Labour leadership hustings
Where is the environment on your priority list, and what do you think is the best strategy to resist climate change?
David Miliband: High. Tackling climate change is crucial for our environment, our economy, and for future generations. Bringing carbon emissions down and ensuring a sustainable future are the best legacies we can leave for our children. We also need to seize the opportunity for green growth. Labour's plans for a Green Investment Bank combined with a retrofitting programme to secure more energy efficient homes and businesses would have made us a world leader. I am deeply worried by the Tories' approach. They are stalling on the Green Investment Bank and their scrapping of the Infrastructure Planning Commission puts low-carbon projects at risk, including schemes to generate more renewable energy. This is bad for our environment and bad for our country.
Ed Miliband: Climate change is the biggest threat our country faces – which is why it must be central to everything we do. Under Labour, we went further than any other country in the world; we were the first to put binding carbon targets into law, we created an independent Climate Change Commission to monitor progress and hold the government to account and we began a tenfold increase in our renewable energy capacity, so that we are now the world leader in offshore wind capacity and will achieve 20% of our energy from renewable sources in ten years' time. We are pioneering the use of clean coal and carbon capture technology. But much of this is threatened by the coalition, who despite claiming to be the 'greenest government ever', is going in the other direction; they plan to scrap the Green Investment Bank – a billion-pound fund to invest in low-carbon industry for Britain's future. And they're considering a U-turn on feed-in tariffs, which help families do their bit to cut emissions and reduce their bills. That's not the right way forward.
Ed Balls: It's pretty high on my priorities because if we fail to tackle climate change, future generations will pay a very heavy price. We can all do our bit at home – whether that's by recycling more or turning off the tap on when we brush our teeth – but ultimately the issue will only be tackled by all countries working together. That's why I think that, after the disappointment at the Copenhagen summit, we need to renew our efforts to get an international agreement.
Diane Abbott: Fighting climate change is our biggest long-term global challenge. We have to work internationally, and the best strategy is a mix of moving to renewable energy sources and setting more exacting targets.
Andy Burnham: The environment is a hugely important policy issue but we have not always succeeded in conveying its importance to the public. That is why, for example, recycling rates are not as high as they should be. The Labour government has a proud environmental record, not least becoming the first country to put carbon targets into law in 2008, but we need to do more to show people the benefits. As Labour leader, I will ensure that central government takes the lead on the environment, including green job creation, and encourage more localised community approaches to help meet the ambitious targets we set internationally, such as further incentives for recycling, greater use of public transport and promoting the interests of cyclists and pedestrians.