Image of COP President Alok Sharma

16.05.2022

COP President Alok Sharma marks 6 months to COP27

10 minute read

Mr Sharma’s speech at The Scottish Event Campus, reflecting on the progress made since COP26 and what more is needed ahead of COP27.

“If you could stop climate tragedy unfolding further you would, wouldn’t you?”

That question, which we have just heard Emi Mahmoud ask so articulately, hung over COP26. 

It was the question world leaders faced as they entered the plenary rooms. 

It was the question negotiators grappled with through the nights. 

The question to which the world was waiting for an answer. 

And on the final day countries gave their response. 

Here, at the SEC, they agreed the historic Glasgow Climate Pact.

This forges a path to a clean global future,

it keeps alive the possibility of limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees celsius, 

and it told a watching world that leaders could and would stop tragedy unfolding before their eyes.  

As I said at the time, in doing so, countries demonstrated what the world had come to doubt, 

that nations can rise above their differences to unite against a common challenge; 

And that the international system can deliver. 

That is why, as Peter has just said, although those two weeks in November were intense, and they were difficult, 

it was an extraordinary privilege to play my part at COP26, in the role of Shepherd-in-Chief. 

And I in turn want to thank Glasgow Council, the Scottish Government, and Peter and his team for all their efforts in hosting the event, 

and of course our principal partners for their support. 

And I will always be grateful to the people of Glasgow for the warmth of their welcome; 

which was commented on by so many ministers and negotiators from across the globe. 

This great City has earned its name as the “Dear Green Place” in the hearts of delegates from around the world. 

And so it is right that we are donating items from COP26 to support the local community. 

6000 items of furniture have been given to charities and community groups. 

Miles of carpet have been divided up between 1800 families. 

And over 600 laptops will support local people who need them, including Ukrainian refugees. 

This is a fitting final act for a summit that met the highest standards of sustainability, as our Sustainability Report, published today, demonstrates. 

Six months have now passed since Presidents and Prime Ministers came to Glasgow, 

since the SEC held the biggest international summit the United Kingdom has ever hosted. 

And in that time, the world has changed. 

The clouds have darkened over the international landscape. 

War, has returned to Europe. 

The tectonic plates within our geopolitics have shifted. 

Inflation is spiking around the world.

Debt is mounting.

Energy prices are rising. 

And globally, people are struggling to feed their families, all as we continue to deal with the effects of the pandemic. 

Now as a result, climate is understandably no longer on the front pages as it was in the lead up to, and at, COP26. 

Yet the current crises should increase, not diminish, our determination to deliver on what the world agreed here in Glasgow.

Because they show with devastating clarity, why it is imperative to do so. And to do so now.

In January, at Chatham House in London, I spoke about the fact that economic opportunity is now driving climate action. 

Wind and solar are now cheaper than coal and gas in the majority of the world. 

Investing in fossil fuels will only risk stranded assets. 

And the potential of renewables is extraordinary. 

On a recent visit to Brazil I was told that the country could, with investment, generate up to 700 gigawatts of power from offshore wind every year.

And in Mexico, I heard that the state of Oaxaca has more offshore wind potential than the entire North Sea. 

Increasingly, unleashing such potential is a matter of security, as well as economics.

Putin’s illegal and brutal invasion will define this year, and indeed many years to come. 

The brave people of Ukraine, who continue to suffer at his hands, remain in all our thoughts.

And, of course, the actions of the Putin regime have pushed-up fossil fuel prices globally. 

That has thrown our situation into stark relief. 

We see clearly the dangers of energy systems powered by foreign fossil fuels.

We see the benefits of low cost, homegrown renewables, the price of which cannot be manipulated from afar. 

In short, we see that climate security is energy security, 

that we must break our dependency on fossil fuels.

And governments are responding. 

Yes, they are taking action to deal with immediate supply issues. 

Yet they are also accelerating the move to clean power. 

The European Commission has announced that the European Union will increase renewables deployment to help reduce dependency on Russian hydrocarbons.

And here in the United Kingdom, we have recently published our Energy Security Strategy, to accelerate our deployment of wind, of solar, of nuclear, and of hydrogen. 

This could see 95 percent of our electricity come from low carbon sources by 2030. 

And we aim to fully decarbonise our power system by 2035. 

The forces driving us towards a clean future are building. 

Increasingly, it is clear that net zero means security. 

Net zero means prosperity. 

And net zero means preventing the problems of the present growing inexorably. 

Because many of the challenges we face today would intensify as global temperatures rise. 

Look at food security. 

One of the most moving conversations that I have had as COP President was with women in Madagascar on the brink of famine, 

women who were enduring the unimaginable. 

And it is a terrible truth that their experience is shared by many millions around the world. 

Acute hunger is at unprecedented levels. 

A recent report by the “Global Network Against Food Crises” found that hundreds of millions of people experienced food insecurity last year, 

with acute food insecurity rising almost 25 percent since 2020, which was already a record year. 

That is many millions of people whose lives, or livelihoods, are in peril because they cannot eat. 

 Millions of individual tragedies. 

And of course, those figures predate the Ukraine crisis, which has rocked global supply chains and driven-up prices. 

Now, the World Food Programme expects acute hunger to rise further, by tens of millions of people if the conflict in Ukraine continues unabated.

We know that climate change inflames food insecurity.

It is inflaming food insecurity right now. 

And every fraction of a degree makes a difference. 

A rise in average global temperature to 2 degrees, compared to 1.5, would mean a doubling of the reduction in yields of maize, a staple crop, in the tropics, 

and fisheries losing twice as much of their catch. 

And whilst the UN projects the world’s population will increase by around 20 percent by 2050 from current levels, 

Chatham House estimates that crop yields could decline by 30 percent by then unless we drastically reduce emissions, 

including from agriculture.

So we must accelerate the transition to fairer, more sustainable, more resilient food systems and supply chains.

The problems we face today underscore why it is vital that we do so, 

and why we must honour the commitments made at COP26. 

Failure to do so would be an act of monstrous self-harm. 

And over the past six months, we have had grim reminders of the urgency of our task. 

The United Nations body on climate science, the IPCC, has released two major reports,

each agreed by almost 200 countries and synthesising thousands of research papers. 

These reports conclude unequivocally that the window of time we have left to act is closing fast, 

And that we must urgently adapt and reduce emissions, 

and that climate change is already, wreaking havoc:

ecosystems are being irreversibly destroyed, 

people are being forced from their homes, 

and water insecurity has increased. 

But it is not only the science that tells us our situation is critical. 

We see the evidence all around us. 

In the short film we watched just before I spoke, we saw the effects of Hurricane Irma that I witnessed on the island of Barbuda. 

We saw the visit I made to the sea wall in Jakarta, which is literally being added to every few years to keep protecting the City. 

On that same visit to Indonesia, I saw homes being relocated to save people from those same rising seas.

In Bolivia, Indigneous leaders told me how, longer and harder rains are causing flooding in their lands. 

And this year, India and Pakistan have already experienced unbearable temperatures: a billion people exposed to extreme heat in some of the hottest months since records began. 

And hundreds are reported dead in South Africa, where floods have swept the province of KwaZulu-Natal, destroying buildings and claiming lives. 

This is the reality of climate change. 

And it is a reality that will get far worse as temperatures rise. 

Climate change is a chronic danger. 

A danger that will be with us for generations to come. 

And so we must continue to confront it, as we also deal with the pressures of the present.

That is why it is imperative we deliver the Glasgow Climate Pact. 

As I say, this is a historic agreement.

It calls on countries to phase-down unabated coal power and phase-out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

It requests countries to revisit and strengthen their 2030 emissions reduction targets, as necessary, 

to align with the Paris temperature goal by the end of this year.

It urges developed countries to scale-up climate finance, and specifically to double finance for adaptation by 2025.

It underlines the central importance of adaptation, the dangers of loss and damage, and the need to scale-up action and support for both, 

and the Pact charts a way forward to do so. 

Outside the COP26 negotiating rooms we heard significant commitments from countries, companies and financial institutions too. 

They pledged to clean-up vital sectors like power and transport, to end deforestation, and to work together to accelerate the clean transition. 

Altogether, if the commitments made around COP26 are honoured on time, we can limit the rise in global temperature to below two degrees.

That was the conclusion of the International Energy Agency at the time. 

And this analysis has been backed-up by a recent study in the respected scientific journal, Nature. 

Since delegates left the SEC for a final time last November, work to deliver on the commitments made here in Glasgow has purposefully continued. 

We have had some countries submit new emissions reduction targets, or NDCs. 

And of course the UK is considering its own response to the Glasgow Pact. 

That includes reviewing the evidence to ensure our NDC remains aligned with the Paris Agreement, and looking at ways to strengthen it, 

all as we focus on delivering and building on our Net Zero Strategy.  

We have had new adaptation communications,

work has kicked-off to get the Santiago Network up and running, to provide technical assistance on loss and damage.

And the Glasgow Dialogue and the Glasgow to Sharm el Sheikh Work Programme will get going in June. 

On finance, the Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance has launched five trial projects in Bangladesh and Fiji, Jamaica, Rwanda, and Uganda. 

And the IMF has launched the Resilience and Sustainability Trust, to support developed countries to channel their Special Drawing Rights to climate action in developing nations. 

I have supported and championed this initiative, and I want to thank Kristalina Georgieva, for all her, and her team’s dedication, in delivering the RST, 

and for responding to the calls in the Glasgow Climate Pact, championed by Small Island Developing Countries, to do so.

We have made some progress on critical sectors. 

And action from business continues. 

Around 2,000 international firms have joined the United Nations Race to Zero campaign since COP26, which commits them to reach net zero by 2050 at the latest.

That takes the total to over 7,000.

And civil society has kept-up the pressure on business and governments to deliver. 

Last week the COP27 President Designate, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Shoukry and I, co-chaired a meeting of ministers and representatives from over 40 governments around the world.

This May Ministerial was hosted in Copenhagen by Minister Jørgensen and the Danish Government.

This focussed not on what countries need to do, but how they will do it. 

How individually and collectively they will honour the commitments made here in Glasgow on emissions reductions, on adaptation, on loss and damage, and on climate finance.  

And what we heard was encouraging.  

We did make progress in these key areas. 

There was a high degree of consensus on what we must do to deliver in each of these areas. 

We heard positive signals about countries looking again at their 2030 NDCs, including considering how they can strengthen their sectoral targets.

The German and Canadian governments have agreed to coordinate a Progress Update on the $100billion Delivery Plan, which was published last year. 

This Update will be based on the ten collective actions agreed last year, and it will cover the commitment to double adaptation finance, as well as access to finance. 

