Miliband challenges Johnson over Cop26 ambitions on PMQs return
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Ed Miliband rolled back the years as he deputised for the Labour leader at Prime Minister’s Questions and challenged Boris Johnson to offer more than “climate delay” at Cop 26.
Shadow energy secretary Mr Miliband was a late replacement for Sir Keir Starmer, who was required to isolate after testing positive for Covid-19.
As he rose to his feet to heckles from the Conservative benches, Mr Miliband – who stepped down as Labour leader in 2015 – said: “Just like the old days.”
Mr Miliband used his six questions to the Prime Minister to focus on the forthcoming global climate summit in Glasgow.
He said Mr Johnson had undermined his own Cop presidency by “saying one thing and doing another” after highlighting a lack of commitment to the climate in trade deals and telling others to abandon fossil fuels while not doing so as a Government.
The Prime Minister replied: “No, he’s completely wrong,” and also sought to downplay aid cuts.
Mr Johnson highlighted his talks with world leaders ahead of the summit, adding: “It’s still too early to say whether it will succeed. It’s in the balance.”
Mr Miliband countered: “The thing the Prime Minister has underestimated throughout these last two years is Cop26 is not a glorified photo opportunity – it’s a fragile, complex negotiation.
“The problem is the Prime Minister’s boosterism won’t cut carbon emissions in half; photo opportunities won’t cut carbon emissions in half.
“Can I just say to the Prime Minister: in these final days before Cop26 we need more than warm words.
“Above all, Glasgow has got to be a summit of climate delivery, not climate delay.”
Mr Johnson replied: “He talks about cutting CO2 in half, that’s virtually what this country, this Government has done.
“Since 1990 we’ve cut CO2 by 44% and the economy has grown by 78%. That’s our approach – a sensible, pragmatic, Conservative approach that cuts CO2, that tackles climate change and that delivers high-wage, high-skilled jobs across this country.”