LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hasn't talked much about climate change since he declared in February that 2020 would be a "year of climate action." The global pandemic and economic crisis eclipsed climate on his agenda.

But he pivoted back to the topic Wednesday, announcing a "green industrial revolution" he said would address both climate and pandemic-related concerns — helping the country to become emissions-neutral while creating a quarter-million jobs and reviving the battered economy.

Among the notable elements of his 10-point plan is a ban on new sales of gas and diesel cars to start in 2030. That's five years earlier than Johnson said in February and 10 years earlier than the plan before that.

“The recovery of our planet and of our economies can and must go hand-in-hand,” he said in a statement.

Johnson, head of the right-of-center Conservative Party, wants to highlight Britain’s global leadership role before it is due to host COP26, a major international climate summit, next November.

He referenced the summit when describing his recent congratulatory phone call with President-elect Joe Biden. He said the two spoke of the many areas that “united” Britain and the United States, including “above all, climate change. That was really interesting. He wants to join us next year in leading the world in getting global greenhouse emissions down [at] the COP 26 in Glasgow.”

Last year, Britain became the first major economy to pass legislation that commits it to eliminating its contribution to climate change by 2050 — a goal matched by the Biden campaign’s “clean energy revolution” proposal.

The green parts of the recovery budgets in France and Germany, however, are three to four times the amount Britain is considering.

In the new plans, the British government said it would mobilize 12 billion pounds ($16 billion) of government money, which would help develop a whole cross-section of energy, including nuclear, hydrogen and the dramatic expansion of offshore wind power, where Britain is already a world leader.

Only 4 billion pounds is new funding, however, and critics say it’s not nearly ambitious enough to meet the 2050 target.

Ed Miliband, a former climate change secretary and now the opposition Labour Party’s point person on business, said the funding fell far short of what was needed. “Labour called for £30bn capital investment over 18 months to support 400,000 new low-carbon jobs. This is a poor imitation,” he said on Twitter.

Extinction Rebellion, a climate change protest movement founded in Britain, tweeted Wednesday that the funding is “pennies toward the biggest global health crisis of our time, possibly history.”

In an opinion column in the Financial Times, Johnson, no stranger to boosterism, wrote that his plan will turn Britain into “the world’s number one centre for green technology and finance, creating the foundations for decades of economic growth.”

He implored fellow Britons to imagine a future where: “You cook breakfast using hydrogen power before getting in your electric car, having charged it overnight from batteries made in the Midlands. Around you the air is cleaner; trucks, trains, ships and planes run on hydrogen or synthetic fuel.”

He also says that Britain will become “the Saudi Arabia of wind” with “enough offshore capacity to power every home by 2030.”

Johnson may be hoping that a focus on a green agenda will help reset a government that’s struggling with the pandemic, difficult Brexit negotiations and infighting that led to the departure of a top aide.

Nicholas Stern, an expert in the economics of climate change at the London School of Economics, said of the announcement that “it has to be seen as a beginning. We will have to accelerate quickly, but it’s good to have a beginning that focuses on the right things.”

He said many countries were looking to put green jobs and investment at the heart of their post-pandemic economic recovery plans, and he drew parallels to the period after World War II.

“We recognized that two world wars and a Great Depression must be telling us something about how badly we organize ourselves, and we came out of it with expansionary economic policies and international cooperation,” he said. “And this is a moment, where we go through real trauma — and you mustn’t belittle it — but there’s a desire to come back and rebuild in a different way.”