We also announced a new, Independent High-Level Expert Group on investment in climate action, to be co-chaired by Lord Nick Stern and Vera Songwe.

The Group will develop policy options to encourage and enable the investment and finance necessary for delivery of the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Climate Pact.

The May Ministerial was productive in helping to build momentum towards delivering the Glasgow Pact. 

Now this progress is of course welcome. 

But frankly we need to up the pace. 

Leaders have not done enough to deliver on their Glasgow commitments. 

And that must change. 

This November, when countries meet in Sharm-el-Sheikh for COP27, the spotlight will be back on climate. 

And the world will look to see whether they were right to put their doubts aside, and to cautiously place their confidence in the multilateral system.

Whether they were right to take leaders at their word. 

We must show them that they were. 

And that means moving much faster over the next six months than we have over the last six. 

And setting ourselves up to deliver, over this vital decade. 

In the final moments of COP, I described the Glasgow Climate Pact as a fragile win. 

And unless we accelerate delivery, citizens will look-on at Sharm-el-Sheikh and see that cracks have emerged. 

That leaders have allowed that historic and hard won agreement to fracture. 

We cannot allow that to happen. 

So the UK COP26 Presidency is working hard, with our Egyptian partners, to drive delivery.

Every country must respond to the call to revisit and strengthen their NDC. 

And they must do so in 2022.

The Glasgow Pact calls on countries to look again at their NDCs, not at some vague point in the future, but this year, in 2022. 

And the major emitters must lead from the front, particularly those G20 countries with little or no increase in ambition since Paris. 

We need them to submit more ambitious NDCs, where they are not currently aligned with the Paris Agreement. 

We need all countries to submit long-term strategies aligned with net zero.

And this needs to be done before the UNFCCC’s Synthesis Report deadline of 23rd September. 

We also need plans to turn these targets into action. 

And we need developed countries to be delivering on finance to support developing nations’ ambition,

and to help them access the benefits of climate-resilient investments: from growth, to jobs, to clean air and competitive advantage. 

The agreed $100billion Delivery Plan update needs to show progress on delivery, particularly the goal to double adaptation finance by 2025.

Thus far, too little has been achieved on doubling adaptation finance, and that must change. 

So we need countries to clearly set out their plans. 

We also need more progress from countries and financial institutions in aligning with the Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance principles. 

And we need to drive Just Energy Transition Partnerships forward. 

In technical terms these are financial mechanisms that tailor support to individual countries’ energy transitions, in alignment with national plans. 

In human terms, they are about the many thousands of people who still rely on fossil fuels for their livelihoods, 

about supporting them to retrain and reskill, 

and about helping countries transition away from fossil fuels, 

whilst keeping the lights on and cleaning-up the air by moving to green technologies. 

We announced the South African Just Energy Transition Partnership at COP26.

And now, we are working towards others, and I am hopeful we will be able to announce them by COP27. 

On adaptation and loss and damage, we need to have made practical progress on the Global Goal on Adaptation by COP27, 

as well as having operationalised the Santiago Network.

And we also must also make further progress in critical sectors. 

We need more commitments to end coal power, to put a stop to international fossil fuel finance, and to accelerate the shift to renewables. 

We need a greater share of the global market covered by commitments to end the sale of polluting vehicles. 

We need countries to agree on the steps that they will take to accelerate clean technologies, including in sectors like steel and hydrogen, through the Breakthrough Agenda.

And we need leaders to show they are delivering on their commitments to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030.

On every one of these issues we will use the G7, the G20, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the United Nations General Assembly to urge action. 

And we will host a second climate and development Ministerial in September to drive progress on the issues that matter most to climate vulnerable countries, 

because championing their needs remains critical for me. 

If you think this sounds like a hefty programme of work, you are right. 

But it is vital to achieving the change we have agreed is necessary. 

The United Kingdom remains an unapologetically high-ambition COP presidency. 

But ultimately, it is up to all world leaders to step up and deliver.

Just as they promised here in Glasgow six months ago. 

I learnt a lot in those two weeks here at the SEC. 

I learnt I could survive on three hours sleep,

I learnt to love Tunnocks teacakes. 

But principally I learnt that though this international system, the COP process, is imperfect and it is unwieldy, it can work, 

it can deliver, 

and it is the best chance we have of tackling climate change. 

But it is only as strong as the sum of its parts. 

So we need every nation to pick up the pace. 

We need every leader to show that their words were not hollow, 

that their commitments were made with integrity, 

and that they recognise, though the immediate challenges we face are grave, we will only inflame them if we falter. 

Because it is leaders who made promises,

and it is leaders who must honour them. 

So when countries meet in Egypt in six months time,

they must show a global audience that the confidence we inspired in the international system was not misplaced,

that though the world has changed, our resolve has not, 

and that the historic agreement forged in this “Dear Green Place” is taking the world towards a cleaner, safer, and more prosperous future.

Ladies and gentlemen, earlier this morning we heard Emi Mahmoud ask whether: 

“If you could stop the next tornado from hitting your home, 

the next hurricane from wiping out your city, 

the next drought from starving your people,

wouldn’t you?”

Here in the SEC last November, the world said it would. 

Now, leaders must show that they will.

Thank you. 


Ends.

13.05.2022

May Ministerial: COP26 President Closing Remarks

Please let me start by offering my condolences to the UAE for the loss of your president. Our thoughts are with you.

Thank you Minister Shoukry, it’s been a real pleasure to co-chair this event with you.

I’m very pleased that we were able to bring colleagues together at this time.

We started out this discussion by saying we want to go beyond planned statements and existing positions and that’s exactly what’s happened.

There’s been a real, proper conversation. That’s what happens when parties come together, when friends come together, and have these discussions.

And when they’re frank in the discussions as well. I think that’s also incredibly important.

I know a few of you made a long journey. I know this is a crowded few months in the climate calendar, so thank you so much for having come to Denmark for this.

And thanks also to our friends in Denmark; particularly my dear friend Dan Jørgensen, who has pulled this thing off at really short notice.

I hope you’ll all agree that it’s been a brilliant meeting in terms of the organisation, and that has added to the flow of conversation.

So once again, may I ask you to put your hands together.

We started out this evening saying that this was about implementation; as Minister Shoukry has said, COP27 is going to be an implementation COP. We can start that process with six months to go. 

And what we’ve heard is that despite all the other issues that the world is facing, climate is still there on the agenda for governments around the world.

That is vitally important, as I keep emphasising in all the discussions that we have internationally.

We heard greater expectations about the need for countries to revisit and strengthen their NDCs.

We heard today from a number of parties about precisely what they’re working on, but we all need to do that.

And reflecting on this point that was made by our Turkish colleague earlier, about the G20: it is down to all of us, but it is also the case that there are some emitters which are raising the emission rate more than the very small nations who are at the frontline of climate change.

Therefore I think it’s incumbent not only on the G20; it is incumbent on all big emitters to play their part at the same time as we’ve asked the smaller nations to do so as well.

And I think that broadens this point out that the NDCs deadline is 23rd of September, so I hope that that will come forward and that people will get their NDCs in.

I was also really encouraged by a number of colleagues that talked about coming forward with their long term strategies as well. I think that’s great news.

On adaptation, we heard about the need for transformational adaptation action, we heard about the need for finance. 

I think we just need to maintain a little more momentum on this in the run up to COP27.

On loss and damage, we discussed that yesterday: as I said, we want to make some practical progress on this.

So we’ve got the work of the Santiago Network; if we agree the terms of reference at the intersessionals in June, that will make a big, big effort in trying to get this whole thing operationalised by COP27. 

I really think we owe it to ourselves and to our populations to do that.

And additionally, of course, we also need to make sure that the Glasgow Dialogue gets off to a good start, where we can have frank discussions as well.

On finance, I’m not going to repeat what I just said; just once again thank Jennifer Morgan and Steven Guilbeault for taking on this very important task on providing an update on that report, in that plan.

So the only thing I have left to say, friends, is that it’s six months to go.

Six months ago, for COP26, things were getting pretty frenetic and I think we need to keep up that level of energy.

There’s lots of things going on in the world but, on this issue, we need to keep up the energy and make sure that by the time we get to COP27, we can actually say that we have delivered.

And I just want to end with the piece about the young people outside: whatever people’s individual views, the reality is that that’s who we’re talking about. We’re talking about future generations as well.

And it’s been great that we’ve been able to have observers – I think there’s seven groups here – and we’ve got the High-Level Champions, it’s been great.

12.05.2022

Letter to all Parties From the COP26 President and COP27 President-Designate Ahead of the May Ministerial on Implementation

To: Parties, Observer Organizations and Non-Party Stakeholders, 12 May 2022

Dear Friends,

Six months have now passed since the world came together in Glasgow last November to show that we are committed to tackling the climate crisis. Despite the impacts of a global pandemic, we came together at COP26 and found solutions to complete the Paris Rulebook and agree the Glasgow Climate Pact.

We now have six months until we meet again at COP27. As you will have seen from the Egypt-UK Joint Statement, the COP26 Presidency and the incoming COP27 Presidency are determined to work in close collaboration to deliver on the goals and objectives of the UNFCCC, Paris Agreement and the outcomes of previous Conferences of Parties including most recently the Glasgow Climate Pact, with a view to accelerating climate action and building towards a successful COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh.

This week as we mark the 30th Anniversary of the UNFCCC, it is more important than ever that we show the commitment and solidarity needed to achieve our shared goals. The recent IPCC reports have laid out starkly the urgency of our task and the need for immediate and sustained political action and cooperation. This week – with thanks to Minister Jørgensen and the Government of Denmark – we will be meeting in Copenhagen with a broad group of ministers to follow up on and accelerate the implementation of commitments in this critical decade. We all know that much more needs to be done to ensure we keep 1.5C in reach, protect the most vulnerable, and ensure that finance flows at the necessary scale. But we also know it is possible to get there if we act quickly and act together.

Delivering on commitments made

COP26 was a historic moment. The Glasgow Climate Pact and the completion of the Paris Rulebook if fully implemented will accelerate progress on mitigation, adaptation, finance and loss and damage. This represents a significant contribution to keeping 1.5 in reach, supporting the most vulnerable, and delivering on the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC.

