The Prime Minister made a one-day trip to Glasgow on Wednesday and expressed his frustrations at countries having “spent six years conspicuously patting themselves on the back” after the Paris climate agreement.”
However, with just 48 hours until the delegations were supposed to head home, Mr Johnson also did not rule out “go[ing] into extra time” beyond the conference’s scheduled Friday finish, as he urged leaders to “grasp” the opportunities to tackle climate change. “Here in Glasgow the world is closer than it has ever been to signalling the beginning of the end of anthropogenic climate change.
“It is now within reach.
“At Cop26 in these final days we just need to reach out together and grasp it.
“So my question to my fellow world leaders as we enter the last hours of Cop26 is: will you help us do that? Will you help us grasp the opportunity or will you stand in the way?”
"The world will find it absolutely incomprehensible if we fail to deliver… and the backlash from people will be immense and long lasting. And frankly, we will deserve their criticism and their opprobrium.”
A first draft of the deal from Cop26 calls on countries to reassess their emissions-cutting plans and return with new ideas by the end of 2022, to try and limit global warming to just 1.5c above pre-industrial levels, but there are concerns of resistance from some countries which could prevent the document getting final sign off.
The Prime Minister struck a serious tone when he spoke to reporters after his day in Scotland, telling them that Cop26 “is not going to fix” climate change in one go. He said the most depressing thing about climate change has been that it “doesn’t really look as though it’s capable of being fixed any time soon”.
The final push in Glasgow came as The Yorkshire Post hosted its own climate change summit at Leeds’ Royal Armouries Museum.
The event marked the launch of the Yorkshire and the Humber Climate Change Commission revealed their 50-point action plan, which calls for carbon emissions to be cut across the region by 84 per cent by 2030.
West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin told delegates that the people of Yorkshire are “living” through the impacts of climate change, with flooding causing “untold misery” to families and communities.
Telling the crowd that the UK must act “at speed” to confront the climate emergency, she explained:” The threat we face from climate change is happening right now, impacting on our weather, our wildlife, our health and our economy.
“Throughout Yorkshire and the Humber [...] we are living it - the traumatic consequences of the changing climate, in particular flooding.
“What was once called a once in a generation catastrophe or a one in a 100 year event, are now regular occurrences causing untold misery, anxiety and stress.”
The former Batley and Spen MP also said that levelling up and tackling climate change go hand in hand, suggesting that those in the North of the country are facing different risks to those elsewhere.
“You cannot truly level up when neighbours are worried about it raining,” she said. “Constantly looking at the sky - about their homes being ruined by floodwater for a second or third time in a decade.
“We can’t truly level up when friends are worried about their businesses being washed away and thinking they are going to have to leave that village because they can’t put up with it anymore.
"We can’t really level up when our grandparents are having to choose between heating and eating because rising energy bills and drafty homes means there’s not enough cash to go round.”