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Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

‘I do not underestimate the challenge’, COP26 president says in opening address

GLASGOW (CU)_Heavy rain poured down on the Scottish city of Glasgow, on the first day of the much anticipated UN climate summit, as some red-faced delegates being forced into last-minute flights or rental cars, after a fallen tree blocked train lines from London. At the event, some attendees struggled to master the phone apps which regulate the daily COVID-19 testing regime for one of the first major international gatherings since the start of the pandemic.

“This is not a normal COP,” Britain’s COP26 president, Alok Sharma, admitted.

As the event kicked off on Sunday (31 October), UK warned the gathering that the “lights are flashing red on the climate change dashboard”. Acknowledging the difficult task ahead of him in reaching a deal to slash emissions across the globe, Sharma said: “I do not underestimate the challenge”. But “I believe that we can resolve the outstanding issues,” he added.

During the opening session of the Conference, UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa admitted that launching a rapid shift in the world’s economy onto a greener trajectory in order to minimise the effects of climate change was an enormously difficult task.

“The transition we need is beyond the scope, scale and speed of anything humanity has accomplished in the past. It is a daunting task. But humanity is a species defined by its ingenuity,” she said.

The biggest stumbling block faced at the Conference of the Parties this year is the outcome of the G20 meeting, when the leaders of the major economies responsible for 80 per cent of global emissions met in Rome and agreed to support a 1.5°C limit on global warming, but offered very limited new concrete commitments to achieve it.

Describing the outcome of the G20 summit in Rome as “weak”, the executive director of Greenpeace International, Jennifer Morgan, said: “If the G20 was a dress rehearsal for COP26, then world leaders fluffed their lines.”

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