A stark message from the Milibands on climate change
It was a double act with a certain air of the hastily convened about it. The foreign secretary, David Miliband, and his brother, Climate Change Secretary Ed, together sounded the alarm this morning over the state of talks leading to the crunch Copenhagen meeting in December, which is aimed at agreeing a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
The pair stood together as a symbol, they said, not only of the importance of the issue, but because it must be tackled across government - stressing that climate change traverses not only environmental concerns, but is of economic, national security and foreign policy significance too.
Well that much is not new...
Their joint message today was however a stark one: "There is a real danger that the talks scheduled for December will not reach a positive outcome and there is an equal danger that in the run up to Copenhagen people don't wake up to the danger of failure until it's too late," David Miliband said.
The problem, he said, is not that the need is less urgent, or that the technology is not there with solutions, but that the issue is a hugely complex one, that the world faces other pressing global issues, and that there remains suspicion between the developed and developing world about each others' motivations and intentions.
Europe, he said, must now unite in a joint effort. He is due to hold talks with France, and Sweden, which holds the current EU presidency, to stress the point later this week.
And he used a curious phrase, saying that Europe has a potential not only to lead, but to be a "force multiplier" for the negotiations, by tapping into its political friendships. Well I think I know what he means...
So what of rumours of a special deal between the US and China that's supposed to rescue Copenhagen, as other countries coalesce around it?
It is surely not helped by the difficulties that US climate legislation is currently facing in Congress.
I asked to what extent the US problems had prompted today's call for Europe to take a lead. The foreign secretary said the plea "reflects the fact that we are worried".
But is this gloomy prognosis really justified? Perhaps this is some kind of reverse bluff.
Only yesterday, the new Japanese government tripled its emissions reduction commitment, to 25% on 1990 levels by 2020 - a move which David Miliband himself described this morning as "very significant indeed".
On the other hand, as we heard form commentators on Newsnight earlier this month it is now recognised that a "political surge" is needed to re-energise the talks.
So if this morning's briefing was the UK's attempt at that, it'll be interesting to see who else might now follow.