Boris Johnson will kick off the COP26 summit today, exhorting world leaders and urging them to follow up on their climate change talks with action – warning that it is only a matter of time before midnight.

As he desperately seeks momentum, the PM has been welcoming foreign premier to the gathering at Glasgow. He did this after only securing lukewarm commitments at G20 in Rome over the weekend. 

However, UN hopes have been shattered as it was revealed that China’s president Xi Jinping will not give a ‘virtual speech’ but instead submit a written statement.

Recep Tayyip Erdan, Turkish president has announced that he will not be attending the G20. Jair Bolsonaro from Brazil and Vladimir Putin from Russia, both of which are in charge of large polluters, declined to attend. 

In a speech to follow, Johnson will promise to put another billion dollars into green finance, so long as the UK economy performs well. 

The PM will again reiterate his desire for global leaders to take steps on ‘coal and cars, cash, trees’, which he believes will make the biggest difference in limiting temperature increases to 1.5 degrees. 

Johnson will be welcoming 120 leaders to the summit, which will last for a fortnight.  

As the G20 concluded last night, he set the tone by reading the riot acts to his fell. He said that their promises to tackle climate change are beginning to’sound hollow’. 

The PM stated that there are no compelling excuses for procrastination on reducing harmful emission and that action taken amounts to ‘drops within a rapidly warming ocean.

The warnings came as follows:

  • The largest security operation ever mounted in Britain was launched in Glasgow amid warnings about climate protesters’ plans for serious disruption. 
  • According to a UN weather agency report, sea levels are rising twice as fast now as they were in the 1990s. 
  • As environmentalists warned of a growing spat about fishing rights, the PM asked Macron to abandon threats to penalize Britain. 
  • Ministers are close to reaching a deal to eliminate deforestation and pay poorer nations not to cut trees. 
  • Tina Stege was the Marshall Islands’ climate envoy. She warned that the Pacific archipelago might disappear underwater if the Glasgow summit fails to achieve its goals.
  • Greta Thunberg, climate poster girl, backed direct actions groups like Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion. She said it was necessary to ‘anger certain people’ in order to get her message across.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (right) and Boris Johnson (left) welcomed Palestine's Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh as he arrived at COP26 today

Boris Johnson (left), UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (right), and Mohammad Shtayyeh (left) received Mohammad Shtayyeh (Palestine’s Prime Minister) at COP26 today

Mr Johnson with Comoros' President Azali Assoumani

Mr Johnson meets St Lucia's Prime Minister Philip Joseph Pierre

Right, Mr Johnson greets Azali Assoumani, President of Comoros, and Philip Joseph Pierre, Prime Minister of St Lucia, left

Delegates queue to get into the summit in Glasgow today. Storms caused travel chaos for thousands yesterday

Today’s summit was packed with delegates who waited in line to gain entry to Glasgow. Yesterday’s storms caused chaos in travel for thousands.  

Boris Johnson will warn world leaders, that humanity has ‘run out the clock’ on climate changes and that they must take action in his speech at the COP26 summit

The PM, along with the UN Secretary-General, has been welcoming foreign premiers and leaders to the gathering in Glasgow. He desperately tries to build momentum after only securing lukewarm engagements at the G20 summit held in Rome this weekend

What are the key aims of COP26 

  • Secure commitments to reduce emissions by 2030 and reach Net Zero as close as 2050.
  • Keep alive the possibility of limiting temperature increases to 1.5 degrees.
  • Unabated coal power plants must be phased out. Increase investment in renewable energy.
  • Strike deals to reduce deforestation  
  • Climate finance pledges worth $100 billion
  • Finalize rules to implement the Paris Agreement.   

In a round of interviews this morning, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK is ‘putting a lot of pressure’ on Mr Putin and President Xi regardless of their absence.

She stated that BBC Breakfast was informed by her: “Both of these leaders are sending senior delegations from Glasgow so that there will be representation in Glasgow.

‘The Prime Minster has spoken to Vladimir Putin as well as President Xi. We are putting a lot more pressure on these countries.

“Because it is necessary to address climate change, it requires global action, and high-emitting countries of carbon dioxide are high emitters.

Ms Truss also supported the huge carbon footprint of world leaders – including Joe Biden, US president – who flew to Glasgow to discuss it in person.

She said that while Zoom calls are useful for some things, they are not as effective as meeting face-to-face with people to talk about crunch negotiations.

“World leaders will have some difficult decisions to make about what’s happening in their own countries. They’re going have to commit to things that they didn’t intend to do when they arrived at the conference. That’s why we need to meet people face-to-face. 

Johnson is expected to speak later, stating that “Humanity long ago has run down the clock on Climate Change.”

