COP 26: Boris Johnson faces the risk of a missed date

As COP 26 kicks off, pressure is mounting on Boris Johnson’s shoulders. “This summit is going to be very difficult, and I am very concerned that it may turn out badly. We have not been able to get the agreements we need,” the British Prime Minister issued on Monday, evoking the atmosphere of the conference opening in Glasgow. This Sunday will put the country in the international spotlight for two weeks.

An opportunity for Boris Johnson to implement his famous concept of “Global Britain”, which mainly aims to return the post-Brexit United Kingdom to a prominent position on the global political scene. Far from his warning this week, a month ago BoJo made no secret of his hope for a victorious agreement. “The 26th session of the Conference of the Parties in Glasgow is a turning point for humanity,” he said from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly last September.

Florence Foucher, Professor at the Center for European Studies Sciences Po summarizes, “For Boris Johnson, the conclusion of the agreement represents a huge stake because of the media repercussions that will have on him as head of government of the organizing country.”

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But for now, the absence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Presidents Xi Jinping does not suggest an ambitious deal. This is a cause for concern for the British Prime Minister. Confirms François Jimin, an IPCC member and specialist in environmental geopolitics.

The latest warning from the United Nations about the minimal risks of a deal is not encouraging either. New promises from states ahead of the Glasgow conference “reduce emissions forecasts for 2030 by 7.5%, while 30% will be necessary +2°C, and 55% +1.5°C”, thus the United Nations alerted on Tuesday.

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Putting ‘global Britain’ to the test

“Since Brexit, Boris Johnson has asserted that the UK can become an influential country in world affairs. Failure at COP 26 would be a severe blow to its image and to the credibility of Britain’s global project,” Judge Sarah Pickard, lecturer on Contemporary British Civilization At the Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3 and the author of the book Politics, protest and youth (Palgrave Macmillan).

In an effort to stave off fate, climate conference chief Alok Sharma on Tuesday appealed to “world leaders”, calling on them to “respect the promises made in Paris six years ago”. This means that it is out of the question to reproduce the fiasco of COP 25 in Madrid two years ago, its agreement far short of the current climate emergency.

Eager to “set the example to the rest of the world,” Boris Johnson also detailed two weeks ago his roadmap to achieving carbon neutrality in 2050. A rarity for this former climate skeptic, his project has been welcomed relatively favorably by environmentalists. related to.

It remains to be seen whether the banter of the 10 Downing Street tenant will be enough to drag the other countries of the world in. “This COP will be a failure if the commitments made by the various countries are not aligned with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement,” says François Gemin. At a minimum, this will require new measures to keep global warming below the +2 ° C, or even + 1.5 ° C, bar, compared to the pre-industrial era. Definitely a tough job, in just 13 days.

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What are the internal consequences of BoJo? Catherine Marshall, University Professor of British History and Civilization at Say Cergy University in Paris believes, “If an important agreement emerges, he can take advantage of it by saying that this success underscores his entire international strategy. This failure is due to the lack of commitment of other countries.” A way to reduce breakage, at least within its limits.



Economist Jean-Yves Archer holds a pen this week from the Proceedings of the Association for Political Economy.By Jean-Yves Archer


Robin Rivaton, essayist, and member of the Scientific and Evaluation Board of the Foundation for Political Innovation (Fondapol).Robin Rivaton


Pierre Assouline, journalist, writer, member of the Académie Goncourt and columnist for L'Express.Pierre Assouline


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