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Keeping 1.5°C alive

COP26 President warns Glasgow Climate Pact will remain ‘words on a page’ unless countries deliver on their promises
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Countries need to work together to deliver on the promises made in Glasgow COP26 President, Alok Sharma, said yesterday (24 January).

In his first major speech since COP26, Sharma reflected on the commitments secured at COP26 and the historic Glasgow Climate Pact signed by almost 200 countries at the summit last year.

‘COP26 kept the goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C alive, but its pulse is indeed weak. Unless swift and sustained action is taken to deliver on the commitments made in Glasgow, people and wildlife face a frightening future. The UK presidency must ensure that every promise is kept with nature placed right at the heart of national climate plans.  

‘The UK government can lead by example by implementing its target to reverse nature loss by 2030 and prioritising a shift towards sustainable food and agriculture. It must make sure that the promised public and private finance is delivered as well as ensuring businesses introduce credible transition plans, which will underpin the pledge to make the UK the centre of green finance.’

Chief executive, WWF

An agenda for action

He set out his agenda to turn ambition into action for the rest of the UK’s Presidency this year, outlining that whilst the summit has concluded, the world must maintain the urgency and the energy to honour the promises made as we approach COP27 in Sharm-El Sheikh in November.

The speech outlined the UK’s priorities to deliver on the Glasgow Climate Pact during its COP Presidency year.

The priorities include ensuring promises on emissions reductions are kept to keep 1.5 degrees alive; delivering for climate vulnerable countries by ensuring commitments on adaptation and loss and damage are honoured; getting finance flowing and working together to continue to be an inclusive presidency.

‘At COP26 itself almost 200 countries came together and agreed the historic Glasgow Climate Pact. In doing so they demonstrated that climate can create a space for cooperation amidst a splintered global politics, that the world can work together to improve our common future, to address major global challenges and to seize opportunities.

‘The Glasgow Climate Pact was a product of international cooperation and a practical demonstration of Global Britain in action.

‘There is no doubt that the commitments we secured at COP26 were historic. Yet at the moment they are just words on a page. And unless we honour the promises made, to turn the commitments in the Glasgow Climate Pact into action, they will wither on the vine. We will have mitigated no risks. Seized no opportunities. We will have fractured the trust built between nations. And 1.5 degrees will slip from our grasp.

‘So my absolute focus for the UK Presidency year is delivery.’

COP President

Mr Sharma recently visited both COP27 President Egypt and COP28 President UAE, to underline the importance of building strong partnerships with the next two hosts for the summit.

This week, he will meet the UNFCCC to discuss the implementation of the measures agreed with Glasgow. He will also address the Major Economies Forum and continue to ramp up pressure on the rich donor nations to support climate vulnerable countries.

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