PM admits delight at climate pact is 'tinged with disappointment' after watered-down deal

14 November 2021, 17:26 | Updated: 14 November 2021, 18:13

COP26 president Alok Sharma and Boris Johnson.
COP26 president Alok Sharma and Boris Johnson. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Boris Johnson has hailed the COP26 deal a "game-changing agreement" but has admitted his delight at the pact is "tinged with disappointment".

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Despite the achievements of the summit, the Prime Minister told a Downing Street press conference that those who are already being affected by climate change "demanded a high level of ambition" from world leaders.

He said: "Those for whom climate change is already a matter of life and death, who can only stand by as their islands are submerged, their farm land turned to desert, their homes battered by storms, they demanded a high level of ambition from this summit.

"While many of us were willing to go there, that wasn't true of everybody. Sadly that's the nature of diplomacy."

"We can lobby, we can cajole, we can encourage, but we cannot force sovereign nations to do what they do not wish to do.

"It's ultimately their decision to make and they must stand by it."

Read more: 'Historic' global climate deal agreed at COP26 after two weeks of tense talks

Boris Johnson praises COP26 agreement

Mr Johnson did however share his optimism following the historic deal, and praised the work of COP president Alok Sharma and his team.

"I know it's tempting to be cynical and to dismiss these types of summits as talking shops," he told the press conference.

"But we came to Cop with a call for real action on coal, cars, cash and trees, and real action is exactly what we got."

'We got this deal over the line because people trusted the UK.'

Mr Sharma said he would have "preferred stronger language" in relation to coal but argued that Cop26 had "moved the goalposts in terms of our generation and future generations".

He said what now needs to be done is to make sure that commitments made at the summit are honoured and delivered on. Mr Johnson added: "What we're doing now is bringing together coalitions of supportive countries, adding in the finance, leveraging the private sector to help those countries who find it difficult to move beyond coal to decarbonise and that's the exciting agenda that Cop26 in Glasgow has lifted off and that's what we are going to be building on."

Asked to give a rating for the summit agreement out of 10, Mr Johnson replied: "I think my last number was six out of 10 chance of success I said.

"It's over six out of 10."

The panel was also asked what they will do "personally" to help curb climate change.

The PM said he "used to go everywhere by bike", which "made some small contribution".

While Mr Sharma had been asked how he got to London so quickly - he says he travelled by train and electric car.

This story is being updated

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

The collision - involving two vehicles - happened on the A61 Barnsley Road between Staincross, Barnsley, and Newmillerdam, Wakefield

Six people - including two children - die after horror crash between car and motorbike

Joe Biden quits 2024 US presidential race and endorses his VP Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris promises to do everything in her power to defeat Donald Trump after Joe Biden drops out of race

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden

Jill Biden breaks silence with short emotional tribute to husband Joe after he drops out of Presidential race

Starmer praises Joe Biden's 'remarkable career' as leaders react to president quitting  2024 US presidential race

Starmer praises Joe Biden's 'remarkable career' as leaders react to president quitting 2024 US presidential race

President Joe Biden has dropped out of the 2024 Presidential Race and has endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris as the Democratic Nominee.

Kamala Harris says she is running for President in first statement since Joe Biden's shock withdrawal

Joe Biden (l) and Kamala Harris (r)

As Joe Biden steps aside who replaces him as the Democrat candidate to take on Trump and what happens now?

Live
President Biden Addresses The Nation From The White House Oval Office

Joe Biden quits 2024 US election LIVE: President Biden backs VP Kamala Harris as Trump hits out at 'unfit' leader

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event yesterday

Donald Trump slams Joe Biden as ‘worst president in history’ and says Kamala Harris will be ‘easier to beat'

Read Joe Biden’s letter in full as he announces he’s dropping out of 2024 presidential race

Read Joe Biden’s letter in full as he announces he’s dropping out of 2024 US presidential race

Biden withdraws from US presidential race

Joe Biden has endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris as Democratic Presidential nominee

Joe Biden quits 2024 US presidential race and endorses Kamala Harris - as Trump labels him 'unfit to serve'

Joe Biden quits 2024 US presidential race and endorses Kamala Harris - as Trump labels him 'unfit to serve'

The 152nd Open - Day Four

American Xander Schauffele crowned The 152nd Open Champion as he finishes -9 to win in Royal Troon

Breaking News

England beat the West Indies by 241 runs in second Test at Trent Bridge

It comes as a TikTok sleuth who joined the hunt for missing teen Jay Slater said he believes the 19-year-old remains trapped in a Tenerife ravine.

Jay Slater's family blast trolls over bogus leads following sightings on the ‘Eurostar’ and ‘watching the Euros’

Four men found dead in car following horror collision with tree

Four men found dead in car following horror collision with tree

The M25 motorway closures are to set to cause travel chaos

Motorway misery: M25, M4 and M1 closures set to disrupt drivers this week – find out if you’re affected