David Cameron turns down offer of COP 26 climate summit job

Elias Hubbard
February 5, 2020

The Prime Minister said he wants to see every country following the UK's lead in setting "credible" targets to reach net-zero emissions at the UN COP26 summit in Glasgow in November. It will be undertaken as part of the country's efforts to decarbonise its power sector as it aims to achieve a net-zero emissions level by 2050. But the government's advisory Committee on Climate Change has warned that domestic action to slash carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to global warming is lagging far behind what is needed.

The U.K.'s new 2035 target for ending gas and diesel sales is one of the world's more ambitious. Under a previous plan, the ban would have been imposed for 2040, and hybrids and plug-in hybrids, if they met a certain efficiency/emissions requirement, would still be allowed beyond that. Norway - one of the most aggressive early adopters of electric cars - has a goal, but not a requirement, to eliminate gas and diesel cars, excluding hybrids, by 2025.

If everything goes as planned, it will be the end of the road for new vehicles sold with internal combustion engines in Britain.

Lord Barker of Battle, who served as an energy and climate change minister under Cameron and is a close friend and ally of the former prime minister, said he understood reports that he was offered the role to be correct.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the Government will consult on accelerating the ban from 2040 to 2035 in a bid to cut the UK's emissions, with the possibility of it coming even earlier "if feasible".

In an official release the Johnson's office, along with the UK Department for Transport, Department for Business, among other agencies, the plan includes a ban of the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2035.

The announcement has been caused concern in the vehicle industry, with the Government accused of drastically changing the landscape, especially on the matter of hybrids.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "It's extremely concerning that government has seemingly moved the goalposts for consumers and industry on such a critical issue".

The format of the United Nations summits needed changing if the world was going to take real action to tackle climate change. It is scheduled to be held in Glasgow in November.

At the event, which will also be attended by Sir David Attenborough, the Prime Minister will reinforce his commitment to tackling climate change and biodiversity loss simultaneously, recognising the important role of the restoration of nature in his vision.

'But I wish the government well with hosting this conference'.

But at a launch event at the Science Museum in London, Mr Johnson refused to answer questions about who will replace former clean growth minister Claire O'Neill as president of the talks. However, that same month she announced she would not stand for re-election to Parliament, and gave up her seat in the general election of December 2019.

To her credit, O'Neill used much of the letter to push for strong leadserhip on climate action, and to stress her opinion that "the world's attempts to get to grips with this epic Tragedy of the Commons are failing", and not least due to political infighting and bureaucracy.

He said Britain, as the first country to industrialise, had a "responsibility" to lead the way in cutting emissions.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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