COP President Alok Sharma: Looking Back and Stepping Forward
The Wilson Center, in partnership with the British Embassy, Washington D.C. hosted a conversation with COP26 President Alok Sharma.
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In advance of the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), and as the UK's COP Presidency enters its final weeks, the Wilson Center, in partnership with the British Embassy, Washington D.C. was proud to host COP26 President Alok Sharma.
On the heels of his trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya and ahead of COP27, Sharma, who is also a British Cabinet minister, reflected on how climate change—and responses to it—are reshaping our world, and how the global community can collaborate more effectively to forge the path ahead for climate action.
Sharma's speech was followed by a conversation on the achievements and challenges of COP26, his experience leading the negotiations, and what the next steps are in the global effort to act on climate change.
COP President Alok Sharma
"It is possible to take on multiple challenges, and to succeed, even in the most challenging times. And indeed, as many climate vulnerable countries have been recognizing for some time, we no longer have the luxury of choice. We have to try and do this simultaneously."
"Today, climate must be at the heart of everything that we do. The world cannot afford for such institutions to be cautious in how their considerable resources are deployed to tackle the climate crisis. That, I think, is a matter of social justice as well as environmental security."
"We have to incentivize every aspect of the international system to recognize the systemic risk of climate change, and to make managing it effectively a central task. Whether that’s multilateral development banks or the private sector. Central banks or investment banks. Regulators or credit rating agencies. Finance ministries or philanthropies. There is frankly no logical reason why every single one of those institutions should not be adapting, to making tackling the climate crisis a fundamental part of their overall purpose."
"I am certain that, if we can align all of the work that I have seen and that I have talked about today, and adapt the systems that underpin it, the 21st century will not just be the century we pulled the world back from the precipice of climate catastrophe, it will be the century we unlocked a just and sustainable path to prosperity for billions of people around the world."
Ambassador Mark Green
"Climate change and climate extremes are really beginning to upend nearly every aspect of modern life and the international order. From disrupting food security and economic opportunity to spurring conflicts over limited resources, to driving human displacement to record heights, many of our foreign policy challenges have been made much more complex and new ones are rapidly emerging."
"As we rush to deal with the immediate devastation left from hurricanes like Ian, and floods like those in Pakistan, we have to look ahead and bring a clear-eyed analysis to broader trends and longer-term threats."
"To meet the challenges of climate change, new waves of diplomacy will need to raise climate ambition, promote new, more dynamic methods of multilateral collaboration, and find new paths forward towards a cleaner energy future."
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