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Ministers have renewed common mission for climate action, but more work to do says COP26 President

Climate ministers have taken a step forward towards a successful COP26.

  • Alok Sharma welcomes constructive discussions after 50+ countries came together ahead of COP26
  • Ministers made progress on key issues, such as the need to scale up efforts to adapt to climate risks and for action to keep the 1.5C goal alive
  • Canada and Germany to lead roadmap on mobilising $100bn a year in climate finance

Climate ministers have taken a step forward towards a successful COP26, as a constructive meeting in London concluded with countries coming closer together on key issues such as actions to keep the 1.5C goal alive, adaptation finance and concluding the Paris rulebook.

At the two-day ministerial, convened by COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma to discuss critical negotiating issues and climate actions ahead of COP26, ministers from around the world sketched the outline of the Glasgow summit outcome and agreed collaborative ways forward to reach it.

Ministers from Singapore and Norway agreed to continue consulting informally with ministers on Article 6, which relates to carbon markets, while Rwanda and Switzerland’s ministers agreed to consult on Common Time Frames for emissions reduction commitments, or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

In a boost for the COP Presidency’s goal of getting finance flowing for climate action, Germany and Canada agreed to take forward a delivery plan for mobilising the $100bn a year from developed countries that is so critically needed to help others in their fight against climate change.

Countries were clear that COP26 needed to deliver actions, not just words. Many highlighted the importance of ending coal power, coal financing and fossil fuel subsidies. Ministers looked forward to Italy’s G20 leaders summit October 30-31 as a pivotal moment for action.

Ahead of the meeting, there has been a recent show of leadership from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) including the Solomon Islands, Bhutan and Ethiopia, as well as more ambitious NDCs from Paraguay, Morocco and Canada which will help keep the critical goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C in sight. Ministers participating at the meeting called for all countries to deliver ambitious NDCs and long-term strategies towards net zero before COP26.

Mr Sharma welcomed the progress but stressed significant further work is needed, particularly on finance, adaptation and other crucial issues, with less than 100 days to go before countries come together in November for COP26 in Glasgow.

Following the meeting, COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma yesterday said:

The steps we have taken over the past two days bring us closer to securing an outcome at Glasgow that people and our planet are crying out for. However, fault lines remain on some critical issues, and there is more work to do. We have asked ministers to lead conversations in order to bridge divides and get us in the best possible position for COP26. Every country must now give their all to this process; lives and livelihoods depend on it, and we have no time to waste.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change yesterday said:

There can be no neutral position when it comes to climate action. It is necessary to come to an understanding and ensure the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, which is the most comprehensive and the only reliable strategy to address climate change.

John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, yesterday said:

This is the decisive decade to confront the climate crisis and get on track to achieve the net zero global economy that the world needs. The major economies in particular have a leadership role to play in submitting by Glasgow ambitious 2030 targets and clear strategies for how we are all going to get to net zero emissions by 2050. We must make COP26 a pivotal moment for the world to come together to meet and master the climate challenge.

Germany’s State Secretary, Jochen Flasbarth, yesterday said:

As part of international solidarity, mobilising international climate finance is essential to support developing countries in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change. A key part of this is delivering on the commitment of developed countries to jointly mobilise USD 100 billion per year through to 2025. I am very pleased to announce that following the request of COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma, the Canadian Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and I will co-lead a process to ensure trust that developed countries stand by their commitments and deliver on the USD 100 billion goal. The design of the process will be developed by Minister Wilkinson and me in close coordination with the incoming COP Presidency over the next few weeks.

Barbara Creecy, South Africa’s Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, yesterday said:

We would like to congratulate the incoming UK COP26 President for providing Ministers with space to advance the key negotiating issues that are necessary for the success of COP26 in Glasgow.

Sir Molwyn Joseph, Antigua & Barbuda’s Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment yesterday said:

At the UK’s July Ministerial, the message from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) appears to be well received. This provides a level of hope that the major emitters are beginning to understand their responsibilities and should be committed to keeping the 1.5 degree goal in reach.

Based on the forecast and trajectory from the best available science, we must achieve drastic emission reductions between now and 2030 to keep 1.5 alive. And as AOSIS Chair, I am committed to holding all countries accountable to this target. Moreover, major emitters, especially the G20, need to redirect all fossil fuel subsidies into renewable energy investments.

Realistically, this is going to require that we continue to press for declared commitments by the major emitters ahead of COP 26 in Glasgow. Coming into the Ministerial, I was unsure whether there was a recognition of the true need for addressing loss and damage. There now appears to be greater appreciation by the conference for the fact that: 1) SIDS bear the brunt of the negative effects of climate change in real terms; and 2) major emitters must accept responsibility to support SIDS, especially when climatic events inflict serious loss and damage to their infrastructure and economies. This has already resulted in the loss of life and disruption of livelihoods. For SIDS, this is not abstract, this is real! This is a matter of climate justice!

Environment Secretary George Eustice will also be hosting a related ministerial event on forests and land use tomorrow (27 July). The aim is to engage with key countries that cover the most significant forested regions of the world and build ambition ahead of COP26. Through changing and improving the way forests and other lands are managed, we can deliver up to 30% of the emissions reductions needed to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Photos of the Ministerial are available on the Cabinet Office Flickr account: Day 1 and Day 2.
  2. The COP26 President-Designate’s remarks to media at the end of the Ministerial are available here.


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