BRUSSELS: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives to pose for photos with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the NATO summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels Sunday. - AFP

LONDON: World efforts to tackle climate change are "way off track", the head of Britain's main business lobby group said yesterday after a G7 pledge to step up action. Tony Danker, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, also urged the UK government to speed up greener housing, energy and transport measures to help meet its carbon-slashing goal.

The assessment comes after the Group of Seven rich nations on Sunday vowed to deliver a "green revolution" that cuts emissions, halts and reverses biodiversity loss, and reaffirms their pledges to go carbon neutral by 2050. Britain, which hosted the weekend G7 leaders' summit, will also anchor the COP26 UN climate gathering in Glasgow in November.

"We've now got just under five months to go until the UK hosts COP26," Danker told the CBI's virtual climate conference. "We have what remains of this decade to fundamentally reshape the world economy, halve carbon emissions and limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees. "The scale of this challenge has always been seismic... The world has no room for failure. The climate crisis is worsening and currently we are way off track."

The CBI also argued that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson must adopt a new buildings strategy to make homes more energy efficient, citing as an example the use of hydrogen boilers. It called for more investment in offshore wind plus carbon capture and storage. "Put simply: the best way to inspire global action on decarbonisation is to lead the charge right here at home," Danker added. "Nothing less than unprecedented unstoppable action from the UK government, in partnership with us in UK business, will be enough.

"It's in our hands to set the world on an irreversible path to net zero by 2050." The 2015 Paris climate agreement aims to limit global temperature rises to less than two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to go down to 1.5 degrees. Experts believe this can be achieved only by the world reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, a goal which was reaffirmed by the G7. The G7 also agreed to halve collective emissions by 2030 compared with the level in 2010.

And they vowed to phase out the use of "unabated coal"-fuel whose emissions have not gone through any filtering-as soon as possible. "We have a global stage-as this weekend's G7 summit showed," said Danker. "As the prime minister highlighted, the G7 generates around 20 percent of the world's emissions. "The pledges made by the G7 members ... send a powerful signal of the landmark progress that the UK can push for and achieve at COP26." The world needed binding commitments and concrete plans from every nation-including the United States and China, which are Earth's biggest carbon emitters, he noted. - AFP