Last hope over climate crisis requires end to coal, says Alok Sharma

(The Guardian, 14 May 2021) President-designate of Cop26 talks says tackling the fossil fuel is ‘a personal priority’.

Coal must be consigned to history as the world faces its “last hope” of holding back climate breakdown, the president of the Cop26 climate summit says.

Alok Sharma, a former UK business secretary and now president-designate of Cop26, to be held in Glasgow this November, is expected to say this Friday morning: “This is our last hope of keeping 1.5C alive. Our best chance of building a brighter future … of green jobs and cleaner air. I have faith that world leaders will rise to the occasion and not be found wanting in their tryst with destiny.”

Holding global temperature rises within 1.5C of pre-industrial levels is the aspirational goal of the Paris climate agreement, as scientists have warned that above that level glaciers will melt, low-lying islands will face inundation, and corals will die off.

In his speech Sharma singled out coal (the dirtiest fossil fuel) as “a personal priority”, and said he was working with governments and through international organisations to end the financing of the fossil fuel. “If we are serious about 1.5C, Glasgow must be the Cop that consigns coal to history, the coal business, as the UN secretary-general has said, going up in smoke. It’s old technology,” he said.

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The Guardian, 14 May 2021: Last hope over climate crisis requires end to coal, says Alok Sharma