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PM and Cop President to step up climate advocacy to coincide with US summit

Patrick Daly, PA Political Correspondent
·2-min read

Britain is to step up its advocacy to encourage world leaders to take up more ambitious targets to tackle the “greatest challenge” of climate change.

The Prime Minister’s climate change tsar, Alok Sharma, will travel to Japan this week as the UK looks to bolster support before a forthcoming environment conference in the US, followed by the G7 meeting in Cornwall in June.

On Thursday at US President Joe Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, Boris Johnson will personally urge his global counterparts to go further to maintain momentum on progressing worldwide action to tackle global warming, Downing Street said.

No 10 said that the UK, which is hosting the major Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow in November, was “using all international avenues” to ask every nation to set ambitious emission-reducing targets in order to reach net zero carbon output by the middle of the century.

Cop President Mr Sharma is set to meet Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga to advocate for strong climate policies and call on him to follow the UK’s lead in phasing out coal power.

He is also due to speak to other government ministers, business leaders and civil society to highlight Japan’s key role in leading international efforts to tackle climate change, officials said.

Mr Sharma said: “The US Leaders Summit on Climate is a major event in this vital year for climate action on the road to Cop26 in Glasgow.

“The climate crisis is the greatest challenge that we face and it is our duty to address it.

“There are also great opportunities as we look to build back greener – accelerating our move to a greener future, as we invest in new technologies and create millions of new jobs across the world.

“We are making progress but we are not there yet – there is much more work to be done.

Cop President Alok Sharma
Alok Sharma is to visit Japan this week as part of climate lobbying efforts (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“We need to turn ambition into action and coming together this week we are looking to raise global climate ambition, continue the momentum we have already seen and ensure we keep 1.5 degrees in reach.”

The former business secretary has, despite international travel restrictions due to coronavirus, completed a number of visits to see foreign leaders over the past few weeks.

He has been in Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Korea, Nepal and India as part of the UK’s climate mission, No 10 said.

Officials said 80 countries had made net zero commitments, covering 65% of global carbon emissions – more than triple from when the UK took over the Cop presidency in December 2019.

In the lead up to the November gathering, the UK is also asking donor countries to deliver on their commitment to secure 100 billion dollars (£72 billion) of public finance and unleash the trillions needed to support developing countries and to help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.