Boris's big COP26 moment suffers another blow with Vladimir Putin snub

Boris’s big COP26 moment suffers another blow as Vladimir Putin confirms he is snubbing Glasgow summit along with China’s Xi Jinping

  • Boris Johnson is hoping to get climate change progress at the COP26 summit
  • Vladimir Putin has confirmed he will not be attending the gathering in person
  • China’s Xi Jinping is also not expected to come to the summit in Glasgow 

Boris Johnson’s big COP26 moment suffered another blow today as Vladimir Putin confirmed he is snubbing the summit.

The Kremlin said the Russian president will not be attending the gathering in Glasgow at the end of the month.

It comes after China’s Xi Jinping made clear he is not intending to travel to the UN event, heightening fears that the summit will fail to make significant progress in the fight against climate change.

Although both countries are expected to send delegations, the presence of national leaders is seen as crucial to add impetus to the process.

Mr Johnson has insisted he is hoping for a ‘good’ turnout in Glasgow, but pointed to the pandemic as a factor.    

The Kremlin said Vladimir Putin (left) will not be attending the gathering in Glasgow at the end of the month. China’s Xi Jinping (right) is also not expected to go

Boris Johnson has insisted he is hoping for a ‘good’ turnout in Glasgow, but pointed to the pandemic as a factor

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Covid situation was preventing Mr Putin from travelling.

‘He will also not fly to Glasgow, unfortunately,’ the spokesman said. ‘We need to work out in what format it will be possible to speak via video conference, at what moment

‘The issues that will be discussed in Glasgow right now form one of the priorities of our foreign policy.’ 

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro have also not committed to attending. 

Who is coming to the COP26 summit? 

Even the Queen has been publicly complaining that she does not know who is coming to the big UN climate summit in Glasgow.   

CONFIRMED OR LIKELY

US president Joe Biden

Australian PM Scott Morrison

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett 

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan 

French president Emmanuel Macron 

Italian PM Mario Draghi 

Colombian president Ivan Duque

Swedish PM Stefan Lofven

Swiss President Guy Parmelin

South Korean President Moon Jae-in 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

OUT OR DOUBTFUL 

Chinese president Xi Jinping

Russian president Vladimir Putin 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

Japanese PM Fumio Kishida 

Pope Francis 

US President Joe Biden confirmed only last week that he will be there, and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison is coming despite initial doubts. 

If China does not commit to new action, the prospect of keeping global warming to 1.5C could well be scuppered. The country is responsible for 27 per cent of global carbon emissions.

Even the Queen has been unable to conceal her frustration at the vague guest list for COP26. 

Caught on microphone while attending the opening of the Welsh parliament in Cardiff last week, the monarch said: ‘Extraordinary isn’t it… I’ve been hearing all about Cop… still don’t know who is coming… no idea.

‘We only know about people who are not coming… It’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do.’

Mr Johnson vowed to make Britain the ‘Qatar of hydrogen’ today as he wooed businesses chiefs including Bill Gates at a glitzy pre-COP26 summit – urging them to invest ‘trillions’ in tackling climate change.

The PM gave a speech and chatted to the Microsoft billionaire on stage at the Science Museum as he asked industry leaders to commit funding to decarbonising the world economy – insisting ‘green is good, green is right’.

He said the UK had a responsibility to act on cutting emissions as ‘we were the first to knit the deadly tea cosy of CO2’ – pointing to the ‘big bets’ the government is making on electric vehicles and gigafactories for battery production.

Mr Johnson also played down concerns that the looming COP26 summit in Glasgow will be a failure, saying he is hoping for a ‘good turnout’ of world leaders despite expected snubs from China and Russia.  

He said there were $24trillion represented in the room at the Science Museum conference London. 

‘I can deploy billions – with the approval of the Chancellor, obviously – but you in this room, you can deploy trillions,’ he said.

‘I want to say to each and every one of those dollars, you are very welcome to the UK and you have come to the right place at the right time.’

He said hydrogen would be a significant part of the solution to replacing fossil fuels. ‘To drive a digger or a truck or to hurl a massive passenger plane down a runway, you need what Jeremy Clarkson used to call ”grunt” – I think there may be a technical term for it – but ”grunt”.

‘Hydrogen provides that grunt, so we are making big bets on hydrogen, we are making bets on solar and hydro, and, yes – of course – on nuclear as well, for our baseload.’  

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