The Glasgow Climate Pact is anchored in the science which underpins our obligations. It requests countries to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their NDCs as necessary, and submit ambitious long term strategies to align with the Paris temperature goal – the UNFCCC Secretariat has since communicated a deadline of 23rd September for such revisions to be considered in the mandated synthesis reports. The Pact established a work programme to urgently scale mitigation ambition and implementation across this critical decade to keep 1.5C in reach, and agreed to hold annual ministerial round tables on pre2030 ambition. It sets out an important work programme to drive action and support on adaptation, including through the Global Goal on Adaptation. It acknowledges that climate change has already caused and will increasingly cause loss and damage, and that as temperatures rise impacts from climate change will pose an ever greater social, economic and environmental threat. It called specifically for more action to address loss and damage, through the Glasgow Dialogue and for practical action through the Santiago
Network. It confirmed the importance of the adequacy and predictability of adaptation finance, urged developed countries to rapidly scale up climate finance, in particular to meet the $100bn/yr goal, and to double finance for adaptation by 2025, it emphasised the need to mobilise climate finance from all sources to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. In addition, it calls on countries to phase down unabated coal power and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and recognises the need to ensure just transitions that promote sustainable development and eradication of poverty.

Furthermore, beyond the intergovernmental negotiations, Heads of State and Government, businesses and financial institutions made substantial commitments and pledges to net zero, agreed to clean up sectors such as power and road transport, to put an end to deforestation, to build more resilient supply chains and businesses, to accelerate the pace of new technologies through the Glasgow Breakthroughs, and to support developing countries in the transition. We welcome the appointment of Dr Mahmoud Mohielden to join Nigel Topping as High Level Champion and drive practical action.

The May Ministerial Meeting on Implementation

The May Ministerial represents an opportunity to follow up and promote implementation of the key commitments and pledges made in Glasgow.

The meeting will cover four tracks:
1) Adapting to climate impacts
2) Averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage
3) Reducing emissions and keeping 1.5C alive
4) Mobilising finance.

Attached is a brief background on the May Ministerial and the topics under discussion.

During the Ministerial, we will be focusing on practical implementation rather than negotiations which will commence shortly at the Subsidiary Bodies meetings in Bonn. UNFCCC observer groups and the High Level Champions will be present to support an all-of-society approach.

Negotiations process – looking ahead to Bonn

As we approach the 56th Session of the Subsidiary Bodies in Bonn next month, we must also ensure that we make progress across the suite of issues needed to drive our process forward. As we move to implementation mode, it is vital that all Parties arrive in Bonn ready to actively engage, find solutions, and move things forward.

As the COP26 and the incoming COP27 Presidencies, we are committed to working with the Chairs of the Subsidiary Bodies and the UNFCCC Secretariat to support an inclusive, transparent and Party-driven process to ensure we maintain the necessary urgency and momentum as we approach COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh.

We all have a responsibility to deliver. The world is now watching us. We must show that we are responding to the science with the necessary urgency. Reaching shared solutions at COP26 was only possible because of your determination to make things happen. We will continue to work closely with all of you to ensure our collective efforts take us closer to achieving our shared goals and priorities for people and the planet.

As Egypt accelerates preparations for COP27, we are confident of your continued support and renewed commitment to ambitious outcomes and impactful implementation. This will be vital to ensure the success of our collective efforts at Sharm el-Sheikh and beyond that to confirm our continued and highest political commitment to tackle climate change.

Yours Sincerely,

Signature of the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP

The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP
COP26 President

Signature of Sameh Shoukry

Sameh Shoukry
COP27 President Designate

Annex – May Ministerial Meeting on Implementation, 12-13 May, Copenhagen, Denmark

The May Ministerial Meeting on Implementation will focus on the practical action needed to drive progress on implementation going forward, including in response to commitments from the UNFCCC, the Paris Agreement, previous Conferences of the Parties and most recently the Glasgow Climate Pact and related declarations and pledges from COP26.

Ministerial discussions will be structured around four break out group sessions, focusing on implementation and action across the following topics:

  1. Adapting to climate impacts
  2. Averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage
  3. Reducing emissions and keeping 1.5C alive
  4. Mobilising finance

Discussion questions for these four sessions are set out below.

Ministers are encouraged to engage in open and frank discussions, avoiding the use of scripted interventions and focusing on maximising progress towards shared solutions. For all discussions, Ministers are encouraged to consider ways to implement inclusive climate action, including consideration of gender responsiveness, indigenous peoples and youth, and just transition.

Session 1: Adapting to climate impacts

The IPCC AR6 Working Group II report has delivered a clear message that climate impacts are worsening and the window of opportunity for action is closing rapidly, posing risks to sustainable development for all, with over three billion people living in global vulnerability hotspots, particularly in developing countries. Adaptation and sustainable development are inextricably linked and mutually reinforcing. Despite progress on adaptation planning, widening gaps persist between planning and implementation. Adaptation action remains fragmented and incremental, unequally distributed among regions and takes place at small scales and short time horizons.

Since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, including at COP26, state and non-state actors have galvanised adaptation action through initiatives (e.g. Race to Resilience), coalitions (e.g. Adaptation Action Coalition) and financial commitments (including to double adaptation finance by 2025 and mobilise record amounts for the Adaptation Fund and Least Developed Countries Fund). We must deliver on pledges and implement commitments and decisions under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, as well as those agreed in Glasgow and at previous COPs, and drive further support and action.

  1. How can countries move beyond incremental progress to achieve “transformational adaptation”? What is needed to translate NDCs, adaptation communications and national adaptation plans into coordinated adaptation action at scale, at local, national, regional and global levels and across borders?
  2. What steps are you taking to ensure implementation of individual and collective adaptation commitments and pledges? What progress and cooperation is needed by COP27 to drive practical action?
  3. What is needed to close the adaptation finance gap and how can this be better linked to local and national planning, access to finance, capacity building support as well as broader public and private investment?

Session 2: Averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage

The IPCC AR6 Working Group II report has also demonstrated the urgent need for scaled up action and support to address loss and damage, particularly in developing countries. Successive decisions under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, including most recently through the Glasgow Climate Pact, have called for enhanced and additional support for activities to avert, minimise and address loss and damage,
acknowledging a number of sources that provide funds in this area. Commitments must be implemented to deliver practical action.

  1. What is needed at the national and local levels to enhance practical action to avert, minimise and address loss and damage?
  2. How can action on loss and damage, including across the broader development, disaster risk reduction and humanitarian communities, be made more coherent? How can we use a build back better approach to reduce future climate impacts and related losses?
  3. Recognising ongoing discussions in relation to the Santiago Network and the Glasgow Dialogue, what is needed to enhance the mobilisation of technical and financial support to avert, minimise and address loss and damage?

Session 3: Reducing emissions and keeping 1.5C alive

In Paris Parties agreed to hold the increase in global average temperatures to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5C. The IPCC AR6 Working Group I and II reports showed that the planet has already reached an average global warming of 1.1C above pre-industrial levels, that the impacts of climate change vary significantly across regions, and that every fraction of a degree of warming makes a difference and creates additional risks. Furthermore, the recently-published IPCC AR6 Working Group III report indicates the closing
window for action to keep 1.5C in reach and reinforces the urgent need to accelerate efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% on the 2010 level by 2030 as recognised in the Glasgow Climate Pact. At COP26 Parties set a way forward for how to close the emissions gap and keep 1.5C alive, including by requesting Parties to revisit and strengthen NDCs and increasing sectoral action and implementation.

  1. What steps are you taking to deliver on the Glasgow Climate Pact requests to communicate long term strategies and to revisit and strengthen 2030 targets in NDCs as necessary to align with the Paris temperature goal? What factors and support can help increase NDC ambition and implementation?
  2. What are the challenges, best practices and next steps for implementing commitments from the Glasgow Climate Pact and related declarations and pledges for key emitting sectors? What is needed to accelerate efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and the phaseout of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies?
  3. How can international cooperation, including through Article 6 and other mechanisms and initiatives, be increased to raise ambition and accelerate just transitions towards achieving net zero emissions by or around mid-century?

Session 4: Mobilising finance

Although positive steps were taken on finance commitments at COP26, significant action and political momentum will again be required this year to demonstrate that progress is being made, including on the $100bn goal, the doubling of adaptation finance by 2025, access to finance, and the broader alignment of financial flows. The findings of the IPCC AR6 WGII and WGIII reports should catalyse accelerated progress on these issues, noting as well the relevance of the work undertaken by the Standing Committee on Finance in relation to developing countries’ needs and to
making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.

  1. What can be done this year to show the $100bn Delivery Plan is being implemented and demonstrate action towards doubling the collective provision of adaptation finance by 2025?
  2. How can COP27 accelerate the alignment of finance flows from all sources to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, in the context of developing countries’ needs? What is the role of the private sector in achieving this?
  3. How can practical progress be made on access to finance?

29.04.2022

COP President Alok Sharma visits Mexico to promote global climate action and implementation of the Glasgow Climate Pact

COP President Alok Sharma visited Mexico from April 24-27 to drive momentum on delivering commitments made in the Glasgow Climate Pact signed last November by 196 countries.

  • COP President Alok Sharma met representatives from the federal and state Mexican government, as well as representatives of civil society, indigenous peoples and youth
  • He visited the state of Quintana Roo to hear about sustainable forestry management from communities and see coastal areas blighted by the brown algae sargassum
  • The visit was made to follow up on the agreements made during COP26, held in Glasgow in November 2021

COP President Alok Sharma visited Mexico from April 24-27 to drive momentum on delivering commitments made in the Glasgow Climate Pact signed last November by 196 countries.

On his first visit to the country, the COP26 President participated in several bilateral meetings in Mexico City focused on climate action issues, including a push for greater ambition and a net zero commitment.

At the start of the visit, the COP President met representatives of civil society organisations, youth groups and indigenous peoples who highlighted their climate change concerns across sectors including forests, energy, and agriculture.

The COP President also held bilateral Government meetings with Rocío Nahle, Minister of Energy and Martha Delgado, Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs. He also met the Mexico City Mobility Secretary, Andres Lajous, during a visit to the Cablebus, the city’s new low carbon transport system and the Quintana Roo Secretary of Ecology and Environment, Efrain Villanueva.

Throughout these meetings, Alok Sharma underlined the importance of greater ambition in Mexico’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the potential to achieve a net zero goal as well as the importance of decarbonising Mexico’s energy mix. Mexico’s perspectives post COP26 and in preparation for COP27 were also heard.

Mr Sharma participated in a business round table with members of the private sector in Mexico to discuss the important role business has to play in delivering the Glasgow Climate Pact and driving ambitious climate action in the country.

While in Mexico, Mr Sharma also visited Muyil in the Yucatan peninsula to meet with indigenous representatives and hear views on nature-based solutions and community integration in projects in the region.

On his final day he witnessed coastal areas affected by the brown algae sargassum, considered by experts to be a consequence of rising ocean temperatures, fertiliser use and deforestation.

During this visit, the COP President took part in a dialogue with the leading local and federal authorities, including the Mexican Navy tasked with managing the sargassum crisis in the state.

