Glasgow climate promises will be “just words on a page” without action – COP26 president

International pledges to tackle climate change made in Glasgow last year will “wither on the vine” without action, Alok Sharma, the COP26 president said today.

Alok Sharma at COP26 in Glasgow. Photo: COP26 livestream

In a speech today at Chatham House, in London, he said unless every country honoured its promises, the world would fail to limit temperature rise to 1.5C:

“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. We will have seized no opportunities. Instead, we will have fractured the trust built between nations. And 1.5 degrees will slip from our grasp.”

Mr Sharma, who remains COP president until November 2022, said his aim for the next nine months was to ensure countries reduced their emissions as promised and then went further.

He said his priority was the G20 group of the world’s largest economies, which was responsible for 80% of global carbon emissions. All countries would be asked to turn their emissions commitments, known as nationally-determined contributions, into policies and plans.

Other aims included:

  • making progress on climate adaptation and compensation for countries that have suffered loss and damage
  • getting on track to meet the climate finance goal of $100bn
  • taking further action on tackling areas such as coal, cars and deforestation

Mr Sharma said the world now understood the urgency of tackling climate change and a collective self-interest had emerged:

“The question now is whether, in full knowledge of the consequences, we chose to squander or realise that gain. The answer should be obvious. There is no more time to: ‘sit tight and assess’. We must deliver. Together.”

He said by aligning efforts internationally, countries could accelerate the pace of technological change, increase incentives for investment, and innovate faster.

“Working in partnership, we can support a truly global transition.”

DrillOrDrop’s COP26 reporting

9 replies »

  1. Indeed.

    Let “we” have a coherent, costed, means of action that is open and transparent to each person who needs to sign up to, and pay, for the action.

    Where is it?????????

    Just for starters.

    Why is there no clarity around how fuel duty will be replaced? Road charging? Maybe. So, what is the cost of the infrastructure to pay for that, and who will fund it? Would cars automatically report journeys to a central data gathering point, for a charge to be levied? Good luck getting that past the civil liberty lot. Would it work anyway? £10 billion wasted on a system to integrate NHS data that failed and the NHS carried on using faxes!

    What is the total cost of new nuclear to back up intermittent renewables, and who is going to pay for that? Have “we” solved nuclear waste disposal? “We” can’t even deal with a few old nuclear submarines. What are the security issues around SMRs?

    And, who is going to pay for the increased subsidies to make UK industry energy costs competitive against others who have not followed “us”?

    I do not expect answers. The arithmetic is obviously beyond the “we’s” as demonstrated time after time on this site for far more straight forward items. That is where the real deniers lie. They have no answers to pretty basic questions and believe they can deny the questions that the vast majority want to see answers for. However, people do not sign up without seeing the answers. Mr. Sharma needs to make certain those answers, and others, are provided, otherwise he has wasted his time. Cart and horse, Mr. Sharma.

  2. Sharma is right, this is a call to arms. “ The question now is whether, in full knowledge of the consequences, we chose to squander or realise that gain”. It has taken a long time to get to this point, the result of cognitive dissonance, denying and delaying tactics for malign or merely stupid reasons, and this has cost us several decades when the worst of the ensuing difficulties could have been avoided, rendering the struggle an uphill struggle. As Antonio Gramsci said, we need the pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will, and this on a planetary level.
    Can our government deliver, or will we stick to posturing? As a nation we do, I believe, begin to understand.
    Whatever the fate of the ship of fools steering us, Sharma should remain in post.

  3. Ship of fools?

    Are they the ships bringing liquified gas to the UK NOW? Making this month a record, probably ending up around 19% above the previous record.

    Most of them from where? USA! Send the EA over the pond to help sort their methane emissions? A big job, with weekly rig counts still increasing over there.

    See the Telegraph for this record month of such imports, and it has not even been that cold.

    Strange how people notice what is there for them to notice, even more so than they notice what the “we’s” think they should notice. Creates employment for activists, however, the majority will still see what is there to be seen and make up their own minds. Just like they will notice the next part of HS2 has been initiated by the HoC yesterday. Appears there are a lot of people in the north who were anxious to see that done, and might now be happy, whilst a few tell them they should not be happy. And, now the kids can easily fly away for half term thanks to Grant, and get on the piste, whilst a few can moan angrily that they should not be flying. However, in a few years the kids will be able to take a high speed rail trip all the way, whilst a few find another project to moan about. Such is progress. Fortunately, more people prefer being happy than being angry.

  4. ” However, in a few years the kids will be able to take a high speed rail trip all the way, whilst a few find another project to moan about. Such is progress. Fortunately, more people prefer being happy than being angry..”
    In a few years! Will there be snow on the pistes or will they be relying on your plastics?
    Able to take a high speed rail trip! Will they be able to afford this?
    Such is progress! What a quaint idea of ‘progress’! One achievable at incalculable cost to humanity, to biodiversity and to the planet.
    More people prefer being happy than being angry! Perhaps a little bit more anger now might lead to a little more happiness “in a few years”!
    Let me help you with “ship of fools” – allegorical, I’m afraid – referring to a dysfunctional, non-expert leadership and the problems attendant thereon.

  5. [Edited by moderator]

    the real ships of fools are arriving in record quantities into the UK from USA, with acknowledgement only today that USA is helping not only UK but also Europe with gas supplies as those who are supposed to be following “our” good example are not. Reality is nothing to be angry about if fantasy is not expected.

  6. “Reality is nothing to be angry about if fantasy is not expected.” !
    Are you trying for quote of the year?
    Any chance of addressing the questions and comments which derive from your collected “thoughts”?

  7. Why, 1720?

    So you can fill up your posts by quoting what I have already posted?

    But, if you want some more from me to use, Brent Crude has just gone through $90/barrel.

    Not to worry, UK is immune whilst “we” are showing the world the way forward by processing wheat to add into petrol, thus achieving a real coherent triumph-expensive petrol, expensive basic food and lowered fuel efficiency!

  8. More reality:

    “405 million cubic meters of LNG delivered to Europe as of 28th January. +110% on annual average over past 5 years. Highest on record since records began in 2011.
    More than 2 dozen tankers en route with LNG from USA, with another 33 ships also likely to head to EU”.

    Good old USA, whilst Norway conducting “extended” maintenance and Russia “restocking own inventories”.

    “Just words on a page.”

    But, a good time was had by all.

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