Youth and Indigenous activists, and others most affected by climate change, staged an action marking the end of the World Leaders Summit just opposite the conference centre on Tuesday evening, calling on negotiators to “End Climate Betrayal” with concrete action over the next two weeks.
Holding up huge illuminated letters, the action follows on from the open letter to world leaders sent by Greta Thunberg, Vanessa Nakate and Mitzi Tan to enact a 5-point plan for the climate, which has been signed by more than one million people globally.
More reaction to the Biden methane pledge from earlier today. Raymond Pierrehumbert, professor of physics at the University of Oxford, says: “As things stand, methane is mostly just a distraction from the main job of ridding the world economy of fossil fuel burning and its associated carbon dioxide emissions.”
Actions to control methane are only really useful if the planet is on track to achieve net zero carbon emissions in the next few decades. He said: “We are sadly not yet in that world, and until we are, methane is just a sideshow.”
Professor Myles Allen, professor of Geosystem science at Oxford, said a 30% cut in global methane emissions would reduce global temperatures by around one-tenth of a degree.
“Meanwhile, carbon dioxide emissions are driving temperatures up by over two-tenths of a degree per decade. Unless we get carbon dioxide on a path to net zero by mid-century, action on methane today won’t have much impact on peak warming,” he said.
Johnson said companies and financial institutions have an important role in stopping deforestation and that consumer pressure is also key. Lastly, asked whether President Macron left early after falling out with the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson says: “We are working very closely with our French friends and partners on the things that matter most to the people of the world, which are climate change and reducing CO2.”
On China, he says it is engaging on the matter of climate change but that the world needs more progress from the Asian country. “I think we need China to make commitments, China has made a substantial commitment to move to net zero by the middle of the century, 2050 or before. Let’s see where we get to with China … let’s see where that adds up to.” He adds that China has committed to stop financing overseas coal.
More from Johnson: “If we don’t fix our climate, it will be an economic catastrophe. I also happen to think there is a great wisdom in the British people that think this is an issue that needs to be fixed.”
He refers to a graph presented yesterday by Sir David Attenborough depicting the increase in CO2 emissions. “They can see that, they’re not dumb,” he says.
He says the climate crisis will be tackled by creating high-wage, high-skilled jobs in green technologies.
Asked by a Daily Express journalist whether there should be a public vote on net zero, he says: “As for your brilliant suggestion of a referendum, I think this country has had quite enough referendums to be getting on with.”
Speaking about the impact of the climate crisis, Johnson says: “When it comes to helping countries to transition, there is a huge amount to do. We have the tools to do it. And we certainly have, in theory, the finance to do it. Mark Carney would say hundreds of trillions of dollars, others would say tens of trillions, that can be leveraged by the public sector and by our investment. But I’m not going to disagree with anyone that says the world has a lot more to do.”
Boris Johnson tells the BBC’s Laura Kuenssburg that we are starting to see the plans behind the pledges made in Paris in 2015. He says: “I think what you are starting to see here is a sense of how actually you can deliver those cuts in CO2.” However, he admits there is still a lot of work to do to put plans into practice.
“The world leaders may be leaving, but the eyes of the world are on our negotiators and we have your numbers,” says Johnson, who is due to fly back to London this evening.
Johnson continues: “We’ve been asking for action on coal, cars, cash and trees and after just a couple of days we can certainly begin to tick three of those boxes – we are beginning to write the tick.
“That’s all happened because we have been able to come together in Glasgow.”
He goes on to say that the clock in the doomsday scenario is still ticking but says “we have a bomb disposal team on site and they are starting to snip some of the wires, some of the right wires I hope.”
Johnson is reeling off what he perceives to be successes from the Cop26 summit so far. He says that 90% of the world’s economy is now working towards net zero, including “India keeping 1bn tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere by switching half its power grid to renewable energy”. He added: “It’s not just that we are putting forward better or bigger targets but the world is putting forward the plans to reach those targets.”
Johnson adds: “90% of the world has now signed up to net zero including India,” in reference to yesterday’s announcement from India. “We will keep working with world leaders to get to net zero sooner.”
Johnson starting to speak: “We must take care to guard against false hope… still a very long way to go. I am cautiously optimistic… After two days of talks we’ve pulled back a goal or two from being 1-5 down.”
As we wait for Boris Johnson’s press conference we can update you with some choice words that climate activist Greta Thunberg had for the world leaders inside the Cop26 conference in Glasgow.
Joined by some of the many activists rallying around the climate change meeting, Thunberg decried inaction from politicians and big business, saying: “We are not going to let them get away with it anymore.”