#COP21 Ed Miliband: UK Needs Climate “High-Ambition Coalition”

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Former Labour Leader Ed Miliband has told the Guardian “We need a high-ambition coalition … to bring together business, trade unions, civil society, religious leaders, scientists because all of them individually express real concern and interest and passion.

“The task is to pull this coalition together into a powerful, coherent voice because if there are pressures on George Osborne in the opposite direction we have got to help people in the government who care about this issue so they can make the case that this is not the way to go.”

This would be a a domestic version of the “high-ambition coalition” that saw 100 countries working together for a stronger agreement in Paris. Miliband said the Paris Agreement provided a historic opportunity to tackle climate change, but also that time was running out.

Miliband told the Guardian: “This is the thing my kids will judge me on,” “Did you do something about this? Were you the last generation not to get it or the first generation to get it? I think that is in the balance now.”

“It (COP21) is a very significant moment, but it is a beginning not an end and the question now is can we build on this moment, on this opportunity, or not?”

Following the Paris Agreement, Miliband launched a campaign to push the government to become the first in the world to put a zero carbon emissions target into law.

Miliband said: “There are huge opportunities in the green economy and businesses need to know the direction of travel now so they can adapt and prosper,”

In 2008, Miliband, the then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, steered the Climate Change Act into law. The Act mandates an 80% cut overall in six greenhouse gases by 2050. He told the Guardian:  “I think we can still build a cross-party consensus around this. We have to.”

“We shouldn’t forget that the Climate Change Act in 2008 [which codified future emissions cuts in law] was passed with only three votes against,” he said. “It tells you something about where many people in the Tory party are. What I want to do is to start remaking that case on a cross-party basis.”