Boris Johnson pleasantly surprised by Joe Biden’s climate finance pledge

PM upgrades ‘six out of 10’ assessment of chances of success at crucial summit

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Wednesday 22 September 2021 15:27

Boris Johnson has said he was caught by surprise by the scale of US president Joe Biden’s new commitment to a climate finance fund for developing countries.

Speaking during his visit to Washington, Mr Johnson said he could now upgrade his “six out of 10” assessment of the chances of success at the COP26 climate emergency summit he is hosting in Glasgow in November.

The prime minister was delighted by Mr Biden’s announcement at the United Nations on Tuesday that he would double the USA’s $5.6bn annual contribution to helping poorer nations develop low-carbon energy sources and adapt to rising temperatures.

The move left Mr Johnson $15bn short of hitting the fund’s $100bn-a-year (£73bn) target by the time of the crucial COP summit, when he hopes to build on the Paris Accord of 2015 with emission-cutting commitments which could hold global warming to 1.5 degrees above industrial levels.

But it raised UK hopes that Mr Biden’s action will shame other world leaders into following suit and getting the funding pledge - first agreed at Copenhagen in 2009 and due to be met by 2020 - over the line.

Mr Johnson told reporters in Washington: “Yesterday the president came through with something that really exceeded our expectations.

“I said on the plane out that we had a six in 10 chance of success on that.

“Maybe I undercooked it. They really surprised us all on the upside.”

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