Mr Miliband stressed he wanted to exploit Lord Prescott’s experience in negotiating the landmark Kyoto Protocol in the run-up to a crucial United Nations summit in Paris at the end of the year.
Writing in The Observer, Mr Miliband said: “His abilities and experience, as one of the architects of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, must be used at this critical time for our future and there is no one better than John at bashing heads together to get a deal.”
In his Sunday Mirror column, Lord Prescott, the Hull East MP from 1970 to 2010, claimed his brief would be to work with heads of state and foreign governments to “raise their ambition”.
“For the last two years, I’ve spent my time trying to get agreement from elected parliamentarians around the world,” he said. “From Mexico, to India and Europe, politicians have agreed it could be a way forward. But now we need to get the world leaders involved.”
Despite his reputation as one of the most tribal of Labour politicians, Lord Prescott was adamant he was prepared to work with the current coalition government to try to get a deal in Paris, and added: “This should be above politics and we need to work together.”
Mr Miliband said that after the floods of last year, climate change had become an issue of national security for Britain and it would be a “disaster” if the summit failed to achieve a meaningful agreement. The Doncaster North MP, a former climate change secretary, claimed he would use the talks to push for ambitious carbon emissions targets for all countries.