Alok Sharma says Bonn climate talks will lay groundwork for new commitments at Cop27

Delegates from across the world are gathering in the German city to reach climate agreements before November summit in Egypt

Alexey Dronov, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Bonn, and colleagues attend the opening day of the UNFCCC's SB56 climate conference in Bonn, Germany. The 10-day event is in preparation for the UN Climate Change Conference Cop27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November. Getty
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Cop26 President Alok Sharma said the 10-day climate talks in Bonn, Germany, will serve as the gateway to Egypt’s Cop27.

World leaders, scientists, policymakers, negotiators and businesses are to descend on the Sharm El-Sheikh resort town in November to build on the progress made at last year’s climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) Achieving Net Zero conference in London, Mr Sharma said the momentum gained at Cop26 must not be lost and urged business leaders to work with governments to achieve climate commitments.

“We generated a lot of hope and possibility coming out of Cop26,” the Conservative MP said.

“What I think is going to be really important [and] I think this is actually down to world leaders because it is really on them, is to ensure that we maintain that hope, that positivity at Cop27. And that’s why it’s going to be so important that countries deliver on the commitments they made at Cop26.”

Mr Sharma said that the Bonn Intersessional meeting, which brings together diplomats from June 6 to 16, will lay the groundwork for what politicians are likely to agree upon at Cop27.

“There’s an enormous amount of technical work that goes into these negotiations as you know, and therefore, what is kind of left for the politicians is the political agreement on this,” he said. “And it’s the same thing that happened in the lead-up to Cop26 as well.”

Envoys in Bonn will, over the next week, work towards addressing several issues including financial aid needed by developing countries struggling to cope with the effects of climate change. The summit in the western German city is described as a “major milestone in the international climate calendar”.

Mr Sharma said the international community is half-way between Cop26 and Cop27 and in the past six months nearly a dozen nations had come forward to make bolder commitments to reduce emissions.

“In terms of the progress that we’ve made since Cop26, we’ve had 11 countries that have come forward with their revised reduction targets,” he said. “I can tell you from the discussions we’ve had in Copenhagen (in May) there are a lot of other countries that are looking at this issue as well.”

He said the UK is in the process of “transitioning to a clean, green future with opportunities for those who are on the front foot, and risks I’m afraid for those who are not.”

Mr Sharma urged businesses to work with governments, their supply chain partners and trade unions “to make sustainability part and parcel of doing business”.

“We need to work together, governments and business, on the road to Cop 27 in less than six months,” he said. “By the time we get there, we’re going to have to show the commitments we’ve made are leading to action.”

“We have to for the future of our planet,” he said.

In her speech to the talks in Bonn this week, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will call on other developed nations to show “much greater commitment” to addressing the loss and damage caused by climate change.

She is expected to use her video address to the summit to stress that “action from devolved, state and regional governments — as well as civil society — will also be vital in driving progress” in a rallying call to action.

Looking ahead to Cop27, Ms Sturgeon will say: “At that summit, we still need to see developed countries stepping up — and showing a much greater commitment to address loss and damage.”

In a transcript released before her speech, she described the Bonn meeting as a “major milestone in the international climate calendar”.

Updated: May 12, 2023, 4:52 PM