COP26 president Alok Sharma has set out the four goals the UK, as hosts, will be focusing on in the run-up to the UN climate conference.
Securing global net zero, protecting communities and natural habitats from the impacts of climate change, mobilising finance and working together to accelerate action, were the goals set out by Sharma, speaking outside Whitelee Windfarm, near Glasgow.
In his speech, Sharma said that a net zero economy means ‘greening’ every part of society including the UK’s healthcare, justice and education systems.
At COP26, the UK will work with partners to take forward action on protecting and restoring forests and critical ecosystems, and will champion the transition towards sustainable, resilient and nature positive agriculture.
Sharma said: “It is not a choice between cleaning up our environment and growing economies. We can do both at the same time. Indeed, we have done both at the same time.
“The UK is a beacon of green growth. The UK will completely phase out coal power by 2025 at the latest.”
A clean energy transition to a net zero economy is also a key part of the UK’s work as COP26 Presidency, Government said.
The UK started the COP26 Energy Transition Council along with a £50m fund, where leaders of the world’s international organisations focus on the global power sector.
Ministerial visits across the UK
In support of the UK’s presidency of COP26 and UK climate action, ministers recently visited towns and cities across the country planning for a net zero emissions future.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak visited Siemens Gamsea, an offshore wind blade manufacturer, which is planning to double the size of its site in Hull and create 200 further jobs on the site.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng went to Able Seaton Port in Hartlepool which is transforming into a hub for offshore wind, including manufacturing wind turbine blades.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps visited Cranfield University’s National Flying Laboratory, where he saw ongoing research into the use of hydrogen in aviation.
Minister for Climate Change Lord Callanan was in Staffordshire at JCB’s Head Office and Innovation Centre, where he saw their pioneering work with hydrogen.
Limit the global temperature rise of 1.5C
To conclude his speech, Sharma reaffirmed the importance of COP26 for the UK to keep the aim of limiting a global temperature rise of 1.5C.
He said: “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.”
Read Alok Sharma’s 'Pick the planet' speech in full.