PM: "Glasgow COP26 summit is the turning point for humanity"

Thu 23 September 2021 View all news

Addressing a United Nations meeting of world leaders, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the COP26 Climate Summit to be held in Glasgow in less than 40 days time will be a "turning point for humanity".

The PM said: "We are approaching that critical turning point – in less than two months – when we must show that we are capable of learning, and maturing, and finally taking responsibility for the destruction we are inflicting, not just upon our planet but ourselves.

"It is time for humanity to grow up."

He added: "We have the tools for a green industrial revolution but time is desperately short."

The Prime Minister warned that global temperature rises are already inevitable, but called on fellow world leaders to commit to major changes to curb further warming.

One of these necessary changes, he said, would be to allow only zero emission vehicles to be on sale across the world by 2040.

In general, he highlighted four key areas that need tackling: "coal, cars, cash and trees". He said countries must make "substantial changes" by the end of the decade if the world is to stave off further temperature rises.

The Prime Minister praised China's President Xi Jinping for his recent pledge to stop building new coal-fire energy plants abroad but he called on the country - which produces 28% of global greenhouse gas emissions - to end its domestic use of coal, saying the UK was proof that it could be done. (The UK now generates 2% of its electricity from coal; down from 25% five years ago. It is projected to be gone altogether by 2024.)

However, shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband accused the UK government of "facing both ways" on climate change, urging other nations to take action while it considered plans for a new coal mine in Cumbria and cut money for improving home insulation.

"It undermines our moral standing as the host. I want the prime minister to succeed, but I'm afraid he's left it very late and he's not handled this presidency well," Miliband said.



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