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A message from Greg and Fiona: The Lib Dems and the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit

November 19, 2009 9:00 AM

Newcastle East parliamentary spokesman Greg Stone and Lib Dem MEP for the North East and energy spokesperson in the European Parliament Fiona Hall write:

Between 7 and 18 December, Copenhagen will host a major climate change conference, during which the world's leading nations will attempt to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Treaty.

We are seeing the horrors of climate change already: in the thousands forced to live in caravans after the great floods of 2007; and across the world, in places like Bangladesh being buffeted by cyclones and rising sea levels.

On Saturday December 5 there is a day of action in London including a march on Parliament to publicise its importance. The Liberal Democrats will use this opportunity to highlight our environmental credentials - and reassert our position as the leading party on climate change.

We are the party that will go furthest on cutting carbon emissions. We will go furthest in generating renewable energy. And we will go furthest in insulating homes. Our record in making Newcastle the most sustainable UK city shows we're leading the way on this agenda.

The Liberal Democrats will make Britain carbon neutral by 2050 - and by 2020 will have brought our emissions down to the level scientists say will stop climate change. But this can only happen if we take power at the next general election.

The next parliament is likely to be the last that can stop dangerous climate change. And there is only one party that is both serious about the environment and in a position to exact real change: the Liberal Democrats.

Copenhagen is a vital staging post in the international fight to reduce carbon but the Government is not up to the task of driving through changes.

Labour has failed to cut emissions in the past and refuses to commit to what science demands in the future. We are still at the bottom of the European league table for levels of renewable energy, only above Malta and Luxembourg.

The Conservatives are a laughing stock on the international scene and their environmental policies consist merely of empty platitudes.

The Liberal Democrats are different. We are the only party in UK politics with the vision, policies, ambition and ability to kill carbon emissions.

We will make Britain carbon neutral by 2050. We will reduce emissions faster and more effectively than any other party. And we will make sure that every home is properly insulated within 10 years of taking power.

There is only a small window of opportunity to stop dangerous climate change. Only the Liberal Democrats will take it.

UK government must show leadership at home by:

■ Saying yes to an immediate 42% reduction in the UK emissions by 2020 before leaving for the Copenhagen climate talks (the Government is currently committed to 34%).

■ Saying yes to a ten-year programme to offer the opportunity for every home to be a warm home by 2020.

■ Saying yes to 40% of all our electricity from renewable sources by 2020 (the Government is currently committed to 30%).

■ Saying no to the third runway at Heathrow.

■ Saying no to new dirty coal power stations without full CCS.

■ Saying no to the Government investing public money into Tar Sands oil extraction via nationalised banks.

At EU level, the Lib Dems believe that Europe needs to influence the climate talks by:

■ Committing now to a unilateral EU reduction of 30% by 2020 against a 1990 baseline, ahead of the talks and adopt a target of a 40% reduction against the same time on completion of an international agreement.

■ Commit to supporting a global finance deal worth $160bn per year from developed countries, without double counting emissions through offsets.

■ Introduce further confidence measures to cap-and-trade aviation and shipping; halt deforestation; stop extracting Tar Sands and unconventional fossil fuels.