The president of COP26, Alok Sharma MP, has called for the Paris Agreement and work done at the Glasgow climate summit in 2021 to act as the “baseline” for climate ambition, in a speech to IEMA members at IEMA Connect 2022.
Alok Sharma MP, President of COP26 speaking at IEMA's Connect Conference


Concerns about the so-called “ambition gap” – the space between commitments to climate action and implementation of policies and practices – have been raised increasingly over recent years, with government and corporations making public statements about the climate emergency while failing to act.

Alok Sharma MP, president of COP26, said:

“My team and I remained squarely focused on turning the promises and commitments of the historic Glasgow climate pact, forged under the UK stewardship amongst nearly 200 countries last November, into action.

“Yes, there has been some progress since Glasgow. We've had over 20 new emission reduction targets, including from G20 nations like Australia and India. But unless we implement the commitments made in Glasgow in full, global temperatures will rise by more than two degrees. The job is far from done.

“Glasgow and Paris must be the baseline of our ambition. This is a critical moment to redouble our efforts, resist backsliding and ultimately go further and faster.

“All our attention is focused on this decisive decade, with only eight years left to go and skilled climate, environment and sustainability professionals like those across the IEMA membership, many of whom are at the vanguard of the green skills revolution will have a central role to play in keeping 1.5 alive. You can transform your own companies, reduce your own emissions and commit to innovative and sustainable solutions.”

“The case for action is immense. The cost of inaction would be catastrophic. The choice is clear. Let's all redouble our efforts and recommit to making the right choice for the planet and for future generations in everything you and your businesses do.”

Sharma is due to hand over the presidency of COP to the Egyptian government which is hosting COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh from 6 to 18 November 2022.

The President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, said:

“I deeply believe that COP27 is an opportunity to showcase unity against an existential threat that we can only overcome through concerted action and effective implementation.”

IEMA members can watch a recording of this here.

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Tom Pashby

Digital Journalist, IEMA

Tom Pashby is a Digital Journalist at IEMA, working alongside the Head of Media Abigail Simmons, and the Senior Media Officer Tim Farmer.

Alongside their work for IEMA, Tom is currently studying part-time for an NCTJ Diploma in Journalism with PA Training, and freelances as a writer and editor. They have written about the climate emergency, LGBTQIA+ rights and the UK constitution for publications including the Times, the i newspaper, Metro, PinkNews and the Ecologist.