UK to continue to fight climate change: Johnson
British prime minister warns of political challenges, but stresses importance of global unity in combatting crises
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday addressed the Leaders' Climate Summit and pledged to continue his country's fight against climate change.
The summit, hosted by US president Joe Biden, took place online and heard speeches from leaders of the world's largest economies. Johnson praised the UK for its record climate friendly policies and highlighted some of its achievements in combatting global warming.
“We were the first country to pass legislation for net-zero [carbon emissions], we have the biggest offshore wind capacity of any country in the world – [as] the ‘Saudi Arabia of wind' … we are ending the support for fossil fuels overseas,” he said in the live broadcast.
“We see the obligation as colleagues have just pointed, for developed countries to do more, we are legislating to deliver 78% of the reductions needed to reach that goal by 2035 and as host of COP26 we want to see similar ambitions around the world and we are working with everybody, from the smallest nations to the biggest emitters to secure commitments that will keep change to within 1.5 degrees.” the premier added.
Johnson urged scientists from across the world to unite in producing the technological solutions, pointing to technology to store carbon and cheap hydrogen.
He also called on the world's most powerful and wealthiest nations to be the vanguard in the fight against climate change and to lead the way in committing more resources to prevent irreversible damage.
“We can do this together across the world and it's going to mean the richest nations coming together and exceeding $100 billion commitment they already made in 2009 and I stress how important that is.”
Johnson acknowledged the challenges that lay ahead in the fight against climate change, including the political obstacles, but stressed the importance of global unity in combatting future crises and focusing on growth of nations in protecting its people and climate while at the same time growing their economies and providing jobs for their populations.
In 2019, the UK introduced a law committing the country to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This week, the government announced it would reduce emissions by 78% by 2035.
The UK was set to host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) in Scotland last year. The summit, however, was rescheduled to November 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.