Boris Johnson says it will be ‘tough’ to meet climate finance targets ahead of COP26

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September 19, 2021: Prime Minister Boris Johnson boards RAF Voyager at Stansted Airport ahead of a visit to the United States.
Stefan Rousseau – PA Images | PA Images | Getty Images

There is a six out of 10 chance an agreement on climate finance will be reached before the forthcoming COP26 climate change summit, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

In remarks made to the media during a flight to New York over the weekend, Johnson was asked about securing commitments related to climate finance and, according to the BBC, environmental targets over the next few days.

“Getting it all done this week is going to be a stretch,” he is reported to have said. “But I think getting it all done by COP, six out of 10. It’s going to be tough, but people need to understand that this is crucial for the world.”

Discussions around finance are set to play a key role at COP26, which will be hosted by the U.K. in the Scottish city of Glasgow between Oct. 31 and Nov. 12.

According to the U.N., developed nations have previously said they would “jointly mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 in support of climate action in developing countries.”

This target is proving to be a challenge. Last week, the OECD said climate finance provided and mobilized by developed countries amounted to $79.6 billion in 2019. This represents a rise compared to the figure of $78.3 billion in 2018 but still falls short of the $100 billion.

“The limited progress in overall climate finance volumes between 2018 and 2019 is disappointing, particularly ahead of COP26,” Mathias Cormann, the OECD’s secretary-general, said in a statement reacting to the numbers.

“While appropriately verified data for 2020 will not be available until early next year it is clear that climate finance will remain well short of its target,” Cormann said. “More needs to be done.”

Johnson’s remarks were published by a number of outlets and on Monday morning the BBC broadcast an excerpt of the discussion. Johnson said while the U.K. had made a “big, big pledge” and “greatly reduced our CO2,” it needed other countries to step up to the plate.

“We’ve been emitting for centuries and these newly industrialized countries say ‘well, why should we pay such a big price?’ So the $100 billion a year that we need to raise is to support those countries [to] make the transition.”

The U.K.’s official website for COP26 states it will “bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

Described by the United Nations as a legally-binding international treaty on climate change, the Paris Agreement aims to “limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.”

Monday will see Johnson and U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres hold what’s being described as an “informal leaders roundtable on climate action.”

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