Speaking at a virtual climate summit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed the “incredible things” being done by India in the solar energy sector as he warned that the emergency facing the world from climate change was far more destructive than even the coronavirus pandemic.
In his address to the Climate Ambition Summit, co-hosted by the UK to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate agreement, the British prime minister reiterated the UK’s pledge to radically cut dependence on fossil fuels.
“We’re going ahead with a massive solar programme, even though we can’t hope to emulate the incredible things being done by India, Australia or Morocco for instance,” he said.
“Today, we’re putting our foot to the accelerator – in a carbon friendly way of course – with a Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. We want to turn the UK into the Saudi Arabia of wind power generation, enough wind power by 2030 to supply every single one of our homes with electricity… Hydro of course – we’re liberating the awesome potential of hydrogen, whether for homes or all sorts of uses,” he said.
The summit, held as a precursor to the UK’s hosting of the United Nations’ COP26 summit in November 2021, included addresses urging the world’s economies to “stop the assault” on the planet and increase their ambition on cutting the greenhouse gases that drive climate change.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged that by 2047, centennial India will exceed the world’s expectations in implementing actions to counter climate change.
“Today, as we are looking to set our sights even higher, we must also not lose sight of the past. We must not only revise our ambitions but also review our achievements against targets already set. Only then can our voices be credible for future generations. India is not only on track to achieve Paris targets but to exceed them beyond your expectations,” he said.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned leaders that the world was heading for a “catastrophic” 3 degrees Celsius of warming, as he urged them to declare a state of climate emergency in their countries until they become carbon neutral.
Johnson said advances in renewable energy technologies would “save our planet and create millions of high-skilled jobs” as the UK announced an end to support for the fossil fuel sector overseas. Described as a significant move as in the last four years, the UK government supported GBP 21 billion of UK oil and gas exports through trade promotion and export finance.
The UK had recently also announced a new commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.