Climate emergency is a chance to 're-industrialise the North with green jobs'

Andy Burnham speaking from the COP26 Climate Summit to ITV Granada Reports

'The drive to net zero is a chance to re-industrialise the North of England - in a clean way and creating new jobs' - that's the vision set out by Greater Manchester's Mayor.

Andy Burnham, speaking from the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow said the need now to improve public transport and people's homes, is vital to tackle the climate emergency and that will also help levelling up in the North in line with the South.

Greater Manchester Mayor has pledged to cut a million tonnes of carbon emissions from the economy over the next few years.

Mayor Burnham says his decision 'to put buses back under public control for the first time in 35 years' means Greater Manchester can begin to electrify the bus fleet and integrate it with the trams.

Greater Manchester's MetroLink system runs on renewable energy and the Mayor said they are now working towards an 'exciting ambition' of having the bus fleet running on renewable energy too.

He said his message to the summit in Glasgow is world leaders have to focus on 'deeds not words'.

Around 120 heads of state and government are attending the Cop26 talks, where countries are under pressure to take more action this decade to cut the emissions driving rising temperatures.

Greta Thunberg will be at the march Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres pointed to melting glaciers, relentless extreme weather events, sea level rise and overheating oceans, warning: "We are digging our own graves."

He said, "On behalf of this and future generations, I urge you: Choose ambition. Choose solidarity. Choose to safeguard our future and save humanity."

In his speech in the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the children who would judge today's leaders are children not yet born, and their children, and warned that if leaders failed in Glasgow "they will not forgive us".

He likened the plight of the planet to James Bond strapped to a doomsday device and hurtling towards destruction, warning "it was one minute to midnight on that doomsday clock and we need to act now".

The anger and impatience of the world would be "uncontainable" unless Cop26 was the moment leaders got real about climate change, he said.

Channelling his hero Sir Winston Churchill, Mr Johnson said: "While Cop26 would not be the end of climate change, it can and it must mark the beginning of the end."

Mayor Burnham said it was 'too early to say' if he was feeling more confident world leaders will have to have a 'concerted effort to tackle the global emergency'.

'It's hanging a little bit in the balance, what I would say, is people need to leave Glasgow with a new narrative, that says if we go quickly towards net zero, it is the quickest way to level up the country.'

Acknowledging that those who were responsible for much of the problems , also had an 'overwhelming obligation' to nations which were not, he said:

"We can do this, we just have to make a choice to do it. So, let's get to work."

Joe Biden speaks at the opening ceremony of the Cop26 summit Credit: Yves Herman/PA

In the first of what is expected to be a number of announcements on tackling issues from restoring land to cutting emission from coal power and cars, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said he was set to pledge more than 732 million dollars for land restoration in Africa.

Outside the summit, Greta Thunberg warned change would not come from the Cop26 conference as she criticised the "blah blah blah" of world leaders at the global gathering.

The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior makes its way up the River Clyde on the first day of Cop26 in Glasgow Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Other youth activists sailed into Glasgow on Greenpeace vessel the Rainbow Warrior, downriver from the Cop26 conference centre, to deliver a message to world leaders to stop letting them down and failing on climate action.

The president for Cop26, Alok Sharma, attends the opening ceremony at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow Credit: Christopher Furlong/PA
Environmental campaigners with ‘big heads’ of key world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, gather in Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA