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by Jack Thomson
14 May 2021
Alok Sharma: COP26 is our best chance of greener future

Alok Sharma, president of COP26 (Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images)

Alok Sharma: COP26 is our best chance of greener future

This year's major climate summit in Glasgow is the world's best chance of a cleaner and greener future, according to its president. 

Alok Sharma believes COP26 is the "best chance" of limiting rising global temperatures to 1.5C and will detail the UK's efforts as hosts of the conference, which is due to be held in November. 

In a speech, Sharma will explain what the UK is working on ahead of the two-week event, which will bring together climate negotiators from 196 countries at the Scottish Events Campus. 

Sharma will urge nations to abandon coal power and emphasise the need to work with developing countries to help them transition to clean energy. 

Sharma, COP26 president-designate, will say: "This is our last hope of keeping 1.5 degrees alive. Our best chance of building a brighter future. A future of green jobs and cleaner air. I have faith that world leaders will rise to the occasion and not be found wanting in their tryst with destiny. 

"That, in six months time, when we are packing up and going home, we will be able to say that at this critical juncture, each of us took responsibility. That we chose to act. And that we kept 1.5 degrees alive. 

"In preparing for this speech I asked my daughters what message I should give to world leaders about their priorities. Their response was simple: 'please, tell them to pick the planet.' 

"And that’s the message I want to leave you with today. A message from my daughters. A message from future generations. This is our moment. There are no second chances. Let’s pick the planet."

He will continue: "Because if we are serious about 1.5 degrees, Glasgow must be the COP that consigns coal to history… we are working directly with governments, and through international organisations. To end international coal financing. This is a personal priority. 

"And to urge countries to abandon coal power, with the G7 leading the way. Whilst working with developing countries to support their transition to clean energy… the days of coal providing the cheapest form of power are in the past. And in the past they must remain.

"The coal business is, as the UN Secretary General has said, going up in smoke. It’s old technology. So let’s make COP26 the moment we leave it in the past where it belongs, while supporting workers and communities to make the transition. 

"Creating good green jobs to fill the gap."

Read the most recent article written by Jack Thomson - First Minister: It’s 'unlikely' COVID restrictions will ease further at end of June

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