Discarded Norfolk bottle to be used in COP26 protests
- Credit: Chris Bishop
A discarded bottle washed up on a Norfolk beach carries campaigners' hopes world leaders will finally take the action needed to curb global warming at a crunch environmental summit.
But a Norfolk MP who has risen to one of the most senior roles in government warned it wold be "touch and go" whether the COP26 talks in Glasgow would achieve their aim of cutting carbon emissions sufficiently to stem global warming.
The plastic bottle found on Great Yarmouth beach was filled with sea water before retired University of East Anglia chemistry professor Peter Belton carried it from Norwich to King's Lynn as part of a multi-faith pilgrimage, before it began the next leg of its 400-mile journey to Scotland.
Prof Belton, 74, said it would form part of a display including a boat which young Christians would be carrying around Glasgow to highlight rising sea levels.
"It's also reminiscent of Norfolk's ark," he said. "This is a meeting about survival, it represents a whole number of things.
"If we get to the 2.7 degrees they're talking about by the end of the century you can say goodbye to a lot of Norfolk and Norwich."
Prof Belton admitted he was not optimistic regarding the outcome of the COP talks.
"There are still a great deal of countries cynically opposing any change because they have financial interests, there are countries who can't afford to do anything," he said.
Welcoming world leaders to the talks, prime minister Boris Johnson said humanity had "long since run down the clock on climate change" and must act now to tackle the crisis.
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Some 120 heads of state and government are attending the summit, where countries will be under pressure to increase action in the next decade to tackle dangerous warming.
But foreign secretary and South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss said it would be "touch and go" whether COP26 would see them reach agreement.
She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We need to make those commitments much more concrete, we need to make them much more deliverable, we need more action by 2030.
"There's a lot of detailed negotiation that needs to take place, there are going to be some tough decisions that need to be made by world leaders attending the conference, and we're by no means there yet - it really is touch and go."