British PM Johnson disappointed at climate progress ahead of key UN talks

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) – Britain said global efforts to tackle climate change are falling short and Prime Minister Boris Johnson will use a key United Nations summit next week to press for more action.

“It is disappointing that there hasn’t been as much progress recently as there should have been,” Johnson’s spokesman, Max Blain, told reporters on Friday (Sept 17). “We have ourselves made progress toward the commitments we’ve made.”

Securing international progress on reducing carbon emissions is politically important for Johnson given Britain hosts the next round of UN climate talks, known as COP26, in Glasgow in November.

The UN General Assembly in New York next week is among the final chances for Johnson to build momentum as world leaders take stock of their commitments.

Johnson is also addressing a virtual discussion on climate change hosted by Joe Biden on Friday, where the US president is hoping to push members of the Major Economies Forum – a mix of advanced and developing economies – to up their ambitions, according to a senior US official.

Britain has committed to reducing carbon emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, and to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Britain’s emissions fell 13 per cent in 2020 versus 2019, largely due to the effects of coronavirus lockdown measures.

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