Sharma in stitches as he's forced into Cop26 quiz
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With COP26 just around the corner, world leaders will be keen to highlight their nations’ contributions to tackling the climate crisis. The UK has taken a leading role this year and will host the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP2) in Glasgow in a bid to find unilateral solutions to halt global warming. The summit is due to start on November 1 under the watchful eye of Alok Sharma, the former Secretary of State for Business.
As the President of COP26, Mr Sharma has become the UK’s de facto climate envoy, representing Britain’s green credentials on the international arena.
Earlier this summer he met with his Chinese counterparts, to demand China takes more proactive steps towards cutting its greenhouse emissions – the leading cause of climate change.
He said: “The clock is running down fast and the next decade will be decisive.
Although China has announced plans to hit carbon neutrality by 2060, the nation remains the world’s biggest polluter and consumer of coal.
And in April he stressed the need to halve carbon emissions by 2030 in a bid to “bring climate change under control”.
He said: “Not in two years, not in five years, now.”
A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office has now told Express.co.uk Mr Sharma is the right man for the job, even if members of the Labour opposition have expressed their concerns about his appointment.
Appearing on BBC’s Newsnight last month, former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband accused the Government of a “lack of leadership” in regards to the climate crisis.
Mr Miliband told Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis “you can’t just leave it to Alok Sharma”, adding he is “a good guy”.
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The Cabinet Office has now responded to the comments, confirming Mr Sharma’s commitment to delivering a strong and successful COP26 summit.
A Cabinet spokesperson said: “As a former minister at both the FCO and DFID, Alok Sharma has the diplomatic experience needed to bring both developed and developing countries to the table through the year ahead of the summit.
“To meet the high ambitions for the summit in the year of COP26, which will be the largest summit the UK has ever hosted, Alok Sharma will solely focus on driving forward coordinated global action to tackle climate change and delivering a successful summit in November.
“This will be critical if we want to meet the objectives set out by the Paris Agreement and reduce global emissions.”
Under the terms of the Paris Agreement, world leaders have committed to slashing greenhouse emissions and keeping global warming below 2C above preindustrial levels.
Towards this goal, the UK has vowed to hit net-zero emissions by 2050.
The Cabinet Office said: “The UK has set a high bar, with our commitment to reduce emissions by at least 68 percent by 2030, but we also need other countries to do their bit.”
The US has adopted a similar target, with plans to achieve a 50 to 52 reduction on 2005 levels by 2030.
But the Government has stressed this cannot be done alone and fighting climate change will require political cooperation across the board.
Russia for instance is one of the world’s biggest net polluters but is yet to set a target for net-zero emissions.
Ambassadors from the UK, Britain and European Union have recently called on the Kremlin to join the global fight against climate change.
Australia is another outlier, although Prime Minister Scott Morrison is said to consider a 2050 target as a result of international pressure.
According to a recent Lowry poll, 78 percent of surveyed Australians support the target.
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