Road to Copenhagen: UK Prime Minister’s Initiative

Road to Copenhagen: UK Prime Minister’s Initiative

On 26 June the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown delivered a speech on “The Road to Copenhagen: The Challenge of Climate Change and Development”, building on themes set out in an 80-page White Paper on the UK’s Copenhagen Position published the same day by the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband.

E3G’s Nick Mabey provides an analysis of how Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s speech fits in international negotiations the run up to Copenhagen.

E3G Briefing, 2 July 2009


The Brown speech broke new ground on the issue of climate finance outlining a proposition for $100 billion by 2020 in additional finance for adaptation, mitigation and forestry and suggestions for how this could be raised and managed sustainably.

The Brown proposal is significant as the first substantive new intervention by a G8 Head of Government in the Copenhagen debate. Coming just before the G8 and MEF Leaders meeting in Italy, Brown has clearly indicated that he sees the need for greater personal political leadership if the Copenhagen negotiations are to reach a high ambition outcome.

The UK initiative is not unilateral but a proposal for agreement by other developed countries which is conditional on commitments for ambitious emission reductions from major developing countries. The UK initiative has opened a door to greater ambition all round. Whether others will walk through it remains to be seen.


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