I came to Mexico to speak with my government counterparts, civil society groups and business who are all so important in turning climate change commitments into action.

State ministers, parliamentarians and business leaders all demonstrated their commitment to action in undertaking work to tackle climate change.

Many countries are already seeing the impact of climate change, including Mexico.

During my visit to Quintana Roo it was great to see how sustainable forest management and land restoration are being used to protect those most vulnerable to climate change.

Pledges made at COP26 in Glasgow must come to life this year. Mexico has a crucial role in helping to deliver this, both through net zero commitments and shorter-term emission reduction targets. I look forward to the UK and Mexico working closely together on this.

COP26 President Alok Sharma

04.04.2022

Joint Statement from UK, Egypt and UNFCCC in response to IPCC Working Group 3 Report

Response to IPCC Working Group 3 Report

Today marks the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report on the Mitigation of Climate Change as part of the Sixth Assessment Cycle. The report was approved by 195 government delegations and we thank the report’s authors for all of the work on its preparation.

Last month’s Working Group II Report on Adaptation, Impacts and Vulnerability laid bare the impacts that will be felt if temperature is not limited to an increase of 1.5C. Today’s report on mitigation makes it clearer than ever that the window of opportunity to achieve this is rapidly closing. Global emissions continue to rise, and the emissions pathways implied by the current set of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are not enough to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C. To keep 1.5C in reach, global CO2 emissions need to peak immediately and halve by 2030. Finance must also be significantly scaled up and support the urgent just transition to a low carbon economy, and deal with adaptation challenges.

Despite the urgency of our task, there is hope. The window for action has not yet closed. The report highlights that the falling costs of renewables and green technologies present significant opportunities for progress. There is also clear evidence that – with timely and at scale cuts to emissions. – countries can pursue a mitigation pathway consistent with limiting. global warming as envisaged in the Paris Agreement and further reflected in the Glasgow Climate Pact, while also developing their economies through a just transition and in a. sustainable way. Increasingly, transitioning to a low carbon and resilient economy is the safest and most competitive choice any country, business or investor can make.

As the COP26 Presidency, incoming COP27 Presidency and UNFCCC Executive Secretary, we remind Parties of their obligations under the Paris Agreement to respond to the science; a commitment Parties themselves recognized in Glasgow last year when they acknowledged that collectively we need to do more in this critical decade to keep 1.5C in reach. We committed to revisiting and strengthening the 2030 targets in our NDCs as necessary to. align with the Paris temperature goal by the end of this year. This report brings into sharp focus the necessity of such actions. For the sake of the next generation and the future of our planet we urge all Parties, particularly the major emitters, to respond urgently to this report by implementing the pledges and commitments made under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, and by delivering on the Glasgow Climate Pact.

Signed:

Alok Sharma, COP President

Sameh Shoukry, COP 27 President Designate

Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary

01.04.2022

COP President Alok Sharma visits Brazil to press for implementation of the Glasgow Climate Pact, urging for action ahead of COP27

COP President Alok Sharma visited Brazil this week to maintain momentum on delivering commitments made in the landmark Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at COP26 and discuss how the UK can work with Brazil on climate change.

  • COP President Alok Sharma visited São Paulo and Brasilia to discuss implementation of climate commitments made in the Glasgow Climate Pact
  • Mr Sharma met the Vice President, Ministers for Environment, Energy, Justice and Vice Minister of Agriculture, along with representatives from state and city governments, members of civil society and business to discuss the transition to a low carbon global economy
  • Tackling deforestation is crucial in meeting climate targets in Brazil, with emissions linked to deforestation and agriculture making Brazil the 7th highest emitter globally

COP President Alok Sharma visited Brazil this week to maintain momentum on delivering commitments made in the landmark Glasgow Climate Pact signed at COP26 and discuss how the UK can work with Brazil on climate change.

Starting his visit in the city of Sao Paulo, Mr Sharma met with Brazilian Environment Minister, Joaquim Leite where he thanked Brazil for its collaborative approach at COP26 and the announcement of its 2030 climate action plan, long-term strategy for net zero by 2050 and commitment to zero illegal deforestation by 2030.

Mr Sharma set out the UK’s priorities as COP Presidency to work with countries in 2022 to implement their climate action plans, and the key role that Brazil has to play as a G20 member and the custodians of around 60% of the Amazon rainforest. Managing emissions from deforestation, agriculture and related supply chains, including growing soy for livestock feed, will be crucial to keep the goals of limiting global temperature warming to 1.5 degrees.

Mr Sharma discussed in meetings with the Vice President, Hamilton Mourão, Ministers of Energy, Bento Albuquerque, of Justice, Anderson Torres, and vice minister of Agriculture, Marcos Montes as well as with the President of Senate Rodrigo Pacheco, the pledges already made, including tackling deforestation, and the advantages a transition to a low carbon economy would bring to the country.

At the launch of the Glasgow Finance Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) campaign in Brazil, Mr Sharma set out the vital role finance has in the transition to net zero emissions by the middle of the century. Financial institutions and asset managers came together to commit to net zero at this event, with Mr Sharma urging even more Brazilian Private Finance Institutions to join the campaign.

Momentum is building in Brazil for an economy-wide shift towards net zero. In a meeting with Brazilian states, municipalities and businesses, Mr Sharma thanked the leadership of these actors so far and encouraged those who have not yet done so to join the Race to Zero campaign. Mr Sharma also spoke with businesses including CEOs from Klabin and Suzano, and members of civil society to discuss the benefits that a net zero future offers.

On his second day of the visit, Mr Sharma spoke in Brasilia at the Brazil Energy Prosperity Programme, with Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Bento de Albuquerque. The Programme is a crucial example of UK-Brazil cooperation and Mr Sharma said that it is a vital part of Brazil’s transition to clean energy, supporting work on offshore wind, waste to energy, biofuels and others.

I have been pleased to be back in Brazil to speak with Ministers on the delivery of their COP26 commitments, which include halving emissions by 2030 on the path to net zero by 2050 and annual targets to reduce deforestation.

2022 is the year to turn commitments made in Glasgow into action and Brazil has an important role in delivering these commitments, as custodians of large parts of the Amazon rainforest and as a member of the G20. Setting out a long term strategy and implementation plan to get to net zero will be important on the road to COP27.

The transition to clean, resilient net zero economies is accelerating around the world and private sector innovation, expertise and finance is critical to help us plug the gap to meet this challenge.

It is encouraging to see the increasing number of net zero pledges being made by Brazilian businesses and I urge all companies in Brazil, and around the world, to join the Race to Zero campaign and the Glasgow Finance Alliance for Net Zero to demonstrate their commitment to green growth.

COP26 President Alok Sharma
A person walking along a ruined flooded road leading to an island in the Gulf of Mexico

28.02.2022

Joint Statement UK-Egypt-UNFCCC

Response to IPCC Working Group 2 Report

We thank the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its authors for the latest volume of their 6th Assessment Report published today – Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.

Today’s report shows that the impacts of climate change are already with us  and will affect us more severely than previously thought, with the most vulnerable being hardest hit. Human health and livelihoods are being devastated, unique ecosystems are being irreparably damaged, and many species have  become extinct. Although the report indicates that adaptation action is taking place in all regions of the world, our attempts at adapting to climate change impacts have fallen short. Adaptation limits have already been reached in places across the globe and more will emerge as temperatures rise especially if 1.5°C of global warming is exceeded. Yet, despite a narrowing window for action, the report gives cause for hope.  With a decisive and immediate response, bringing transformational adaptation together with rapid mitigation led by countries’ plans, we can create a climate resilient society, with benefits for all. 

As the COP26 and COP27 Presidencies and UNFCCC secretariat, we are committed to furthering climate action which responds to the science.  We must collectively deliver on the Paris Agreement including through the Glasgow Climate Pact, and countries must further strengthen their pledges and urgently implement them at scale in Sharm el-Sheikh and beyond.  Developed countries must follow through on their commitment to at least double their climate finance for adaptation to developing countries by 2025 aiming at achieving balance between funding for adaptation and mitigation.  The world must make concrete and substantive progress on the Glasgow-Sharm el-Sheikh work programme to implement the Global Goal on Adaptation. We must also act with urgency to put in place the technical and financial support to deal with loss and damage, including through the Santiago Network and Glasgow Dialogue. We must urgently accelerate our efforts to keep 1.5 in reach through revisiting and strengthening 2030 targets, delivering support, investment and employment opportunities. 

We all must respond to this report by collectively honouring the commitments made under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, delivering on the Glasgow Climate Pact now and through COP27 and beyond to ensure we can build a sustainable, climate resilient world.

Signed:

Alok Sharma, COP President

Sameh Shoukry, COP 27 President Designate

Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary

22.02.2022

COP President’s letter of appointment to the co-chairs of the ad hoc work programme on the new collective quantified goal on climate finance

5 minute read

To: Ms. Federica Fricano, Mr. Kishan Kumarsingh

Pursuant to the CMA.3 decision relating to the new collective quantified goal on climate finance and consultations held by my team since COP26, I am writing to appoint you to serve as the first co-chairs for the ad hoc work programme on the new goal throughout the UK’s Presidency year.

The decision made in Glasgow concerning the new goal outlines at a high-level how Parties will conduct their deliberations over the next three years in order to set the goal in 2024. The period between now and then provides a historic opportunity for the global community to agree a goal which is fit for purpose for mobilising the finance needed to deliver on the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Climate Pact and in so doing accelerate global climate action. 

The work you will facilitate as co-chairs  over the coming year will play a formative role in this crucial process. Its results will provide the technical basis for the political deliberations that will set the direction for future discussions and, ultimately, agree the goal itself under the CMA.  

In addition to our extensive engagement with Parties on the issue of deliberations on the new goal over the past two years, the COP26 Presidency has also engaged widely with development finance institutions, civil society, including youth, gender, and indigenous peoples constituencies, and the private sector. These stakeholders have a huge amount of knowledge and experience, which should continue to usefully enrich deliberations going forward. I encourage you to ensure that Parties are able to benefit from these insights throughout your work.

Drawing from that engagement, and as you work with the UNFCCC secretariat to organise the work programme, I would like to take this opportunity to emphasise several important elements for you to bear in mind: 

  • Inclusive participation: before and at COP26, we heard a clear and consistent message from Parties and non-Party stakeholders that deliberations should be conducted in an open and inclusive manner. It will be your role as co-chairs to ensure that space is provided in deliberations under the work programme for a wide-range of voices and perspectives to be heard.
  • Broad-based inputs: in line with the decision taken at CMA.3, you should organise your work in a way that actively seeks inputs from a wide range of sources and stakeholders from inside and outside the UNFCCC process, including current or future relevant initiatives. 
  • Substantive topics: it was also clear in Glasgow that Parties expect the deliberations to be rooted in the parameters set out in the previous mandates concerning the new goal, in particular the decisions pertaining to the goal made in Paris and Katowice, as well as the one made in Glasgow. 

