Scotland’s First Minister has said she shares Boris Johnson’s pessimism over the Cop26 climate talks, but urged leaders to “put our shoulders to the wheel”.
The Prime Minister said ahead of the start of the summit in Glasgow that pledges made in the Paris Agreement designed to curb emissions will not have worked.
Nicola Sturgeon, speaking as world leaders from more than 100 countries arrived in Scotland’s largest city, said she shared the outlook of the Prime Minister.
But she urged those involved in talks to put aside the pessimism and work to secure action on climate change.
“The Prime Minister is right to be pessimistic at this stage – I share his pessimism,” she told Sky News.
“We’ve all got to put the pessimism to one side and put our shoulders to the wheel.
“The UK, having the presidency of this Cop, has a particular responsibility to corral the leaders, to bring them together, to encourage them to do more than they are currently committed to do.
“There’s a big gap on emissions, a big gap on climate finance – so much, much work to be done, and I will do everything I can to push it in the right direction.”
Ahead of the summit, Mr Johnson said: “If Glasgow fails, then the whole thing fails.
“The Paris Agreement will have crumpled at the first reckoning.”
Leaders should put their egos aside, the First Minister said, and focus instead on working to reach an agreement.
“I hope we can all put egos aside over the next few days to get the outcome that we need, that’s what I am committed to do – I’ve said that to the Prime Minister, to (Cop26 President) Alok Sharma,” she said.
“We’ve all got a big responsibility here and if ever there’s a time and a moment in history for everybody to put their political interest, their egos to one side and just focus.
“It’s easy to exaggerate these things sometimes, but this is literally about the future of the planet, are we going to step up and save the planet or are we going to accept a pretty bleak outlook on this planet?”
Ms Sturgeon went on to say that, if the talks fail to take decisive action on emissions and funding for developing countries – as the UK seeks to secure commitments to 100 billion US dollars a year to tackle climate change – then leaders will be held accountable by the younger generation.
“I do feel, and I hope every leader coming here feels, a massive weight of responsibility,” she said.
“If we come out of this in two weeks’ time without the commitments necessary then I don’t know how my generation of leaders looks the next generation in the eye.”