The 40-day climate summit for world leaders will be “a major turning point in human history”, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement to the United Nations.
He warned that global warming was inevitable, but urged his fellow leaders to commit to major changes to prevent further global warming.
Four areas that needed repair – “coal, cars, money and trees”, he said.
Countries must commit themselves to “the destruction that is causing us, not only on our planet but also on us”.
“A time for human growth,” he added before the UK hosted the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
The prime minister also said it was time to heed the scientists’ warnings. “Look at Covid for an example of the scientists who were disappointed to be found to be right.”
Addressing a rally in November, he said countries should make “significant changes” by the end of the decade if the world were to prevent global warming.
“I strongly believe we can do it by volunteering in four areas – coal, cars, cash and trees,” he said.
Mr Johnson commended Chinese President Xi Jinping for his recent promise to stop building new coal-fired power plants abroad.
But he urged the country – which produces 28% of global greenhouse gas emissions – to continue ending its domestic coal use, saying the UK was proof of that.
The UK has used coal to produce 25% of its electricity over the past five years – but that is now 2%. Mr Johnson said it would be over by 2024.