MI6 'green spying' on biggest polluters to ensure nations keep climate change promises

British secret agents have started "green spying" on the world's biggest polluters to make sure they "play fair" and keep their climate change promises, the head of MI6 has revealed.

Richard Moore said the Secret Intelligence Service had begun to monitor large industrialised countries in support of what he described as the "foremost international foreign policy agenda item for this country and for the planet".

It comes as the UK prepares to host the major COP26 climate change summit later this year.

Mr Moore, who is known as C, told Times Radio: "Where people sign up to commitments on climate change, it is perhaps our job to make sure that actually what they are really doing reflects what they have signed up to.

"As somebody used to say - 'trust, but verify'.

"On climate change, where you need everyone to come on board and to play fair, then occasionally just check to make sure they are."

He was speaking after president Joe Biden warned world leaders that this is the "decisive decade" to avoid the worst of the climate crisis as he outlined targets for the US to halve its emissions by 2030.

He announced a new target to achieve a 50%-52% reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, as he hosted a virtual summit to rally international action to tackle rising global temperatures.

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Mr Biden and Boris Johnson, who also addressed the meeting, both stressed the opportunity to create high-quality jobs by shifting to clean energy and technology as they urged other countries to follow their lead with action.

The summit also heard from heads of major economies including China, Brazil, Russia and India, with countries including Japan and Canada announcing more ambitious goals to cut emissions in the next decade.

It came as Mr Johnson announced a "world-leading" target for the UK to cut emissions by 78% on 1990 levels by 2035, which builds on plans to cut pollution by 68% by 2030, the most ambitious among leading economies.

He said climate action was not an "expensive, politically correct, green act of bunny hugging", but could deliver green jobs and growth, and the world could build back better from the pandemic by building back greener.

COP26 President Alok Sharma has said the warning lights were "flashing bright red" as the planet faced make or break in the next decade.

Sky News broadcasts the first daily prime time news show dedicated to climate change.

Hosted by Anna Jones, The Daily Climate Show is following Sky News correspondents as they investigate how global warming is changing our landscape and how we all live our lives.

The show will also highlight solutions to the crisis and show how small changes can make a big difference.