COP26 President calls for world leaders to take immediate action.

(Picture: COP26 President, Alok Sharma.
UKCOP2.org)

Failure to honour commitments made at the COP26 Climate Conference would be an “act of monstrous self-harm.”

That is the stark warning that the minister who chaired the UN talks will give to world leaders today.

Alok Sharma will admit that Russia’s invasion of neighbours Ukraine, and the resulting increases in the cost of energy and food could weaken countries’ resolve to act.

Sharma is worried that leaders may ignore a key clause of the Glasgow Climate Pact which asks all countries to “revisit and strengthen” their 2030 emissions reduction targets by the end of this year.

In a speech to be given in Glasgow today, six months after the city hosted the well-documented COP26 Climate conference, Sharma says the Ukraine crisis has “shifted geopolitics” and acknowledge that countries are grappling with “rising prices, food and energy security challenges and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

But he urges global leaders to show that “though the world has changed, our resolve [to act on climate change] has not”.

He adds that “the current crises should increase, not diminish, our determination to deliver on what we agreed here at COP26, and honour the “Glasgow Climate Pact.”

He claimed after COP26 that the pact agreed at the conference had “kept alive” hopes of limiting global warming to 2’C in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change. However, this claim was based on the assumption that countries would come forward with stronger emissions targets this year.

Scientists have calculated that climate pledges already made by countries would only limit warming to about 2.4C, which would have devastating consequences globally.

In his speech Sharma outlines the increasingly stark scientific warnings as recently set out in two big reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This evidence, Sharma says, “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”.

The Met Office said last week that there was a 50-50 chance that the global average temperature increase would exceed 1.5C in at least one of the next five years.

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