'No time to waste' - PM calls for ambitious commitments from world leaders to tackle climate change

·2-min read

The prime minister has described climate change as the most "enduring threat" to future generations if action is not taken.

Boris Johnson was speaking to mark a year to go to the landmark COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. The event should be taking place now, but has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: "There is no greater duty for any nation than protecting our people and our planet. There is no time to waste."

Mr Johnson is calling on world leaders to put forward ambitious pledges to reduce greenhouse gases, but pressure is mounting on the UK government to show real leadership with its own climate commitments.

It is expected to announce a 10-point plan to tackle climate change, which the prime minster says will "invigorate" plans to reach net zero by 2050.

He spoke as the government announced new goals for global sustainable consumption, which it says "set the tone" for its ambitions for the COP.

A new law has been unveiled in the Environment Bill, which would make it illegal for UK businesses to use key commodities such as soya and cocoa grown in contravention of local laws aimed at preventing deforestation.

Speaking to Sky News, climate minister Zac Goldsmith said the law could become the most important part of the Environment Bill.

He said: "This is about cleaning up our supply chains - we can do all the wonderful things in the world domestically with our own environment, but if we import environmental destruction through commodities then that is a problem and it is something that needs to be sorted.

"The hope is that on the back of what we're doing in the UK, we'll be able to build a global collation of other countries all committed to doing something similar with a view to tackling what is one of the great problems of our day - deforestation", he continued.

Friends of the Earth, in response to Boris Johnson's comments, accused the government of failing to keep on track with its own targets to cut emissions.

A spokesman said: "The prime minister's forthcoming 10-point plan is a real opportunity to show his commitment to a zero carbon future, but he must abandon climate-wrecking policies too."

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And Katie White at WWF-UK said: "We eagerly await the government's plans towards a net-zero future and all the benefits that will bring to both people and the planet.

"We hope to see clear evidence that the UK will be stepping up its ambition and leadership ahead of hosting the climate summit in Glasgow."