Cop26: Boris Johnson strikes at world leaders as G20 falls short of climate change

Boris Johnson has taken action against world leaders for failing to make the commitments needed to stop the climate crisis when he spoke at the end of the G20 summit.

A visibly frustrated prime minister admitted that the Rome summit had fallen short of what was needed to set the Cop26 summit on course for success in Glasgow.

Promises given to tackle the climate crisis “are starting to sound hollow”, Mr Johnson told a news conference – when “the solution is ready”.

And he agreed that a promise for all major economies to achieve net zero emissions was “vague” after the G20 failed to set a target date of 2050.

The commitments at the G20 were “drops in a rapidly warming sea, considering that the challenge we have all admitted lies ahead of us”, warned the Prime Minister.

“We have made reasonable progress at the G20, all things considered – but that is not enough,” Mr Johnson admitted.

For the first time, he called and shamed the United States for not contributing enough money to the $ 100 billion climate crisis fund for poor nations, saying it was “well down”.

And about the prospects for Cop26, the prime minister said: “If Glasgow fails, then it will all fail. The Paris agreement will be curled at the first accounts.”

It would be “the hole below the waterline”, he warned, calling it “just a piece of paper”, adding: “We need to fill that piece of paper – to fill it with real progress.”

Johnson spoke after G20 leaders agreed to simply “reinforce when needed” plans to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 – the frontier to avert disasters, scientists say.

Far from agreeing to “surrender coal to history” – Britain’s target for the Glasgow summit – it sets no date for phasing out fossil fuels, which will only happen “as soon as possible”.

There is also no deadline for ending subsidies for fossil fuels, which would have risen since the easing of the Covid pandemic, with the aim of achieving it only “in the medium term”.

In the run-up to Cop26, Britain had urged all countries to follow it by committing to zero zero emissions by 2050 – but neither does the communiqué.

The omission reflects the reality that China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, has set a target date of 2060, while India and Russia are also not committed to the 2050 date.

Greenpeace attacked the lack of progress, warning that “if the G20 was a rehearsal for Cop26, then world leaders would have their lines fluffed”.

“Their communication was weak, lacking both ambition and vision and simply failed to fulfill the moment,” said Jennifer Morgan, the organization’s CEO.

Mohamed Adow, director of the think tank Power Shift Africa, said: “This weak statement from the G20 is what happens when developing countries carrying the full force of the climate crisis are shut out of space.

“The world’s largest economies by and large failed to put climate change at the top of the agenda ahead of Cop26 in Glasgow.”

A depressed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted: “I leave Rome with my hopes unfulfilled – but at least they are not buried.”

Johnson said: “Only 12 G20 members have committed to reaching net zero by 2050 or earlier.

“Almost half of us have submitted improved plans for how we will reduce CO2 emissions since the 2015 Paris Summit.

“Nor have we fulfilled our commitment to provide $ 100 billion a year to support developing countries to grow in a clean and sustainable way.

“The UN says emissions will increase by 15 percent by 2030 – and they must be halved by then.”

Accusing the world’s first industrialized nations of “not doing their fair share of the work”, Mr Johnson added: “If we are to prevent Cop26 from becoming a failure, then it must change.”

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