Alok Sharma says COP26 “keeps him awake at night”

COP26 President Alok Sharma admitted that the UN climate summit in Glasgow kept him awake at night, warning that high-level meetings represented “our last best chance to get it right.”

He made the remarks during a session of the Scottish Parliament’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee, telling MSPs he wanted a “whole UK approach” to the event, which will see approximately 200 world leaders descend to Glasgow early. November.

Sharma said: “What keeps me awake at night is obviously a lot, especially since we have less than two months left – I don’t think it is too much to say that COP 26 is our. last best chance to get it right – it’s a watershed decade. “

He also insisted that Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon would play “an important role” in the negotiations.

He also reiterated the importance of holding the event in person. “It has to be a physical event – I’ve heard from developing countries all over the world that they want to sit down at the table of developed nations and obviously look them in the eye.

“My concerns are that I want to see the bigger emitters come up with these emission reduction targets so that we can say that we have kept the 1.5 degree target alive.

“I want to see the money coming to the table; I want to see the big donors raising money and there are obvious and complex issues in the Paris settlement.”

He added: “A key part of that is securing the funding and the upcoming mitigation targets – some developing countries will say without funding it will be quite difficult.”

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The COP26 conference hopes to reach a global agreement on the next steps to address the climate crisis.

As part of this, developed countries are expected to provide around $ 100 billion to help developing countries meet the net zero emissions targets from 2020 to 2025, with Sharma admitting they are still trying to put that financing in place.

During the session, he also presented some of the plans for the event, explaining that the first two days will be a peak.

COP26 will be divided into two zones, with the public only allowed to enter the green zone, where companies, charities and academics will present their work. Preparations are in place for “a number of Scottish-led initiatives in the green zone”.

As for the blue zone, the focus will be on cities, regions and the environment.

As for the Scottish Government’s contribution, Sharma said: “Prime Minister Johnson has said he wants all Prime Ministers to play an important role, and work is underway at an official level on this.

“I have made it very clear that we want this to be a UK-wide approach, and I’m sure you’ll hear from the UK government on this issue soon.

“In terms of involving others in government in decentralized administrations, there has always been a priority that, as part of the UK delegation, we have representation of ministers in decentralized administrations – this will absolutely happen again. . “

The session also touched on the Cambo oil field project off the coast of Shetland, with MSPs asking about the approval of the program despite the UK’s climate commitment.

Lee McDonough, Managing Director of Net Zero and International Strategy for the UK Government, said: “The license for Cambo was granted in 2001, the developer requested to move to the production stage of the process.

“This is a comprehensive assessment that examines the potential impact on the environment with public consultation and scrutiny by the Oil and Gas Authority is underway.

“No decision has been made – all future licenses granted will be compatible with climate compatibility checkpoints that come into effect later this year.”

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