Alok Sharma, who chaired the 26th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), said in November that tackling the climate crisis should be a full-fledged government initiative or the summit should become a risk. “A collection of empty promises”.
In an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, Sharma said that all his colleagues should take collective responsibility for the UK’s net zero emissions agenda and that the international community views the UK’s continued efforts as essential.
“It is important that we maintain that focus throughout the UK government, as people consider the UK to have shown a great deal of international leadership when it comes to climate,” he added. “When it comes to domestic politics, every country – including the UK – needs to focus on achieving this.”
He warned that without focusing on achieving the government’s net zero emissions target, Glasgow’s progress would be undermined.
“People will judge us – they will judge other governments – the investigation (climate targets),” Sharma said. “The main issue is to show that countries are committed to their obligations (in COP 26) and that they can give confidence to the parties (to the Paris Agreement), climate-affected countries and civil society, but globally, we are making progress on promises – that is, not just a set of empty promises. There is also a real commitment to fulfilling them.
For its part, the Guardian noted that the UK would continue to lead the current diplomatic efforts to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement, until Egypt takes over next November. Until then Sharma will accept the role.
The newspaper suggested that Sharma’s enthusiastic intervention to achieve net-zero emissions comes at a crucial time for the government’s commitment to the climate crisis. With British Prime Minister Boris Johnson embroiled in allegations of corruption and corruption in the Downing Street party, rival camps sought to distance themselves from Johnson’s green targets to impress the right – wing Conservative Party.
But Sharma said the net zero strategy was fundamental to the government’s future. “How do you do that for each economy (question) (shifting to a lower carbon base), not just in one or two sectors, but throughout the economy as a whole.
“There has been a clear shift in the attitude of the corporate sector,” Sharma said. “They understand that green growth is the future, net zero is a great opportunity.”
He said Johnson strongly supports the zero net goal. That is the agenda he has been pursuing for a long time, “and this whole issue of biodiversity and climate, and even at that time it was an agenda he focused on.”
He noted that feedback on the COP26 results turned out to be very positive in the weeks after its conclusion. “The idea coming from colleagues around the world is that they think we are in danger of something historically,” he said.
“Coffee trailblazer. Social media ninja. Unapologetic web guru. Friendly music fan. Alcohol fanatic.”