At the Climate Change campaign meeting on Saturday, “Six Months to Copenhagen”, hosted by the Fabian Society in London, Ed Miliband said some things I find astonishing admissions.
The Climate Change Committee, after having looked into the matter of Carbon Budgets on Carbon Emissions Reductions for the United Kingdom, made recommendations for our national targets :-
“CCC recommends a minimum 34% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, with a 42% cut if a global deal is achieved.”
But Ed Miliband said in Questions and Answers after his presentation “We are not going to reach 40% reductions by 2020…[we are in] the art of the possible. [We still need to] find environmental pathways that can meet the science demand with the commitment that we will be setting out…40% will be a working aim…”
Either he hasn’t taken the time to study the work of the Climate Change Committee in detail, or he has been listening to cynical grasshoppers, chirping away in his ear.
He went on to say this, in response to a question from Bryony Worthington, about the proposal for a 40% target for the world :-
“Bryony…if you can show us a path to minus 40% I’d be interested to see it. We spend a lot of time looking at [the emissions paths] for Russia and Japan. We don’t see the route to minus 40% at the moment…if people can show us a route…There is a slight danger of talking about what the developed countries must do and not about what the developing countries must do. One of the big threats to a deal. Unless we can get to the stage of getting 6 countries to [sign on the dotted line] to “here’s what we will do” we won’t get a deal. The United States and the European Union are harder to get…[If you can show us] realistic and ambitious calls for what countries should do, I’ll be happy to look at the numbers…”
On UK domestic plans, he said “[the] summer white paper – a route map for the UK. Fuels to be part of that. [We will] not be able to say precisely by 2020 what types – but we need [guidelines].”
I presume he meant that aviation and shipping fuels are to be included in the summer white paper. I presume also that biofuels are to be included. Shying away from making explicit targets on fuels is rather unhelpful. Certain types of fuels are only used for certain transport and energy activities.
Ed showed that he is slowly catching up with the problems of vested interests financially supporting the anti-Wind Power lobby, but his response is to suggest a communications campaign :-
“We need to win the arguments about Renewable Energy. I was in Cumbria the other day…[we need to get the message across that] the biggest threat to the countryside is not wind turbines but Climate Change.”
Ed betrayed his lack of analysis about corporate interference in the UN technical advice process on how to deal with Coal when he said this :-
“There was scepticism about EU funding for Carbon Capture and Storage initially – now there’s lots of enthusiasm.”
Why is there enthusiasm for CCS now ? It’s taken a lot of money to promote it on all channels in the USA and EU. It’s all corporate-led. It’s all about protecting the mining industries. CCS allows the mining industries to continue to extract Coal from the ground and make money.
The same argument can be made about the progress of the popularity of Nuclear Power. The Public Relations campaign is funded by the mining corporations, through the World Nuclear Association. These companies are backed by about $200 billion of capital worldwide. They mine iron ore for steel, they extract minerals from the Earth for concrete. They mine Uranium.
They are very rich and very keen to protect their businesses. That’s why they have promoted Carbon Capture and Storage and New Nuclear Power in every organisation with decision-making power.
Ed Miliband also gave away his trust in Neoliberal Economics when he said about Copenhagen :-
“Emissions Trading in the Carbon Market does need to be part of the overall agreement.”
Why does it need to be in the “legally binding” treaty that everyone is calling for ? Because if it isn’t in the “legally binding” treaty then it might just be thrown out.
The global Economies are very shaky at present, and could rollercoaster away for decades, while they contract and implode.
The Banks have been trying to sell us the idea of Carbon Trading for a long time. They know that they need to get their market instituted by the Copenhagen deal, or they might well lose out on the profits to be made by de-Carbonising the world’s Energy and Transport supplies.
Energy and Transport projects are big projects requiring hefty finance. That is what the Banks facilitate. Green Energy development in the developing nations will require funds transfer from the developed nations to the developing nations. This is what the Banks will manage. They want to be in on the act.
I know he’s just become a parent and his brain may be a little scrambled just now, but Ed Miliband could not be sure of the average rise in global temperature since before the Industrial Revolution :-
“[emissions…already caused] 0.6 degrees, or is it 0.8 degrees rise in global temperature.”
He might have been confused by the different Fahrenheit and Celsius scales, but anyway, he could have been a bit more certain, considering his position.
Dismissing reams and reams of expert papers on how Economic Growth is causing resource depletion he said :-
“Unless we can make it an argument about prosperity not austerity we can’t get the Chinese to [join in]…I don’t think anti- or low-growth policies will work with us. It won’t work with China and it won’t work in my constituency. Lots of aspects of Copenhagen people don’t like, [we need to] come to terms with…”
Ed Miliband offered this as a final gesture :-
“It will be better if we can get a treaty. It will bind people in more. It needs to be future-proof. If you have questions, [contact me] on” :-