Chinese premier Xi Jinping has not yet confirmed that he will attend the United Nations Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow this year, Alok Sharma has said.
Sharma, the Cop26 president, held two days of talks earlier this year in China in an attempt to cajole the country’s leadership to commit to the landmark summit.
Boris Johnson is hoping to seal a global agreement on climate change at the November conference to renew and strengthen commitments made as a part of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.
When asked by Sky News today if Xi had committed to the conference, Sharma said: “No, not yet.”
Sharma added: “There is no doubt that China is going to be part of the key to all of this. They are the biggest emitter in the world.
“What President Xi Jinping has said is that they are going to strictly restrict the use of coal in this next five-year period, from 2026 they are going to phase down. But we want to see the detail of that. That is what we are pressing them.
“They have said to me they want the COP26 to be a success. The ball is in their court. We want them to come forward and make it a success together with the rest of the world.”
China is the globe’s largest emitter of CO2 and pundits believe any Cop26 agreement not signed off by Xi will not be effective in renewing global climate change targets.
Beijing is continuing to build new coal powered energy plants, however Xi has also said the country would become carbon neutral by 2060.
The UK is also trying to convince other large emitters like Brazil and India to come to the negotiating table.
Sharma said his recent talks in China had been “constructive and very frank”.
“I said to them ‘we want to see the detailed policy around this’ and they – along with every other major economy in the G20 – have committed before COP26 they will come forward with ambitious plans to cut emissions,” he said.