Editorial: Hopes high

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged world leaders attending the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow to commit to cutting carbon emissions, warning efforts to halt runaway global warming will fail if they do not.

‘If Glasgow fails, then the whole thing fails,’ he told a news conference after a meeting of G20 leaders in Rome, where they agreed a target to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. COP26 president Alok Sharma opened the two-week summit in Scotland’s biggest city earlier on Sunday, saying the talks were the ‘last, best hope’ to keep that target alive.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who reached Glasgow, tweeted: ‘Landed in Glasgow. Will be joining the @COP26 Summit, where I look forward to working with other world leaders on mitigating climate change and articulating India’s efforts in this regard.’ Following Sunday’s opening gavel, officials began addressing a raft of procedural matters before leaders from around the world gather in Scotland’s biggest city Monday to lay out their countries’ efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and deal with the effects of climate change.

Many of the issues are being discussed during the 31 October-12 November talks have been on the agenda for decades, including how rich countries can help poor nations tackle emissions and adapt to a hotter world. The slow pace of action has angered many environmental campaigners, who are expected to stage loud and creative protests during the summit. The outgoing president of the meeting, Chile’s Carolina Schmidt, started the talks by asking officials to observe a minute’s silence for those who have died due to the coronavirus pandemic since the last UN climate conference was held in late 2019, shortly before the outbreak began.

 

NT Bureau