“It’s only one minute until midnight, and we must act immediately.

“If we don’t take action on climate change now, it will be too late to make a difference for our children tomorrow.” 

He will add, “We must move from discussion and debate to concerted, concrete, real-world actions on coal, cars and cash.

“Never more goals and targets, however valuable they may be, but clear commitments to change and concrete timetables.

“We must be realistic about climate change, and the world must know when it will happen.” 

Prince Charles will support the PM and tell leaders that he will speak at the opening.

He will continue to urge countries to work with business to solve climate problems. 

Many leaders were traveling from Rome to the G20 summit. These countries are responsible in part for around 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

Mr Johnson had hoped that a G20 bounce would be a steppingstone to a deal with Glasgow. 

Leaders rejected his request to make 2050 carbon neutral. Another attempt to stop the construction of new coal fired power stations was rejected. 

The PM stated that only 12 club members had committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, as stated at the G20 summit in Rome. 

He said that if the upcoming gathering in Glasgow does not achieve a major breakthrough, then the whole thing will fail. 

Mr Johnson said world leaders must now flesh out the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, warning that failing to do so will leave ‘the world’s only viable mechanism for dealing with climate change… holed beneath the water line’. 

The premier escalated his rhetoric amid fears the summit in Glasgow will be a flop after the G20 watered down its Net Zero ambition to ‘by or around mid-century’.

The PM has been trying the Rome summit of powerful countries, including Russia and China, to build momentum for COP26. This afternoon officially got underway and will see world leaders meet tomorrow.  

However, the G20 communique backed urgent action but it allowed for more flexibility for emissions to continue. It also replaced the original goal of “2050” with looser language. 

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, stated that the G20 summit did not go far enough to advance climate goals. However, he believed in the leaders headed to Scotland.

‘While I welcome the G20’s recommitment to global solutions, I leave Rome with my hopes unfulfilled – but at least they are not buried,’ he said.

Today’s summit in Glasgow will host more than 120 leaders. It kicks off a fortnight worth of intense negotiations to reach a global agreement to reduce emissions. 

Mr Biden, Indian PM Narendra Modi, are just a few of the notable figures expected to participate.

However, several leaders of major polluting countries have declined invitations to join them in protest of the global divisions.  

Yesterday, Sergey Lavrov (Russian foreign minister) publicly rejected Mr Johnson’s request for the entire world’s commitment to becoming ‘carbon-neutral’ by 2050.

Johnson has already admitted that he was beaten by China’s Xi Jinping during a call in which he suggested that the huge economy should aim to have its carbon output peak by 2025, instead of 2030. 

At the G20 summit, Mr Lavrov stated that Moscow was targeting a 2060 date and added: “No one has proven to us that 2050 should be something we all agree to.” 

China, the largest carbon emitter in the world, is also resisting the pressure to go carbon-neutral before 2060. Last week, President Xi rebutted a personal appeal from Mr Johnson.

The deal to stop the construction of new coal fired power stations by 2030 was not what we had hoped for. The deal was blocked by major coal users, including Australia, India, China, and Russia.

When asked about Cop26’s chances of success, the PM replied that he thought it was six out of ten. It’s a bit like nip, tuck, and touch and go. We could either succeed or fail by the middle November.  

Thousands of delegates have been unable to travel to Glasgow due to disruptions caused by storms in the UK.   

Interviews over the weekend revealed that Alok Sharma, President of COP26, said it would be’really really difficult’ for world leaders and will not make a breakthrough at the summit. 

Mr Sharma said there are now two weeks to get an agreement ‘over the line’ as thousands of delegates from across the globe arrive in Glasgow for the gathering.    

The UN summit aims to persuade all countries to agree to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. 

Sharma urged world leaders not to “leave the ghosts behind them” as he stated that they must fulfill their promises to reduce harmful emissions.  

Both President Xi of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia are not attending the COP26 summit in person. 

Addressing reporters in Rome this afternoon, Mr Johnson said that after ‘hundreds of summits, speeches, press conferences’ the promises made by world leaders are ‘starting to sound, frankly, hollow’.

He stated, “The science is clear that it is necessary to act now to cut emissions by half by 2030 and keep 1.5 degrees below the limit.”

“There are no compelling reasons to procrastinate. We have acknowledged the problem and are already witnessing firsthand the destruction climate change causes, including heat waves, droughts, wildfires and hurricanes.

“Unlike other global challenges, the solution for climate change is simple. It lies in the consignment of dirty fossil fuels like coal to history, abandoning gas-guzzling modes and recognising nature’s role in preserving life on the planet.

“And harnessing nature’s power through renewable energy, rather than attempting to destroy it.”

