THIS year’s climate summit in Scotland is the world’s “last best chance” to avert climate catastrophe, according to US climate envoy John Kerry.

The senior White House diplomat earmarked the COP26 conference in Glasgow as a crucial landmark in the global bid to combat the environmental crisis.

The United Nations talks, which will be attended by leaders from across the world, were pushed back a year due to the pandemic.

Speaking to the BBC, Kerry emphasised the importance of the summit and condemned Donald Trump’s refusal to address the climate emergency.

He said: "Glasgow will be extremely important.

"In fact, I would say that in my judgment, it is the last best chance the world has to come together in order to do the things we need to do to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis.”

The former US secretary of state added: "Three years ago, we were told we have 12 years to avoid those consequences. Three of those years were lost because we had Donald Trump, who didn't believe in any of it. And now we have nine years left to try to do what science is telling us we need to do."

His comments came as president Joe Biden signed several executive orders designed to address climate change.

His latest edicts include a freeze on new oil and gas leases on public lands and set out to double offshore wind-produced energy by 2030.

Kerry, talking earlier to the World Economic Forum, warned the world has to cut emissions in half by 2030 to prevent temperatures rising more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, above which the worst impacts of global warming will be felt.

That would require massively ramping up a coal phase-out, take-up of electric vehicles, renewable energy and forest cover.

The US climate envoy said it was achievable but not without greater political will, tapping the energy of the market place and using the private sector to help financial institutions mobilise the trillions of dollars needed.

The National:

READ MORE: Plans being put in place for COP26 to be scaled back amid pandemic

He highlighted the actions Joe Biden had taken on climate since taking power last week, starting with re-joining the global Paris Agreement, and the president's plans to host a leaders' summit on the issue on April 22.

Under the Paris accord, which Trump took the US out of when he was president, countries committed to curb global temperature rises to well below 2C and pursue efforts to keep to the 1.5C limit.

But actions and plans so far under the Paris Agreement leave the world well off track to prevent dangerous climate change, even though a number of countries have pledged to cut their emissions to "net zero" by 2050.

Kerry said Biden is "totally committed to this fight", and acknowledged the US was re-entering the international climate effort with "humility, because we know we've wasted four years in which we were inexcusably absent".