Boris Johnson: I'm the spirit of Glasgow COP26
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Boris Johnson has jetted off to Egypt to join global leaders at the COP27 summit. The former prime minister confirmed he would attend the climate change conference last week ahead of Rishi Sunak’s u-turn on plans to miss the event to focus on domestic concerns. Speaking in Sharm El Sheikh, Mr Johnson described himself as the “spirit” of last year’s COP event and made a thinly veiled swipe at former prime minister Liz Truss’s plot to expand fracking in the UK.
Speaking at a New York Times event within COP27, Mr Johnson praised the efforts of COP26 which was held last year in Glasgow.
He declared: “I’m the spirit of Glasgow, that is what I’m doing. I’m the spirit of Glasgow COP26.
“It is incredible to think how much has changed since that last COP and, to be frank, how much damage has been done in just one year to our great common purpose of tackling man-made climate change.”
He described COP26, which was held during his time in Number Ten, as a “high point” for the global “struggle” against climate change.
Within his speech, Mr Johnson condemned the “moral and human catastrophe of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine” for worsening climate change.
Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked a shortage of gas supply across Europe, fuelling a crisis of soaring energy prices and panic over domestic fuel reserves.
Mr Johnson criticised suggestions that the solution to the energy crisis would be to “frack the hell out of the British countryside.”
He also spoke of a “corrosive cynicism about net zero,” which he claimed had been encouraged by his own political opponents.
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Mr Johnson’s reference to fracking will be seen by some as a masked attack on former prime minister Liz Truss.
During her short stint in office, Ms Truss outlined a plan to improve domestic energy supply within the UK by lifting a ban on fracking which has been in place since 2019.
Her policy went against the 2019 Conservative manifesto which pledged to maintain the moratorium on fracking and she received widespread backlash, including criticisms from within her own party.
Having succeeded Liz Truss in Number Ten, the new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has since confirmed the fracking ban will remain in place, scrapping the much-contested policy of his predecessor.
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Mr Johnson urged the UK government to “accelerate” renewable energy projects to ensure greater domestic energy stability.
The former prime minister continued on to note his experience of climate change by describing the sweltering 40-degree conditions the UK experienced over the summer months.
He quipped that the scorching temperatures may have contributed to the “unexpected political turmoil that we saw in Westminster at the time”.
The period of extraordinary heat came as Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak battled to succeed Mr Johnson in the summer Conservative leadership contest.
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