For completeness, I have annexed to this letter a document with further details on each of these key points.

I recently set out the UK Presidency’s priorities going forward across a number of areas. As the COP President, I am clear that the successful implementation of this work programme is key to delivering what was agreed at COP26. Its outcomes will be integral for achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. I therefore ask that, in taking on this role, you provide regular updates on your work and the work programme’s progress to the Presidency team throughout the year. My team look forward to working closely with you and colleagues in the UNFCCC secretariat to support the delivery of your work. As we approach COP27, I also request that you work closely with the incoming Egyptian COP Presidency team to help ensure successful discussions in Sharm El Sheikh. 

COP26 demonstrated that the world can work together to improve our common future, to address major global challenges and to seize opportunities. I believe that you as co-chairs are well placed to ensure that this work programme can build on that legacy, creating the space for collective self-interest to turbocharge a truly global transition. 

Yours sincerely,

The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP

COP President

Annex – Key points for the organisation of the ad hoc work programme on the new collective quantified goal on climate finance

Inclusive participation

Before and at COP26, we heard a clear and consistent message from Parties and non-Party stakeholders that deliberations should be conducted in an open and inclusive manner. It will be your role as co-chairs to ensure that space is provided in deliberations under the work programme for a wide-range of voices and perspectives to be heard. As such, I ask you to work with the UNFCCC Secretariat to ensure that the four technical expert dialogues to be organised this year are as representative and inclusive as possible, making full use of in-person and virtual facilities as appropriate. Furthermore, I would encourage you to consider undertaking your own additional outreach to Parties and negotiating groups in order to better understand their perspectives.

Broad-based inputs

In previous discussions about the new goal, we have also heard about the wealth of expertise, literature, and evidence that exists with regards to financing climate action. You should organise your work in a way that allows you to build on this knowledge and any current or future relevant initiatives, actively seeking inputs from a wide range of sources and stakeholders from inside and outside the UNFCCC process, in line with the decision taken at CMA.3. The COP26 Presidency is encouraging as wide a range of relevant organisations as possible to respond to the calls for submissions made in the Glasgow decision. You as co-chairs should do the same. The Glasgow decision also notes the importance of regular consultations with the constituted bodies. I believe it will also be important for you to engage regularly with the other UNFCCC processes and work programmes active during this year (particularly the Standing Committee on Finance and the co-chairs of the Global Stocktake’s technical assessment), to ensure complementarity and join up discussions about finance.

Substantive topics 

It was also clear in Glasgow that Parties expect the deliberations to be rooted in the parameters set out in the previous mandates concerning the new goal, in particular the decisions pertaining to the goal made in Paris and Katowice (Decision 1/CP.21, paragraph 53 and Decision 14/CMA.1). As we summarised in our informal notes issued with the COP25 Presidency ahead of COP26, these include, inter alia, that: 

  • the new goal should be from a floor of USD 100 billion per year in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency of implementation; 
  • the new goal must take into account the needs and priorities of developing countries; 
  • the deliberations on the new goal must consider the aim to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development; 
  • as part of a global effort, developed country Parties should continue to take the lead in mobilising climate finance from a wide variety of sources, instruments and channels, noting the significant role of public funds, through a variety of actions, including support for country-driven strategies; and 
  • the future mobilisation of climate finance should represent a progression beyond previous efforts. 

Additionally, through the decision taken in Glasgow, Parties were clear that consideration of the new goal should include quantity, quality, scope and access features, as well as sources of funding, of the goal. There should also be consideration of  transparency arrangements to track progress towards achievement of the goal. This is of course without prejudice to other elements that will also be considered as the deliberations evolve in the coming years. 

Image of COP President Alok Sharma

24.01.2022

COP President Alok Sharma outlines Presidency aims for the coming year

10 minute read

Mr Sharma’s speech at Chatham House as we build on the success and commitments made in Glasgow.

Thank you Professor Benton for that kind introduction, and thank you to Chatham House for hosting me today.

Around the world, 2021 saw troops mobilise, violence erupt, and relations between old friends and allies strained.

Wars, dragged mercilessly on, and tensions mounted between some of the world’s great powers.

All around us we saw a fractured and fractious world, as the pandemic continued to cause devastation across the globe.

Yet, in a temporary structure on the banks of the River Clyde, 197 countries came together, at COP26.

They committed to take action on climate.

And they forged the Glasgow Climate Pact.

They did this because they broadly recognised three truths.

Truths which impact every country on earth.

Truths which should be uncontroversial, though some still seek to undermine them.

First, that this planet is our only home and we are in danger of destroying it.

The science is clear, human activity is responsible for our changing climate.

Second, that inaction or delayed action on climate will create immense risks and costs,and populations across the world demand leaders to respond – and to respond now.

And third, alongside the invaluable environmental dividend, there is an economic dividend to be reaped from tackling climate change, a fact recognised by global business and finance.

In short, climate is a space where national and global interests align.

And as a result, leaders recognised that despite other differences, cooperation at COP26 was in our collective self-interest.

Twelve weeks on from the start of that summit, those same leaders who came to Glasgow have a choice to make.

And it is one made in full knowledge of its consequences.

Do they match the powerful rhetoric we heard, with concrete action?

Do they honour the promises made in Glasgow?

Or do they allow our success to wither on the vine?

I believe the collective self-interest that helped COP26 to succeed must now drive us to nurture the spirit of global cooperation forged in Glasgow, and honour the Glasgow Climate Pact.

That is the essence of the argument I want to make today.

And I want to set out how the UK will work over our COP26 Presidency year to keep the world on course.

First however, I want to unpack that central idea, that collective self-interest led to success at Glasgow.

In 2015, countries came together and formed the Paris Agreement.

And in it they agreed to limit global heating to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century, pursuing efforts to limit this rise to 1.5 degrees.

Yet in August last year, the IPCC published its sixth Assessment Report on the physical science of climate change, the findings of which are based on the distillation of 14,000 scientific papers and agreed by 195 countries.

That report concluded that we have already reached average global warming of 1.1 degrees, that human activity is unequivocally to blame, and that we were on track to breach the 1.5 degrees limit within two decades.

So when we arrived in Glasgow, it was clear that COP26 was our last best hope of keeping that 1.5 degree limit within reach.

Leaders understood that.

And they could see the effects of our warming world around them.

Last year we saw devastating floods across Asia and Europe.

Wildfires rage in the USA and Australia.

And reports of storms, cyclones and record-breaking temperatures were everywhere.

And the science is very clear, the higher temperatures rise the worse the situation will become, and every country will suffer the consequences.

Climate change does not recognise borders.

At 1.5 degrees warming 700 million people across the world will experience extreme heat.

At 2 degrees, it will be 2 billion.

We also know that there are what our hosts, Chatham House, call the “systemic cascading risks” of global heating.

These are the knock-on-effects resulting from climate impacts, such as food and water insecurity, pests and diseases, and the loss of lives, livelihoods and infrastructure.

Indeed in one of its recent reports, Chatham House makes the case that such factors could, ultimately, displace people, disrupt markets, undermine political stability, and exacerbate conflict.

Where people’s ability to feed their families becomes precarious and extreme weather and diseases wipe out livelihoods, people may be forced from their homes, and civil unrest may ferment, events that can undermine fragile government, and reverberate around the globe.

It is because climate is central to geopolitics, that the UK’s Integrated Review established tackling climate change and biodiversity loss as the UK’s top international priority.

But this is as much a question of economics as security.

Climate change also threatens catastrophic economic damage, just as we are repairing the harm inflicted by the pandemic.

Lord Stern and others have described how climate change will damage the productive capacity of the world economy, harming natural, human, and physical capital.

And ultimately it will disrupt the trade that criss-crosses the planet and restrain the global economy’s ability to grow.

Back in 2006, the Stern Review estimated that unmitigated climate change could incur costs equivalent to wiping as much as 20 percent off global GDP every year.

And here in the UK, last year, the Office for Budget Responsibility projected that unchecked climate change could lead to public debt reaching a staggering 289 percent of GDP by the end of the century.

This is a result of coping with extreme weather at home and the knock-on effects of even greater damage in hotter countries.

Anyone who believes in fiscal responsibility should baulk at the idea that we would laden future generations with such unsustainable levels of avoidable debt.

By contrast the OBR estimates that if we act now, the transition to net zero could add around 21% of GDP to government debt by mid-century.

Though policy choices could reduce this figure, and I would add that it includes investments with long term benefits.

Given the impacts of global heating, it is not surprising that people around the world are demanding action, as I have heard first-hand from civil society and young people across the globe.

Last year, a survey of over a million people in 50 countries found that almost two-thirds described climate change as an “emergency”.

Research published last September found that almost 60% of young people globally felt that governments were, and I quote, “betraying me and future generations.”

And I am certain that the unrelenting calls from civil society for leaders to act, helped to focus minds in Glasgow.

Just as the science has become starker, the risks have become clearer, and the calls to action have grown louder, the opportunities presented by tackling climate change are increasingly evident.

Net zero is one of the clearest economic trends there has ever been.

It is vast in scope, encompassing every country and every sector.

And it represents an enormous economic opportunity.

One that is being seized by companies, by countries and by financial institutions around the world.

I have travelled on a prototype hydrogen bus in India.

I have witnessed agricultural innovation, to reduce emissions and boost productivity, in Brazil.

I have met communities in Kenya connected to reliable power for the first time, thanks to solar.

And around the world, markets are on the move.

The amount of power generated by solar and wind has increased close to seven-fold in a decade.

Internationally, the coal power pipeline has reduced over 75 percent since 2015.

And, domestically the answer to cutting emissions, keeping bills under control and ensuring security of supply, is to continue to build out our world-leading offshore wind sector and invest in nuclear and hydrogen, as the government is doing.

Major car manufacturers such as General Motors, Volvo and JLR have committed all of their new car sales being zero-emissions by 2035 or earlier.

Financial institutions with over $130 trillion dollars of assets on their balance sheets have committed to stringent net zero targets through the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero.

And over 60% of the UK FTSE100 companies have done the same through the Race to Zero campaign.

As the CEO of a major multi-national said to me recently: a few years ago a corporate was considered an outlier if it was setting out plans to go to net zero, now they are an outlier if they’re not.

An explanation for this was set out clearly in a letter last week from Larry Fink, to the Chief Executives of companies in which Blackrock invests.

He wrote, and I quote:

“It’s been two years since I wrote that climate risk is investment risk.

