Ed Miliband’s statement on climate change at the G20 was short and to the point.
Miliband briefed for ten minutes from Room Three of the conference centre, and quickly answered four questions before departing to give BBC and SkyNews interviews on the same topic.
The thrust of the conference was just that: thrust. Momentum, Miliband said, is the “most important commodity” in the lead-up to COP-15, and he is confident that forward movement towards Copenhagen is well underway at this G20 summit.
Miliband said he was “optimistic” that the G20 communiqué will contain a “reference to a [G20] agreement” to set fixed objectives at Copenhagen.
But is this agreement more than “agreeing to agree?” asked Climatico’s National Research Director, Simon Billett.
Yes, Miliband replied. While this G20 meeting is “essentially an economic summit,” there is a “real understanding” among the participants regarding the “mainstreaming [of] the green message.”
Miliband plans to address climate change issues at the Major Economies Forum meetings leading up to the G8 in July, which Italy will host. The first of these meetings will take place in Washington on April 27 and 28.
He also highlighted the importance of the UNFCCC framework in the lead-up to COP-15 at Copenhagen, as it is the “main track” for climate change issues.
Several “productive” steps have already been taken, however. Miliband highlighted the importance of a meeting with Saudi Arabian officials in December of 2008, in which he discussed the “importance [that Saudi Arabia] attaches to renewables” with them.
Furthermore, a meeting organised by the Prince’s Trust yesterday, as part of the G20 schedule, provided an opportunity for leaders to have significant conversations regarding the importance of LULUCF and other climate change issues. “Chancellor Merkel, President Sarkozy, Prime Minister Berlusconi, Prime Minister Rudd, and Secretary Clinton”, among others, discussed the importance of a G20 commitment to reach an “ambitious” agreement at Copenhagen.
“The world is changing” in terms of climate change, Miliband argued, partly as the result of “President Obama’s actions” as well as the efforts of “other EU countries.”
It is clear from Miliband’s enthusiasm that the G20 leaders have, indeed, gathered climate-change momentum at this London Summit. A recipe for a successful negotiation at Copenhagen, however, will require more than this single ingredient.