Leaders not doing enough to deliver Glasgow commitments, says Cop president

World leaders have not done enough to deliver on their commitments made at the Cop 26 climate summit last year, Alok Sharma said on Monday.

The Cop 26 president said leaders would need to up the pace over the next six months before the next summit in Egypt in order for the public to feel they were right to have placed their trust in the multilateral system and to take leaders at their word.

“Leaders have not done enough to deliver on their Glasgow commitments ,” Mr Sharma said, speaking in the city six months after the conference her presided over last November. “And that must change.”

Mr Sharma acknowledged that the world is currently confronted with a series of challenges including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but said these crises should increase, not diminish, the world’s determination to deliver on the Glasgow Climate Pact.

“Though the world has changed, our resolve has not,” he said.

Nevertheless, Mr Sharma said unless leaders accelerate delivery of the pledges they made, citizens will look at the next conference and see that “cracks have emerged” and that leaders have allowed the agreement to fracture.

Last November, in the Glasgow Climate Pact countries agreed to come back in 2022 with stronger climate plans and developed countries agreed to double the amount they spend on helping poorer countries adapt to climate impacts by 2025.

Reflecting on those pledges, Mr Sharma said this year every country must revisit and strengthen its nationally determined contributions – a climate action plan to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts – and major emitters, particularly those in the G20, must lead the way. Progress must also be made on doubling adaptation finance by 2025, he added.

Asked in a press conference following his speech for some examples of concrete progress on the commitments made at Cop 26, Mr Sharma said more than 10 new nationally determined contributions had so far been submitted.

His remarks come after the world meteorological organisation warned the world has a 50-50 chance in the next five years of temporarily exceding the 1.5C global warming limit which countries pledged to try to stay under in the Paris Agreement in 2015 and confirmed in Glasgow.

It also follows the latest report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which warned that less than three years remain to bring global emissions into decline and avert a “catastrophic” temperature rise.

And on Saturday, The Independent revealed that the UK government has underspent the money it allocated to combat climate change, raising questions about whether its net zero commitments were on track.

In the press conference, Mr Sharma declined to comment on the report but said the government had a legally-binding commitment to reach net zero by 2050 and warned that ultimately the world had to recognise that the cost of inaction will be greater than taking action now.

“There is also not just an environmental dividend but also a big economic dividend from following the path to net zero,” he said.

In response to the news on Saturday a business department spokesperson said: “We are committed to meeting our legally binding target of net zero emissions by 2050 and are backing that with £26bn of investment in delivering our net zero strategy. This, along with the British Energy Security Strategy, means we will leverage an unprecedented £100bn of private investment by 2030.”

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