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The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow at the end of October.
Its focus is to ensure “action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change”.
“It’s the moment when we have to grow up and take our responsibilities,” he said.
“We go through a period of glorious indifference about the world, we have been through that, we have been through our childhood, if you like.
“We have now got to realise this is a problem that requires grip and there are changes we are going to have to make.
“But people should be optimistic because we can make these changes whilst encouraging the creation of literally millions of high-wage, high-skilled jobs.”
On Monday, Mr Johnson stressed the need for wealthy countries to come up with the cash to help tackle the climate crisis.
“It is the developing world that is bearing the brunt of catastrophic climate change in the form of hurricanes and fires and floods and the real long-term economic damage that they face,” he told reporters in New York.
“And yet it’s the developed world that over 200 years has put the carbon in the atmosphere that is causing this acceleration of climate change.
“So it really is up to us to help them.”
Rich nations have reaped the benefits of pollution for generations. We have a duty to help developing countries grow their economies in a green and sustainable way.
I’m calling on leaders to meet our $100bn pledge to the world’s poorest.#UNGA pic.twitter.com/so6MVMcJip
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 20, 2021
The Prime Minister said “the arguments were made very powerfully” and “we will have to see where we get to” in efforts to secure commitments to donate 100 billion dollars (£73 billion) a year in support to developing nations to cut their carbon emissions and protect themselves against environmental change.
US President Joe Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry has hinted at extra funding to help meet the finance pledge.
The Prime Minister told reporters in New York: “We have been here before, we have all heard lots of pledges, lots of positive noises, let’s see where we get to. We are not counting our chickens.”
Mr Johnson has previously claimed there is only a “six out of 10” chance of hitting the target before the UK hosts the Cop26 climate summit in November.
But a change in the US commitment would “send a massively powerful signal to the world”, he said.
Mr Johnson has told world leaders he is growing “increasingly frustrated” that their commitments to tackle the climate crisis are “nowhere near enough”.
The Prime Minister told a roundtable he co-hosted at the United Nations General Assembly in New York that “everyone nods and we all agree that something must be done”.â¯
“Yet I confess I’m increasingly frustrated that the ‘something’ to which many of you have committed is nowhere near enough,” he added.â¯“It is the biggest economies in the world that are causing the problem, while the smallest suffer the worst consequences.
â¯“And while progress is being made all over the world, the gulf between what has been promised, what is actually being delivered, and what needs to happen… it remains vast.
“Too many major economies – some represented here today, some absent – are lagging too far behind.”