Below is the full text of the speech
given by David Miliband to the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit
on 22nd January 2007, as press released by his Department. It's
worth reproducing in full because it is a stark account of the
dangers and challenges that climate change presents to the world.
Back at Christmas the city council
was pleased to boast that the city's household waste recycling
rate had grown from 15% to 26%. Well done, but what a long way
there is still to go - and time is short. Read Milliband's speech.
Apart from the dire consequences
for India threatened by climate change, two things are worth noting.
One, the faith that Mr Milliband
places in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology. This is
the method of making coal burning carbon neutral by extracting
the CO2 produced (capturing) and pumping it into voids
in the earth (storage), usually into the voids left by the extraction
of oil and natural gas. Given the reliance of the emerging economic
giants of India and China on coal for their energy needs to the
extent that a new coal-fired power station is opened just about
every week in one or other of these countries, we had better hope
that CCS works and that suitable voids are there to fill.
In 2006 China produced 2.33 billion
tons of coal, projected to rise to 2.6 billion tons by 2010. By
comparison UK coal consumption is 64 million tons per year.
Two, in the text of his speech
as press released Mr Milliband states: "Homes
built in the UK today are 40 per
cent more efficient that those built in 2001, and
we have recently
committed to ensuring all homes are 'zero carbon' by
2016" (my emphasis). Is that a mistake, a deliberate
mistake, or just a shoddy piece of drafting and/or proof
reading by a civil servant?
Fantastic though it would be if
that were indeed the commmitment recently given by our government,
the truth is much less ambitious, even if the building industry
doesn't think so. The commitment was actually given by Ruth Kelly,
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and is
that all NEW homes will be zero carbon by 2016.
I assume Mr Miliband spotted the
mistake before he read his speech. Let's hope he didn't mislead
I am delighted to be able to address
the Delhi Sustainable
Development Summit. This summit brings together a remarkable
collection of people from across nations, and from across different
parts of society, from business and NGOs to Government and the public
Across the world, questions of
energy security, economic security and
climate security are coming together. In the past, the economic,
social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development
in different directions, today, they increasingly have common
complimentary solutions. That is the significance of today's
Sustainable Development Summit.
My argument today is this
* The scientific debate about
climate change is over. Climate change
is happening, it is man-made and it will have disastrous
all of us. India will face particularly acute consequence
from climate change and therefore has a particularly strong interest
securing a solution.
* In the past year, the economic arguments have
and I hope decisively. The Stern Report shows that globally,
cost far more to deal with the problem, than invest in the
It is in our financial self-interest to tackle the problem,
our moral duty.
* The practical solutions and technologies exist
to avoid climate
change from wind, wave and solar power to Carbon Capture
India has a unique opportunity to be a leapfrog economy
straight to low-carbon development.
* This year's challenge
is to make progress on the politics and the
policy. Climate change is a global problem and will require
agreement. In 2007, we must begin to agree the building
blocks of an
international framework that delivers a fair balance
responsibility between industrialised and industrialising
Let me begin by setting out the problem. The basic
facts are these:
Atmospheric CO 2 is now around 40% higher than before
This is resulting in a rise in temperature of
0.7 degrees in the last
century, almost certainly unprecedented in human civilisation.
If it carries on unchecked, the effects will be on people
nature; immediate as well as long term.
Climate change will affect every country. But
the impact will be
greater in India, South-East Asia, the Middle East and
The joint India-UK project on climate change highlighted
some of the
impacts on India:
Water resources are already under strain here.
India has 16 per cent
of global population but only 4 per cent of global water
Across India the hydrological cycle is predicted to become
intense, both with higher annual average rainfall as
well as longer
periods of drought. Agriculture constitutes the single
component of India's economy, nearly 27% of the GDP.
increase of 2C is predicted to result in a 10-16% reduction
yields, while a 4C rise led to a 21-30% reduction.
India has a low-lying coastline.
India will be one of the countries
most vulnerable to sea level rise. Coastal infrastructure,
activity, inshore explorations are at risk. Large scale
from coastal zones is expected due to submergence of
after sea levels have risen. This will create large numbers
environmental refugees especially from low-lying delta
Other impacts include the changes
to the makeup of India's forests, in which 200,000 villages are
located in or near; higher rates of
certain diseases, such as Malaria, and damage to railways
infrastructure from higher temperatures, increased rainfall
flooding and sea-level rises. In short, no part of life
in India will
remain unaffected. The effects will be economic and social,