COP26: BoJo To Warn 'World Has Run Down the Clock on Climate Change’, Urge Tough New Commitments
05:42 GMT 01.11.2021 (Updated: 06:40 GMT 01.11.2021)
As the G20 agreed to push towards limiting global warming with "meaningful and effective actions" after talks held in Rome over the weekend ahead of the climate summit in Glasgow, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had warned that there were “no compelling excuses for procrastination.
The UK Prime Minister, whose country is hosting the climate summit in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021, will warn at the opening ceremony that humanity has “long since run down the clock on climate change” and swift action is imperative to tackle the crisis, according to text released by his office and cited by Sky News.
“It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now. If we don’t get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to do so tomorrow… We have to move from talk and debate and discussion to concerted, real-world action on coal, cars, cash and trees,” Johnson is expected to say.
Johnson, who has played down expectations going into the two-week climate talks, conceded that negotiations will be tough, as global commitments made so far were a “drop in the rapidly warming ocean”.
“… Not more hopes and targets and aspirations, valuable though they are, but clear commitments and concrete timetables for change. We need to get real about climate change and the world needs to know when that’s going to happen,” the UK Prime Minister is to say at the opening ceremony of the summit.
The Glasgow conference comes at a critical moment when a United Nations report predicted that current commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions put the planet on track for an average 2.7 degrees Celsius temperature rise this century, resulting in potentially catastrophic consequences.
'Coal, Cars, Cash, Trees'
“Coal, cars, cash and trees" mentioned by Johnson refer to the four priority areas for COP26, which translate into phasing out coal, accelerating transition to electric vehicles, efforts to end deforestation, and channelling finances towards helping developing countries address climate challenges.
The Cop26 climate summit is at serious risk of failure because countries are still not promising enough to restrict global temperature rises to below 1.5C, Boris Johnson has warned. The prime minister is to announce plans for his country to allocate another £1 billion ($1, 368 billion ) in climate finance aid over a five year period, bringing the total to a "world-leading" £12.6bn by 2025.
Delegations attending the COP26 will also be addressed by António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, Prince Charles, who will urge a "war-like footing" to tackle the climate issues, and environmentalist Sir David Attenborough, who earlier referred to the summit as a last-ditch opportunity to prevent "runaway" global warming.
Earlier, emerging from the G20 talks held over the weekend in Rome, Boris Johnson assessed progress on climate change as having only “inched forward”. “I think that we've made reasonable progress. We have certainly not gone into reverse. I think we've inched forward, we've put ourselves in a reasonable position for COP in Glasgow, but it is going to be very, very difficult in the next few days," stated Johnson at a press conference, after the UK had advocated a more ambitious 2050 net-zero emissions target.
The 20-page end-of-summit communique of the G20 leaders stated: “We will accelerate our actions across mitigation, adaptation and finance… acknowledging the key relevance of achieving global net-zero greenhouse gas emissions or carbon neutrality by or around mid-century and the need to strengthen global efforts required to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement."
Boris Johnson underscored that the "mid-century" commitment was "a function, really, of the gap between some colleagues and others. Some countries, as you know, have made commitments to 2060 rather than 2050 ... What we want to do is bring those commitments earlier."
According to the UK PM, only 12 of the G-20 members have committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier, with nations like China and Saudi Arabia only formally pledging to meet that goal by 2060.
Boris Johnson deplored lack of an agreement on phasing out domestic coal use, saying:
"I think, really, that is the important question. And that's why going into Glasgow we need to make more progress on domestic coal. And I think it can be done."
Johnson underscored that countries the “most responsible for historic[al] and present day emissions” are deplorably falling short of doing their fair share. “If we are going to prevent Cop26 from being a failure, then that must change and I must be clear, that if Glasgow fails then the whole thing fails. The Paris agreement will have crumpled at the first reckoning.”
© AP Photo / Scott HeppellThe view of banners displayed in central Glasgow, Scotland, Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. The U.N. climate conference COP26 starts Sunday in Glasgow.
The view of banners displayed in central Glasgow, Scotland, Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. The U.N. climate conference COP26 starts Sunday in Glasgow.
© AP Photo / Scott Heppell
As world leaders meet over the next two days and delegations work on texts, Johnson weighed in on the prospects of a deal on delivering the 1.5C target being hammered out by the end of the COP26 summit, saying: “It’s nip and tuck, it’s touch and go. We could do it, or we could fail by the middle of November.”