The ice caps of Greenland. Photo: Getty Images
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Our planet stands on a precipice. David Cameron's most important task lies ahead

It's vital that the government secures a global deal on climate change at the Paris summit. Our futures depend on it.

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing the world today. As global temperatures increase so do the associated risks of drought, forest fires, the melting of the polar ice caps, sea level rise and flooding. The consequential devastating impact on people around the world is obvious.

This year will be a critical one for efforts to keep global climate change below two degrees of warming. Two degrees of warming has long been accepted by economists, climate scientists and world governments as the level above which the risks associated with climate change become unacceptably high. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in Paris at the end of this year are a massive opportunity to get Governments all over the world to agree to binding emission reduction targets.

This is a moment when politicians from all nations, including our own need to be ambitious about what we can achieve through international cooperation. Based on the pledges made by Governments so far, global warming would only be limited to around 3 degrees – insufficient to prevent catastrophic consequences.

We should all welcome the historic commitment by the G7, led by Germany to agree to phase out fossil fuels by the end of the century but - let’s be clear - that is 85 years from now and the truth is we need to go faster.

That’s why our own domestic targets, enshrined in the Climate Change Act 2008, commit the UK to a minimum 80 per cent reduction of carbon emissions by 2050.

We need the UK Government to push for ambitious emissions targets for all countries, strengthened every five years based clearly on the scientific evidence. We need to see net zero global emissions in the second half of this century alongside transparent and universal rules for measuring them which apply to all nations. It’s not enough to set targets when each country has totally different methods of accounting for their carbon emissions.

We also need a global deal that recognises the unique responsibilities of each nation. Richer countries that have played a far greater role in contributing to global emissions need to provide support to poorer nations to empower them to combat climate change and to deal with its consequences.

The debate about our national security over the last few months and years has been dominated by calls for two per cent of our GDP to be spent on defence. We’ve heard far less about the two degrees target we’re working towards at the Paris climate talks this year. We need to hear more.

If we fail to keep global climate change below two degrees then I fear the threats to our national security in future will dwarf those that we face today. We couldn’t, and we shouldn’t have to, justify to future generations why we failed to mitigate and adapt to climate change caused by human activity. Britain has a proud history of global climate leadership and we must rise to the occasion once again.

Maria Eagle MP is Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary. On Wednesday 10th June Labour used its first opposition day in the House of Commons of this parliament to debate climate change.

Maria Eagle is the shadow secretary of state for defence and Labour MP for Garston and Halewood

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Let's face it: supporting Spurs is basically a form of charity

Now, for my biggest donation yet . . .

I gazed in awe at the new stadium, the future home of Spurs, wondering where my treasures will go. It is going to be one of the architectural wonders of the modern world (football stadia division), yet at the same time it seems ancient, archaic, a Roman ruin, very much like an amphitheatre I once saw in Croatia. It’s at the stage in a new construction when you can see all the bones and none of the flesh, with huge tiers soaring up into the sky. You can’t tell if it’s going or coming, a past perfect ruin or a perfect future model.

It has been so annoying at White Hart Lane this past year or so, having to walk round walkways and under awnings and dodge fences and hoardings, losing all sense of direction. Millions of pounds were being poured into what appeared to be a hole in the ground. The new stadium will replace part of one end of the present one, which was built in 1898. It has been hard not to be unaware of what’s going on, continually asking ourselves, as we take our seats: did the earth move for you?

Now, at long last, you can see what will be there, when it emerges from the scaffolding in another year. Awesome, of course. And, har, har, it will hold more people than Arsenal’s new home by 1,000 (61,000, as opposed to the puny Emirates, with only 60,000). At each home game, I am thinking about the future, wondering how my treasures will fare: will they be happy there?

No, I don’t mean Harry Kane, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker – local as well as national treasures. Not many Prem teams these days can boast quite as many English persons in their ranks. I mean my treasures, stuff wot I have been collecting these past 50 years.

About ten years ago, I went to a shareholders’ meeting at White Hart Lane when the embryonic plans for the new stadium were being announced. I stood up when questions were called for and asked the chairman, Daniel Levy, about having a museum in the new stadium. I told him that Man United had made £1m the previous year from their museum. Surely Spurs should make room for one in the brave new mega-stadium – to show off our long and proud history, delight the fans and all those interested in football history and make a few bob.

He mumbled something – fluent enough, as he did go to Cambridge – but gave nothing away, like the PM caught at Prime Minister’s Questions with an unexpected question.

But now it is going to happen. The people who are designing the museum are coming from Manchester to look at my treasures. They asked for a list but I said, “No chance.” I must have 2,000 items of Spurs memorabilia. I could be dead by the time I finish listing them. They’ll have to see them, in the flesh, and then they’ll be free to take away whatever they might consider worth having in the new museum.

I’m awfully kind that way, partly because I have always looked on supporting Spurs as a form of charity. You don’t expect any reward. Nor could you expect a great deal of pleasure, these past few decades, and certainly not the other day at Liverpool when they were shite. But you do want to help them, poor things.

I have been downsizing since my wife died, and since we sold our Loweswater house, and I’m now clearing out some of my treasures. I’ve donated a very rare Wordsworth book to Dove Cottage, five letters from Beatrix Potter to the Armitt Library in Ambleside, and handwritten Beatles lyrics to the British Library. If Beckham and I don’t get a knighthood in the next honours list, I will be spitting.

My Spurs stuff includes programmes going back to 1910, plus recent stuff like the Opus book, that monster publication, about the size of a black cab. Limited editions cost £8,000 a copy in 2007. I got mine free, as I did the introduction and loaned them photographs. I will be glad to get rid of it. It’s blocking the light in my room.

Perhaps, depending on what they want, and they might take nothing, I will ask for a small pourboire in return. Two free tickets in the new stadium. For life. Or longer . . . 

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 16 February 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The New Times