Huhne can easily stay in Cancun: Call Ming or Charles!

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne today risked embarrassing the UK delegation at the UNFCCC talks in Cancun by threatening to return home to vote for a large rise in student tuition fees. The UK has taken a lead role in negotiating the future of the Kyoto Protocol.

Huhne has attempted to blame Labour Leader Ed Miliband for failing to pair him up with a Labour MP voting against the hike in fees. However, he seems to have conveniently forgotten to ask rebels within his own party. At least 10 Liberal Democrat MPs are expected to vote against the bill tomorrow, including former leaders Charles Kennedy and Menzies Campbell. He could also pick up the phone to Conservative party rebels and request to pair with one of them.

There is even a potential Liberal Democrat rebel MP in Cancun with the UK delegation – Martin Horwood MP told the BBC earlier this month he would likely vote against. Instead of pairing with Horwood, Huhne is cynically attempting to boost the Government position by asking Labour MPs to cancel out his support.

He has sought to spin his way out the Liberal Democrat’s internal fiasco by blaming the Leader of the Opposition.

David Taylor, Chair of the Labour Campaign for International Development said:

“This decision comes down to Huhne’s political priorities: Would he rather help broker a key global deal on climate change or hike fees on students? He could have called on one of his rebel Lib Dem colleagues to pair with him, or are relations so bad within Lib Dem ranks that he’d rather turn to Labour?

“The choice is his alone – and certainly not Ed Miliband’s.”

Congratulations to Ed Miliband

LCID congratulates Ed Miliband MP on becoming the new leader of the Labour Party.

We look forward to working with the former Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change to ensure global poverty stays high on the parties agenda in the coming years.

During the Leadership campaign we asked Ed about his views on global poverty. You can watch his answers here.

Initial Reaction to Copenhagen

Disappointment all around after the end of the Copenhagen climate change talks. More reaction to follow, but credit has to be given for the tireless work by Gordon Brown & Ed Miliband at these talks, if only Obama and others followed their lead.

We have no option but to carry on, and push on and on for a legally binding deal that will keep the world from warming more than 2oC. And we must make sure the aid money agreed for adaptation is new money, not just diverted from existing aid budgets.

Here are a few links you might find useful to reflect on Copenhagen on Saturday morning:

More reaction to follow on Monday, when we will be appearing on Labour List thanks to our friends at SERA. Now off to campaign on the doorstep with Young Labour as part of our Big Campaign Day – join the Facebook group to get involved!

by David Taylor, Labour Campaign for International Development

Fabians expose Tories “We were against the Copenhagen development deal before we were for it” say Tories

The Tories International Development spokesperson slags off new Brown’s new Copenhagen pledge, only for Greg Clark, Climate Change Shadow minister, to back it 8 minutes later.

Thanks to The Fabian Society General Secretary, Sunder Katwala, on Next Left, for highlighting this:

“Tory DFID spokesman Andrew Mitchell has attacked the EU’s pledge on Copenhagen development assistance fund as ‘fiscal incontinence‘, speaking to the climate-sceptic ConservativeHome website.

While, within eight minutes, Tory environment spokesman Greg Clark seems to have backed it as “important and necessary“.”

Read the full post here.

Update – Thanks to Sunder for writing about us on the Next Left blog!

Copenhagen is an opportunity for International Development too

The problem with climate change is that it and its consequences are still somewhat esoteric. But, for the developing world the consequences will come sooner and cause hardship beyond belief, the effects of which will also hit the developed world. There’s a lot at stake at Copenhagen for the developing world and it is this factor that provides a uniquely human angle to the, as yet, academic debate around climate change.

There is welcome news of a $10 billion fund to support countries to develop their capacities to deal with climate change and it is vital that this fund becomes properly entrenched in the climate change regime. But why do we need it? Why do we, in the West, have to bail out ‘third world’ countries when we are struggling to meet the challenge ourselves?

The problems that developing countries will face are well documented: rising sea levels, desertification, and extreme weather will all cause disproportionate hardship in the developing world. Industrialisation in many developing countries is dispossessing traditional communities, eradicating swathes of forest land, and destroying the biodiversity of complex ecosystems.

But, to put it frankly, why should we do anything now?

The first point to note that climate change is a commons issue: emissions do not respect national boundaries. Therefore, if China, India, Brazil or any other industrialising country pump out tonnes of carbon using older, non-environmentally friendly technology, it still hurts us and the rest of the world. But carbon-intensive production methods are still the cheapest. Clearly, if we are to save the atmosphere we all share, we need to support developing countries in adopting environmentally friendly methods.

The other main factor is the extreme societal breakdown that would occur. Thomas Homer Dixon creates a vivid picture of the global disruption that would follow from environmental breakdown. Not for the faint-hearted, The Upside of Down describes a world where energy-scarcity provokes war, food-shortages cause mass migration and famine, growing poverty provokes insurrection and unstable violent regimes seize power. The threats to peace and security are obvious. As developing economies collapse, trade will suffer and the markets that the global North imports from and exports to will cease to provide custom.

To put it succinctly, if we do nothing to help the developing world, cataclysm is a very real possibility. Initially, our suffering will be nothing compared to that of the developing world. People living in countries without a developed social safety net will suffer disproportionately as their developing industry bases are heavily hit by extreme weather, nor will those economies be able to fund redevelopment. This is the beginning of a downward spiral that only ends in global unrest and, yes, that includes us. But it does not have to be this way: if we support developing economies in an environmentally sustainable way, the future can be much brighter.

Copenhagen may not be the only chance to secure the proper support for developing countries and their citizens, but it is most certainly the best. Minds are now targeted on climate change and its effects and can provide funding on a scale that will not be easily achieved through bilateral or private industry arrangements. As Douglas Alexander said on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, “In terms of the affordability of dealing with climate change, Nicholas Stern’s own work – the most definitive work on the economics of climate change- begs the question can we afford not to take this action?” This question underlines everything that will go on at Copenhagen, which is no less true for developing economies.

And don’t forget, if you haven’t already, to show your support for the Government’s actions at Copenhagen: sign up to Ed’s Pledge.

by Tim Nicholls