In nine days time, representatives from 192 countries will meet in Copenhagen for the UN Conference on climate change. This summit is of historic importance. It is an opportunity for the world to take bold action to deal with the real danger of climate change.
So this week, ahead of the summit, members of my Shadow Cabinet have given a series of speeches setting out plans to help protect the global environment. Each one of these speeches sets out specific steps which need to be taken if we are going to reduce our carbon emissions.
For instance, in his speech, George Osborne set out plans to create a framework which would reward people for recycling. William Hague set out his plans to push for fundamental reform of the EU budget to redirect resources towards addressing climate change and energy security. And Andrew Mitchell set out how we need to end the scandal of taxpayers’ money being used to guarantee environmentally damaging energy projects around the world.
Two incredibly powerful ideas lie behind these policies. The first is about the role of the state. Government does have a role to play in helping people to live sustainably. But it is at its best when it enables people to take action for themselves.
The second idea is about international leadership. I believe passionately that just as we are part of One Nation here in Britain, so Britain is itself part of One World. In this century of global threats and challenges, we can’t afford to ignore what is happening in other parts of the world. So when it comes to tackling climate change, just as with fighting international terror, Britain must always be a strong force for progressive change in the world.