall have in the coming year to secure the agreement that we did not secure at Copenhagen.

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