President Joe Biden has committed more money to help developing countries with their response while China has pledged to stop building coal-fired plants overseas.
Time will tell if President Xi Jinping will start to limit China’s over-dependence on fossil fuels – or join world leaders at the COP26 climate change summit which Britain is hosting in Glasgow in just six weeks time.
But this does represent some success on the Prime Minister’s part and the defining test of his impassioned plea to the United Nations will be his ability to galvanise the whole world – China and other polluters included – to tackle the greatest threat to the planet this century.
And while Mr Johnson’s mixing of metaphors can, on occasion, bemuse and bamboozle his audience in equal measure, his warning that the earth “is not some indestructible toy, some bouncy plastic romper room against which we can hurl ourselves to our heart’s content” will have hit home.
The PM’s challenge, as he returns to Britain to find the country in the midst of a growing energy crisis, is to show how this country can maintain its day-to-day infrastructure, and keep the lights burning, while accelerating the transition to green energy and net zero carbon emissions.
It is just one of many balances that will need to be carefully struck if short-term hiatuses are not to compromise the longer-term good of the environment – and humanity towards all.
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