Cop26 president Alok Sharma hails Abu Dhabi climate talks and calls for action

Sharma is in charge of a vital summit in Glasgow this November

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Cop26 President Alok Sharma said major climate talks in Abu Dhabi were vital on the road to a key summit in Scotland in November.

Mr Sharma, who is in charge of UN’s Climate Change Conference, to be held in Glasgow, said the Regional Climate Dialogue on Sunday helped to accelerate action on curbing carbon emissions.

Climate leaders from across the Mena region attended the milestone talks in the UAE capital.

US climate envoy John Kerry was among those attending, as was the UAE's Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and special envoy for climate change, Dr Sultan Al Jaber.

The talks concluded with 11 countries pledging to ensure the success of the 2015 Paris Agreement, cut emissions by 2030 and do even more to stop temperatures rising.

“Delighted to attend the UAE Regional Dialogue, organised by my friend Dr Sultan Al Jaber ... to work with partners across Mena to accelerate climate action,” Mr Sharma wrote on Twitter.

“This is vital on the road to Cop26,” he said. “I urge countries to follow up with net zero commitments [and] ambitious nationally determined contribution,” he said, a reference to pledges made by countries under the 2015 Paris accord.

Cop26 has been described as the most important summit since Paris in 2015.

Agreed the same year and now signed by 195 countries, including the UAE, the Paris Agreement aims to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C above that of pre-industrial times.

But experts said the world faces increases of more than 1.5°C within 10 years if countries fail to act.

Cop26 represents the first time that countries are expected to commit to enhanced pledges to cut emissions since the Paris Agreement was signed.

Mr Sharma, along with world leaders, is trying to build momentum before the meeting.

A virtual climate summit convened by US President Joe Biden takes place this month.

The Cop26 President also met Francesco La Camera, director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi dialogue.

Mr Sharma said his meeting with Mr La Camera was productive.

“The global transition to renewable energy is vital to tackle climate change,” Mr Sharma said. “I look forward to further collaboration with Irena in the run up to Cop26.”

The UAE and the US have also jointly vowed to tackle climate change, help the most vulnerable adapt and invest in decarbonisation.

Their pledge on Monday came a day after the major climate talks.