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They promised the Earth... Sharma urges Cop26 action

COP26 president Alok Sharma has said he will personally prioritise urging the world’s wealthiest nations to honour their climate pledges made in Glasgow. 

Three months on from the climate summit, Mr Sharma admitted yesterday that pledges made by nearly 200 countries to avert the worst effects of the climate crisis are in danger of withering on the vine without urgent action. 

In a speech to Chatham House, the Tory minister said he was focused on pushing countries to meet and strengthen their 2030 emissions reduction targets. 

He added that it was his personal priority to target the group of G20 nations — responsible for 80 per cent of global emissions — to turn their words into action. 

The Glasgow summit concluded with world leaders agreeing to a range of climate pledges, including phasing down the use of coal, ending deforestation by 2030 and offering up climate finance to help the poorest nations adapt. 

Environmental groups branded the summit a failure last year after leaders were unable to make commitments to keep global warming to 1.5°C, the figure beyond which most scientists say runaway climate change is inevitable.

But promises to improve pledges for Cop27 in Egypt later this year led to Mr Sharma to declare that the 1.5°C limit was still alive but “just.” 

Yesterday Mr Sharma again rejected suggestions the summit had been a failure, arguing that 200 countries had signed up to the pact despite conflict around the world. 

“I would say what we’ve achieved was historical,” he said during a question and answer session, but admitted that none of the commitments will matter unless words are turned into action. 

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