And in that short period, we have seen a tectonic shift of capital.

Sustainable investments have now reached 4 trillion dollars.

Actions and ambitions towards de-carbonization have also increased.

This is just the beginning – the tectonic shift towards sustainable investing is still accelerating.

Every company and every industry will be transformed by the transition to a net zero world.

The question is, will you lead, or will you be led?”

I agree – that is indeed the question for business.

Clean is competitive.

And the global race to supply the technologies and solutions a net-zero world needs is on.

The train is pulling out of the station and countries and companies that want to remain competitive need to leap on now.

We know too that the move to green economies creates good green jobs.

The International Energy Agency has estimated that about 30 million new workers are needed by 2030 to meet increased demand in the clean economy.

The International Labour Organisation has projected that, in the transition to a low-carbon economy, some sectors could see four times more jobs created than there are lost.

And there is a clear economic case to adapt to climate change, to protect people and nature from its effects.

The UN Environment Programme, for example, estimates that investing in measures like early warning systems and flood defences, could yield over four times the return in avoided costs and social and environmental benefits.

What I came to understand from the numerous conversations I held with leaders and ministers over the past two years, is that countries recognise all of this.

They can see domestically what is happening to their climate and its consequences.

The science has hit home.

The risks have resonated.

And the opportunities are increasingly clear.

And as a result, a collective self-interest emerged.

All countries saw that it was in their interests to come to Glasgow, to cooperate and to keep the 1.5 limit alive.

And we did keep 1.5 alive, thanks to what we achieved both in and outside the negotiating rooms.

Ahead of the summit a number of countries, though not enough, came forward with enhanced emissions reduction commitments, or NDCs, showing the Paris Agreement is working.

And at COP26 itself almost 200 countries came together and agreed the historic Glasgow Climate Pact.

In doing so they demonstrated that climate can create a space for co-operation amidst a splintered global politics, that the world can work together to improve our common future, to address major global challenges and to seize opportunities.

The Glasgow Climate Pact recognises the science.

It calls on countries to phase-down unabated coal power and phase-out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

It requests countries to revisit and strengthen their 2030 emissions reduction targets, as necessary, to align with the Paris temperature goal by the end of this year.

And it contains ambitious text on loss and damage.

It commits us to rapidly scale up climate finance and to double finance for adaptation by 2025.

And of course, we finalised the Paris Rulebook, the rules governing the Paris Agreement, the thorniest issues of which had remained unresolved since 2015.

Outside the negotiations, we heard commitments from countries, business and finance to clean up sectors like power and road transport, to put an end to deforestation, to accelerate the pace of new technologies, and to support developing countries.

For example, 34 countries and five public finance institutions committed to stop international support for the fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022.

I thank all the CEOs and business owners, from the FTSE 100 to the SMEs, whose firms came forward with commitments, as well as our COP partners, some of whom are here with us today.

What we achieved together in Glasgow was significant.

When my team and I established priorities in 2020, with the support of our Friends of COP group, we questioned whether we were setting ourselves up to fail.

And indeed, some thought we were.

I have to tell you, I was advised that the chances of completing the Paris Rulebook were pretty slim; after all, completion had eluded the world for a full six years.

When my team and I were deliberating on whether we should aim to consign coal power to history, I was warned we would never get the word “coal” in a COP text.

Yet every country at COP has agreed to phase-down coal power.

And we can confidently say that 2021 was the year that killed-off international public financing of coal power.

Under the UK and Italy’s G7 and G20, respective presidencies, we committed to end new international coal power financing by the end of 2021.

And a transformation is now afoot around the world.

Last week I spoke with a Minister from a country that wasn’t even talking about coal a year ago.

Now they are saying no to new coal power.

Many doubted we would see a shift of this sort.

Yet we delivered on our Glasgow goals.

And we were able to do so because of the trust between countries that we had worked so hard to build, as a presidency.

I spent much of last year building relationships.

We held meetings in person ahead of COP, despite the pandemic.

And to ensure this was a truly shared endeavour, we asked individual Ministers from governments around the world to lead on critical negotiating issues.

The Glasgow Climate Pact is a product of international cooperation and a practical demonstration of Global Britain in action.

And the climate attaches in the UK diplomatic network played a vital role, just as they will throughout this year.

All in all, 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.

So my absolute focus for the UK Presidency year is delivery.

I am under no illusions as to the scale of the task we face, the difficult choices which countries must make, and the challenge we have as a presidency, now that the lights have faded on the global stage in Glasgow.

Working with Egypt, we must maintain the urgency and the energy as we approach COP27 in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

Just as leaders understood that it was in our collective self-interests to come together and forge the Glasgow Climate Pact, so that same collective interest should spur us to deliver at COP27.

That will become increasingly clear over 2022 and beyond, as renewable prices fall further, the risks and opportunities become more apparent, and the science grows starker.

And new reports from the IPCC this year will show the monumental risk that we face.

So action must begin now.

It is precisely 12 weeks since world leaders held their summit in Glasgow.

Where they listened as Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados told us that a 2 degrees world is “a death sentence”.

Where leaders sat in compassionate silence at the request of youth activist Elizabeth Wathuti, who asked them to think of those whose stories are not heard and whose suffering is not felt.

Where Sir David Attenborough inspired the world with his message that “our motivation should not be fear, but hope.”

It is now time to honour our promises.

To build on the trust and consensus generated in Glasgow and deliver, with integrity.

That requires action on both a domestic and international level.

We need every country to play its part, and honour the promises they have made.

But we must also work together.

By aligning efforts internationally countries can accelerate the pace of technological change, increase incentives for investment, and innovate faster.

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

At COP26, for instance, we launched the South Africa Just Energy Transition Partnership, through which countries have come together to mobilise an initial $8.5 billion dollars.

And through international fora, we can set direction and spur action, as we did ahead of Glasgow, at the G7 and the G20.

So the UK presidency will both urge countries to act individually, and encourage cooperation.

And we will do so around four key priorities.

First, to ensure that countries reduce emissions, as promised, and go further, 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.

The G20 is my personal priority here given that they are responsible for 80 percent of global emissions.

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.

In all of this we will work hand-in-hand with our COP27 Partner, Egypt and support the holder of COP28, the UAE, both of which I visited earlier in the month.

And we will learn from the success of Glasgow, continuing to build trust and relationships, working through international fora, and continuing to engage with civil society and young people.

These are ambitious plans for our presidency year. And rightly so.

Because as Margaret Thatcher, one of the first major international leaders to sound the alarm on climate change, argued in 1989:

“The environmental challenge which confronts the whole world demands an equivalent response from the whole world. Every country will be affected and no one can opt out.”

Her words are as true today as they were then, more than thirty years ago.

What has changed in that time, is the extent of our knowledge and the urgency of our task.

Such awareness has given rise to a collective self-interest, powerful enough to deliver international consensus in a fractured world.

The question now is whether, in full knowledge of the consequences, we chose to squander or realise that gain.

The answer should be obvious.

After what was, frankly an exhausting year, I settled down to catch-up on some popular culture over Christmas.

Like many others, I watched ‘Don’t Look Up’.

The final line has stayed with me:

“We really did have everything, didn’t we?”

We do have everything.

And we must not throw it away.

There is no more time to: ‘sit tight and assess’.

We must deliver.

Together.

Now.

Thank you.


Ends.

16.01.2022

COP President visits Egypt and United Arab Emirates to build on momentum from COP26 for global climate action

In his first visits as COP President, Alok Sharma has today [Sunday 16 January 2022] concluded a constructive visit to Egypt and will now travel to the United Arab Emirates, with the countries hosts of COP27 and COP28 respectively.

  • COP President Alok Sharma visits Egypt and UAE, hosts of COP27 and COP28
  • First in series of engagements between countries to build on momentum from COP26
  • Expansion of initiative to support promising climate projects also announced by Mr Sharma in Egypt

COP President Alok Sharma has today concluded a constructive visit to Egypt and will now travel to the United Arab Emirates, with the countries hosting the next two UN Climate Summits.

These are Mr Sharma’s first visits following COP26 in Glasgow, underlining the importance of building strong partnerships with the COP27 and COP28 hosts. This will culminate in a meeting between Egypt, UAE and UK in Abu Dhabi, the first of a series of engagements between the countries ahead of COP27 and COP28.

Whilst in Cairo, Mr Sharma met a wide range of Government Ministers, including Prime Minister Madbouly and Egypt’s COP President-Designate, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. Together they issued a UK-Egypt Joint Statement which affirms their joint commitment to accelerating the fight against climate change during this critical decade.

They also agreed to continue building a partnership in 2022 that aligns priorities and plans, secures the legacy of the Glasgow Climate Pact and delivers impact and progress on the Paris Agreement goals, in Sharm el Sheikh at COP27. This means ensuring all parties meet their commitments across mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and finance.

The COP President also announced the expansion of the UK Government’s ‘Climate Finance Accelerator’ Programme to Egypt. Already successfully operating in six countries, the initiative will provide capacity-building support to promising climate projects in Egypt so that they become more bankable and appealing to investors, and can secure funding more readily.

On his final day in Egypt, Mr Sharma discussed the role of the private sector in building on COP26 to achieve success at COP27, meeting with business leaders pursuing green initiatives in Egypt.

COP President Alok Sharma said:

COP26 was a historic, collective achievement. We kept the goal of limiting average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees in reach and made progress on finance for climate action, adaptation and loss and damage, which will benefit countries across both Africa and the MENA region.

I look forward to working with Egypt and UAE as hosts of COP27 and COP28 respectively on the climate agenda. The UK will give its full support to Egypt in delivering an ambitious COP this November which ensures urgently delivering for those most vulnerable to climate change.

We all need to make further progress in 2022 and especially on delivering the $100 billion of finance and addressing investment needs in the most climate vulnerable countries. This will build on the Glasgow Climate Pact and secure a better future for us all.

An important focus for COP27 and COP28 will be the completion of the first Global Stocktake. This will be a key part of assessing progress made by nations in implementing the Paris Agreement and setting out a clear roadmap towards achieving it. This formally began at COP26 and will conclude at COP28

The UK is keen to share experiences of hosting a large international summit with Egypt and the UAE and the COP President has highlighted the COVID-19 testing procedures for providing a safe experience for all delegates at the recent COP26 gathering and collaboration with civil society.

The COP President will now travel to the United Arab Emirates to see preparations for COP28 that will be staged in 2023 and will meet key government ministers, including the recently appointed Minister of Climate Change and Environment, HE Mariam Al Mheiri and UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change HE Dr. Sultan Al Jaber.

