COP26: Hitting climate target won't save parts of the world from flooding warns Sharma

Parts of the world will still disappear under water even if Cop26 achieves its climate target, the summit’s president Alok Sharma has warned.

AT the United Nations conference in Glasgow on Sunday, Mr Sharma said it will be a “tough ask” as the UK pressesworld leaders to sign up to prevent global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

The former business minister said he hopes political leaders emerge from the two weeks of talks with “credibility”, having “kept 1.5C alive”.

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But he warned that even if that ambition is achieved, it will not put a stop to rising sea levels caused by global warming swamping some countries.

President for COP 26, Alok Sharma, at the opening ceremony at SECC in GlasgowPresident for COP 26, Alok Sharma, at the opening ceremony at SECC in Glasgow
President for COP 26, Alok Sharma, at the opening ceremony at SECC in Glasgow

His comments come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing world leaders at the G20 summit in Rome to go further on their climate pledges, arguing Glasgow represents the “best chance” of safeguarding the future of the planet.

Mr Sharma told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme that “1.5C really matters”.

He added: “We know from the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) that we are already at global warming of 1.1C above pre-industrial levels.

“At 1.5C, there will be countries in the world that will be under water and that’s why we need to get an agreement here on how we tackle climate change over the next decade.”

Marshall Islands climate envoy Tina Stege has said her country will be gone within the next 50 years if nothing is done about climate change, with even a 1.5C rise “unimaginable” for the nation, which sits just two metres above sea level.

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Lord Deben, chairman of the independent Climate Change Committee, said 1.5C “has to be attainable” in Glasgow or it will not just be the Marshall Islands fearing for its future, but parts of Europe as well.

The Tory peer told Sky News: “Places like Bangladesh, which are entirely beneath the sea level, large parts of the United States and of Europe, where great cities will be losing very large sections.

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“All that we have to defend and it’s, I’m afraid, a battle which we just have to win. It’s like, in that sense, the Battle of Britain – we cannot possibly lose it.”

Downing Street said Cop26 will be one of the biggest events the UK has ever hosted, with 25,000 delegates expected from 196 countries and the European Union.

Ministers, climate negotiators, civil society and business leaders are set to take part in talks and debates over the course of the conference.

Mr Sharma said responsibility for change will fall heavily on the shoulders of G20 nations, which includes the likes of India, China and Russia, given developed nations produce 80% of global emissions.

The Prime Minister said that in Glasgow, “humankind will gather to fight for the future of the planet”.

He added: “Glasgow represents our best chance. Just as the G20 shares a collective responsibility to act, so the solutions are in our hands.

“I hope countries will gather next week in a spirit of responsibility and ambition so we can keep the goal of 1.5 degrees alive.”

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