Alok Sharma, COP26 President and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), has called for the world to “up its ambition” to tackle climate change ahead of COP26, which is due to take place in Glasgow in November 2021.
Speaking at the New York Climate Week event ‘COP26 and the Zero Carbon Growth Agenda’ yesterday (September 21), Sharma warned that “the clock is ticking on climate action”.
“Temperatures are soaring, storms are raging, and crops are failing,” he said. “And if we do not take this chance, every single one of us will be affected.”
He urged all countries to “pledge to reach net zero emissions, as soon as possible” and for businesses to join the EV100 campaign and commit to operating, or supporting, zero-emissions vehicles by 2030.
He also called for businesses, regions, cities, and civil society organisations to commit to the UN Race to Zero campaign.
To date, 22 regions, 452 cities, 1,101 businesses, 549 universities and 45 of the biggest investors have joined the global campaign for a zero-carbon world, including Ford and Facebook.
“In New York Climate Week, we have a real opportunity to go faster on climate action,” Sharma said.
“And we will all benefit. Through sustainable businesses, cleaner air in our cities, and a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.”
UK launches COP26 Energy Transition Council, along with £50m fund
At a clean energy ministerial side event, 'Passing the Tipping Point: the next decade of clean energy cooperation’, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at BEIS, Lord Callanan, announced the launch of the COP26 Energy Transition Council.
The council will bring together leaders in the power sector across politics, finance and technology to speed up the transition from coal to renewables in developing countries, ahead of COP26.
It will be chaired by the UK, alongside the co-chair Damilola Ogunbiyi, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).
The launch of the council comes as the UK Government announces a £50 million investment in a new Clean Energy Innovation Facility (CEIF) under the UK’s International Climate Finance.
This funding will help developing countries more easily access innovative clean energy technologies to foster clean growth, focusing on key sectors such as industry, cooling, smart energy and storage.
Callanan said: "As we enter a new decade, we must abandon the idea that reducing global emissions is a challenge of burden sharing.
"The challenge, instead, is one of opportunity sharing: working together to accelerate the transition to zero emission technologies that give us cheaper energy, cleaner air, and more jobs and growth.
"I ask you all to work with us to make COP26 a turning point."