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Arguably one of the biggest press conferences so far this COP, given the ongoing revelations of Tory sleaze, what just happened in Boris' presser?

Entering the room without much fanfare, and starting quickly, Boris immediately retracted the positivity he'd been oozing at the start of COP26, saying instead it was our fault for setting our expectations of COP too high; he'd "warned of false optimism".

The urgency he spoke with seemed greater than before. It was as though he'd just woken up to the disaster that could erupt from failed climate talks, and just been alerted to the disharmony that had emerged between countries in many areas. The dad jokes were gone, today. There was one reference to mixed metaphors between football and rugby, but it was short and sweet. "We need to pull out all the stops," he said forcibly, "to keep 1.5 alive, and make Paris a success."

"The dad jokes were gone, today. There was one reference to mixed metaphors between football and rugby, but it was short and sweet."

He was pointed, too, about the lack of progress that had been made so far. Whether it was true annoyance, or he was trying to shift the blame, he said it was "frustrating to see other countries" not pull their weight. The Saudi Arabian press conference earlier in the day may had played a part in this.

"You cannot sit on your hands when the world asks you to act," he emphasised, making light reference to the numerous criticisms of the conference stemming from both climate activists on Glasgow's streets to international media outlets. "The backlash from people will be immense and long-lasting." He continued: "We deserve their criticism. We know what needs to be done: we just need to get on and do it."

Somewhat refreshing to feel a sense of responsibility shining through, he made a good point: the draft deal so far has a lack of any proper solutions. Instead, it's more of a code of conduct about good etiquette in the context of the climate crisis. It feels flimsy and minimal; all this talk of climate "action", but without the production of anything resembling an action plan.

"[The draft deal] is more of a code of conduct about good etiquette in the context of the climate crisis..."

It's not gone badly, though, Boris wouldn't admit. "Here in Glasgow, the world is closer than it has ever been. It's the greatest gift we can give to our grandchildren," he went on. "We need to reach out together."

Back to stock phrases then, like "do more" and "reach out" and "make real change": stripping these back, what do they mean? The politician-speak is characteristically vague but, similar to what developing countries have been asking their developed counterparts, and what activists have been asking governments, where is the transparency? Dodging the real issues just aggravates people more. He'd started off strong, but the content waned as the conference continued.

"Developing countries have been asking their developed counterparts, and activists have been asking governments, where is the transparency?"

The tension between different Parties in the negotiations was palpable, though. Again, Boris came back to make the point that co-operation was vital if COP26's outcome was to be positive: "The biggest question to world leaders as we reach the last hours of COP is: will you help us?"

Definitely one of Boris's better appearances, the press refused to let him off the hook, especially given the last week of "sleaze" allegations. Robert Peston was particularly scathing, telling Boris that on the count of COP26, he'd "failed to keep 1.5 alive", but moving swiftly, much like the rest of them, onto the allegations of financial impropriety within the Tory party: "Do you want to take this moment to apologise?"

Boris admitted that it would be "tough", but the current state of affairs "doesn't mean that we can't keep 1.5 alive", saying: "I still think we can achieve it but I'm not going to pretend by any means it's a done deal." He was less forthcoming about the apology, but did emphasise that "those who break the rules must be investigated, and should be punished". He refused to comment individually on Geoffrey Cox when questioned further by other media.

"I still think we can achieve [1.5] but I'm not going to pretend by any means it's a done deal."

Another journalist pressed Johnson for more details: "You talked about world leaders standing in the way. Who do you need to move? Should we now look at many more months of negotiations, and look towards Egypt?" Johnson replied: "We will need to ensure we keep coming back to this [issue of climate policy]."

Less jovial than in the opening ceremony of COP26, the past week seemed clearly to have taken its toll on the prime minister. He rushed in, and out, and had reportedly cancelled a couple of press pools earlier in the afternoon. There was a sense of urgency in the air - whether that was personal stress or a genuine desperation to ensure progress was pushed at Glasgow remains difficult to tell.


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