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Alok Sharma sets out climate priorities “to keep 1.5 limit alive”

Published January 31, 2022

Alok Sharma sets out climate priorities “to keep 1.5 limit alive”

Alok Sharma has set out his four key priorities as President for COP26 to limit global heating to 1.5C.

Sharma was speaking last week at Chatham House, London,  after his appointment earlier in January. He was previously Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Sharma said that all the 197 countries at the COP 26 meeting in Glasgow in November last year recognised the need “to keep the 1.5 limit alive” as set down in the Paris Agreement in 2015.  This recognition led to the creation of last year’s Glasgow Climate Pact.

The Pact requires signatory countries to phase-down unabated coal power and phase-out fossil fuel subsidies. It requests countries to strengthen their 2030 emissions reduction targets by the end of this year. It contains ambitious text on loss and damage and commits nations to the scaling up of climate and adaptation finance by 2025. In addition, 34 countries and five public finance institutions committed to stop international support for the fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022.

Twelve weeks on from the start of COP26, Sharma used his speech to call on world leaders to time to honour promises made in Glasgow. To facilitate this, Sharma said, the UK presidency has four key priorities:

“First, to ensure that countries reduce emissions to keep 1.5 alive. That means encouraging countries with a net zero target to make a plan to get there if they haven’t already done so. It means urging all governments to honour the Glasgow Climate Pact and revisit and strengthen their 2030 emissions reductions targets as necessary. And it means asking all countries to turn their NDCs into policies and plans to deliver.

“Second, we aim to progress work on adaptation and loss and damage. We will work with donor countries towards the commitment to double adaptation finance, and with all parties to make progress towards the Global Goal on Adaptation. We aim to progress the Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage, and will further operationalise the Santiago Network, including its funding, by COP27.

“Third, we want to deliver finance to support these efforts. We will urge developed countries to implement the delivery plan on the $100billion a year in international climate finance for developing countries. By COP27 we must be able to show that we are on a trajectory to meet that $100billion goal. And we will work with all parties to make progress on the post-2025 climate finance goal. We will also encourage the financial firms and development finance institutions that have made commitments, to deliver with integrity. And, with others, we will build on our work with South Africa, to unleash private and public money to fund the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy in other high-emitting countries, supporting their national plans.

“Our fourth and final goal is to push for further action across critical sectors, such as coal, cars and ending deforestation. We will urge countries to act. And we will work with partners to turn promises into clear delivery plans: through the Energy Transition Council, the Zero Emissions Vehicle Transition Council, the FACT Dialogue and the Breakthrough Agenda.”