Strengthed ties, climate actions, says UK minister ahead of UN talks

Alok Sharma, an Indian-origin minister in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet in the UK, has travelled to India to strengthen close working ties and discuss taking action on the shared challenge of climate change ahead of the UN climate talks slated to be held at the end of this year.

While visiting the country this week, Sharma saw India’s ambitious work on renewable energy, and held vital discussions with government leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, business leaders and civil society groups, the British High Commission said here on Wednesday.

He also used this opportunity to build on the positive work India and the UK are doing together ahead of COP26 in Glasgow this November.

Sharma congratulated Modi on his personal leadership on climate action and his recent commitment to deliver 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030.

On his two-day visit to Delhi, Sharma also welcomed Modi’s global leadership in setting up the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, which the UK co-chairs, it said.

During his visit, Sharma held meetings with leading thinkers to discuss India’s strong approach to tackling climate change and improving global resilience.

He also talked to business leaders, highlighting the opportunities presented by a low carbon economy, and encouraging influential businesses such as Dalmia Cement to promote its efforts to introduce science-based net zero emissions targets.

Speaking at the end of his visit on Wednesday, Sharma said: “I am inspired by the resolve I have seen this week across Indian government and wider society to tackle the impacts of climate change. This visit has bolstered our already strong partnership with India which is important as we look ahead to COP26.

“I firmly believe that powerful action from India will be a catalyst for change, encouraging others to be more ambitious in their approaches to protecting both people and planet.”

Sharma also met senior leaders from the Indian government, including External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy R.K. Singh, Sherpa to the G7 and G20, Suresh Prabhu, and India’s lead climate negotiator and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.

Sharma and Javadekar discussed a number of initiatives being driven forward by India to reduce emissions and adapt to cope with the impacts of climate change.

Helping communities and countries adapt to the worst effects of climate change by stepping up access to funding and expertise for resilience and adaptation is a priority for the UK COP26 Presidency.

During his visit, Sharma stressed the need for partners around the world to meet their climate finance commitments.

Sharma added: “We want to use COP26 to drive forward a global shift towards renewable energy, and so I’m delighted to have seen this pioneering UK-India climate collaboration in action.

“India is showing impressive leadership when it comes to renewable power and I hope other countries will look to this example and think big ahead of COP26. Indiaa¿s expertise will be of tremendous value to global discussions around clean energy transition.”