Boris to push ambitious commitments until COP26 closure amid greenwashing protests

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Thousands of people marched in Glasgow this Saturday to protest as they view the current climate summit as underwhelming. On Friday, environmental activist Greta Thunberg labelled the conference the “global North Greenwash festival”, claiming that she was seeing more “blah blah blah” than real actions.

With only a week to go before the end of COP26, Boris Johnson has said he wants to see deeper commitments too.

“There is one week left for COP26 to deliver for the world, and we must all pull together and drive for the line.

“We have seen nations bring ambition and action to help limit rising temperatures, with new pledges to cut carbon and methane emissions, end deforestation, phase out coal and provide more finance to countries most vulnerable to climate change.

“But we cannot underestimate the task at hand to keep 1.5C alive.

“Countries must come back to the table this week ready to make the bold compromises and ambitious commitments needed.”

Organisers of the protests, the COP26 Coalition, claimed more than 100,000 people turned up to Saturday’s protest, adding that an estimated 300 similar events were taking place around the world.

Coalition spokesman Asad Rehman said: “We won’t tolerate warm words and long-term targets any more, we want action now.”

Alok Sharma, the COP26 president, said talks were “getting to the point where the rubber hits the road”, adding: “I certainly do not underestimate the difficulty of the task we are facing ahead of us.”

The second week will see the countries attending discussing parts of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Back in 2015, signatories pledged a number of limitations and new guidelines to limit global warming to less than two degrees this century under the Paris Agreement.

Now, these will be reassessed as the main aim of the conference is to avoid temperature rises of more than 1.5C.

On Saturday, Archie Young, the UK’s lead negotiator, said the official talks were at a “critical juncture.”

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“The mood is mixed, and I say that not in any pejorative sense. It’s really a reflection of the fact that it is tense right now,” he added.

Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow business secretary, said: “The truth after the first week of the COP is that we remain a long way off where we need to be to realistically say we have taken the major steps required to keep 1.5 alive.

“But all the prime minister now offers is empty exhortation and commentary.

“He needs to step up with focus, clarity and urgency in the face of the massive task the world faces in the coming days.”

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