Alok Sharma hints that significant Cop26 deal can be done without China
The UK’s president of the Cop26 has hinted that a significant deal could be done at the climate change summit without China as fears grow the world’s biggest emitter will not come to the negotiating table.
Alok Sharma today emphasised the importance of the G20 countries in helping decreasing global emissions as he was being pushed on China’s cooperation at the summit, telling MPs that these countries alone can help keep the world to 1.7 degrees of global warming.
Boris Johnson and Joe Biden are hoping to reach a global agreement at the summit that makes it possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees – a level that would likely avert the worst kind of potential climate catastrophes.
Xi Jinping is considered unlikely to attend the summit and there are large doubts about whether China’s delegation will be prepared to sign up to more restrictive climate goals.
There have also been doubts about the willingness of some of the globe’s other high emitters – notably Russia, India and Brazil – to sign up to new climate goals.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced today he was not coming with his country’s delegation to the summit in another blow to Johnson’s hopes of hosting a successful summit.
Sharma told a parliamentary committee that he has asked Jinping’s team to provide more details on their plans to go net-zero by 2060 and that he has “had some reports that they’ll be coming forward and publishing sector by sector analysis of where they’re going in terms of emissions reductions”.
When pushed on whether a significant deal can get done at Cop26 without China’s cooperation, Sharma said: “The G20 really matters because they represent 80 per cent of global emissions.
“If all of them were on a pathway to 1.5 or net zero by 2050 we would be looking at limiting global warming to 1.7 degrees, that’s just the action of the g20 and that’s why what they do matter so much.”
Sharma said that it was crucial for more of the G20 countries to come forward with their national climate plans in order to map out a successful low carbon future.
All the G7 countries – the US, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Canada and Japan – have released their plans, along with Argentina and South Africa.