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Johnson, Merkel Urge Economic Powers to Pledge Toward Climate Change

FILE - German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, greets Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson upon his arrival for a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Jan. 19, 2020.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the world’s economic powers Thursday not to shy away from serious investments in combating climate change.

Merkel hosted the 2021 Petersburg Climate Dialogue, an online conference designed to drive international action on global warming and encourage nations and their leaders to focus on the U.N. Climate Change Conference later this year in Glasgow, Scotland.

In her comments, Merkel said she realized the COVID-19 pandemic has "torn insane budget holes” for the world’s industrialized countries. But she said they should not compensate for that by spending less on development aid and climate protection.

Johnson echoed that theme, saying the world’s wealthiest nations must meet their commitments to a $100 billion fund meant to help developing nations deal with climate change. He said it is up to wealthy countries to take action, as it is the developing world that feels the worst effects from the warming climate.

Johnson said he will use the meeting with the leading industrial nations hosted by Britain next month to promote the U.N.-backed climate goals.

All G-7 countries have now set targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero emissions — taking out as much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as are put in — by 2050 at the latest.

Scientists say faster cuts are needed to prevent warming that leads to increased drought, rising sea levels and other potentially disastrous effects.