The atmosphere has changed in Copenhagen

As the talks started at the beginning of this week I noticed the atmosphere had changed. Up until then I had felt the mood was too gloomy: then it felt too optimistic, with people assuming because some of the key countries have put numbers on the table, success had somehow become inevitable.

That feeling didn’t last long, when there was a leak of a text that appeared to cause uproar. Old hands, who are familiar with these processes, pointed out this was inevitable and there could well be more such leaks and more such outrage. There will certainly be more disagreement. And the dynamics are hard to predict as further texts and “non-papers” are issued and scrutinised.

What is needed is momentum. Europe today has the chance to inject that. In Brussels at the European Council Gordon Brown will be pushing for greater EU ambition on both emissions cuts and immediate finance, and also continue to argue for a global commitment to long term finance with Europe playing its part.

As ministers join me here in Copenhagen over the weekend we should make the most of any progress made in Brussels.

Having arrived in a city besieged by people and paper, I am already clear about one thing, Copenhagen is not just another international negotiation. It is a crucial moment of choice for all of us. I am determined that we will make the right choice.

Whether these talks succeed or fail, the world will be transformed by the middle of this century. Our choice is how. We can choose a future we want for ourselves and our children or we can let events choose a less positive future for us.

Our guest writer is Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

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• And stay tuned for an exclusive Left Foot Forward poll on Sunday covering public attitudes and Copenhagen.

UPDATE 08.59

Left Foot Forward understands that the Prime Minister will say in his press conference with President Sarkozy this morning in Brussels:

“I believe Europe will today make an offer to push forward the Copenhagen talks. Europe will pay its share of a $10 billion fast track finance fund. Europe will also offer to pay its fair share of the $100 billion long-term finance required annually by 2020.”

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