Boris hails ‘historic’ outcome of Cop26 summit but admits disappointment
rime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed the “truly historic” outcome of the Cop26 summit, describing the agreement as “game-changing”.
The Glasgow conference agreed to the ‘phasing down’ of coal.
But the original document presented to delegates called for the ‘phasing out’ of the pollutant.
Referencing that in a Downing Street press conference he added: “Of course, my delight at this progress is tinged with disappointment.
“Those for whom climate change is already a matter of life and death, who can only stand by as their islands are submerged, their farm land turned to desert, their homes battered by storms, they demanded a high level of ambition from this summit.
“While many of us were willing to go there, that wasn’t true of everybody. Sadly that’s the nature of diplomacy.
“We can lobby, we can cajole, we can encourage, but we cannot force sovereign nations to do what they do not wish to do.
“It’s ultimately their decision to make and they must stand by it.
“But for all that, we can be immensely proud of what has been achieved by Alok Sharma and his team.”
Mr Johnson told the press conference: “Before Paris, the world was on course for a devastating four degrees warming by the end of this century.
“After Paris, remember, we were heading for three degrees, at Glasgow we’ve turned that dial down to around two degrees increase, and of course that’s still far too high.
“But for all our disagreements, the world is undeniably heading in the right direction.
“Even the most pessimistic commentator will tell you that 1.5 degrees, that goal of restricting the growth in temperatures to 1.5 degrees, is still alive.
“Now the work continues to make that ambition a reality.”
Mr Johnson added: “There’s still a long journey ahead of us, and very little time to complete it.
“But Cop26 has shown that we can do this. We can end our reliance on coal and fossil fuels.
“We can put the brakes on runaway climate change, and we can preserve our unique planet for generations to come.”
Meanwhile Alok Sharma said he was emotional when negotiations concluded because he felt “the weight of the world” on his shoulders.
Speaking alongside the Prime Minister at a Downing Street press conference, Mr Sharma said: “I can tell you there was one really tense hour where I did feel the weight of the world on my shoulders… this deal was absolutely in jeopardy. We got it over the line.”
At the end of the summit, he apologised to delegates for the way the Glasgow Pact’s watered-down wording on fossil fuels was brought about at the 11th hour.
He told the press conference: “The reason I said sorry… at the event was not because I thought that we didn’t have a historic achievement, it’s because at the end, people thought the process was opaque.”