Crucial Cop26 climate change negotiations are beginning to take “significant momentum” with a series of key announcements, Downing Street has said.
After a series of increasingly sharp warnings from Boris Johnson about the cost of failure for the planet’s future, No. 10 struck a remarkably more optimistic tone on day two of the Glasgow International Assembly.
British officials were particularly encouraged by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to cut India’s carbon emissions by 2030, with half of its energy coming from renewable sources.
They also welcomed a statement from 110 countries – including Brazil – to halt and reverse the deforestation process.
Meanwhile, dozens of countries have signed a US-EU initiative to reduce methane emissions by 30% by the end of the decade, in what is seen as one of the fastest ways to reduce greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.
Johnson’s official spokesman said persuading countries like Brazil to “stop cutting down rainforests” was a “massive success”, while India’s ambitious commitments would significantly reduce emissions.
“I think we’re starting to see some significant momentum over the last day and a half as we see some real tangible commitments announced,” the spokesman said.
“The crucial thing is that we continue to spend a full two weeks of Cop pushing forward to succeed at all levels.
“The Prime Minister will remain closely involved in that work over the next two days. A large number of ministers will also be involved. “
The spokesman acknowledged that there were still some difficult negotiations ahead – especially on climate finance.
There is pressure on developed nations to do more if they are to achieve the delayed goal of giving $ 100 billion (£ 73.4 billion) a year to developing countries to support green development and mitigate the inevitable effects of global warming.
There are also calls for richer nations to move forward with climate finance, with Mr Modi demanding that developed countries make a trillion US dollars available “as soon as possible today”.
“It is not an easy thing to do. It is not a matter of course either. There will be some very difficult negotiations in the coming days,” the spokesman said.
“We are not complacent. This is by no means a done deal.”
The optimism from No. 10 was reiterated by US climate envoy John Kerry, who said he had never seen such urgency, commitment or energy in the climate negotiations.
“We have already achieved an enormous amount at Cop in ambitions, money, a whole lot of new initiatives,” he said.
“Honestly, we’re a day and a half into this, and I’ve seen more energy and more commitment and more urgency than I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been doing this since 1988.”
The Prime Minister will hold a press conference on the Scottish Event Campus before returning to London following the two-day leaders’ event at the start of the Cop26 rally.
Johnson arrived in Glasgow, warning that the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C – set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement – would be over if negotiations in Scotland failed.
He made clear his frustration over the slow progress at the G20 summit in Rome this weekend leading up to Cop26.
But at an event Tuesday, he hailed the declaration of deforestation as the end of the “great chainsaw massacre” of the world’s forests.
“Today is not only a crucial victory in the fight to curb global temperature rises, it is also a huge economic opportunity,” he said.
“This is the long-term sustainable path to sustain in order to stop the loss of our forests, protect our sacred biodiversity and help keep the 1.5 degree ambition alive before the end of the century.”