Absence of key world leaders is blow to Cop26, Cabinet minister admits

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The absence of leaders from China, Russia and Brazil – and perhaps India and Japan – is a blow to Cop26, the cabinet minister in charge of the summit has acknowledged.

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After Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he was staying away from Glasgow, Alok Sharma told lawmakers: “Clearly, getting world leaders involved is good for the process that is good for the police.”

It was revealed that the absent leader would be unable to join Zoom in a potential blow to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who has spoken of an attempt to participate online.

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“It’s a physical meeting and the participants will be there physically,” a Cop 26 official told a committee of lawmakers. With only 11 days until the summit begins.

The questions came when Mr Sharma was accused of failing to set consistent criteria for success, to decide whether it was “a good cop or a bad cop”.

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The event’s president-designate said the aim was to “keep 1.5 degrees within reach” – the maximum global temperature rise possible while avoiding catastrophic climate change.

But 11 of the world’s 20 largest economies have yet to announce their contribution to that task – and there is no agreement on mechanisms to monitor compliance, even if targets are set.

Asked whether pedestrian countries were asked to put a commitment to zero carbon emissions in law, Mr Sharma said they were only required to take an oath.

Prominent diplomats have stressed the importance of face-to-face contact between the leaders of countries – the only ones with the power to make important climate commitments.

But Xi Jinping, the head of China – the world’s biggest carbon emitter and currently planning more coal-fired power stations – will almost certainly be missing, though he has not confirmed it.

Mr Putin will also be absent, as will the presidents of Brazil (Jair Bolsonaro), South Africa (Cyril Ramaphosa) and Iran (Ibraham Raisi), while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has yet to commit.

Labor has warned of pitfalls to the prospect of a deal. Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy said: “Without the biggest emitters like Russia and China, progress towards climate security cannot be achieved.”

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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