Boris Johnson says he ‘hasn’t’ declined offer to meet Sturgeon

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Both the Prime Minister and Sir Keir are currently in Scotland, showcasing their green credentials ahead of November’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. The Labour leader wants £30billion spent to support up to 400,000 “green” jobs in manufacturing and low-carbon industries as he claimed the Government is off-track to meet its own climate targets. Speaking to the BBC, Sir Keir blamed this on a “chasm between soundbites and action” and said it was “particularly concerning” with the summit only months away.

And political commentator Mr Newton Dunn seems to agree.

Writing in a column for the Evening Standard he said COP 26 is “already in deep trouble” and there are four issues that Mr Johnson faces.

He stated: “First, there is still no international consensus on what should be agreed in Glasgow. 

“That agreement was supposed to be the last act of three.

“If Kyoto in 1997 was about agreeing there is a problem, and Paris in 2015 was about setting a target to tackle it (limiting the Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5C), Glasgow was to be about working out how to do that.”

But Mr Newton Dunn said world leaders are still miles off this, and the G7 summit in June showed their “eyes are elsewhere as they battle their own Covid pandemics”.

He added: “The second reason COP26 is in deep water is that a realisation is dawning that those global policies to halt climate change that have been agreed so far are going to fail.

“Tree planting to decarbonise the atmosphere is one.”

Mr Newton Dunn cited comments from Oxfam GB’s boss Danny Sriskandarajah, who reportedly told him that for the world to get to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, forests would need to be planted “five times the size of India”.

“It’s just not realistic,” he said.

And that is not all.

Mr Newton Dunn went on: “Third, Johnson is still unable to show a strong enough lead on these matters in Britain for the rest of the world to follow. 

“His heat and buildings strategy to replace 25 million gas boilers, his hydrogen strategy and the plan to build an electric car-charging network are all many months late.

“As the delay goes on, more unconvinced Tory MPs whip themselves into a lather about how much this will all cost consumers.”

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But fourth, and “most frighteningly of all,” according to the broadcaster, is that things are “about to get even worse”.

He explained: “On Monday, the world’s climate change scientists publish their first update in seven years on exactly how warm the Earth has already become, and all the omens are grim. Potentially very grim.

“The world is very likely to be a lot hotter than had previously been feared. Some predict the 1.5C limit is already out of reach 29 years early, and climate change irreversible. Time to panic? It could be.”

A Government spokeswoman told the BBC that ministers would follow the advice of their expert panel, the Green Jobs Taskforce, on how to seize the economic opportunities presented by the shift to a climate-friendly economy.

She reportedly said the taskforce’s recommendations – published last month – were “a big step forward in delivering the skilled workers and green jobs essential for the UK’s transition to net-zero”.

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