Sunday shows: 1.5°C target “in intensive care” after COP26, says Ed Miliband

Trevor Phillips on Sunday

Ed Miliband, the Shadow Business Secretary, declared that after COP26, which saw leaders agree a watered-down climate deal on Saturday, keeping the global warming target of 1.5°C alive is “in intensive care”.

  • On COP26: “Keeping 1.5°C alive is frankly in intensive care, and it is our job in the next 12 months to show that we can save it. The reason I say that is because the task of Glasgow, the task of the world, is to halve global emissions over the coming decade.”
  • He added: “That’s what the scientists tell us is necessary to keep 1.5°C alive and the truth about Glasgow, despite some progress, is that the world is only probably about 20% or 25% of the way to that goal. So, there is a chasm now between where we need to be… and where we are.”
  • On the government: “I have nothing but praise for Alok Sharma… and the job he did as COP president, but I’m afraid the rest of the government didn’t help him and undermined him with decisions like cutting overseas aid – because we were then saying to other countries ‘please step up on climate finance’ when we were stepping back on aid to poorer countries.”
  • On large polluting countries: “We need to do more to put pressure on all of the big emitters, frankly, that includes India, that includes China, it includes countries like Australia… We’re doing a trade deal with Australia and we’ve agreed to drop Paris temperature commitments.”
  • On that Australian trade deal: “What’s going to be different over the next 12 months compared to the last 12 months is that for all countries climate policy can’t sit on the side of their other policies. It’s got to be at the heart of what we do. We should be rewriting that Australian trade deal.”
  • On keeping the 1.5°C target alive: “We can’t leave Glasgow and, if you like, step back. The fight to really keep 1.5°C alive starts here in the run-up to COP27.”
  • Put to him that small countries will not believe what richer nations say after failing to deliver the $100bn in climate finance promised in 2009: “You’re completely right… It’s the $100bn and, as I say, we should restore the overseas aid cut. Look, cutting overseas aid was the single worst decision this government made in the run-up to COP because it undermined our moral authority.”
  • On Covid vaccines: “Across the developing world, we’ve got 1% or 2% of populations in some part of the developing world that have been vaccinated… Boris Johnson said at the G7 summit in Cornwall that we would vaccinate the world by the end of 2022. We are way off that. This is an issue of trust, too.”
  • Asked what Labour would do on the climate crisis: “We have set out a pledge to invest £28bn extra, each and every year, between now and 2030 in tackling the climate crisis… We have to make this fair for the population, we have to make this fair for citizens. So, the truth is that the cost of electric cars are coming down but we should be giving zero-interest loans to people.”
  • On borrowing: “It is right to make that investment now. It is right to borrow to make that investment. Here’s the thing, this is the prudent and responsible choice because the normal argument people make against government borrowing to invest is that it will store up debt for future generations. The biggest debt we can store up for future generations is not tackling this crisis.”
  • Offering an example of the benefits of investing now: “A national programme of home insulation and retrofit around this country, street by street, house by house, could cut bills, cut carbon emissions, create jobs and make us less dependent on international gas. This makes economic sense.”
  • On the Cambo oil field in Scotland and a new coal production facility in Cumbria: “Neither of them should go ahead. No prevarication… Frankly, it looks like total hypocrisy when we are trying to persuade other countries to act.”

The Andrew Marr Show

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, criticised Tory sleaze and reiterated Labour’s 2019 policy of banning all MPs’ second jobs with some exceptions such as A&E doctors.

  • On Alok Sharma: “He did a tremendous job and we all saw the emotion in his face when unfortunately things kind of unravelled slightly towards the end. But we have made some progress, we have to acknowledge that. But we also have to acknowledge that we failed in getting that target of 1.5 and we must keep that pressure on.”
  • “We saw minister Sharma there doing his utmost. But Boris Johnson has undermined some of our efforts by the use of fossil fuels, the investment in that, the cutting of overseas aid.”
  • On what she would have done in the COP26 negotiations: “I’ve been a trade union negotiator all my life.” She said “Boris Johnson could have done more to be there” and “it’s also about what we do outside of the conference”.
  • On whether the West should pay reparations for the cost of the climate change: “We have a responsibility to support the poorer countries.”
  • On whether a Labour Prime Minister would commit to never using domestic flights: “Keir doesn’t use domestic flights. Keir always travels as green as we possibly can.” (Starmer was criticised for flying to Edinburgh in April.)
  • On Starmer receiving £100,000 in legal fees since becoming an MP: “Keir Starmer has given up his certificate to practice.”
  • On whether Labour would ban MPs from taking legal work: “The Labour Party is very clear that we want to ban second jobs, yes.”
  • Rayner said Labour would bring forward legislation to prevent a revolving door, set up an independent commission for integrity and ethics, and ban second jobs (except for “some areas like where we’ve got an A&E doctor”).
  • On her comments at Labour conference calling Tories “scum”: “I’ve absolutely apologised for using the word ‘scum’.”
  • Asked whether she has apologised to Boris Johnson directly: “I haven’t seen Boris Johnson, but… I have asked Boris Johnson to meet with me.” She called on the Prime Minister to apologise for “the language he has used in the past”.

COP26 president Alok Sharma said: “If you take all the commitments into account, we’re heading to below 2°C. I think that is an achievement. But that is a fragile win.”

Asked whether he has “saved civilisation”, he replied: “Time will tell what this has achieved. What we have got are historic commitments. That’s really, really important… But the commitments have to turn into action.”

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