Climate Change and International Development

Climate Change and International Development comments to conference.



 As the 6th richest country in the world, we have a moral obligation to play our part in eradicating extreme poverty around the world. But this is not just about altruism. I know from my personal experience that overwhelmingly people in the developing world want to stay in their own country, if they are safe and have an opportunity to make a good living for their families.

Finally the UK has committed 0.7% of its GDP to international development, just 70p in every £100. Labour MPs support the Private Members Bill to make this commitment law. We need to succeed. 

Saturday saw something unprecedented. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world including here in Manchester marched to show how important it is for world leaders to tackle climate change. The pictures we saw on our screens must demand action from our leaders.

We are seeing severe monsoon rains across south Asia, with 100s killed and tens of 1000s made homeless. This is particularly relevant for residents in Crosland Moor whom I was out visiting last weekend, worried about their families back in Kashmir.

Climate change isn't just a scientific certainty. It is the current reality for millions of people across the developing world.
Climate change has been caused largely by developed countries, and is affecting the poorest and most vulnerable first and hardest. In the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan last year affected 14 million people and killed more than 6,000. In Kenya an increase in temperature of 1 degree celcius since 1960 has meant more chaotic and unpredictable weather. In Bolivia, glaciers have shrunk by 40% and water availability is tougher and tougher. In Bangladesh, rising sea levels have destroyed agricultural land, and Cyclone Aila displaced 1 million people.

We need to do all we can to help the developing world to adapt to climate change. It is a matter of justice, not of charity.

World leaders need to come together to reach a global climate change deal, to reduce carbon emissions. When Labour gets into Government next year, one of Ed Miliband's first jobs must be to ensure that world leaders agree an ambitious, legally binding climate change deal.

The next Government needs to uphold the climate change act of 2008, and increase support for poor countries to access clean, low carbon energy. And climate change needs to be a central part of the new Sustainable Development Goals, as Jim Murphy wrote in an article a few weeks ago.

A huge number of both charities and businesses want climate change to rise up the political agenda. The Climate Coalition has over 100 organisations with a combined reach of over 11 million supporters. Businesses are demanding action  - to help them plan better for the future and protect what they do.

For the sake of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world, let's work to get climate change up the political agenda. Let's work to ensure that the next Labour Government secures a global climate change deal, and does all it can to help the world's poorest, who did little to cause climate change, but are suffering the most. Let's protect our planet, fight back against the climate change deniers and ensure a better future for our partners in the developing world.

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