Cop26 ‘our last hope’ at limiting global warming to 1.5C – Alok Sharma

Alok Sharma Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Cop26 will be “our last hope” at limiting global warming to 1.5C, the president of the Glasgow summit will say in a speech on Friday.

Alok Sharma will speak outside Glasgow ahead of the November 1-12 meeting which will bring world leaders together to tackle the issue.

He will also say that the conference must consign coal to history.

The Armadillo at Scottish Event Campus will be one of the venues for the conference Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA

“This is our last hope of keeping 1.5C alive.

“Our best chance of building a brighter future.

“A future of green jobs and cleaner air,” he is expected to say.

“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 1.5C alive.”

A full member of Cabinet, Mr Sharma was appointed president for the conference by Boris Johnson in January.

In his speech, he will say he enlisted the help of his daughters in creating a message to deliver to world leaders.

He will say: “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.”

Mr Sharma will add that 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,” he is expected to say.

“This is a personal priority.

“And to urge countries to abandon coal power, with the G7 leading the way.”

He will add: “The days of coal providing the cheapest form of power are in the past.

“And in the past they must remain.”

Kate Blagojevic, head of climate at Greenpeace UK, welcomed Mr Sharma’s commitment to the 1.5C goal but said more action was needed.

“The UK can’t claim climate leadership overseas whilst at home the Government continues to entertain a new coal mine in Cumbria or maintains the planning block on English onshore wind,” she said.

“With only six months left the clock is ticking, if the Government wants to be climate leaders it’s time they act like it.”

Ahead of the speech, UK Government minister for Scotland David Duguid said the conference would be “a crucial opportunity for all parts of the UK, and indeed all nations globally, to work together to create a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future for our children”.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are delighted that Cop26 will take place in Scotland.

“Cop26 is the world’s best chance to make the goals of the Paris Agreement a reality, and to demonstrate to the people of Scotland and to the world how we in Scotland are turning our promises on climate change into action.

“It will demonstrate Scotland’s world-leading climate action on the global stage and show how people and well-being are at the centre of all we do. Cop26 can inspire us all to act to reach a net zero future, in a way that is fair to all. We’ll play our full part in getting there.

“The Scottish Government is working closely with all partners to make sure Cop26 is both safe and successful. Delivering an event on this scale during a global health pandemic is, of course, challenging, but we will do all we can to get the right outcome for people and the planet.”