The world will soon face “catastrophe” from climate change if urgent action is not taken, according to Cop26 chief Alok Sharma.
Sharma, who is managing preparations for the Glasgow climate summit, said the he world “can’t afford” to wait another two years to take serious action.
The government wants to use the UN summit to strike a global agreement on climate change that will build on commitments made in the 2015 Paris climate accord.
Speaking to the Observer, Sharma said: “I don’t think there’s any other word for it [other than catastrophe]. You’re seeing on a daily basis what is happening across the world. Last year was the hottest on record, the last decade the hottest decade on record.
“This is going to be the starkest warning yet that human behaviour is alarmingly accelerating global warming and this is why Cop26 has to be the moment we get this right. We can’t afford to wait two years, five years, 10 years – this is the moment.”
Sharma’s comments come as the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) prepares to release a new report that will urge governments and businesses to take further action on climate change at Cop26.
The report is set to warn that a total global warming of 1.5 degrees is the threshold of safety and that many national governments’ current plans will not prevent this.
Cop26 will particularly be key to get high per capita emitters like China, Brazil, India and Australia to agree to climate targets to drastically cut their carbon output.
Any plan will go alongside a scheme agreed at the G7 conference to fund trillions of pounds of green infrastructure projects in developing countries to cut emissions in Asia and Africa.
The plan is considered to be a climate friendly alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which has seen Beijing pour hundreds of billions of pounds into developing infrastructure across the globe.