Boris Johnson: IPCC climate report gives food for thought

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Boris Johnson called the latest warnings from UN scientists on the extent of the climate crisis a “sobering reading” that should alert the world ahead of the Cop26 summit.

With the world climate conference set to open in Glasgow in less than three months, the British prime minister said he hoped the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report would underscore the need to ‘act now.

Ministers fear the UK conference, which has been touted as a historic moment in the global effort to cut emissions, will end up being seen as a wet firecracker. This is supposed to be the moment when countries set out in more detail how they will contribute to the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels, but some of the biggest emitters of carbon in the world, such as China and India, have yet to submit detailed plans.

Commenting on the IPCC report, Johnson said: “Today’s report is sobering read, and it is clear that the next decade is going to be crucial in securing the future of our planet.

“We know what needs to be done to limit global warming – make coal history and switch to clean energy sources, protect nature and provide climate finance to countries on the front lines. “

Johnson also said he hoped the report would be “a wake-up call for the world to act now, before we meet in Glasgow in November for the critical COP26 summit.”

Alok Sharma, the cabinet minister who is president of Cop26, has traveled the world to encourage countries to update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – their political commitments to reduce emissions. More than 110 countries have submitted updated NDCs with commitments extending through 2030, but some of the largest economies have not, and other plans are seen as inadequate by climate experts.

Sharma said, “Our message to every country, government, business and part of society is simple. The next decade is decisive: follow the science and take responsibility for keeping the 1.5 ° C target alive. “

Labor leader Keir Starmer said the IPCC report was “the most vivid reminder to date that the climate crisis is here right now and the biggest long-term threat we face” . He also accused Johnson of “not having treated the crisis with the seriousness it deserves”.

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey also accused Johnson of appeasement, saying the UK “is showing other countries that climate inaction is okay”.

Connor Schwartz, Climate Officer at Friends of the Earth, said: “If the government wants to show respect for the world’s top scientists on climate chaos, it can start by canceling the Cambo oilfield, scrapping it. the Cumbria coal mine and end British funding. for the Mozambique gas mega-project; they can do it today.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) marked the publication of the IPCC report by announcing that from Monday 23 August it will organize protest demonstrations in London for two weeks, aimed at disrupting the City and what it describes as “the root cause of the climate and ecological crisis – political economy ”.

Clare Farrell, co-founder of XR, said: “We are in the midst of a collective act of global social evil, unprecedented in all history. We spend more time measuring it than trying to stop it: it is in itself a crime.

Referring to a recent briefing by Allegra Stratton, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson for Cop26, Farrell said: “This government is a joke, telling us how to wash the dishes when they should lead the world towards a mobilization that save humanity. “

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