Boris Johnson has told COP27 that now ‘isn’t the time to go weak’ in the fight against climate change.
Speaking at a fringe event at the climate summit in Egypt, the former prime minister said that despite the agreement in Glasgow, there was still much work to do.
He said: “I am the spirit of Glasgow – that’s what I’m doing here. It’s incredible to think how much has changed since that last COP and to be frank, how much damage has been done in just one year to our great common purpose of tackling man made climate change.
“It was only last November that we came together, that we defied some of the gloomier media expectations. We showed what we could do when humanity really worked toward an agreement.
“And thanks to the wisdom of the delegations, the UN negotiators – and I would to pay a particular tribute to my old friend Alok Sharma for what he did – we got some unexpectedly sizeable nationally-determined contributions and we agreed enough at Glasgow to take 4.5 billion gigatons of CO2 out of the atmosphere.”
The former Tory leader said the war in Ukraine and the uncertainty over energy security should not mean sacrificing climate-friendly policies.
Johnson specifically attacked calls to reverse the ban on fracking. In her brief tenure, Liz Truss had planned to allow it in England, but Rishi Sunak scrapped it again soon after moving into No 10.
“There are people who have drawn the conclusion that the whole project of net zero needs to be delayed, mothballed and put on ice – for instance, we need to reopen coal-fired power stations and frack the hell out of the British countryside,” Mr Johnson said.
He said COP27 was a time to “tackle this nonsense head-on”.
“Yes, of course, we do need to use hydrocarbons in the transitional period and, yes, in the UK there is more that we can do with our own domestic resources,” he said. However, this is not the moment to abandon the campaign for net zero, this is not the moment to turn our backs on renewable technology.”
COP27 was formally opened yesterday, with around 120 world leaders – including Rishi Sunak – attending today.
During the fringe event, Mr Johnson denied his appearance at the conference would overshadow the new Prime Minister’s first overseas trip. He said he was attending in a “purely supportive, foot soldier role.”
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