Between a COP and a hard place

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Alok Sharma is the minister in charge of Cop26. 


Countries meeting in Copenhagen to assess action needed to deliver commitments made at Cop26 talks in Glasgow last November.

The window of time we have left to secure a liveable future is closing rapidly.

Climate change remains a “chronic threat” despite the change to international politics caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Alok Sharma said ahead of an international gathering of ministers.

The Cop26 president is leading the climate meeting in Denmark with Egypt’s foreign affairs minister Sameh Shoukry who will lead this year’s climate talks, Cop27, in Sharm El-Sheikh.

More than 40 countries will come together in Copenhagen this week to assess action that is needed to deliver on key commitments made at the Cop26 talks in Glasgow last November.


It is the first of a series of meetings that it is hoped will continue to drive action to tackle dangerous global warming even as the world confronts the war in Ukraine, energy and food security and the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

It comes as the Met Office warns the world has a 50-50 chance in the next five of temporarily exceeding the 1.5C global warming limit which countries pledged to meet in the Paris Agreement in 2015 and confirmed in Glasgow.

Reports from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) science body have warned the window to limit temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the threshold beyond which the worst impacts will be felt, is rapidly closing.

Ministers at the meeting will focus on how to drive down emissions in sectors such as reducing coal production and deforestation, UK officials said.


They will also consider efforts to adapt to climate change and support to address loss and damage suffered communities on the front line of global warming.

Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine has caused prompted moves by countries that help or hinder climate action, by increasing pressure to boost production of fossil fuels elsewhere or speeding up the transition to clean tech such as renewables and electric vehicles and heat pumps.

Mr Sharma said: “Since the Glasgow Climate Pact was signed at Cop26, the IPCC reports on adaptation and mitigation have shown unequivocally that the window of time we have left to secure a liveable future is closing rapidly.

“And of course, the Putin regime’s brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine has changed international politics fundamentally.


“However, the chronic threat of climate change remains, which is why I am pleased to co-chair this ministerial meeting on implementation bringing countries together to drive forward action on pledges already made.

Mr Shoukry, minister of foreign affairs of Egypt and Cop27 President designate said: “Climate action has never been more important.

“The world needs to demonstrate its continued commitment to curb emissions, enhance adaptation, and deliver on climate finance.

“Cop27 should see us all coming together to renew our determination, take stock on where we stand on implementation, and lay out a clear path towards turning pledges into tangible action on the ground.”

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Emily Beament is the PA environment correspondent.

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