Britain Must Take The Lead In Global Warming Battle, Ed Davey Says Again

  • Date: 30/03/14
  • Damian Carrington, The Observer

Britain must lead the international battle against global warming, says energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey, who added that not to do so would be “deeply irresponsible”.

His comments, made on the eve of a landmark UN report on the impacts of global warming, are in pointed contrast to chancellor George Osborne’s statement in September that he did not want the UK to be “the only people out there in front of the rest of the world”.

“Climate change is hugely threatening to our way of life, in the UK, Europe and the world,” said Liberal Democrat minister Davey, in an interview with the Observer. “Not to lead is deeply irresponsible. If you don’t lead, you will not bring others with you.”

The report, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), will be published on Monday and is expected to state that global warming has already left its mark ”on all continents and across the oceans”, harming food supplies and driving extreme weather like floods and heatwaves. The report, the work of more than 2,000 scientific experts, will warn that even a small amount of further warming could lead to “abrupt and irreversible changes”.

The green agenda has been the battleground for the some of the coalition’s bitterest rows. The most recent saw eco levies – reportedly dubbed “green crap” by David Cameron – cut from energy bills, leaving 400,000 homes without the insulation that would cut carbon emissions and bills. Britain also recently defeated a European attempt to set renewable energy targets for 2030 for each nation.

But Davey insisted that climate-change sceptics – “flat earthers” – in the government had been defeated. “Those of us who care about climate change and believe it is something we need to lead on have won the argument internally,” he said. “People don’t realise that we got a deal across the coalition that puts Britain right at the head, the most ambitious country.” He said Britain’s agreed position was to slash emissions by 50% by 2030 as part of a global deal: “That is way out there.”

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