The Prime Minister has said it is “touch and go” whether key goals will be met when world leaders and other influential figures gather in Glasgow from the end of this week.
Taking questions from children ahead of the pivotal summit, Mr Johnson suggested one way of tackling rising emissions could be encouraging cows to be more polite and stop burping.
Speaking to youngsters from the newly revamped press room on Downing Street, the Prime Minister said: “We need as many people as possible to go to net zero so that they are not producing too much carbon dioxide by the middle of the century,” he said.
“Now, I think it can be done. It’s going to be very, very tough, this summit.
“And I’m very worried, because it might go wrong and we might not get the agreements that we need.
“It’s touch and go.”
Mr Johnson said “peer pressure” at the UN summit could force some nations into action.
The UK has promised to reach net zero emissions by 2050, but questions are being raised on whether those goals are achievable, ahead of the UK welcoming leaders to Scotland for the two-week long conference.
Amid the discussions, the Prime Minister jokingly offered a few more unusual suggested ideas for projects or changes that could help slow the climate crisis in the UK.
He welcomed one student’s suggestion of more electric school buses as a “brilliant idea” before discussing the problem of agriculture producing greenhouse gases.
“Cows burp a great deal and emit gases – we have to encourage them to stop burping,” Mr Johnson said, suggesting that would make them “more polite cows”.
He suggested “feeding them seaweed”, which is thought to reduce cattle’s methane expulsion.
However, Mr Johnson was later accused of having “completely lost the plastic plot” after he said that recycling is a “red herring” as a way to help the environment.
“It doesn’t begin to address the problem. You can only recycle plastic a couple of times, really. What you’ve got to do is stop the production of plastic,” he said.
“The recycling thing is a red herring,” the Prime Minister added after naming and shaming Coca-Cola as being one of 12 corporations “producing the overwhelming bulk of the world’s plastics”.
Reacting later. Simon Ellin, the chief executive of the Recycling Association told the BBC: “It’s very disappointing. I think he has completely lost the plastic plot here,
He added: “His own Government has just invested in the resources and waste strategy, which is the most ground-breaking recycling legislation and plan that we’ve ever seen, with recycling right at the front of it.”