A vital year for countries to implement climate action pledges: Speech by Alok Sharma

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COP26 President Alok Sharma at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change, hosted by US President Joe Biden, on the work the UK is doing to urge countries to deliver on commitments made at COP26 in Glasgow.

“Thank you, John [Kerry] for all your friendship, and thank you to President Biden for convening this important forum.

Prime Minister Johnson is unable to attend due to prior commitments, and sends his sincere apologies.

He has asked me to convey his huge appreciation and thanks for President Biden’s strong personal leadership on climate action and of course your own as well, John [Kerry].

I am pleased to represent the Prime Minister, and to update on the work the UK has been doing to deliver on the commitments made at COP26.

The Glasgow Climate Pact, which, under the UK’s stewardship, was agreed by almost 200 countries, is a historic agreement.

But it will remain words on a page unless countries implement the commitments that they made.

Of course, we all recognise that the world has changed markedly in the months since COP26.

We meet against the backdrop of multiple global crises, much precipitated by Vladimir Putin’s illegal and brutal invasion of Ukraine.

But even as leaders deal with the immediate challenges, all the scientific evidence makes clear that the chronic threat of climate change is getting worse.

And, as a number of leaders have already said, the window of time we have left to act is closing, and it’s closing fast.

Putin’s war has amplified that climate and environmental security are synonymous with energy and national security.

So, as President Biden’s invitation noted, our core challenge now is “Implementation-Plus”.

In Glasgow, every country agreed to revisit their 2030 emission reduction target by the end of this year.

The UK is considering our own response.

Because whilst our independent Climate Change Committee has advised that our current target is aligned with the Paris Agreement temperature goal, we want to ensure that remains the case.

And as COP26 Presidency, we are encouraging the world to do the same.

And, of course it is very heartening to hear today the commitments that have been made in terms of NDCs that will come forward toward the end of this year to bring forward clear,

And of course, we also need all countries to come forward with clear long term delivery plans as indeed the UK did with its strategy last year.

Turning to the Global Methane Pledge, the UK is working hard to progress our commitments, and we will update further at COP27.

The UK has already cut its methane emissions across key sectors by around 60 percent over the past thirty years.

We also welcome the suggestion of a collective investment goal for clean energy technology demonstration projects, which would support the aims of the Glasgow Breakthroughs Agenda launched at COP26, and we would be keen to explore this proposal further.

The UK is also supportive of all the work to address the current food security crisis.

Climate and food security challenges are interlinked.

And we must deliver a coordinated response, whilst ensuring we do not undermine the transition to sustainable land use.

The UK would therefore welcome the US and other countries’ participation in the next technical dialogue on that transition, taking place on 28 June, and on the COP26 Agriculture Breakthrough.

On clean transport, we would support the setting of a global goal for all new cars and vans to be zero emissions in the 2030s.

The UK has already committed to end the sale of petrol and diesel light duty vehicles by 2030, and for all new cars and vans to be zero emissions by 2035.

Finally, on the issue of shipping emissions.

The UK welcomes the proposal of a Green Shipping Challenge, and we look forward to exploring this concept in further detail, particularly how this could further bolster the Clydebank Declaration for green shipping corridors, now signed by 24 countries.

The UK will continue to use our COP Presidency to help drive implementation of these initiatives, and, indeed, all the initiatives coming out of Glasgow itself

The commitments we made in Glasgow did allow us to say with credibility that we had kept alive the possibility of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees.

But I think we all recognise that the pulse of 1.5 remains weak.

The only way to strengthen it is for countries and world leaders to redouble their efforts, and implement their commitments.

Thank you John [Kerry], back to you.”

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