IIED statement on appointment of UN climate talks (COP26) president

In response to the appointment of Alok Sharma as next president of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP), IIED director Andrew Norton said:
Press release, 13 February 2020

“The government’s appointment of Alok Sharma was unexpected although his previous ministerial background in international development and the Foreign Office should mean he understands the scale of the task ahead and the importance of the voices of the most vulnerable countries.

“Alok has been given a hefty portfolio as much of the work to deliver the UK’s own commitment on net zero is also with him. Given the size of the climate emergency, it needs to be a priority for the whole of the cabinet.

“It is critical Alok Sharma now urgently picks up the pace and builds coalitions of pressure to move the United States, Brazil, Australia, Saudi Arabia and others that are blocking progress, to take the urgent steps needed to tackle the climate crisis. This includes urging balanced efforts to cut emissions rapidly and increase financial support, including enabling the most vulnerable people in developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change so they can thrive.

“This is an important opportunity for the UK to show it remains a global force. That it can and will develop new relationships with its European allies and form alliances of ambitious action across developed and developing countries.

“But the government must turn commitment into reality and make sure that every policy – both at home and abroad – is in line with addressing climate change. Its net zero pledge must be reflected across aid and trade, including making sure it ends all subsidies for fossil fuel exploration and production – including export credits.”


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Notes to editors

For more information or to request an interview, contact Simon Cullen: 
+44 7503 643332 or [email protected]