Alok Sharma, an Indian-origin Minister in the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, on Monday arrived here for two days of climate discussions with Indian leaders.
Sharma, the COP26 President-Designate to lead the crucial UN climate talks, will meet senior Indian Ministers, as well as leaders from business and civil society, to discuss strengthening the UK-India climate partnership and preparing for a successful COP26 summit later this year.
In his first visit to Asia as COP (Conference of the Parties) President, Sharma is expected to welcome India’s significant progress on climate action and clean energy transition, an official statement by New Delhi-based British High Commission said.
He will highlight Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s global leadership in setting up the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), the latter of which the UK is proud to co-chair.
India’s expertise is expected to be of great value to global discussions on a clean energy transition as part of COP preparations, it said.
In his meetings with business, Sharma will highlight the huge opportunities in the low carbon economy, celebrate existing commitments to achieve net zero emissions and encourage influential businesses to promote the growing movement of corporate climate action throughout their sector and supply chain.
Sharma will also meet with civil society, including experts and young thinkers, to discuss challenges and possible solutions to climate change, and to hear how they are trying to mobilise younger generations in support of climate action.
After a year of virtual meetings, the in-person visit signals a step-change in momentum to COP26 or UN climate change conference preparations, and reinforces Sharma’s ambition to run an inclusive negotiating process that incorporates the views of all countries.
Sharma said: “When it comes to climate action, India is a key partner and a global leader. Together we can make change happen — delivering real progress on reducing emissions and building global commitments.
“The UK and India are already a joint force for good against climate change, and we look forward to strengthening this partnership in the run up to COP26 and beyond.”
High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis CMG said: “Alok Sharma’s visit is the latest step in protecting our planet by making COP26 a success and will further develop the UK-India climate partnership on clean and resilient development.
“Hearing from the Indian government first hand, as well as civil society and business will be essential in informing the approach of the UK Presidency as we work towards a comprehensive, ambitious and balanced outcome at COP26.”
Sharma’s visit follows those of the UK Foreign Secretary and International Trade Secretary, and paves the way for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit later this year, during which climate cooperation will be a focus.
As host of COP26, the UK is setting a strong example on climate action, with a legally binding target to cut emissions to net zero by 2050.
Between 1990 and 2018, the UK nearly halved emissions whilst growing the economy by 75 per cent, and will cut coal use in the power sector entirely by 2025.
The UK has committed to double its International Climate Finance to at least £11.6bn over the next five years, to help developing countries to take action.
The UK’s Presidency of COP26 in 2021 and India’s Presidency of the G20 in 2023 provide important platforms for driving global action and implementing the Paris Agreement.
India and the UK share many common priorities on climate action and are working closely together to ensure action in the run-up to COP26 and beyond.
Priority themes at COP26 with great potential for collaboration include: adaptation and resilience; corporate action; green finance; clean growth and technology; and nature-based solutions.