Cop26 President Alok Sharma has urged developed nations to end the use of “unabated” coal power to reach their climate change objectives.
Mr Sharma said the use of the fuel is “incompatible” with limiting global temperature rises to 1.5°C compared with pre-industrial levels by 2050, as set out in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
Coal use is regarded as unabated when it is burnt for power or heat without utilising technology to capture the ensuing emissions, a system not yet widely used in power generation.
Mr Sharma was addressing the G20 Climate and Energy meeting in Naples. The UN climate conference, known as Cop26, is set to take place in Glasgow, Scotland in November.
“Together we need to make clear our commitment to keeping 1.5 alive, to take the steps required to decarbonise our economies, agreeing to a net zero world by the middle of this century, and enhancing our 2030 commitments to get us on this track,” he said.
Mr Sharma called for actions rather than “just our words”.
“So let us tell the world today, we will seek to end unabated coal both at home and overseas.
“We need to agree on these steps and make that clear through our statements today,” he said.
Mr Sharma said the Group of 20 countries are responsible for almost 80 per cent of global emissions and 85 per cent of the global economy.
“The choices we make, literally today, the choices we make, can unlock a healthier, safer, cleaner future, or they can drive the Paris Agreement goals further out of reach,” he told the G20 ministerial meeting.
“I think as friends we have to be frank: our decisions to date have harmed our children’s future.
“Since the Paris Agreement was put in place, global emissions have gone up, not down.”