“If we fail to act now, the Paris Agreement is not going to be remembered as the moment when humanity first saw the problem, but rather as the moment we fled from it.”

Johnson listed a variety of nations’ promises to address climate change, but said none went far enough. 

He said that these commitments, while they are welcome, are only drops in a rapidly heating ocean when we think about the challenge we all have to face. 

Delegates, campaigners and journalists travelling by train to the Glasgow climate conference fell victim to a weather chaos today after a fallen tree on a railway line. Pictured: London Euston is exit only due to overcrowding and suspended services

Today’s weather chaos resulted in the death of campaigners, journalists, and delegates travelling by train to the Glasgow conference on climate change. Pictured: London Euston is closing due to overcrowding, suspended services

“Only 12 G20 members have pledged to reach net zero by 2050, or earlier. We have only half the number of improved plans for reducing carbon emissions since 2015’s Paris summit.

“We also failed to fulfill our commitments to provide $100 billion a year to help developing countries grow in a sustainable and clean manner.

“The UN predicts that emissions will rise by 15% by 2030, and they must reduce by half by then. The countries responsible for the most recent and historic emissions are not doing enough.

“If we want to prevent COP26 being a failure, then that must change. It is clear that if Glasgow fails, then the entire thing will fail.

“The Paris Agreement will have collapsed at the first reckoning.” The only viable mechanism to deal with climate change in the world will be buried below the water line. 

The conference, which was held just before COP, saw leaders from the G20 agree on carbon neutrality by or around midcentury’.

Participants at the Rome event also pledged to end foreign public financing of coal-fired generation.

They did not set a target for the phasing out of domestic coal. 

According to the summit’s final communiqué, the G20 reiterated past commitments of rich countries to provide 100 billion US Dollars annually to poorer countries to combat climate change.

Leaders agreed to “put an end to international public finance for new, unabated coal power production abroad by the End of 2021”.

G20 leaders announced that they will ‘accelerate mitigation, adaptation, finance actions, acknowledging the crucial relevance of achieving global net Zero greenhouse gas emissions or Carbon Neutrality by or around Mid-century’.

Downing Street claimed that COP26 will be the largest ever hosted event in the UK, with 25,000 delegates coming from 196 countries as well as the European Union.

The two-week conference will feature talks and debates by ministers, climate negotiators and civil society leaders.

Johnson said last week that it will be “touch and go” if the gathering succeeds, after previously being bullish on the prospects of a breakthrough.  

He replied: ‘As you said in your introduction, my job is effectively to act as shepherd in chief. This is on leaders.

“It was leaders who made Paris the commitment. Leaders of the largest economies are meeting at the G20 now and they must come forward. Collectively, we need to agree on how to close this gap. 

Sharma stated that he expected COP26 would be ‘in many respects tougher than Paris’ since the 2015 pact had been a ‘framework agreement and some of the most challenging rules are still unwritten six years later’. 

He stated, “That makes the task really difficult, and, of coarse, we know the geopolitics is more challenging than it was at Paris’ time,”  

He said: ‘We need as many people as possible to agree go to net zero so that they are not producing too much carbon dioxide by the middle of the century.

“Now, it is possible. This summit will be very, very difficult.

‘And I’m very worried, because it might go wrong and we might not get the agreements that we need. It’s all about touch and go. 

In comments made last night, Mr Johnson stated that he hopes that world leaders will arrive at Glasgow ready to take ‘decisive actions’. 

He said: ‘Cop26’ will be the moment when the world sees the truth. Everyone is asking the same question: Do we seize the moment or let it slip?

“I hope world leaders will listen to them and come to Glasgow ready for decisive action. 

‘Together, we can mark the beginning of the end of climate change – and end the uncertainty once and for all.’

An earlier claim was made that Mr Sharma was upset at Mr Johnson for setting up expectations ahead of the summit amid Cabinet concerns it would be a ‘damp and squib’.

Mr Sharma was reported to be ‘raging at’ the PM for ‘ramping up” hopes of a breakthrough at Glasgow. 

Ministers feel that the Government’s message before the summit was too bullish and is ‘completely beyond control’. Allies of Mr Sharma denied that he was angry at the PM.

Cop26 is the successor to the 2015 Paris Summit where leaders agreed to limit global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees centigrade by 2025. 

Last month, Mr Johnson published a controversial £1trillion plan to meet the ‘net zero’ commitments, including a ban on gas boilers and a switch to electric vehicles. 

He said yesterday that only half of G20 countries have yet to express their intentions on how they will fulfill the Paris 2015 commitment. The summit will be held for two days and last for a fortnight. World leaders will attend the first two days.