Mr Sharma has been invited to take part in Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which gets underway tomorrow (Monday 17 January). The COP President will be involved in helping the UAE to illustrate its intentions for hosting COP28 and delivering on their climate commitments made over the last 12 months.

Hosting the next two COPs in the Middle East and North Africa will enable the region to showcase to the world their innovative and profitable solutions which include renewable and low carbon energy, zero emissions transport, the role of nature based solutions and the role of smart agriculture.

For example, the UAE continues to break records by reducing the costs of solar energy year after year and is delivering energy security through nuclear energy, all of which makes clean energy a more affordable option than fossil fuels.

British Ambassador to Egypt, Gareth Bayley said:

I am delighted that Mr Sharma has visited Egypt so soon after COP26. The strong bilateral relationship between the UK and Egypt will help sustain global momentum on climate change. I am particularly pleased that Mr Sharma launched our ‘Climate Finance Accelerator’ programme, which I hope will generate a series of inspiring low carbon investment opportunities in Egypt. It is this combination of public and private sector action which will help us avert a climate disaster.I look forward to working with Egypt and UAE as hosts of COP27 and COP28 respectively on the climate agenda. The UK will give its full support to Egypt in delivering an ambitious COP this November which ensures urgently delivering for those most vulnerable to climate change.

Local delivery is central to the CFA approach and the Embassy team is looking forward to working with the local delivery partners once they have been appointed.

British Ambassador to the UAE, Patrick Moody said:

I am delighted that Mr Sharma has visited Egypt so soon after COP26. The strong bilateral relationship between the UK and Egypt will help sustain global momentum on climate change. I am particularly pleased that Mr Sharma launched our ‘Climate Finance Accelerator’ programme, which I hope will generate a series of inspiring low carbon investment opportunities in Egypt. It is this combination of public and private sector action which will help us avert a climate disaster.I look forward to working with Egypt and UAE as hosts of COP27 and COP28 respectively on the climate agenda. The UK will give its full support to Egypt in delivering an ambitious COP this November which ensures urgently delivering for those most vulnerable to climate change.

Local delivery is central to the CFA approach and the Embassy team is looking forward to working with the local delivery partners once they have been appointed.

Notes to Editors

Egypt-UK Joint Statement

  • The Egypt-UK Joint Statement following the meeting between Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and COP27 President Designate H.E. Sameh Shoukry, Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Egypt’s Minister of Environment and COP27 Ministerial Coordinator and Envoy, and COP26 President Minister Alok Sharma can be found on GOV.UK.

UK International Climate Finance (ICF)

  • Mobilising finance to support the low-carbon transition is one of the four key goals for the UK’s COP26 Presidency this year.
  • Through International Climate Finance (ICF) the UK supports developing countries as they seek to mitigate against and adapt to the impacts of climate change, while reducing their emissions. It is a vital tool in the Government’s commitment to tackle climate change internationally and has committed to spend at least £11.6 billion of climate finance between 2021 and 2025.
  • Through ICF, the UK is committed to work in partnership and support the development of a high-performing and climate-resilient economy in Egypt. Further information about UK ICF can be found in this booklet.

Climate Finance Accelerator (CFA)

  • The CFA is a technical assistance programme funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Following a pilot in Colombia, Mexico and Nigeria it launched in November 2020. The programme will work closely with eight countries, which are eligible for UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) and support them to develop a sustainable pipeline of bankable, low-carbon projects and identify suitable financing options.
  • The programme will also contribute to embedding a permanent process in each country to identify financing for low-carbon projects. This will support countries’ efforts to implement their NDCs, raise their overall climate ambition, and contribute to equity and social inclusion.
  • The CFA programme is managed by local partners in each country. It works by building the skills of project developers and potential investors to respectively attract and supply funding for low-carbon development projects.
  • By enabling the funding of low-carbon projects, the CFA can play a part in supporting a greener recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The CFA will promote sustainable growth and green development and support those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

  • ADSW is hosted by Masdar annually. In 2022, ADSW intends to explore, through a series of high-level virtual events, opportunities for accelerating global collaboration and leadership, economic development, and technology and innovation.
  • ADSW 2022 intends to follow the outcomes of COP26, where the world will reevaluate the roadmaps required to meet the binding targets required to mitigate climate change. The week is the first global event of the year, where policy makers, business leaders and technology pioneers can come together to turn ambition into action.
  • UK participation demonstrates our commitment to work with and support future COP Presidencies to progress the historic commitments made at COP26. This reinforces the intent of the Memorandum of Understanding Rt Hon James Cleverly MP signed with HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber on UK-UAE Climate and Environment Collaboration in September 2021.
SEC Armadillo Building

13.11.2021

COP President Concluding Media Statement

5 minute read

Alok Sharma addresses media as COP26 concludes.

I am very pleased to say that we now have in place the Glasgow Climate Pact, agreed amongst all the Parties here.

I am really pleased that this has been delivered. It is down to the hard work of the UK team; the hard work of all the Parties; the great cooperation that we have seen from all negotiators, and from all ministers; and right at the start of the summit, world leaders came out and set out what they wanted delivered out of this event.

I would say, however, that this is a fragile win. We have kept 1.5 alive. That was our overarching objective when we set off on this journey two years ago, taking on the role of the COP presidency-designate.

But I would still say that the pulse of 1.5 is weak. 

That is why, whilst we have reached, I do believe, a historic agreement. What this will be judged on, is not just the fact that countries have signed up, but on whether they meet and deliver on the commitments.

During our Presidency year, which started at the start of this summit, we will ensure that we work really closely to ensure that the commitments that have been set out are being delivered by countries.

And we will work in partnership with all of them.

Collectively we have got this over the line.

I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped with this.

But as I say, the hard work starts now.

Thank you.


Ends.

COP26 Blue Zone interior

13.11.2021

COP26 keeps 1.5C alive and finalises Paris Agreement

  • COP26 ends with global agreement to accelerate action on climate this decade
  • Two weeks of intense negotiations finally complete the Paris Rulebook 
  • For the first time COP agrees position on phasing down unabated coal power
  • The Glasgow Climate Pact caps two years of diplomacy and ambition raising 

COP26 has today concluded in Glasgow with nearly 200 countries agreeing the Glasgow Climate Pact to keep 1.5C alive and finalise the outstanding elements of the Paris Agreement. 

Climate negotiators ended two weeks of intense talks on Saturday with consensus on urgently accelerating climate action. 

The Glasgow Climate Pact, combined with increased ambition and action from countries, means that 1.5C remains in sight, but it will only be delivered with concerted and immediate global efforts. 

The Glasgow Climate Pact will speed up the pace of climate action. All countries agreed to revisit and strengthen their current emissions targets to 2030, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in 2022. This will be combined with a yearly political roundtable to consider a global progress report and a Leaders summit in 2023.

The Paris Rulebook, the guidelines for how the Paris Agreement is delivered, was also completed today after six years of discussions. This will allow for the full delivery of the landmark accord, after agreement on a transparency process which will hold countries to account as they deliver on their targets. This includes Article 6, which establishes a robust framework for countries to exchange carbon credits through the UNFCCC.

And for the first time, heeding calls from civil society and countries most vulnerable to climate impacts, the COP agreed action on phasing down fossil fuels. 

COP decisions went further than ever before in recognising and addressing loss and damage from the existing impacts of climate change. 

There were also commitments to significantly increase financial support through the Adaptation Fund as developed countries were urged to double their support to developing countries by 2025. 

The final COP26 text follows two years of intense diplomacy and campaigning undertaken by the UK Presidency to raise ambition and secure action from almost 200 countries. 

Work focussed on driving short term reduction of emissions to limit temperature rises to 1.5C, mobilising both public and private finance, and supporting communities to adapt to climate impacts. 

When the UK took on the COP26 mantle, in partnership with Italy, nearly two years ago, only 30% of the world was covered by net zero targets. This figure is now at around 90%. Over the same period, 154 Parties have submitted new national targets, representing 80% of global emissions. 

The UK Presidency has also been focused on driving action to deliver emissions reductions. We have seen a huge shift in coal, with many more countries committing to phase out unabated coal power and ending international coal financing.  

Alongside this, we have seen a marked commitment to protect precious natural habitats, with 90% of the world’s forests covered by a pledge from 130 countries to end deforestation by 2030. 

While on the world’s roads, the transition to zero emissions vehicles is gathering pace, with some of the largest car manufacturers working together to make all new car sales zero emission by 2040 and by 2035 in leading markets. Countries and cities are following suit with ambitious petrol and diesel car phaseout dates.

Current policies would leave us on a path to a devastating temperature rise. But work done by independent experts Climate Action Tracker show that with the full implementation of the fresh collective commitments could hold temperature rise to 1.8C. 

Even with the action committed both during and before COP26, communities around the world will continue to feel the impact of our changing planet. 

Reflecting on the task ahead, COP26 President Alok Sharma said:

We can now say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees alive. But, its pulse is weak and it will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action. I am grateful to the UNFCCC for working with us to deliver a successful COP26.

From here, we must now move forward together and deliver on the expectations set out in the Glasgow Climate Pact, and close the vast gap which remains. Because as Prime Minister Mia Mottley told us at the start of this conference, for Barbados and other small island states, ‘two degrees is a death sentence’.

It is up to all of us to sustain our lodestar of keeping 1.5 degrees within reach and to continue our efforts to get finance flowing and boost adaptation. After the collective dedication which has delivered the Glasgow Climate Pact, our work here cannot be wasted.

Notes to editors

Read the full texts on the UNFCCC website.

13.11.2021

COP26 President remarks at closing plenary

5 minute read

Alok Sharma’s remarks at the COP26 Closing Plenary.

Dear Friends,

After two years of incredibly hard work we have our Glasgow Climate Pact.

This is down to each and every one of you and your teams.

Your hard work, your dedication, your willingness to build consensus.

I thank you all, and your teams, for your extraordinary and heroic efforts. 

I also want to thank my own incredible team for the past two years, and all the work that has gone into making this conference happen.

I also thank our Observers, civil society and young people, for keeping up the pressure,

for constantly reminding us,

that communities around the world expected us to deliver here in Glasgow. 

And I thank those most climate vulnerable Parties who never let us forget what is at stake. 

Parties whose people are already suffering the worst effects of climate change and whose moral authority has powered this process forward. 

Together, over these two weeks, Parties have demonstrated what the world had come to doubt, 

that countries can rise above their differences to unite against a common challenge, 

that this multilateral process can deliver. 

I know that some Parties have sacrificed wording they held dear for the sake of a balanced outcome. 

I thank them for doing so. 

Just as I thank Parties that have held their nerve under pressure so we can deliver a strong final text. 

I think we can all be proud of what, collectively, we have delivered. 

