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UK hosts 51 countries for climate talks ahead of COP26

·2-min read

Britain hosts climate and environment ministers from 51 countries on July 25 for "critical" climate talks ahead of November's United Nations Climate Change Conference ("COP26"), summit in Glasgow.

British minister Alok Sharma, president of what is officially called the "Conference of Parties" COP26, will lead the two-day meeting, which London said will address "key issues that require resolution" at the summit.

Mr Sharma "hopes to build common ground and sketch the outline of the Glasgow outcome", according to a statement released by the British government.

Environment and climate officials from France, the United States, India and China will be among those taking part in the closed-door meeting, which will include both virtual and in-person attendance.

It is the first face-to-face ministerial meeting of its kind in more than 18 months.

"Decisive decade"

"We are facing perilous times for our planet and the only way we will safeguard its future is if countries are on the same path," said Mr Sharma.

"The world will be watching to see whether we come together in Glasgow and do what is necessary to turn things around in this decisive decade," he added.

"It is essential that together we roll up our sleeves, find common ground and collectively draw out how we will build a greener, brighter future for our children and future generations."

The event will cover the goal of keeping to the 1.5 degree Celcius temperature rise limit, exploring topics such as climate finance, efforts to adapt to climate change and finalising the "rulebook" for implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Negotiators from 196 countries and the European Union, along with businesses, experts and world leaders are expected to attend.

US climate envoy John Kerry said this week that the summit marked a "pivotal moment" for the world to come together to meet and master the climate challenge.

"Glasgow is the place, 2021 is the time and we can, in a little more than 100 days, save the next 100 years," he added.

"Above all we need to provide action, and we need to do it now, because time is running out."

G20

The London-meeting takes place three days after a G20 environment and energy ministers meeting in Naples. On 22 July, they announced an agreement that reaffirms commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement, although they failed to agree to wording on global warming caps.

Following two days of environment and climate talks, Italy's Ecological Transition Minister, Roberto Cingolani, said negotiations were "particularly complex" but expressed satisfaction with the result.

"This deal is fundamental for opening the way to the COP26," said Cingolani, referring to November's UN climate talks in Glasgow.

However, two articles out of 60 were struck from the document as they could not be agreed upon, he said. Those will now be taken up by G20 heads of state for decision-making when they meet in October.

(With agencies)

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