Alok Sharma – 2021 Update on the COP26

The comments made by Alok Sharma, the COP26 President, on 26 July 2021.

Over the past two days, Ministers from more than 50 countries have gathered in London, as well as online.

We have discussed the critical issues in the COP26 negotiations.

As we have done so, heavy rains and flash floods have swept London.

A sobering reminder of the urgency of our task.

This was the first face-to-face meeting of this kind involving Ministers for more than eighteen months.

It was a hugely refreshing experience, to be sitting across the table from one another.

In person, there was a very positive atmosphere in every session.

There was a sense of common endeavour and a shared desire to address the climate crisis before us.

It was wonderful to see colleagues renew existing relationships, and build new ones.

To sit around the table and have a discussion.

And we all heard, loud and clear, the message from Ministers from climate vulnerable countries on the need for renewed urgency to tackle the climate crisis. And their lived experience of extreme climate change.

We made progress over these two days. And there was a clear spirit of cooperation.

However, the issues we have discussed are complex.

There are still significant differences that persist.

We have moved closer together. But still, on these vital issues we are not yet close enough.

There is much more work to be done ahead of COP26 and in Glasgow itself.

And we have agreed ways to keep the conversations going and drive action forward in the 97 days that remain to COP26.

Over the past two days, we have reached a common understanding that COP26 needs to keep 1.5C within reach.

This was also agreed by the G20 agreed to do last week.

There was also a shared understanding from many that coal power and financing are not compatible with a 1.5 degree future.

And so the UK Presidency will take forward work on how the Glasgow outcome will respond to any gap in ambition to keep 1.5C within reach.

On adaptation, and adaptation finance particularly, we agreed we need a clear way forward

And together, we have emphasised the need for COP26 to accelerate progress on the Global Goal on Adaptation.

On finance, I have recently called for developed countries to publish a clear plan for how, together, we are going to deliver the $100 billion a year in international climate finance, which has been promised since 2009, between 2020 and 2025.

I am delighted that Minister Flasbarth of Germany and Minister Wilkinson of Canada have agreed to lead this process. This will bring much needed transparency and predictability to developing countries and also reinforce the trust that needs to be maintained.

On Article 6, I am grateful that Minister Fu of Singapore and Minister Rotevatn of Norway have agreed to continue their informal ministerial consultations.

Additionally, Minister Mujawamariya of Rwanda, and Minister Sommaruga of Switzerland, will take forward my invitation to consult with ministers on Common Time Frames for NDCs.

We will be initiating other ministerial consultations, including on transparency at the appropriate time, in the coming weeks.

Of course our experts and negotiators will also continue their discussions.

I hope that all this work will allow us to arrive in Glasgow in the best possible position to reach agreement.

It is incumbent on every country to give their all to this process.

There will be nowhere to hide at COP.

Each of us will be in the spotlight.

And we will only deliver by working together.

I have said all along how important it is to have real in-person discussions on these difficult issues.

We have gone to great lengths to make this Ministerial meeting happen and I’m grateful to everyone who joined us here and online.

Now we must deliver.

It is essential that, six years on from Paris, we agree these final elements of the Rulebook, that we forge a way forward on finance, adaptation and other critical issues.

Ultimately, our response must reflect the urgency of the crisis we face.

Between now and COP, we must, and we will, make every single day count.