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Boris Johnson Puts Pressure On China To Move Away From Coal Power

2 min read

Boris Johnson has put fresh pressure on China to move away from its coal dependency ahead of the COP26 climate change summit.

China’s president Xi Jinping is not attending the climate summit, due to begin in Glasgow on Sunday, but in frank conversations with China's leader on Friday morning, the Prime Minister said the country must make the transition to greener energy and bring down the peak of its emissions from 2030 to 2025.

There has been significant criticism of what can be achieved at COP26, and whether the ambition to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C will be lost without China – the world's largest polluter – agreeing to significantly reduce its levels of emissions by the middle of the century.

Speaking to journalists on a plane to Rome, where he is attending the G20 summit this weekend, Johnson said he had been “evangelical” about getting China to move away from coal and said Britain had achieved a transition in a short period of time and the nation could follow its lead.

He also said China’s peak emissions point should come down from 2030 to 2025.

“[Xi] was saying China is heavily dependent on coal domestically, which is true, and I was making an argument for technology as the solution," Johnson said. 

"China is an incredible technological power and we can move away from coal very fast.”

Johnson believed China’s peak emissions, he said 2025 “would be better” than the current commitment of 2030.

“I said when I came to see you in Beijing in 2008 we were 40% dependent on coal and it shows how fast you can make the transition,” the Prime Minister continued. 

Ahead of COP26, he said that if the fight to save the planet from rising temperatures was a "football game" then humanity is "5-1 down at half time".

“We’ve got a long way to go but we can do it," he continued.

"But it’s going to take a huge amount of effort by the British government, by all our friends and partners around the world.”

He said Britain’s role is to try and encourage other countries around the world to follow the UK and cut CO2 emissions by a significant amount.

He said the UK’s Nationally Determined Contributions is about the “punchiest” in the the world.

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