Summary and implications

The Government has released its manifesto, "The Roadmap to Copenhagen", on the challenge of climate change and development in preparation for the climate change conference in Denmark later on this year. The targets are ambitious but the Government thinks they are achievable.

In the manifesto the Government stresses the importance of developed and developing countries coming together in order to achieve climate change. The manifesto reinforces the role of climate change on the Government's agenda and the scale of investment required by both the public and private sectors.

Shift in thinking required

The Government believes that to achieve success at Copenhagen, two major shifts in thinking are required. Decision makers across the world will have to stop thinking in political and economic cycles and concentrate on a more long term approach. Equally, we will need to reconsider the way in which we judge success as a society, shifting the focus from economic gain and social justice to environmental stewardship.

Goals at Copenhagen The Prime Minister detailed two main goals for parties at the Copenhagen conference:

  • Agree a plan to cut emissions; and
  • Agree a fair deal between developed and developing countries.

This will be achieved by creating and adhering to a new economic model. Gordon Brown is confident this process has already started to take place. For example, global investment in renewables for power generation exceeded investment in fossil fuels last year.

The UK has committed £50 billion to low carbon investment in the current spending period. Such investments are mirrored across the world. America's stimulus package has $80bn low carbon and environmental investment and there have been similar green stimulus packages announced by Japan, Australia, Korea and China.

Financing these initiatives

The manifesto states that global investment of $100bn is required by 2020. Recent UN Negotiations on the arrangements for financial assistance have not been moving at the pace needed, according to Gordon Brown.

In order to achieve the $100bn target, the Prime Minister emphasised the need to secure the financial support of both the private and public sectors. The private sector is integral to the EU emission trading scheme and similar schemes are to be introduced in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Gordon Brown hopes that the private sector emissions trading schemes can be linked by 2015 so as to create a global market.

Public finance will also be a requisite part of any proposal put forward at Copenhagen. The UK government proposes the establishment of a new international partnership on public finance for climate change. The Mexican government has suggested that all but the poorest countries contribute to such a "green fund", contributions to be calculated by reference to ability to pay and national emissions. This international partnership would necessitate predictability of long term financial flows and shared governance.

To read the manifesto, click here.