The president of Cop26, Alok Sharma, has said that “big emitters” China, India and Russia “need to do more” to tackle the climate crisis – while British campaigners have urged the UK government to lead by example.
The UK’s former business secretary is steering the global summit, which is due to take place in Glasgow in November, after being postponed because of the pandemic.
“China, India, Russia – those big emitters need to do more. We all need to play our part. Climate change affects us all, whether that’s Europe, Africa or Asia,” Mr Sharma said in an interview with The Sun.
He warned that the landmark event cannot be delayed again, saying that: “Climate change didn’t take time off” while the world battled the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Sharma has said that the talks are the “last best chance” to stick to a 1.5C warming limit – which requires the world to cut carbon by 45 per cent by 2030 on the way to achieving zero emissions overall by 2050.
While the talks’ president calls on other nations to accelerate the “green transition” to cleaner economies, British campaigners are urging the UK government to step up its domestic climate action in the months before the summit.
With just 100 days to go until the talks, which are considered to be the most significant discussions since the 2015 Paris Agreement, parts of the world are being devastated by climate-driven heatwaves, floods and wildfires.
Mr Sharma said: “Cop26 is our last best hope of avoiding the worst effects of climate change, and we cannot afford to fail.
“Over the next 100 days, we need all governments to accelerate the green transition, so that we leave Glasgow with a clear plan to limit global warming to 1.5C. This will set the course of this decisive decade for our planet and future generations.”
Developing countries have appealed to the world’s leading economies to commit to directing 50 per cent to help them adapt to the climate emergency, and to address the damage being experienced by vulnerable nations.
The Climate Coalition, an alliance made up of a number of prominent organisations such as Oxfam and the National Trust, has set out demands including an end to new fossil fuel projects and that poorer nations are supported in their transition.
The group’s interim director, Ben Margolis, said time was running out and urged the UK government to step up.
“The prime minister has pledged that the UK will show global leadership on climate change. Yet despite this, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are most noticeable for being missing in action and failing to deliver real, concrete progress to tackle the nature and climate emergencies.
“In order to deliver on that pledge, every arm of government needs to step up,” he urged.
Greenpeace UK’s policy director, Doug Parr, said that as Cop26’s hosts, the UK needs to set an example “by ripping up plans for the new Cambo oil project in the North Sea” as well as committing to end “all new fossil fuel projects immediately and support workers to transition”.
“Rolling out a nationwide energy efficiency programme and plans to decarbonise home heating must swiftly follow,” he said.
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