COP27: Alok Sharma says countries must deliver on their climate change promises | Climate News


In his last interview as president of the UN’s COP climate summit, Alok Sharma has told Sky News that multilateralism “will only continue to work if countries deliver on the promises that they’ve made”.

Mr Sharma, who today handed over the presidency of the UN’s COP26 climate summit programme to his counterpart at the start of the COP27 meeting in Egypt, said: “That is what I’ve been hammering home during this year with world leaders, is that you made commitments.

“You made commitments to phase down coal, you made commitments to come back and revise your emission reduction targets, developed countries made commitments on more financial support to developing nations.

“We have to deliver on that.

“It is about the credibility of this process.

“And the whole multilateral process will only continue to work if countries deliver on the promises that they’ve made.”

Mr Sharma’s stark assessment comes as UN diplomats have expressed frustration that in the past year governments have been “distracted” from the issue of climate change by the war in Ukraine, inflation, cost of living problems and an energy crisis.

King Charles III (far left) speaks with, (left to tight) Brian Moynihan, Chair and CEO of Bank of America and Co-Chair of Sustainable Markets Initiative, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Alok Sharma and Labour leader Keir Starmer, during a reception at Buckingham Palace
Alok Sharma and John Kerry meet Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace

UN climate chief Simon Stiell told Sky News: “If there is one defining crisis of our time, it is climate.

“All of the other things; interest rates, cost of living, even wars, come to an end.

“But climate change just marches on.

“We have seen distracted governments since we left Glasgow.”

He added: “I don’t think there’s ever been a geopolitical environment as tense and as divisive as we have now as we enter this COP.”

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“Every one of the 20 largest economies of the world that represent 80% of all the emissions are off target at this moment.”

Progress made so far is ‘absolutely not good enough’

Mr Sharma argued though that despite the global headwinds, some progress has been made.

He said: “Before the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, the scientists were telling us that we were heading towards four degrees of global warming by the end of the century.

“Post Paris, it was three degrees, and now we’re talking about below two degrees.”

But he remarked, the progress made is still “not good enough, it’s absolutely not good enough”.

“Glasgow (COP26) was a fragile win and if we were going to keep the pulse of 1.5C (of warming) alive, we needed countries to deliver on their commitments.”


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