Virtual summit to support countries most vulnerable to climate change

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Developed countries have a “particular responsibility” to support those most vulnerable to climate change, the president of the Cop26 summit is warning.

Alok Sharma will tell a virtual ministerial meeting of countries that it is a “searing injustice” that people who have done the least to contribute to global warming are suffering the most from its impacts.

He will make the comments at the , a meeting designed to drive action on climate change ahead of the key Cop26 global summit on the issue which is taking place in Glasgow in November.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma
Cop26 president Alok Sharma (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The ministerial is bringing countries and organisations together on Wednesday to work on solutions to flooding, drought and extreme temperatures faced by many developing nations and opportunities for energy access, clean air and smarter cities, the Government said.

Ahead of the event, the Government announced £500,000 funding for a new initiative to establish high-quality voluntary carbon markets which pay for action to cut emissions.

Mr Sharma and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab are co-chairing the event, which will hear from developed and developing countries as well as institutions including development banks.

The summit aims to build consensus on action in areas including responding to loss and damage caused by climate impacts, and looking at debt relief and alleviating financial pressure on developing countries so they can address global warming.

Mr Sharma is expected to say:  “This is one of the most important events we are hosting in the run up to Cop26.

“We must acknowledge that the people who have done the least to cause the climate crisis are suffering the most.

“That is a searing injustice. And so developed countries have a particular responsibility to support the response of communities, which are most vulnerable to climate change.”

He will warn it is absolutely vital to find solutions because the world is running out of time to keep a target to curb temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, seen as the threshold beyond which the worst impacts of climate change will occur, within reach.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is expected to say: “Today is all about hearing from those countries that are most vulnerable to climate change – those on the front line of this fight.

“We need to consider where international systems can do more to deliver urgent climate action.”

“Combined with the challenge of recovering from the pandemic, this threatens to set back progress,” he warns.

He will point to the UK committing £11.6 billion over the next five years in climate finance, and urge: “The way forward must be to engineer a green recovery that delivers for people and planet.”

Laurie Lee, chief executive of CARE International UK, said a successful Cop26 would require support for developing countries most affected by climate emergencies already, and an ambitious outcome that addresses the scale of the crisis.

He said: “This means an increase in climate finance, with at least 50% going to adaptation and more of it accessible to grassroots and women-led organisations, so that those most impacted can lead the solutions.

“In order to encourage other countries to increase climate finance, the UK should therefore stop the aid cuts which are about to be made to UK global funding in 2021, which undermine its credibility as a climate leader.”

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