PM warns of climate crisis: 'If Glasgow fails, the whole thing fails'

31 October 2021, 16:44 | Updated: 31 October 2021, 17:24

The PM warned that as things stand, the world will not keep the target of allowing a maximum of 1.5C of warming.
The PM warned that as things stand, the world will not keep the target of allowing a maximum of 1.5C of warming. Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

PM Boris Johnson has said the world must act at COP26, saying "if Glasgow fails, the whole thing fails."

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Mr Johnson, speaking at the end of what he called a "reasonable" G20 summit in Rome, warned of the imminent danger of the world failing on climate change.

According to Mr Johnson, as things stand the world "will not hit" the 1.5 degrees warming target, saying "we have to be honest".

"We've got to keep that hope alive," he added, later saying he estimates the chances of success at Glasgow at around six out of ten.

He went on to say if Glasgow fails, the Paris agreement would "have crumpled at the first hurdle."

Mr Johnson said current commitments by major nations such as the UAE and China are important, but just "drops in a rapidly warming ocean."

He said that without action from COP26, the "Paris agreement and the hope that came with it is just a piece of paper."

He added the international community needs to "fill the piece of paper."

"If we do not act now then Paris will be the time we flinched and walked away."

What is COP26?

Read more: 'Cop26 is the last hope to save our precious planet' as UK takes centre stage

Mr Johnson said: "I know that humanity has in it the power to rise to the challenge."

He said progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go. He highlighted that the international community needs to raise the capital and political will to make strong commitments at Cop26.

He said countries had made "a big effort" at the G20 and all countries had made commitments to try and limit warning to 1.5 degrees.

But he acknowledged the huge challenge ahead of Cop26: "Just 12 G20 members are committed to reach net zero by 2050 or earlier; barely half of us have submitted improved plans for how we will cut carbon emissions since the Paris summit in 2015.

Read more: PM: COP26 is 'world's moment of truth' and leaders must 'seize the moment'

"We've also failed to meet our commitments to provide 100 billion dollars a year to support developing countries to grow in a clean and sustainable way."

He said the countries responsible for the most emissions are still no doing enough to tackle climate change: "If we are going to prevent Cop26 from being a failure, then that must change."

The world will 'cancel the future for our children and grandchildren'

"There are no compelling excuses for our procrastination.

"Not only have we acknowledged the problem, we have already seen first hand the devastation that climate change causes - heatwaves and droughts to wild fires and hurricanes."

"The pressure on the world is enormous," he concluded.

He discussed the four "bucket areas" he wants international leaders to focus on: coal, cars, cash and trees. He claimed focussing on these four areas would help the world protect the climate, and there is "a chance" of making the required progress to protect the climate.

From the end of the year, no G20 nations will finance international coal. But the PM added that more progress needs to made on domestic coal production at Cop26.

Greta Thunberg was pictured arriving in Glasgow yesterday, although she has not been officially invited to the summit.

Leaders from around the world will meet over the next week, and are set to begin arriving this evening.

But freak weather led to trains across the country being cancelled earlier today, leaving many Cop26 attendees stranded in London.