Speaking in the House of Commons following the Christmas break, Mr Miliband recognised there had not been the global agreement that had been hoped for, but said that the Copenhagen Accord was valuable and could be built upon.

Even though it was agreed by only a quarter of the world’s countries, those countries account for over 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The accord is also progressive in that it sees major developing countries, as well as the industrialised world, commit to cutting carbon for the first time, he said.

“Also for the first time, so that we can be assured that countries are acting as they say they will, all countries have signed up to comprehensive measurement, reporting and verification of progress,” said Mr Miliband.

“And on finance, there are significant commitments made by the rich world to developing countries.

“This includes fast start finance worth 10bn dollars a year by 2012 – with a total of up to $2.4 billion from the UK – and specific support to tackle deforestation.

“In the longer term, the Accord supported the goal – first set by the Prime Minister – of $100bn a year of public and private finance for developing countries by 2020.”

He said 49 countries is a start but not enough.

“To tackle this global problem we need a wider group,” he said.

“The United Nations is seeking to persuade all countries to sign up to the Accord and the UK is determined to play its part in making this happen.

“In addition, we must act to deepen the commitments on emissions made by countries across the world.

“In looking back at Copenhagen, we must bear in mind that agreement was inevitably tough because we are seeking consensus among 192 countries.

“Like most ambitious efforts, it was always going to be difficult to succeed first time round.

“But we should not let frustration with the two weeks at Copenhagen obscure the historic shift which this last year has marked.”

Sam Bond

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