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UK prime minister Boris Johnson has announced Britain’s acceleration to e-mobility during his opening speech at global UN climate conference COP26, with plans to bring the ban on the sale of all new petrol and diesel vehicles forward to 2035, instead of 2040 as previously targeted.

According to a government statement, Mr Johnson will set out “the UK’s position as a world leader in the response to climate change…”

He was joined by Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte and renowned natural historian Sir David Attenborough at a special event in central London. The conference is scheduled to start in November, in the host city of Glasgow, Scotland.

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Johnson said: “Hosting COP26 is an important opportunity for the UK and nations across the globe to step up in the fight against climate change. As we set out our plans to hit our ambitious 2050 net zero target across this year, so we shall urge others to join us in pledging net zero emissions.”

“There can be no greater responsibility than protecting our planet, and no mission that a Global Britain is prouder to serve. 2020 must be the year we turn the tide on global warming– it will be the year when we choose a cleaner, greener future for all.”

As per the public statement, the 2035 target, which now includes hybrid-drive vehicles may be moved forward again if a faster transition is feasible, subject to consultation, as well as including hybrids for the first time.

The Government will continue to work with all sectors of industry to accelerate the rollout of zero emission vehicles - helping to deliver new green jobs in the UK.

Click through for of the latest smart energy news on the global energy transition and climate change action.

Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “The UK has a proud record in tackling climate change and making the most of the enormous economic potential of clean technologies.

This is my number one priority, and we will raise our ambition in this year of climate action, including with new plans to decarbonise every sector, enabling a greener future for all our children.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This government’s £1.5bn strategy to make owning an electric vehicle as easy as possible is working - last year alone, a fully electric car was sold every 15 minutes.”

The launch of the event also signals the start of a "Year of Climate Action" initiative in the UK, with events to take place in all four nations. Businesses and charities are encouraged to participate in the run-up to the summit in Glasgow in November.