‘Not enough’ climate ambition shown by leaders

 ‘Not enough’ climate ambition shown by leaders

By Matt McGrath

Environment correspondent

Published

image copyrightReuters

image captionMr Sharma said progress had been made, but it was not enough yet to avoid dangerous warming this century

The UK minister tasked with leading UN climate talks says world leaders are failing to show the necessary level of ambition.

Alok Sharma was speaking at the conclusion of a virtual climate summit organised by the UK, UN and France.

He said “real progress” had been made and 45 countries had put forward new climate plans for 2030.

But these were not enough to prevent dangerous warming this century, Mr Sharma explained.

Taking place on the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate agreement, the summit heard the UN Secretary General warn that every country needed to declare a climate emergency.

Around 70 heads of state and government took part in the meeting, which was organised by the UK, UN and France. They outlined new pledges and commitments to curb carbon.

China’s contribution was eagerly awaited, not just because it is the world’s biggest emitter, but because it has recently promised to reach net zero emissions by 2060.

Achieving net zero means that emissions have been cut as much as possible and any remaining releases are balanced by removing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere,

But while President Xi Jinping outlined a range of new targets for 2030, many analysts felt these did not go far enough.

India brought little in the way of new commitments but Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his country was on track to achieve its goals under the Paris agreement and promised a major uptick in wind and solar energy.

media captionClimate change: How 1.5C could change the world

According to the UK, some 24 countries had outlined net zero commitments and 20 had now set out plans to adapt and become more resilient to rising temperatures and their impacts.

But despite these commitments, Mr Sharma said not enough had been achieved.

“Have we made any real progress at this summit? And the answer to that is: yes,” he said.

“But they will also ask, have we done enough to put the world on track to limit warming to 1.5C, and protect people and nature from the effects of climate change? To make the Paris Agreement a reality.

“Friends, we must be honest with ourselves, the answer to that, is currently: no. As encouraging as all this ambition is. It is not enough.”

Mr Sharma re-stated a commitment made last year to double the UK’s international climate finance spend. This will bring it to at least £11.6bn over the next

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Redak staff

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