UK should go 'even faster' on Net Zero promises says Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband

The UK should “go even faster” on its net-zero promises, Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband has said, but the Government needs to work on its delivery of the historic pledges to tackle climate change.

Shadow Secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy Ed Miliband arrives to deliver a speech and take part in a panel discussion at Church House in Westminster, London. (PA)
Shadow Secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy Ed Miliband arrives to deliver a speech and take part in a panel discussion at Church House in Westminster, London. (PA)

Yorkshire would be in line to benefit from the thousands of new jobs that will be created, the Doncaster North MP said, as the country works towards achieving its legally mandated target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The UK’s presidency of the historic COP26 UN climate change summit from tomorrow comes after Ministers set the world’s most ambitious climate change target into law to reduce emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.

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Mr Miliband told The Yorkshire Post: “We could go even faster and should. The Government is big on the targets, and weak on the delivery.

“Key to that changing in my view, is the Treasury recognising that it has an incredibly important role in helping to invest public investment to make the green transition fair a prosperous and successful for our industry, for our region, and for the country.”

New technologies such as wind generated energy and electric cars are already integrating into people’s daily lives as moves are made to reduce the country’s old reliance on fossil fuels, a shift that Mr Miliband believes signifies “the future of our economy”.

“There are so many jobs that can be part of this”, he said.

“From carbon capture and storage, to the hydrogen economy, to the, you know, hundreds of thousands of jobs that would need doing on any one street in a house by house, street by street retrofit installation programme.

“There is a massive transition to creating green spaces too, as I said manufacturing the electric cars of the future, the steel industry, I think there are almost unlimited opportunities in the green economy. This is the future of our economy.”

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The former Labour leader’s comments come ahead of world leaders and top scientists gathering in Glasgow for top-level discussions on how the world can keep to its promises of keeping temperature increases below 2C.

He hopes that the conference will not just “slip by” the public’s attention, and would like to see the opportunity used by the Government to make pledges on “upgrading every home in our region” to make them more environmentally efficient.

When asked what he would like to see from the summit, Mr Miliband said: “A home insulation, and retrofit programme.

“So in other words, upgrading every home in our region so that they are properly insulated, so that we can cut bills for people, we can create jobs, we can reduce our dependence on gas being imported from abroad.”

The concept – which could help on the road to net zero – he anecdotally says is popular across the political spectrum, with MPs on the Conservative benches also voicing their support.

“ I was on a platform with (a Tory MP) a couple of weeks back and, we don’t necessarily agree on everything but, you know, on that she was saying what a no brainer it is.

“That’s completely right, and domestically that’s the most important thing.”

The Government maintained that it is committed to driving forward the green economy, with the Yorkshire and Humber region at the forefront of the revolution.

A spokesperson said: “In recent months, we’ve committed £75m to build a new offshore wind port on the River Humber and SeAH Wind are investing £117m in a new factory thanks to government support – both investments ensuring we can build the materials we need for wind farms right here in the UK, rather than elsewhere.

“Alongside this, we have also established a new UK Infrastructure Bank in Leeds to leverage vital private sector investment in new green industries, ensuring Yorkshire is at the centre of our plans to tackle climate change and drive economic growth.”