Climate crisis must not be overshadowed by Covid, Johnson to tell UN

The world cannot allow the climate emergency to be overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic, the UK prime minister Boris Johnson will warn, but must “build back better” after the crisis by cutting greenhouse gas emissions as a matter of urgency.

Johnson will announce that the UK will host an online event to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate agreement this December, with a call to all countries to strengthen their commitments on cutting carbon.

He will tell a round table on climate at the UN general assembly: “We cannot let climate action become another victim of coronavirus. Let us be the leaders who secure the very health of our planet for our children, grandchildren and generations to come.”

The UK will host the next UN climate summit, called Cop26, and postponed by a year from its original date of this November. The crunch summit is intended to put the world on track to meet the Paris agreement goal of holding global heating to well below 2C.

Under the 2015 accord, all countries must come forward this year with new national plans that ratchet up their carbon-curbing ambition. Tougher plans, called nationally determined contributions (NDCs), are needed because current commitments would lead to a disastrous 3C rise.

The UK has not yet set out its NDC, despite its status as president of Cop26, but is now expected to do so at or before the December meeting.

Johnson will say on Thursday: “The UK will lead by example, keeping the environment on the global agenda and serving as a launch pad for a global green industrial revolution. But no one country can turn the tide – it would be akin to bailing out a liner with a single bucket.”

Prospects for a successful Cop26 were boosted on Tuesday when the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, announced the world’s biggest emitter would reach carbon neutrality – the point at which any remaining emissions are balanced out by measures to absorb carbon, such as growing forests – by 2060, and would cause its emissions to peak and then begin to decline before 2030.

These commitments have yet to be fleshed out into a formal NDC, but they mark an unexpected step forward from China on the world stage. The move follows an intense round of negotiations with the EU, culminating in a virtual summit last week.

The EU also set out its goals last week, not yet in a formal NDC submission, to cut emissions by 55% by 2030, relative to 1990 levels.

With two of the world’s three biggest emitting blocs now committed to strengthened plans under the Paris agreement, and more than 100 smaller nations now with their own NDCs, the stage is set for a showdown with the US, the world’s second biggest emitter.

The US presidential elections take place on 3 November, the day before president Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement takes effect. If he gains a second term, other nations have vowed to forge a path forward to meeting the Paris goals without the US, but that will be difficult.

By the time of the UK’s December conference to mark the Paris anniversary, the results of the US presidential election should be known, even if there is a delay – as some fear – owing to the unusual circumstances of the pandemic.

Alok Sharma, Cop26 president and business secretary, said: “We are setting the stage [for Cop26] now with a call to all those who are ready to step forward this December and set out bold new NDCs for a clean and prosperous future. The responsibility to act lies with each of us and together we can drive forward action.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Enter Your Information Below To Receive Free Trading Ideas, Latest News, And Articles.

Please Enter Your Email Address:




Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us and our affiliates. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

Latest

Bamboo rats left in limbo as breeders push back against China wildlife ban

Just a few months ago Cheng Yongcai ran a thriving farm that produced 20,000 bamboo rats a year in Qingyuan in northern Guangdong province. It...

Crypto market rises despite rough week

Bitcoin holds above $10K as uncertainty hits market Bitcoin remains buoyant, and is now approaching $11k for the third time despite repeated waves of uncertainty...

Britain must nurture its scientific expertise to help save the world from climate crisis | Martin Rees

"Experts" have had a raised profile during the Covid-19 pandemic, standing - albeit somewhat embarrassed - alongside Boris Johnson during his press conferences. In...

My allotment was once a casual hobby. Since lockdown, it’s become a lifeline | Alice O’Keefe

Smugness is a well-documented side-effect of having an allotment, and at this time of year, with raspberries, gooseberries, currants, new potatoes and other goodies...

July rainfall across Australia dips to 43% below average, BoM reports

Rainfall across Australia was 43% below average in July, continuing a long-term drying trend consistent with rising atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions, the weather bureau...