cop26 climate boris johnson glasgow

For Cop26 – and beyond – to be a success we need inspiration, not desperation

The climate conference in Paris – where landmark pledges were agreed – was always going to be a hard act to follow, writes Mary Dejevsky

Thursday 28 October 2021 21:30
<p>Boris Johnson has said he is ‘very worried’ the Cop26 summit could end up a failure </p>

Boris Johnson has said he is ‘very worried’ the Cop26 summit could end up a failure

Even for someone with as generally sunny a disposition as Boris Johnson, the imminent prospect of underwhelming progress at Cop26 must be a bit of a downer. Indeed, the prime minister admitted as much at his children’s Downing Street press conference, where he said he was “very worried” that it might go wrong and it was touch and go whether it would produce “the agreements that we need”. This was not the customary Johnsonian happy-speak.

To be sure, as preparations for failure go, such a warning given to an assembly of under-12s long familiar with the prophecies of Greta Thunberg was probably at the milder end. Nonetheless, it is hard to feel that all has gone smoothly in the run-up to the climate summit.

The biggest blow, for the UK government at least, surely came with the announcement that the Queen would be sending her greetings to the opening by video, rather than attending in person. The full-court turnout of the royal family, led by the Queen, was a high point of the G7 summit in Cornwall in June, and there had clearly been hopes for a repeat at Glasgow, where almost 200 countries will be represented.

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