On Monday May 16th, COP President Alok Sharma returned to Glasgow’s Scottish Event Campus to mark six months since the conclusion of COP26, and to warn world leaders that failure to honor commitments made at COP26 would be an ‘act of monstrous self-harm’.
Mr Sharma set out his vision for the second half of the UK’s COP Presidency. He was joined by representatives from business, civil society and young people in Scotland, alongside a virtual global audience. He underlined that the world is facing serious crises as Russia’s brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine has shifted geopolitics. Governments are responding to rising prices, food and energy security challenges and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Though the world has changed our resolve has not.Alok Sharma, COP President
The COP26 President stressed the urgency of countries fulfilling promises made at COP26 and that the global community must move much faster in taking climate action over the next six months, than over the last. “Work to deliver on the commitments made here in Glasgow has quietly continued. We need every nation to pick up the pace.”
Sharma outlined the increasingly stark scientific warnings of the impacts of climate change as recently set out in two major reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This evidence “demonstrates unequivocally that the window of time we have to act is closing fast, that we must urgently adapt and reduce emissions, because current targets are not enough,” said Sharma. He highlighted the devastation caused by extreme weather conditions around the world, including ongoing heatwaves in India and Pakistan, where a billion people have been exposed to extreme heat of almost 50C.
According to The Guardian, many experts are concerned that the war in Ukraine, soaring prices for energy and food, and governments responding by increasing fossil fuel production, are stalling the Cop26 commitments. The Guardian has uncovered evidence of nearly 200 oil, gas and coal mega-projects, proposed or under way. These projects would destroy any chance of limiting temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
The current crises should increase, not diminish, our determination to deliver on what we agreed here at COP26, and honor the Glasgow Climate Pact.Alok Sharma, COP President
While welcoming progress made in the six months since COP26, Sharma looked ahead to priorities in the lead up to COP27 and the UK’s work with Egypt to drive delivery ahead of the Summit in Sharm-El-Sheikh later this year.
Underscoring this urgent priority, Sharma said that, “every country must respond to the call to revisit and strengthen their nationally determined contribution (NDC). And they must do so in 2022. The Glasgow Pact calls on countries to look again at their NDCs, not at some vague point in the future, but this year, in 2022.”
The speech closely followed last week’s May Ministerial Meeting on Implementation, co-chaired by the UK and Egypt COP Presidencies. The Ministerial, held in Copenhagen on May 12 and 13, saw over 40 countries renew their urgent focus on implementation and practical action to deliver commitments and pledges made at COP26 and within the Glasgow Climate Pact.
At the meeting, countries agreed that, despite the challenging global context, climate ambition and commitments remain serious and credible, from adapting to climate impacts, averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage, to reducing emissions and keeping 1.5C alive and mobilizing finance.
The publication of the COP26 Sustainability Report took place also on May 16th. The report is meant to show the positive legacy of COP26 on the city of Glasgow and beyond. It sets out the conference’s impact on Scottish charities and low-income families, including donations of 6,000 items of furniture, 15,000 square meters of carpets, and 600 laptops, some of which it is hoped will soon go to Ukrainian refugees.