London - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday urged China’s President Xi Jinping and other world leaders to take “concrete action” on climate change as they spoke by phone ahead of the upcoming COP26 talks.

The pair discussed “a range of issues, including action to address the climate crisis ahead of COP26, global trade and economic cooperation, and security and human rights”, according to a press release from Johnson’s Downing Street office.

Johnson’s government is hosting the two-week UN summit in Glasgow from Sunday, but Xi will not be attending. China did, however, on Thursday renew its emissions cutting plan with a promise that its carbon pollution would peak before 2030.

“The prime minister acknowledged China’s new Nationally Determined Contribution and welcomed their work on the COP15 Biodiversity Summit,” said Johnson’s office.

“He emphasized the importance of all countries stepping up their ambition on climate change at COP26 and taking concrete action to cut emissions and expedite the transition to renewable energy, including phasing out coal.” As part of the 2015 Paris Agreement, all countries agreed to slash emissions to limit temperature rises, and to submit ambitious plans for further cuts every five years.

Beijing’s new submission to the UN confirmed its goal to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060 and slash emissions intensity -- or emissions per unit of economic output -- by more than 65 percent. there is little detail of how China, the world’s biggest polluter, will achieve its goals. 

Many had hoped for China to wean itself off coal and peak emissions much earlier than 2030, and reduce pollution from heavy industries such as cement, steel and aluminium over the next five years.