Rich countries “must make history of coal-fired electricity” – UK President of COP26
- G7 countries pledge to end new government support for coal
- G20 energy and climate ministers meet this week
- Biggest emitters under pressure to end fossil fuel financing
LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) – This year’s climate change talks aimed at curbing global warming must make coal history, the British president of the upcoming United Nations conference said on Wednesday.
Britain will host the next United Nations climate conference, called COP26, in November in Glasgow, Scotland.
The meeting aims to stimulate more ambitious commitments from countries following their commitment under the Paris Agreement in 2015 to keep the average increase in global temperature “well below” 2 degrees Celsius this century . The measures aim to prevent devastating and extreme weather events such as heat waves, colder winters, floods and droughts.
“I have been very clear that I want COP26 to be the COP where we turn coal power to history,” Alok Sharma, UK President of COP26, told reporters in an interview with Reuters and other partners of the Covering Climate Now global media consortium.
Coal is the most polluting energy source if emissions are not captured and stored underground. While this technology lags behind, most coal units around the world produce not only carbon dioxide emissions, which are responsible for global warming, but other pollutants harmful to human health.
The Group of Seven (G7) countries have pledged to scale up technologies and policies that accelerate the transition to uninterrupted coal capacity, including ending new government support for coal power by the end of this year. this year, but many countries are still funding and planning to build new coal-fired power plants.
After catastrophic flooding swept through northwestern Europe last week and as forest fires continue to rage in southern Oregon in the United States, the climate and energy ministers of the Group of 20 Rich and Emerging Nations (G20) will meet this week in Italy to try to increase emissions. cuts and pledges of climate finance.
“I think the G7 has shown the way forward,” Sharma said, adding that the island countries he visited this year, such as the Caribbean, want the biggest emitters in the G20 to follow suit.
A tracker run by groups including the Overseas Development Institute shows the G20 has committed at least $ 296 billion for fossil fuel support since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, and $ 227 billion for clean energy.
“A lot of these countries are already very ambitious in terms of tackling climate change. But for it to make a difference in terms of the weather conditions that hit (the countries), they need the biggest emitters to come forward and that is the message that I will perform well at the G20, ”he added.
One of the biggest challenges of the UK presidency of COP26 will be to persuade countries to commit to more ambitious emission reduction targets and to increase funding for countries most vulnerable to climate change.
Long-standing disagreements over the rules that will govern the functioning of carbon markets will also need to be overcome. The rules, under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, are seen by many countries as a way to provide climate finance.
“I told ministers that we need to go beyond people reaffirming their long standing positions. I think we need to find a landing zone,” Sharma said.
Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Bernadette Baum
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