ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY DAVID MILIBAND: 'Climate Change Is the Biggest Threat to Our Future Economy.Only Labour Can Rise to It' SUNDAY Mirror EXCLUSIVE

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Byline: VINCENT MOSS

DAVID Miliband today outlines his vision to put Britain at the forefront of the war on global warming. In an exclusive interview with Sunday Mirror Political Editor VINCENT MOSS, the Environment Secretary - seen by many as a possible future Prime Minister - explains why we have to act now before it's too late...

MOSS: Is climate change the most serious threat facing Britain and the rest of the world?

MILIBAND: Yes. I think this is the biggest threat to the comfort of our lives over the medium term.

We're lucky in this country that it's not the difference for us between drought on the one hand and deluge on the other. But it could be different in developing countries.

When I was in Kenya, people told me about how they were having to walk longer to reach water through the desert. Over my lifetime - and I'm 41 - this is the biggest threat to our economy and our society. It's not that the world is going to come to an end, Labour can rise to it more suffering than there need be.

MOSS: Some scientists are sceptical about the causes of global warming. Are you convinced it's a man-made problem?

MILIBAND: I am convinced by the facts. But more importantly than me, 99.9 per cent of the world's scientists as well as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are convinced that it is happening and that it is man made.

MOSS: Do you think Britain can make any difference when we produce less than two per cent of the world's energy?

MILIBAND: Countries that react first are going to have the greatest economic gain. If we put this off and hope it doesn't affect us, it's going to end up hurting us more.

If we don't show that we can change our own behaviour, then there's no chance at all that countries like India and China will make the right choices to keep their carbon emissions down.

MOSS: Aren't you worried that Tory leader David Cameron is now leading the way when it comes to green policies?

MILIBAND: I think the green agenda is about substance, not about gestures and gimmicks.

At the next election people will draw a line down the page and contrast our serious response to a serious problem with their gimmicks.

The Tories say; "We're conservationists, so we'll be able to save the environment." But where's the beef? You've got to be radical to save the environment.

MOSS: But don't your policies, such as taxes on airline flights and motorists, hit poor people the hardest?

MILIBAND: We abolished VAT on fuel - that was the most anti-poor policy from the Tories. We spend pounds 700million a year - pounds 300million of taxpayers' money and pounds 400million through the power companies - on insulation and other energy efficiency measures for poorer families. …