China “deserves big credit” for efforts to tackle climate change: Britain’s ex-Labour leader

by Xinhua Writer Zhang Jianhua
LONDON, May 3 (Greenpost) — China “deserves big credit” for its efforts to develop clean energy and work with other countries to tackle climate change, said Ed Miliband, former leader of the Labour Party in Britain.
“I am very impressed by China’s leadership on this issue, and when I look at what China is doing, and I think it is quite an amazing initiative that it is taking,” Miliband said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Miliband was leader of the Labour Party from 2010 to 2015. He previously served as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, a cabinet post, from 2008 to 2010 under the then-prime minister Gordon Brown.
After resigning from party leadership last year, the politician has continued his role as a member of the Parliament and strived to build a cross-party coalition of lawmakers, businesses, trade unions and NGOs to campaign for tougher environmental policies and legislations in Britain.
Speaking of China’s newly released 13th Five-Year Plan, a national blueprint emphasizing “green development,” Miliband said it is “incredibly ambitious” and “a very important contribution” to tackling climate change.
“China has powered ahead of the renewable energy, but all of the evidence of the 13th Five-Year Plan is that it wants to power ahead ever further,” he said.
“China is planning to invest more in clean electricity generation in the next 15 years than the whole of Europe’s electricity generation, so this is an amazing effort on clean energy,” he added.
The former Labour leader noted that there is “big potential” for UK-China cooperation on climate change and other environmental issues.
The two countries, he said, could learn from each other on renewable energy “where China is obviously driving ahead electric cars.”
“There are all kinds of ways we can collaborate, and one area that I am interested in us collaborating on is Carbon Capture and Storage, so-called CCS, which is a big issue because it’s a way to make some traditional fissile fuel consumption clean. Capturing the carbon is going to be very important as we all lower our emissions,” he further elaborated.
Illustrating the “common but differentiated responsibilities,” a key principle in international environmental law, Miliband said that China and the UK can collaborate on “a wider point” of tackling inequalities in global climate governance.
“We can’t hope to tackle the climate change challenge without a commitment to tackling inequalities — inequalities between countries, and inequalities within countries… that seems to me to be the central part of tackling these challenges,” he stressed.
On broader international cooperation, Miliband pointed out that the most important thing is to begin with mutual understanding, as “every country faces compelling constraints and particular national circumstances.”
“I must say one of the things I welcome most of all has been the cooperation that the presidents of the United States and China have led in terms of their cooperation. The countries are so important to the future that the United States and China cooperating together is incredibly important,” he said.
In April, more than 170 countries signed the Paris agreement, a milestone in the fight against global climate change. The document was adopted last December with no objection by the 196 Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in France.
It sets a goal of keeping global average temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and aims to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Miliband said the Paris agreement marked “the beginning of the beginning,” but it needs more ambitious actions to win “the race against time.”
“Paris is an important milestone, but we look at the science, the rising temperatures, and the way our countries are being affected by immediate issues like air pollution, and we recognize the urgency of moving forward,” he explained.
“We are in a race against time. While there is a lot more ambition from all countries, the science is in a way urging us to be even more ambitious, because it is telling us how difficult and how challenging the situation is,” he warned. Enditem

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