The world must move from aspiration to action to limit rising global temperatures, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told leaders at COP26, as he committed to increase the UK’s own climate finance by £1 billion by 2025 in Glasgow today (Monday 1 November).
In an address at the World Leaders Summit Opening Ceremony, the Prime Minister urged world leaders to take concrete steps on phasing out coal, accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, and halting deforestation as well as supporting developing nations on the frontline of the climate crisis with climate finance.
These actions will make the biggest difference in reducing emissions this decade on the world’s path to net zero and keeping alive the global aim of limiting rising temperatures to 1.5C under the Paris Agreement.
Leading by example, the UK doubled its International Climate Finance commitment to £11.6 billion over five years in 2019, and the Prime Minister’s new announcement today would take this to a world-leading £12.6 billion, if the economy grows as forecast.
The UK’s International Climate Finance is drawn from the overseas aid budget, which – as set out in the Spending Review – is forecast to return to 0.7% of GNI in 2024/25. The funding goes to life-changing programmes around the world, shoring up the defences of communities on the frontline of climate change, protecting nature and biodiversity, and supporting the global transition to clean and green energy.
At Monday’s Opening Ceremony, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change. It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now. If we don’t get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to do so tomorrow.”
He added: “We have to move from talk and debate and discussion to concerted, real-world action on coal, cars, cash and trees. Not more hopes and targets and aspirations, valuable though they are, but clear commitments and concrete timetables for change. We need to get real about climate change and the world needs to know when that’s going to happen.”
Later, the Prime Minister brought round one table some of the world’s biggest economies with the countries most vulnerable to climate change to hear what is at stake for countries if action is not taken now and set the tone for two weeks of negotiations to come.
The COP26 climate summit comes six years after the Paris Agreement was signed by over 190 countries to limit rising global temperatures to well below 2C with a view of reaching 1.5C. According to the UN, global temperatures are currently set to rise to 2.7C.
Scientists are clear that emissions must halve by 2030 to keep the aims made in Paris within reach.