Boris Johnson has said that the UK will lead the world in the world in the transition to a net zero economy, saying that climate action cannot be “another victim of coronavirus”.
Speaking to a United Nations roundtable on climate change this afternoon, the PM said that the UK will serve “as a launch pad for a global green industrial revolution”.
Appearing by video link at the panel, Johnson said: “As the world continues to deal with coronavirus we must look ahead to how we will rebuild, and how we can seize the opportunity to build back better.
“The UK will lead by example, keeping the environment on the global agenda and serving as a launch pad for a global green industrial revolution. But no one country can turn the tide – it would be akin to bailing out a liner with a single bucket.
“We cannot let climate action become another victim of coronavirus. Let us be the leaders who secure the very health of the planet for our children, grandchildren and generations to come.”
He said that the UK would co-host an event in December to mark the five-year anniversary of the landmark Paris climate accords, which committed the world to reducing emissions.
The conference, which will replace the postponed COP26 summit – due to be held in Glasgow next November – will be an opportunity for countries to announce new climate targets.
He said that the UK could be the “Saudi Arabia of wind power”, praising the country’s “enormous potential” for the technology.
At the moment, renewables provide nearly a third of UK power in the UK and half of this is generated by from wind energy.
According to industry body Renewables UK, to meet growing electricity demand and the net zero emissions target by 2050, the UK’s wind energy capacity would expand six-fold from 22GW currently to 126GW by 2050.
COP26 President and Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “The eyes of the world will be on COP26 when the UK hosts it in November next year. But tackling climate change cannot wait.
“That’s why we are setting the stage now with a call to all those who are ready to step forward this December and set out bold new Nationally Determined Contributions for a clean and prosperous future.
“The responsibility to act lies with each of us and together we can drive forward action.”