Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP  UK COP 26 President

Alok Sharma was appointed full-time President for COP 26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, on 8 January 2021. He was previously Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and President for COP 26 between 13 February 2020 and 8 January 2021. He was previously Secretary of State for International Development from 24 July 2019 to 13 February 2020, and Minister of State for Employment at the Department of Work and Pensions from 9 January 2018 until 24 July 2019. He was Minister of State for Housing and Planning, for the Department for Communities and Local Government from 13 June 2017 to 9 January 2018.

Parliamentary career

Rt Hon Alok was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 17 July 2016 to 13 June 2017. He has served as a member of the Commons Treasury select committee, a member of the Commons Science and Technology select committee, a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Treasury and from 2012 to 2015 as a Conservative Party Vice Chairman. Alok was appointed in 2016 as the Prime Minister’s Infrastructure Envoy to India. He also served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP, the former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who had overall responsibility for the Cabinet Office. He was elected as the Conservative MP for Reading West in May 2010.

UK COP 26

Around the world storms, floods and wildfires are intensifying. Air pollution sadly affects the health of tens of millions of people and unpredictable weather causes untold damage to homes and livelihoods too. But while the impacts of climate change are devastating, advances in tackling it are leading to cleaner air, creating good jobs, restoring nature and at the same time unleashing economic growth. Despite the opportunities we are not acting fast enough. To grip this crisis, countries need to join forces urgently. They also agreed to step up efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to make finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. By completing and implementing the Paris Agreement at Glasgow, we can show that the world is able to work together to tackle this crucial challenge. And by uniting behind a green recovery from coronavirus, which creates sustainable jobs and addresses the urgent and linked challenges of public health, climate change, and biodiversity loss, we can safeguard the environment for future generations.

The UK has a lot to be proud of when it comes to acting on climate change.

We have shown that climate action can go hand-in-hand with economic growth. Between 1990 and 2019, we achieved record clean growth. In that time, our economy grew by 78% and our emissions decreased by 44% over this time, the fastest decline in the G7.

UK Domestic Leadership

  1. We have decarbonised our economy faster than any other country in the G20 since 2000.
  2. We were the first major economy to put into law that we will reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  3. We are the largest producer of offshore wind energy in the world.
  4. We will end direct government support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas.
  5. We are doubling our international climate finance to help developing nations with £11.6bn a year by 2025.
  6. We have announced the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030, putting the UK on course to be the fastest G7 country to decarbonise cars and vans.
  7. We will spend at least £3bn of our international climate finance in the next 5 years on nature and nature based solutions.
  8. We are planting trees on 30,000 hectares of land per year by 2025.
  9. We have announced plans that put farmers at the forefront of reversing environmental decline and tackling climate change.
  10. We will make climate-related disclosures mandatory across the economy by 2025, with most requirements coming in by 2023.
  11. The low carbon sector and supply chain provides over 460,000 jobs in the UK. Our ambition is for up to 2 million green jobs by 2030.

The UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution

On 12 December 2020, the UK communicated its new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The NDC commits the UK to reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. It also includes information on how this target was developed and is quantified, known as ‘information to facilitate clarity, transparency, and understanding’ (ICTU).

Carbon Budget 6 

On 20 April 2021, the UK Government announced that it will build on its NDC commitments to 2030, by setting the world’s most ambitious climate change target into law to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.

In line with the recommendation from the independent Climate Change Committee, this sixth Carbon Budget limits the volume of greenhouse gases emitted over a 5-year period from 2033 to 2037, taking the UK more than three-quarters of the way to reaching net zero by 2050.


The UK’s Adaptation Communication

We also submitted our first Adaptation Communication to the UNFCCC on 12 December 2020. This report sets out what the UK is doing to prepare for the effects of climate change at home and to support those facing impacts overseas.


The UK’s Biennial Finance Communication

Our first Biennial Finance Communication was submitted to the UNFCCC. This report demonstrates our forward looking action on the support components of the Paris Agreement. Taken together, these parallel documents detail the UK’s action across the mitigation, adaptation, and finance pillars of the Paris Agreement. Leading the world in tackling and adapting to climate change is a major economic opportunity for the UK, that will create new skilled jobs across the country. But there is still much to be done, and COP26 will be a central part of making sure we succeed.

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