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.
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.”