The decisions we have adopted are part of a broader package, which includes what we have achieved together outside these negotiating halls, 

on nationally determined contributions, adaptation plans, and finance pledges. 

Not to mention our coalitions on coals and forests and cars  and the work of the High Level Champions. 

Taken together this Package charts a course for the world to deliver on the promises made in Paris. 

This Glasgow Climate Pact drives action on adaptation. 

It emphasises the need to act, 

it sets a clear way forward on the Global Goal on Adaptation, 

and it urges developed countries to at least double their collective climate finance for adaptation by 2025.

It operationalises the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage, finally giving that issue the focus and attention it deserves. 

It commits to urgently scale up finance, which is the foundation for faster action and confidence we can go further.

And it sets out actions to empower and engage all of society in driving forward this transition. 

Collectively, we have acknowledged that a gulf remains between short term targets, and what is needed to meet the Paris temperature goal. 

And so our Pact brings Parties back to the table next year to improve their commitments, to drive up ambition across this vital decade. 

And it emphasises the urgent need to accelerate our efforts to turn targets into action to keep 1.5 within reach. 

That work must start now. 

We have also, for the first time, adopted text to scale up clean power and phase down dirty coal.  

And after no less than six years of discussions, we have concluded on those final parts of the Paris Agreement Rulebook, on Article 6, on Common Timeframes, and on transparency.

These put in place the rules and systems to keep us accountable and support increased ambition. 

Their resolution will unleash the full force of what was agreed in Paris.

This is real progress in keeping 1.5 degrees within reach. 

Progress we have made together. 

But the need for continual action and implementation, to match ambition, must continue throughout the decade. 

Today, we can say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees within reach. 

But, its pulse is weak. 

And it will only survive if we keep our promises. If we translate commitments into rapid action. 

If we deliver on the expectations set out in this  Glasgow Climate Pact to increase ambition to 2030 and beyond. 

And if we close the vast gap that remains, as we must. 

Because as Prime Minister Mia Mottley told us at the start of this conference, for Barbados and other small island states, “two degrees is a death sentence”.

Friends, it is up to all of us to sustain our lodestar of keeping 1.5 degrees within reach.  

To continue our efforts to get finance flowing and boost adaptation. 

After the collective dedication which has delivered the Glasgow Climate Pact,

our work here cannot be wasted. 

The drive towards 1.5, for a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous and more resilient world must continue. 

And we must continue that together.

At the start of this summit the world was asking,

Do the parties assembled here in Glasgow have the courage to rise to the scale of the challenge?

My friends, you have responded.

We have responded.

History has been made here in Glasgow.

We must now ensure that the next chapter charts the success of the commitments we have solemnly made together in the Glasgow Climate Pact.

Thank you. 

ENDS 

COP26 Logo 'UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 In partnership with Italy'

12.11.2021

Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA) Joint Statement on Launch – 9 November 2021

We the undersigned, representing over 100 organisations across 35 economies, have gathered here at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change conference (COP26), in Glasgow, United Kingdom, to launch the Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA).

A bold new coalition of global adaptation actors, the ARA will catalyse and scale investment in action-oriented research and innovation for adaptation that strengthens resilience in communities most vulnerable to climate change.

As the IPCC Working Group I Sixth Assessment Report has concluded, human activity has and will continue to cause unprecedented changes in the Earth’s climate system, leading to significant impacts on societies, economies and ecosystems. Responding effectively to these impacts requires adaptation that is enabled and supported by actionable knowledge – of both risks of climate change and of tangible responses.

However, the current scope and scale of action-oriented research is insufficient. It is hampered by under-investment, a disconnect between researchers and experiences from the most vulnerable, misaligned incentives, fragmentation, low capacity in developing countries, and limited learning from experience.

As members of the ARA, we endorse its theory of change intended to address these challenges. We commit to co-developing a robust and ambitious portfolio of activities that will lead to a paradigm shift where the needs of the most vulnerable take centre stage, and where research becomes a highly valued tool for all actors involved in climate adaptation including policymakers, funders, practitioners and vulnerable communities.

As a first step in supporting that process, we endorse the Adaptation Research for Impact Principles (PDF), which set out guidelines intended to stimulate the needed systemic change: demand-driven and transdisciplinary research, and evidence-based action that emphasises societal impact, builds capacity, and addresses structural inequalities faced by vulnerable groups.

We recognise and welcome the announcements made today of new investments in action-oriented research and innovation for adaptation and resilience. We encourage others to become co-funders or to develop aligned activities to facilitate the achievement of our collective aims.

The ARA calls for increased investment and capacity in the Global South, but our members and actions are not limited by geographical boundaries. International collaboration, sharing and learning from experiences worldwide are essential for informing effective adaptation at the scale and urgency required to keep pace with the rate of climate change.

Join our movement to help create the systemic change that is needed for this to happen. Together, we can enable solutions for adaptation and resilience that make a difference for those who need it the most. To become a member email: ara@southsouthnorth.org

ARA members

African Agricultural Technology FoundationAction Aid Myanmar
Adaptation Without Borders
African Climate and Development Initiative
African Research Impact Network
Agence Francais De Developpement
All India Disaster Mitigation Institute
Alliance of Biodiversity International and CIAT
Alliance of Indian Wastepickers
Alternative Futures
Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research
Basque Centre for Climate Change
Cabot Institute for the Environment University of Bristol
Climate and Development Knowledge Network
Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International
Christian Aid
Climate Action Network South Asia
Climate Wise Women
Climate-KIC
Deltares
Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs
Desert Research Foundation of Namibia
Echnoserve
Environmental Capacities and Sustainability Institute
Environmental Development Action in the Third World
Farm Africa
Friendship
Global Innovation Fund
Global Resilience Partnership
Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group
Green Africa Youth
Ground Truth Solutions
GSM Association
Helvetas Swiss Incorporation
Human Sciences Research Council
Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations
Institute for Global Environment Strategies
International Institute for Environment and Development
Indian Institute for Human Settlements
Indian School of Business Bharti Institute of Public Policy
Institute Polytechnique Rural de Formation et de Recherche Applique
International Centre for Climate Change and Development
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development
International Development Research Centre
International Institute for Sustainable Development
International Platform on Adaptation Metrics
International Research Institute for Climate and Society (Columbia University)
ISET international
International Union for Conservation of Nature
Kenya Markets Trust
Kota Kita
Kulima
Land Rights Organisation of South Africa
Mahila Housing Sewa Trust
Makerere University
Municipality of Caldas
National Science and Technology Centre for Disaster Reduction
Netherland Organisation for Scientific Research
Norwich Institute for Sustainable Development
Overseas Development Institute
Oxfam
Oxford Policy Management
PlanAdapt
Participatory Research in Asia International Academy
Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre
Resurgence
Royal University of Bhutan
Save the children
School of Oriental and African Studies
Science for Africa Foundation
Scotland’s Rural College
Slum Dwellers International
SouthSouthNorth
START
Stockholm Environment Institute
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
The Met Office
UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
United Nations Development Programme
UNESCO Etxea
United Kingdom Alliance for Disaster Research
United Nations Environment World Programme Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC)
Universidad Colegio De Antioquia
Universidad Nacional de Rosario
Universitie Nationale De Agriculture
University of Cape Town Climate Systems Analysis Group
University of East Anglia – School of International Development
University of Exeter
University of Leeds
University of Liberia
University of Maryland
University of the Gambia
University of the West Indies
University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment
United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security
U.S. Department of Energy
World Health Organisation
Women’s Climate Centre International
World Resource Institute

COP26 Logo 'UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 In partnership with Italy'

12.11.2021

The COP26 Health Programme

The COP26 Health Programme has been developed and delivered by the UK government as the Presidency of COP26, with its partners including the World Health Organization (WHO), Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), the UNFCCC Climate Champions, and the Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA).

The programme enables transformational change in health systems globally that protects both people and the planet whilst elevating the trusted voices of health professionals to present the health argument for higher ambition on climate change
action. The programme includes three thematic areas:

Building climate resilient and sustainable low carbon health systems

52 countries (including Malawi, Spain, Indonesia, Morocco and the US) have committed to building health systems which are able to withstand the impacts of climate change and which are low carbon and sustainable. These include 47 countries, representing over a third of global health care emissions, which have committed to develop a sustainable, low-carbon health system. 14 of these 47 countries have set a deadline of 2050 or earlier, by which their health system will reach Net Zero.

COP26 Health professional advocacy

Developed and led by our non-government partners, more than 460 health organisations globally have signed the ‘Healthy Climate Prescription’ letter which calls for stronger action on climate change to protect people’s health. This represents more than 46 million health workers, in over 100 countries. The letter was delivered to COP26. The campaign also produced a short video that highlighted the voices of health workers from around the world discussing the health argument for more action on climate change. This was played at the health event on the COP26 Presidency main agenda.

Health adaptation research

Working with the COP26 Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA), the consultation results on the global climate resilient health systems research were announced at COP26 during a co-hosted event with WHO at the Health Pavilion.


During COP26 there were a number of events which focused on the COP26 Health Programme:

  • COP26 Science and Innovation Day
    The Climate Action for Health event focused on the health co-benefits argument for improving health through climate change action. It brought in health professional advocacy voices, covered announcements on country commitments to building climate resilient and sustainable low carbon health systems, and brought forward the health argument for stronger action to address climate change. The session featured a panel session chaired by Minister Morton, with representation from GSK, Green Climate Fund, WHO, Ministers of Health and Environment, former PM Gordon Brown (WHO Ambassador for Global Health Finance) and a climate youth activist.
  • The Health Argument for Climate Action – The COP26 Heath Programme
    This event was organised by WHO, to raise awareness and support for the COP26 Health Programme, and to promote the WHO’s 10 calls for climate action to assure sustained recovery from COVID-19. The event had presentations and discussions from UK government (Minister Morton), UNFCCC, WHO and a range of UN and Non-government organisations.
  • High level meeting on ‘financing the COP26 Health Initiatives’
    This event brought together multilateral and bilateral donors with Health and Environment Ministers, to discuss the barriers, opportunities and solutions to implementing and financing plans to build resilient and sustainable/low-carbon health systems.
  • COP26 Health Programme Press Briefing
    A press briefing was coordinated by WHO to present the COP26 Health Programme announcement on country commitments to build climate resilient and sustainable low carbon health systems. The press briefing featured: UK Government (Minister Morton), WHO, Ministers form USA and Maldives, and Health Care Without Harm.
  • Climate and health research event
    This event developed in partnership with the WHO, encompassed the launch of the WHO report on the state of climate and health research, and the launch of the Global Research Agenda on building climate resilient health systems (as part of the COP26 Health Programme).