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Ed Miliband blasts ‘inertia’ over climate policies at key London energy conference

In his role as Labour's climate change tsar, Miliband launched the party’s now-canned £28bn ‘Green Prosperity’ plan
In his role as Labour's climate change tsar, Miliband launched the party’s now-canned £28bn ‘Green Prosperity’ plan

Shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband has criticised the Conservative government over inaction on climate policies in a key speech to the energy industry.

Speaking at London’s International Energy Week event, the MP for Doncaster North said Westminster had consistently failed to change the ways in which the country prioritises its energy mix choices.

The alternative provisions to be made for green energy, he determined, are plenty notwithstanding the current government’s efforts to frustrate progress.

Miliband said the current government could overturn the ban on onshore wind “with a stroke of a pen,” as it requires no legislation and he would fulfil this ambition on day one as secretary of state.

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“This institutional inertia is just not good enough,” he said.

The shadow energy secretary also took the opportunity to outline Labour’s energy spending plans.

These would include quadrupling offshore wind capacity, allocating £1.8bn to upgrade ports so offshore wind turbines can be made in the UK, £1.5bn to develop battery storage capabilities and £2.5bn to develop green, clean steel.

In his role as Labour’s climate change tsar, Miliband launched the party’s now-canned £28bn ‘Green Prosperity’ plan, which included £8bn national wealth fund, a new nationalised energy provider, vast planning reform and a 2030 d-ecarbonisation goal for the UK’s electricity network.

Labour and Miliband’s position on the oil and gas industry continues to be a promise to end new oil and gas licenses for North Sea projects.

Asked how those involved in those industries could be confident in a Labour government plan, Miliband emphasised the importance of a “managed transition”.

“I am a coal-mining MP, I know the dangers of an unjust transition and the future of the parts of our country most dependent on oil and gas will be defined by the decisions we make on the clean energy transition,” he said.

Miliband stated that becoming the clean energy superpower will be one of the top priorities and his “north star” is the task of clean power by 2030.

“A clean power system is the lynchpin of net zero and there is a reason for giving this mission such priority, it’s not just a climate mission it’s a security mission, cost-of-living and growth mission,” he said.

Logistically Miliband said he would target removing the obstacles for private investment, what he describes as “the four horseman of the apocalypse”; National Grid, planning, supply chain and skills.

“This is the defining project of our generation,” he told the energy week audience.

“I believe this is a true national mission and the limits are not about the scale of ambition but an out-of-date system.”