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Just Stop Oil ‘alienates people’ from its cause, says Ed Miliband
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Just Stop Oil ‘alienates people’ from its cause, says Ed Miliband

The climate activist group Just Stop Oil is “alienating people” from its cause, Ed Miliband said at the Hay festival.

Speaking at a Q&A at the event via a video call from his constituency in Doncaster, the shadow secretary of state for energy security and net zero responded to an audience member who said she had been driven to support Just Stop Oil because she felt “so let down by politicians”.

Miliband agreed with the audience member that the climate crisis is an emergency and must be treated as one, but said: “When you block a motorway of people who are trying to get to their relatives who are dying … that isn’t helping your cause.

“I don’t question your motivation but I massively question your tactics.”

The former Labour leader said he was interested in “actually persuading people to come with us on this hard transition”.

“If every country in the world adopted Labour’s position [on deciding not to issue new oil and gas licences] it would have a transformative effect on the debate,” he said.

Miliband said the party’s plans to ban new oil and gas licences are “the most progressive position of any major country in the world” but that the transition in the North Sea has to be properly managed to protect those working in existing fields.

Making sure the transition is fair has to be a priority, he said. “I’m speaking to you from my constituency which is an ex-mining constituency and was the site of an unfair transition.”

Miliband said Labour plans to “follow the science” when it comes to climate policies, should it come into power. If Labour wins, he said the UK would “be the first major country in the world to commit to having all of our power coming from zero-carbon energy services by 2030, which is a massive commitment and requires massive change”.

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The reason Labour is taking these positions is partly because “domestic leadership is the absolute prerequisite for international leadership”, he said. “What is the real problem about this government is that they have told people internationally to do various things, and they’ve done the opposite at home. And people say, well, you’re a bunch of hypocrites … all of my experience in the global negotiations and the ability to influence the world is that domestic leadership is absolutely essential.”

He added that “the most optimistic and the most important thing that has happened over the past 15 years” is that for “90% of the world, now new renewables are cheaper than new fossil fuels”, so “the costs of not acting are now higher than the cost of acting”.

Source: theguardian.com