Davey told climate negotiators Tuesday he was backing a "robust" framework for energy targets for 2030.
Climate leaders in the European Union are reviewing targets for 2030. Goals for 2020 call for a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 20 percent increase in renewable energy use, based on a benchmark set in the 1990s.
Davey said the European Union should strive for an emissions reduction of 50 percent for 2030 goals
"Ambitious, yes, but if we are flexible in how we work to hit it a 50 percent target, it will be cost effective too, contributing to growth and maintaining competitiveness," he said.
A 2012 report from the International Labor Organization said at least half of the global workforce -- about 1.5 billion people -- would be affected by the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Davey said warming trends suggested science supported the drive for a greener future, but world leaders needed some degree of flexibility when considering how to usher in that future.
For that reason, he said, the British government does not support binding energy mandates for 2030.