BORIS JOHNSON launched this year’s climate change summit — and called on Britain to take the lead in tackling global warming.
With Sir David Attenborough at his side, he told an audience at London’s Science Museum: ‘We’ve put so much CO2 in the atmosphere collectively that the entire planet is swaddled in a tea cosy of the stuff.
‘It’s now predicted, unless we take urgent action, to get 3C hotter, and in the hurricanes and the bushfires and melting of the ice caps and the acidification of the oceans, the evidence is now overwhelming.
‘We know as a country, as a society, as a planet, as a species, we must now act.’ The prime minister said that the UK was leading the way by setting a legal goal to reach ‘net-zero’ by 2050. He added: ‘I think it’s quite proper that we should, we were the first after all, to industrialise. We have a responsibility to our planet to lead in this way and to do this.’
Mr Johnson and Sir David were joined by Italian PM Giuseppe Conte, whose country will co-host November’s UN COP26 summit in Glasgow.
Sir David said it was up to the UK to organise the world into action in Glasgow. ‘That’s why it’s so encouraging the present government have declared this year, the year not of talking about it, not of alarming people, not of warning, but of action,’ he said.
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry accused the government of not taking a global lead on climate change. She said that Britain had signed up to deals committing to drilling for oil and gas at the UK-Africa trade summit and had refused to stand up to ‘climate denier-in-chief’ Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson refused to answer questions about who will replace former clean growth minister Claire O’Neill.
Ms O’Neill was sacked by the PM’s special adviser Dominic Cummings after saying the government was ‘miles off track’ in setting a positive agenda for the summit.
She later told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Mr Johnson ‘doesn’t really get’ climate change.