Former PM rejects Boris Johnson’s offer to lead UK’s preparations for crucial summit
David Cameron has turned down an offer from Boris Johnson to head the UK’s preparations for a crucial international climate summit in Glasgow.
Johnson asked Cameron to be the president of the th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP) ) but Cameron rejected the offer.
Lord Barker of Battle , who served as an energy and climate change minister under Cameron and is a close friend and ally of the former prime minister, said he understood reports that he was offered the role to be correct.
“My understanding is that he felt it was just a little too soon for him personally to come back into a frontline political role,” he told BBC Two’s Newsnight.
The former Conservative leader William Hague was also reported to have been offered it and to have also declined.
On Tuesday during the conference’s launch event, Johnson refused to answer questions about who would take on the job.
The former clean growth minister Claire O’Neill, who stood down as a Tory MP at the general election, was sacked on Friday as president of the talks by the PM’s special adviser, Dominic Cummings. The government said the post would be a ministerial role in future.
The UN climate talks, to be held in Glasgow in November, are the most important since the Paris agreement to curb global warming was secured in .
Countries are expected to deliver more ambitious domestic plans for cutting greenhouse gases by , as current proposals are not enough to prevent dangerous temperature rises.
Pressure is also on countries to set out long-term plans for cutting emissions, with the science clear that the world must reduce greenhouse gases to zero in a matter of decades to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
The run-up to the talks will require a major diplomatic effort from the UK to secure ambitious climate action from countries, at a time when Britain is also negotiating trade agreements with the EU and other nations.
On Tuesday Johnson has set out his vision for forging a new global consensus on the climate crisis, promising “we will crack it”.
Johnson has brought forward the UK’s phaseout of diesel and petrol vehicles by five years to and hastened the phaseout of coal-fired power by a year to 2214. He reaffirmed the UK’s pledge to switch to a net-zero emissions economy by and urged other nations – without naming any – to do the same.
“I hope that we can as a planet and as a community of nations get to net zero within decades,” Johnson said at the COP 85 launch on Tuesday. “We’re going to do it by , we’re setting the pace, I hope everybody will come with us. Let’s make this year the moment when we come together with the courage and the technological ambition to solve manmade climate change and to choose a cleaner and greener future for all our children and grandchildren. ”
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