In his first speech as COP26 President, Business and Energy Secretary, Alok Sharma, outlined priority actions for 2020 as the shift to net zero is looked to be made fair for all.
Sharma, speaking on 6 March at the UN in New York, said that COP26 can be a moment where the world comes together to accelerate momentum towards a climate-resilient, zero carbon economy. Noting that commitments made under the Paris Agreement “fall far short of what is required”, Sharma called for all countries to submit more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions, to commit to further cuts in carbon emissions by 2030 and to commit to reaching net zero emissions as soon as possible.
Sharma outlined the areas which need particular action in 2020, including adaptation and resilience, nature, finance and the energy transition. On the latter, Sharma said that as well as investing in innovation to accelerate the transition, action must be taken to empower developing countries to ensure they can embrace the clean energy of the future. With regards to transport, he spoke of accelerating the move to zero carbon transport, stating that over half of new car sales worldwide being projected to be electric by 2040 is too late to meet the Paris goals and must happen faster.