Alok Sharma headshot

Alok Sharma: COP26 is the best chance for a cleaner, greener future

COP26 President-Delegate Alok Sharma is set to announce the UK’s intentions to help drive forward global green initiatives when world leaders and climate negotiators meet in Glasgow in November.

As host for the United Nations event, the UK will be heavily involved in discussion and setting future objectives to tackle climate change. Many of these policies will then filter down and impact different national, regional and local legislative decisions across the UK.

There is also expected to be significant investment into green solutions and technologies across UK sectors in the coming months and years, as a result of the UK’s prominent position holding the COP26 presidency.

COP26 will see climate negotiators from 196 countries and the EU come together, alongside businesses, organisations, experts and world leaders at the SEC in Glasgow from November 1-12, 2021.

Six years ago, at COP21, the Paris Agreement - one of the most well-known international climate change policies - was reached, with a commitment made by world leaders to limit global warming to 1.5C. This year’s summit will discuss further steps which are needed to continue to keep this target a reality.

In particular, there is thought to likely be a focus on ending the world’s reliance on coal and embracing renewable power opportunities.

Mr Sharma, speaking in advance of the event later this year, is expected to say: “This is our last hope of keeping 1.5 degrees alive. Our best chance of building a brighter future. A future of green jobs and cleaner air.

“I have faith that world leaders will rise to the occasion and not be found wanting in their tryst with destiny. That, in six months’ time, when we are packing up and going home, we will be able to say that at this critical juncture, each of us took responsibility. That we chose to act. And that we kept 1.5 degrees alive.

“Because if we are serious about 1.5 degrees, Glasgow must be the COP that consigns coal to history… we are working directly with governments, and through international organisations. To end international coal financing. This is a personal priority. And to urge countries to abandon coal power, with the G7 leading the way.

“Whilst working with developing countries to support their transition to clean energy. The days of coal providing the cheapest form of power are in the past. And in the past, they must remain…

“The coal business is, as the UN Secretary General has said, going up in smoke. It’s old technology. So, let’s make COP26 the moment we leave it in the past where it belongs, while supporting workers and communities to make the transition. Creating good green jobs to fill the gap.

“In preparing for this speech I asked my daughters what message I should give to world leaders about their priorities. Their response was simple: ‘please, tell them to pick the planet.’ That’s the message I want to leave you with today. A message from my daughters. A message from future generations. This is our moment. There are no second chances. Let’s pick the planet.”

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