Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the world is at “one minute to midnight”, having run down the clock on anticipating to fight climate change,
He was speaking during the arrival of world leaders for the landmark COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.
expressing his feelings to the BBC, Mr Johnson declared leaders should move from “aspiration to action” to slow global warming.
He further said the summit was a “critical” moment for him, and that an ambitious outcome was still “in the balance”.
For the first time, Mr Johnson also established he did not want to see a contentious suggestion coal mine in Cumbria go ahead.
“I’m not in favour of more coal,” said the prime minister.
“But it is not a decision for me, it is a decision for the planning authorities.”
The government has been attacked for not stopping the mine project going ahead.
This is the strongest declaration the prime minister has yet made on the subject – and could help discussions, since inducing nations to phase out coal is one of the central goals the UK government has set for the decisive UN conference.
The UK is arranging the summit amid increasing worries among researchers that countries are not doing enough to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, which have led average global temperatures to increase.
The 2015 Paris climate summit called for average temperatures to increase by well below 2C, and ideally only 1.5C, when juxtaposed to Pre-industrial averages.
World leaders appeared at the venue in Glasgow – which has in a formal and public way become United Nations territory – for the official opening on Monday. thereafter, they will make declarations setting out what their countries are doing on climate change.
Being UN territory, the venue is being guarded by armed UN officers and Police Scotland is only permitted to enter if they are requested by the UN secretary general – alternatively if they feel there is a threat to life.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was on BBC Breakfast on Monday, asked whether it was obligatory for world leaders to fly to the conference – as approximates proposed 400 private planes had flown into Glasgow.
She responded that it was “fantastic” that world leaders were there in personally.
“When you really get into crunch negotiations, when you want to look somebody in the eye and talk to them face to face, you do need to meet in person,” she said.
“World leaders are going to have to make some tough decisions… they’re going to have to commit to things they didn’t necessarily want to when they arrived at the conference. That’s why it’s really important we do have people face to face.”
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister said she perceived that the air travel concern may send a “mixed message” – yet agreed that more progress is made when leaders meet in person.
“Given all of the travel required to get here, it even further increases the pressure on the shoulders of world leaders to make sure it’s worth it,” she further said.
Ms Sturgeon added that the aim of the summit was to increase countries’ desire to reduce emissions.
“Right now, the commitments countries have made wouldn’t even reduce [global warming] to 2C, let alone 1.5.”
Plane spotters said COP26 was a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to spot aircraft not normally seen in Scotland
The COP26 conference at once followed a G20 meeting in Rome – consisting of leaders of 20 of the world’s biggest economies – which concluded on a downbeat note from Mr Johnson, after only 12 of the 20 committed to be carbon neutral by 2050.
Mr Johnson while Speaking to the BBC separately, promised to add £1bn to the money the government has appropriated over the next four years to assist developing countries.
The government has already admitted that the developed world would not deliver in full on a promise made in 2009 to pay poorer countries $100bn a year to help tackle climate change – approximately equal to £73bn based on current exchange rates.
The government has also been attacked for cutting foreign aid this year.
Mr Johnson encourage other developed nations to give more cash.
He said the other two central aims of the summit would be inducing world leaders to give to accelerating the transition away from petrol and diesel cars and to stop deforestation.
Mr Johnson as well guarded the resolution in last week’s Budget to cut the duty on short-haul internal flights by 50%.
He detailed it as a hard decision, adding:
“Even the distinguished Scottish politicians who are beating me up about this don’t actually themselves come to London by any other means.”
The remark seem to be a disapproval of the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford.
Mr Blackford labelled the cut in passenger duty a “disgrace” and asserted it was proof the government did
“not understand the climate challenge”.
Mr Johnson explained to the BBC that drawing more private finance into low carbon investments would be critical to secure a rapid cut in greenhouse gas emissions.
Governments can bring billions to the table, he declared, still the market has
“hundreds of trillions”.
‘This is life or death’
When inquired of what the Johnson household was going to cut its carbon footprint, the prime minister talked humorously that he had “totally abolished commuting” when he moved into No 10 and started living above his place of work.
He politely refuse to say whether he had cut beef out of his diet, adding he had
“got to start eating a lot less of all kinds of things”.
Mr Johnson would not establish if he now regarded himself as an environmentalist, but maintained he was “not the black sheep of my family” on green issues. Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie, his father Stanley and his brother Leo are all very eager environmentalists.
The Archbishop of Canterbury also said climate change was “absolutely a moral issue”.
“This is our neighbors all around the world, those who are already suffering catastrophic impacts,” Justin Welby told BBC Radio 4’s Today programm. “This is life or death.”
Mr Welby – who used to work in an oil executive – stated that he did not regret working in the industry as he “learnt a huge amount from it”, and added the vast majority of people in the industry are
“pretty passionate about changing”.
MORE ON THE SUMMIT
The COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow in November is seen as critica if climate change is to be brought under control. Nearly 200 countries are being requested for their prosal to cut emissions, and it could lead to major changes to our daily lives.