Boris tells COP that the ‘doomsday device’ is real and it is ‘one minute to midnight’ to stop climate disaster – but Xi Jinping will not even give ‘virtual’ speech after snub and Turkish President stays away
Boris Johnson has told world leaders at the start of the COP26 summit that they can no longer afford to delay taking major action to address climate change as he warned ‘the longer we fail to act, the worse it gets’.
The Prime Minister compared the situation facing the globe to the climax of a James Bond film where the hero has to thwart plans to blow up the planet.
But Mr Johnson said ‘this is not a movie’ and the ‘doomsday device is real’ as he urged his counterparts to do more to reduce harmful emissions.
The premier said the longer countries wait to take action then ‘the higher the price when we are eventually forced by catastrophe to act’.
He said the world has ‘long since run the clock down on climate change’ and there is now just ‘one minute to midnight’, with action required immediately to prevent a global disaster.
The PM used his speech at the opening of the summit as a rallying cry to try to build momentum as he welcomed foreign leaders to Glasgow after securing only lukewarm climate commitments at the G20 summit in Rome over the weekend.
However, hopes for the UN event have suffered fresh setbacks, after it emerged that China’s president Xi Jinping will not even give a ‘virtual’ speech, instead only submitting a written statement.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan also announced he will not be coming, despite attending the G20. Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, both in charge of big polluters, have declined to attend.
Meanwhile, the organisation of the conference has come under fire after thousands of delegates were forced to wait hours to get through shambolic security systems this morning.
Mr Johnson pledged in his lunchtime speech to put another billion pounds into green finance – as long as the UK economy performs as expected in the coming years.
The PM repeated he wants global leaders to unveil steps on ‘coal, cars, cash and trees’ – the things he believes will make the most different in limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.
Mr Johnson had set the tone as the G20 wrapped up last night by reading the riot act to his fellow world leaders, saying their promises on tackling climate change are starting to ‘sound hollow’.
The PM said there are ‘no compelling excuses for our procrastination’ on reducing harmful emissions and action already taken amounts to ‘drops in a rapidly warming ocean’.
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