Prescott given Labour green role

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Published: Saturday 21st February 2015 by The News Editor

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Ed Miliband has handed former deputy prime minister John Prescott a return to frontline politics in the run-up to the general election as a key adviser on climate change.

The Labour leader said that 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, he 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 column in The Sunday Mirror, Lord Prescott said that 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, he said he was prepared to work with the current coalition government in order to try to get a deal in Paris.

“This should be above politics and we need to work together,” he said.

Mr Miliband said that after the floods of last year, climate change had become an issue of national security for Britain and that it would be a “disaster” if the summit failed to achieve a meaningful agreement.

“There is a real danger that this great chance to achieve action is going to slip by, without the world even noticing,” he said.

“That might suit some politicians here at home but it will be a disaster for our country and the world.

“As the floods in Britain showed last year, this is now an issue of national – as well as global – security.

“The weaker the action now, the more rapid and costly the reductions will need to be later.

“I do not want to see Britain or any country having to adopt crisis measures to halt the slide into global catastrophe because we missed this critical opportunity now.”

Mr Miliband, a former climate change secretary, said he would use the talks to push for ambitious carbon emissions targets for all countries with a goal of net zero global emissions by the end of the current century.

He said they would need to be backed by transparent, universal rules for measuring, verifying and reporting emissions, and an “equitable deal” in which richer countries would support to poorer nations in their efforts to combat the effects of climate change.

Published: Saturday 21st February 2015 by The News Editor

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