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Carolina Schmidt and Alok Sharma - respectively, COP25 president and COP26 president-designate - yesterday issued a joint plea for new and enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and net-zero targets ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement. NDCs embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Sharma, who is the UK's secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, announced that the UK and the UN secretary-general will co-host an event on 12 December, to which they were inviting world leaders to come forward with new commitments on NDCs, Long-Term Strategies, and adaptation and support.

Sharma also said that, at New York Climate Week, the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action Facility (NAMA Facility) had announced a new EUR168 million (USD196 million) Ambition Initiative, with contributions from the UK and Germany, to support countries with the implementation of their emissions reduction targets as they recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Schmidt, who is Chile's environment minister, said there was an unprecedented opportunity to build "a healthier, more productive and more resilient society” than before the pandemic, “with the climate ambition guiding the way".

In a video address with Sharma, she said: "As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented socioeconomic crisis and postponed COP26 until November next year, but it has not postponed the need for Parties to deliver on the Paris Agreement because the climate crisis has not been in quarantine. Despite the hardship, climate action must continue."

Alok Sharma
At COP25 in Madrid, under the Climate Ambition Alliance, over 120 countries made commitments to enhance their NDCs and their Long-Term Strategies in 2020. Early next year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's NDC synthesis report will show how all countries’ aggregated submissions "measure against the science demands", she said.

Sharma noted that Jamaica, the Marshall Islands, Moldova, Norway and Chile had already come forward with more ambitious NDCs. He said: "We will only succeed in tackling climate change by working together internationally. So, while Italy and the UK will co-host COP26, success will belong to the whole world."

Their video address coincided with a roundtable of global climate leaders from government, business and finance, and civil society to showcase high-impact actions and ambition to confront the climate crisis. UN Secretary-General António Guterres convened the event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

According to a UN statement, Guterres wanted to demonstrate leading examples of his "six climate-positive actions": invest in jobs and green business, no bailouts to polluting industries, ending subsidies for fossil fuels, considering climate risks in all decisions and policy-making, working together and ensuring that no one is left behind.

The UK also announced that the COP26 and COP25 High Level Champions for Global Climate Action will be convening a series of virtual dialogues across the world in November to bring cities and states, businesses, civil society and others together "to drive forward the race to net zero". They will discuss action on areas including transport, nature and energy to maintain momentum on tackling climate change at a global scale.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "The UK will lead by example, keeping the environment on the global agenda and serving as a launch pad for a global green industrial revolution. But no one country can turn the tide - it would be akin to bailing out a liner with a single bucket. We cannot let climate action become another victim of coronavirus. Let us be the leaders who secure the very health of the planet for our children, grandchildren and generations to come."

COP26 will take place in Glasgow, Scotland on 1-12 November, 2021.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Saturday, 26 September 2020
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