Press release: COP26 President-Designate welcomes agreement from G20 to limit warming to 1.5C but urges further action on coal phase out

Cabinet Office

July 23
21:37 2021

  • Despite progress by a growing number of countries, the Ministerial could not agree on phasing out coal power and overseas coal financing
  • COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma called on G20 leaders and the major emitters to go further ahead of COP26 to protect countries vulnerable to climate change

The COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma, has welcomed the agreement by the G20 but called for further action to keep the 1.5C temperature limit within reach following the Climate and Energy Ministers meeting in Naples.

Following Mr Sharmas intervention calling for urgent climate action, G20 Ministers agreed to accelerate action in 2020s, to submit ambitious 2030 targets to reduce emissions by COP26 in Glasgow, and urged members to develop long term strategies aligned with keeping 1.5C in reach and a net zero future.

But the COP26 President Designate expressed disappointment that no decision could be made by Climate and Environment Ministers on the phase out of coal power and international coal financing which along with accelerating the transition to clean vehicles and halting deforestation are crucial to keeping warming to 1.5C.

G20 leaders will now address the issue at their meeting later this year in October ahead of Novembers COP26 summit.

Todays meeting was hosted by COP26 Presidency partners Italy in their role as Presidency of the G20. UK Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan also attended.

In his opening remarks to the meeting, Mr Sharma had stressed that keeping 1.5 degrees within reach was incompatible with the continuation of unabated coal power and international coal financing. Despite intense discussions on this, the group was unable to reach agreement.

Speaking following the ministerial meeting, Mr Sharma said:

Whilst we made progress and I am encouraged the G20 agreed to back a net zero future, and action in the critical decade of the 2020s, we need to turn words into action to keep the 1.5 degrees limit alive.

It is frustrating that despite the progress made by some countries, there was no consensus in Naples to confine coal to history. But I remain hopeful about the prospect of countries taking up this issue at the G20 Leaders Summit in October.

Countries on the front line of climate change have laid out a clear call to action and the G20 needs to respond to their moral authority and leadership, with ambitious climate action that keeps the 1.5 limit alive.

With just over three months to go until we come together in Glasgow, collaboration will be crucial. I look forward to welcoming ministers to London in the coming days so together we may chart our way towards a successful COP26 that deliv

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