The UK government is “culpable” for the planet’s failure to meet its climate targets ahead of Cop26, Ed Miliband has said.
Miliband, the shadow business secretary, said the government’s approach is “undermining their standing” on climate issues ahead of talks in Glasgow next month.
World leaders will gather at the conference to discuss how to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – the target set under the Paris Agreement in 2015.
But Miliband told The Independent that the world is “miles off where we need to be” – and pointed the finger at Boris Johnson.
“I’m afraid the government does bear culpability,” he said. “There’s obviously massive geopolitical forces shaping this, but they haven’t helped.
“Whether it’s cutting overseas aid or telling people to power past coal and not doing it themselves, all of those things undermine their standing.”
‘No more grand-sounding words’
The government has been criticised for not explaining how it plans to meet emissions targets, and for continuing to pursue controversial projects decisions such as a new coal mine in Cumbria.
“There can be no more grand-sounding words,” Miliband said, urging Johnson to set out his plans. “He must engage on the detail of what is actually happening.
“We need focus, strategic leadership and attention to detail from Boris Johnson.”
He added that, to ensure success at Cop26, Johnson must convince wealthy countries must fulfil promises to provide £75 billion annually for poorer countries looking to adapt to the climate emergency.
Recent analysis shows countries are lagging far behind the global targets of emissions falling by 45 per cent by 2030. At the current rate, emissions would actually increase by 16 per cent, a UN report said.
Boris Johnson’s Cop26 finance adviser said earlier this year that the government needs to develop “credible” policies to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and provide certainty for investment.
At a meeting attended by The London Economic, Mark Carney – the former governor of the Bank of England – said: “About three quarters of emissions result from the production and consumption of energy in various sectors.
“This underscores the need to green the production of electricity by shifting to renewables and interchange how we use energy by electrifying as much of our activities as possible, from heating and cooling buildings to transportation.”
Carney said entirely new cement and steel production processes will be required, and new energy technologies will be needed for sectors such as air transport and shipping.
He added across 10 key sectors that account for three-quarters of global emissions, an investment of around $120 trillion is needed over the next three decades to achieve net-zero.
He said: “Half of this amount is needed to transform the power sector and a third to electrify road transport. But significant investment is also required in buildings, aviation, steel, cement, shipping and agriculture. And the majority of this investment needs to happen soon in order to ensure a smooth transition.”
The London Economic has contacted the government for comment.