Ed Miliband: "You cannot divorce an environmental strategy from an economic strategy"


Labour Leaders' speech to Green Alliance 35th birthday party - in full

Fourthly: Climate change and the natural environment go together. This is incredibly important. They may be split up in government, but the natural environment, biodiversity, the parks we go to, that parks I take my kids to, they are an essential part of an environmental agenda in my view.

I am incredibly proud of what we did on the right to roam and other things, but there is more to do to keep public access to our parks and the green spaces, that many of us take for granted, but which are absolutely essential if we are to have a good and decent life.

The fifth lesson is don't take the consensus for granted. We built a consensus around the Climate Change Act, and it was great to have that consensus, but let's be frank about it, the consensus has frayed.

When there is challenge to that consensus, when times get tough, some people take to the hills. And we can't take the consensus for granted. Now, I actually think the scientific evidence has got stronger, not weaker, in the last five years. But we should never take that consensus on climate change for granted, either on the science, or on the need to tackle it, or on the idea that somehow acting is costly and not acting is cheap, when the opposite is true. Not acting is much, much more costly than acting, and we need to keep reinforcing that argument.

The last thing I will say is about Paris and the task before us. I take a non-bureacrats' view of summits. I take a non-civil servants view. I take a view that summits and these kind of moments are a massive opportunity. They are a massive opportunity for the movement.

Why are they a massive opportunity? Because they are a moment where the world comes together to discuss the issue that people in this room are all in business, in campaigning, in trade unions, to care about. We don't want this summit to pass by without comment. We want this summit to be a big moment. We want this summit to be a big moment when we say ‘this matters, this matters to the future of our kids, to the future of our grandkids - and the world must act'.

I am incredibly pleased about the agreement between the US and China, I think that it is really important. I am really pleased the EU has committed to at least 40 per cent reductions in emissions by 2030. But I used to say as Climate Change Secretary, and I say it to this room, push us to do more. Push us to do more.

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