Alok Sharma, the UK minister in charge of the COP26 climate summit talks in Glasgow in November, has recently said that the meeting that Britain will host later this year is the world’s last chance to take urgent action before it faces a climate catastrophe. The Indian-origin Cabinet minister, the President-designate of the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP26 in Glasgow in November, warned that it is the last chance to get a grip on climate change.
Sharma defended his recent hectic travel agenda, which was criticised by the media for his ministerial exemption from Coronavirus self-isolation rules on return from red list countries.
“You’re seeing on a daily basis what is happening across the world. Last year was the hottest on record, the last decade the hottest decade on record,” Sharma was quoted as saying.
“I don’t think we’re out of time but I think we’re getting dangerously close to when we might be out of time,” he added.
Talking about his own travel, the minister, who has travelled to countries such as Bangladesh and Bolivia in recent weeks, said, “I have every week a large number of virtual meetings, but I can tell you that having in-person meetings with individual ministers is incredibly vital and actually impactful. It makes a vital difference, to build those personal relationships which are going to be incredibly important as we look to build consensus.”
This interview comes just ahead of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading authority on climate science.
“This [IPCC report] is going to be the starkest warning yet that human behaviour is alarmingly accelerating global warming and this is why COP26 has to be the moment we get this right. We can’t afford to wait two years, five years, 10 years, this is the moment,” Sharma warned.
“This is going to be a wake-up call for anyone who hasn’t yet understood why this next decade has to be absolutely decisive in terms of climate action. We will also get a pretty clear understanding that human activity is driving climate change at alarming rates—Every fraction of a degree rise [in temperature] makes a difference and that’s why countries have to act now,” he added.