Boris Johnson has issued a stern warning that the failure of the Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow will mean that the entire effort to reduce emissions has failed.
On the eve of the rally in Scotland, the Prime Minister said that the Paris agreement’s target six years ago of keeping global warming at 1.5 ° C depended on the contribution of developed countries.
After the G20 summit in Rome, he declared that they had made progress but that the outcome of the Glasgow talks intended to fulfill these commitments remained “in the balance”.
He said: “If Glasgow fails, then everything fails.
“The Paris agreement will have collapsed at first glance.
“The world’s only viable mechanism for dealing with climate change will be below the waterline.
“At the moment, the Paris Agreement and the hope that goes with it is just a piece of paper.”
Mr Johnson said they had “made progress” in the Italian capital, but that he was “pin and tuck, touch and go” if they were going to make further progress in the next two weeks in Scotland.
In particular, he highlighted the failure of the final G20 communique to mention the phasing out of national coal consumption.
“This is the really important question,” he said.
The leader of the Conservative Party added: “We had a reasonable G20 but there is a lot to do. “
The result of the G20 was that leaders agreed to carbon neutrality “by mid-century or mid-century”, as attention now turns to UN talks on the climate.
Politicians in Italy have also pledged to end public funding for coal-fired power generation abroad.
But the Prime Minister, who was due to travel to Glasgow for the climate conference following the press briefing, said environmental promises made by major nations “were starting to ring hollow” as he criticized the lack of action by G20 partners.
He told reporters he agreed with the suggestion that the target for all G20 countries with net zero carbon economies “by or around the middle of the century” was too vague, adding that ‘he wanted those pledging to achieve it by 2060 “to make these commitments earlier”. .
Mr Johnson added: “Only 12 G20 members have pledged to reach net zero by 2050 or before; barely half of us have submitted improved plans to reduce carbon emissions since the Paris summit in 2015.
“We have also failed to meet our commitments to provide $ 100 billion per year to help developing countries develop in a clean and sustainable way.”
When asked at the post-summit briefing whether enough money had been pledged in Rome to prevent global warming above 1.5 ° C, Mr Johnson replied: “I think 1.5 ° C hangs in the balance.
“Right now, let’s have no doubts, we’re not going to touch it and we have to be honest with ourselves. We must therefore keep this hope alive.
Labor Economics and Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said more action is needed in Glasgow from world leaders.
The former opposition leader, in a statement posted on Twitter, said: “The words of the G20 leaders are a small step forward but we need a giant leap at Cop26.
“We need to halve global emissions by 2030, not rely on vague plans for three decades. “
Cop26 President Alok Sharma said: “The science is clear and the G20 countries have responded by committing to making plans consistent with mid-century net zero emissions and improving their 2030 targets, to keep 1.5 degrees close at hand. “