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Copenhagen: In the balance


In a joint press conference in London earlier today the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband, stressed that the Copenhagen deal is in balance. They highlighted the real danger that the December talks may not reach a positive outcome and the equal danger that people won’t wake up to the danger until it is too late.


In the briefing the two Ministers spoke of the pressing need to remind people of what is at stake and the need to mobilise the resources of international diplomacy behind the drive for a deal. Ed Miliband stressed that the key test for a successful deal is whether we can limit global temperature increases to no more than two degrees (beyond which the risks of dangerous climate change become much greater).


Full Transcript of briefing

Risks in a 4 degree world

Attendees were presented with a world map which shows some of the key risks if temperatures were to increase by 4 degrees. The Foreign Secretary highlighted the links between climate change as a foreign policy issue, an environmental issue and an economic issue with the map below. The map shows the dangers of not reducing emissions, based on a scenario of a 4 degree rise in average temperature by 2100:  


The Foreign Secretary stressed that foreign policy is about the management and if possible reduction of risk; and climate change massively increases risk. He also previewed the work which The Hadley Centre is working on regarding the risks that will face a world of rising temperatures.  

Making the EU a force multiplier for our ambitions

As part of this drive, the Foreign Minister will travel to Paris today and with Foreign Minister Kouchner of France and FM Bildt of Sweden, current EU Presidency, we will pledge shared effort by our diplomatic posts around the world.  


On Wednesday he will go to Rotterdam to see carbon capture and storage in action; and travel to Poland to address the fears of a European country massively dependent on coal. On Thursday FM Muller of Denmark has summoned a meeting of EU FMs in Copenhagen, to launch a European diplomatic offensive to make the case for a deal.

Global political will

David Miliband and Ed Miliband hosted a briefing on the UN Climate Change Conference (Crown Copyright)

Ed Mililband highlighted that the challenge now is to build an agreement that puts us on track to achieve the two degree goal. This means ensuring global emissions peak and decline within the next decade. He set out three key elements to achieving this: the need to agree stretching mid-term targets from developed countries to dramatically reduce their emissions; significant action from rapidly developing countries to limit their future emissions growth; and a need to find a fair, durable way of paying for action to reduce emissions and help countries adapt to climate change.


He went on to note that by getting emissions on a downward path it would be a historic shift in our pattern of development from high carbon to low carbon and the opportunities that opens up: clean energy; innovation in new green technologies; new jobs and markets; and more secure long-term prospects for future generations. 


Ed Miliband closed the presentations by stressing the urgency, and the fact that we can't afford to let the political opportunity of Copenhagen slip: 'That is why as a Government we are committed to doing all we can to reach a deal' he said.  


Related links

Climate deal is 'in the balance', BBC News 8 September 2009

David Miliband sets out to shock on global warming tour, Guardian 7 September 2009

Live Q&A: David Miliband on the Copenhagen summit, Guardian 8 September 2009

Transcript - Copenhagen in the Balance, press briefing by David Miliband and Ed Miliband, Department of Energy & Climate Change 8 September 2009

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