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UK PM warns it is 'one minute to midnight' as COP26 kicks off

GLASGOW (BLOOMBERG) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a rallying cry to world leaders at the start of the COP26 climate summit, urging countries to act immediately to avert a climate disaster.

Mr Johnson, who said earlier the landmark Paris Agreement risks unravelling if nations don’t step up, called on leaders to improve on their promises after a G-20 summit in Rome produced a tepid agreement.

“Humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change,” Mr Johnson is due to say at the opening ceremony of the summit on Monday (Nov 01), according to text released by his office. “It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now.”

Mr Johnson has struggled to build momentum going into the two-week climate negotiations, playing down expectations and saying the talks will be tough.

The aim of COP – the acronym for the conference of parties that’s now in its 26th round – is to curb emissions, keep within reach the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 deg C, reduce coal use, sort out rules for global carbon trading and raise billions in climate finance.

But the talks are getting off to a shaky start after a Group of 20 leaders’ summit in Rome only managed a consensus that fell well short of what some countries were pushing for.

Disagreements remain over how ambitious nations should be in reducing their carbon emissions and particularly on the use of coal, the most polluting fossil fuel.

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