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Boris Johnson Issues Last Minute Plea For World Leaders To Fix The "Mess Our Planet Is In" With Final COP26 Talks

Boris Johnson Issues Last Minute Plea For World Leaders To Fix The 'Mess Our Planet Is In' With Final COP26 Talks

Boris Johnson urged world leaders to do more to help tackle climate change at COP26 (Alamy)

3 min read

The prime minister has urged world leaders to “grasp the opportunity” to help solve climate change, and not “stand in the way” of a reaching a deal in the final days of COP26.

Boris Johnson returned to the Glasgow summit on Wednesday to issue a last-ditch plea to negotiators who are busy finalising agreements on how each country will work to slow down global warming enough to prevent catastrophic consequences.

At a press conference this afternoon, he said the “line is in sight” but believed more ambition is still required and “more credible plans for implementation” are needed if meaningful change is to be achieved.

Johnson spoke with optimism at the start of the conference last week, but during this second visit he felt after "a surge of really positive, game-changing announcements”, the negotiations “are getting tough”.

He also expressed frustration at countries having not done enough in the years since the last big global climate agreement was struck in Paris in 2015.

“It's very frustrating to see countries that have spent six years conspicuously patting themselves on the back for signing that promissory note in Paris quietly edging towards default now that vulnerable nations and future generations are demanding payment,” he said.

The PM took a train up to Glasgow from London this morning after facing criticism for flying home from the climate summit last week. This afternoon he held meetings to try and get further commitments to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C.

"Here in Glasgow the world is closer than it has ever been to signalling the beginning of the end of anthropogenic climate change,” he continued.

"It is now within reach. At COP26, in these final days, we just need to reach out together and grasp it.

"My question to my fellow world leaders as we enter the last hours of COP26 is: will you help us do that?

“Will you help us grasp the opportunity or will you stand in the way?”Earlier on Wednesday a first draft of a deal for COP26 was published, calling on countries to strengthen their emissions-cutting plans in the next year, and quicken the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels.

There is likely to be strong resistance to some of these measures from high emissions countries, but campaigners in developing countries say there is not enough provision of finance for poorer nations to cope with the impact of climate change.

The final draft of the "cover decision” must be agreed by a consensus of the nearly 200 countries at the Glasgow summit, which is due to end on Friday.

Johnson said he would be willing to "go into extra time" and push the talks beyond Friday's deadline "if we have to" in order to get a better deal.

Earlier Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged Johnson to stay at COP26 "as long as it takes" to get a deal, but he is returning to Downing Street tonight, with a Cabinet meeting scheduled for Thursday morning.

“The draft cover text that has been published this morning must now be seen as a baseline – the absolute objective must be to negotiate the position in that upwards, and make sure it is not negotiated downwards,” she added.

"I welcome the fact that the Prime Minister is back today, he knows that I stand ready to do anything and everything to assist these efforts," Sturgeon continued.

"But our focus must now be, for every moment that this summit is here in Glasgow, on pushing that scale of ambition on finance, on emissions as far as we can."

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