The UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Milliband, addressed the UN Conference of Parties (COP) here in Poznan today, delivering the UK’s ministerial statement on climate change.
Echoing sentiments of Gordon Brown and other EU member states over the last week in Brussels, he stressed that the UK must overcome the challenge posed by the global finiancial crisis. The costs of adaptation and mitigation continue to rise the longer we wait – we must up the pace along the road to less discussion and more negotiation for an agreement at Copenhagen next year.
He praised the efforts of developing countries and stressed the need for developed nations to take on stronger targets, based upon the concept of common but differentiated responsibilities. Developing nations must consider substantial deviations from business as usual (BAU) and we must ensure that strong transfer mechanisms exist to support this effort.
The UK’s spirit of intent is reflected in the commitments they have made through the Climate Change Act, adopting challenging targets of 80% carbon reduction and 20% for generation of renewable energy, by 2050. The UK will adopt further commitments as part of the European Climate Package, which is expected to be decided in the next 48 hours. As part of the EU’s recently announced Renewables Directive (20-20-20) the UK will adhere to plans to increase targets for generation of renewable energy from, 20% to 30% if other countries make significant contirbutions.
Milliband, stressed that “We must go further than 50% by 2050” as the UK (and Obama) has committed. In addition, the UK is commiting further resources to the UN’s Adaptation Fund, and £100m to forestry issues (a statement on deforestation will be released tomorrow).
Milliband delivered a strong statement in amongst China and Austria, reflecting the UK’s vision to be a pioneer in the fight against climate change, and the large commitments the UK has adopted in the Climate Change Bill. The Committee on Climate Change released their first report (Building a low-carbon economy – the UK’s contribution to tackling climate change) on 1st December, setting out the analysis which underpinned the target reductions and details of the level of the first 3 carbon budgets – up to 2022.