Alok Sharma outlines the UK's ambitions for COP26
14 May 2021
This November the UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26 in Glasgow. World leaders will meet with the aim to agree how to tackle the urgent threat of global climate change.
Together with our Italian partners we will work to prevent global temperatures rising above 1.5C and protect our planet and people from the intensifying impacts of climate change.
If we don’t act immediately, by the end of the century we will warm the world by at least 3C. This would cause catastrophic flooding, pollution, bush fires, extreme weather, and destruction of species.
To prevent this, the UK will spend the months up to COP26 taking four key goals to governments across the world.
- Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach.
Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century. To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to accelerate the phase-out of coal, curtail deforestation, speed up the switch to electric vehicles and encourage investment in renewables.
- Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats.
The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects. At COP26 we need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to protect and restore ecosystems, build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives.
- Mobilise finance.
To deliver on our first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100bn in climate finance per year by 2020. International financial institutions must play their part and we need work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.
- Work together to deliver.
We can only rise to the challenges of the climate crisis by working together. At COP26 we must finalise the Paris Rulebook (the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational), and accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.
Delivering on these four aims will make our recovery from COVID one which supports jobs and growth. The economic benefits to investing in technologies to support electric vehicles, renewable energy and sustainable farming are clear.
We are already seeing progress. When the UK began work as the incoming COP Presidency, less than 30% of global GDP was covered by net zero targets. We’re now at 70%.
But there remains work to do. We will use the upcoming G7, G20, and COP-convened ministerial meetings to shore up ambitious commitments from countries. Glasgow will be the culmination of this work, and the finalising of the agreement the world came together to make in Paris.