The countdown to COP26 begins. There are four weeks to go until the world’s largest annual climate conference takes place in Glasgow in November, which will bring together the international community to address the climate crisis that poses an ever-present danger to humanity and our planet.
Extreme weather events around the world have recently increased in number and intensity including wildfires, heatwaves, severe droughts and flooding.
In August, we witnessed an unprecedented phenomenon – temperatures rose above freezing on the summit of Greenland for only the third time on record, and for the first time it rained rather than snowed.
As we gear towards COP26 (26th annual summit of the ‘Conference of the Parties’), the UK and Italy are bringing together governments and communities to turn the tide on climate change and deliver on the Paris Agreement.
We must halve emissions over the next decade alone if we are to meet the goals of the agreement and keep global temperature rises close to 1.5C. To help achieve this, we are working together with states, campaigners, third parties and climate experts to raise climate ambition, protect nature, drive green innovation, and deliver on finance for countries that need it most.
The UK has committed £11.6 billion (BD6bn) in climate finance over the next five years and is urging others to come forward. Italy is leveraging its role as G20 presidency and partner of the UK for COP26 to increase ambition in climate finance and has committed to use its shareholding in the multilateral development banks to set high targets for climate finance and to ensure their activities are aligned with the Paris Agreement.
As presidents of the G7 and G20 this year, the UK and Italy have ensured that tackling climate change and promoting clean energy solutions have been a core focus of this year’s global agenda.
As the world continues to gradually recover from the ongoing ramifications of the pandemic, it is imperative, now more than ever, to use this rare opportunity to trigger transformative change and Build Back Better as the world begins to reset. However, it requires governments, non-state actors, businesses and experts to work together to avoid locking in investments in polluting emissions and the declining growth rates of the carbon-intensive economy, while also considering green technologies within fossil fuel industries.
Clean growth also presents a great economic opportunity to build strong partnerships in the low-carbon industries of the future.
Bahrain itself is making excellent headway in this field and we are delighted to have them on board as our valued partner as we prepare for COP26.
We have seen a remarkable acceleration in Bahrain’s implementation of renewable energy systems and emerging green technologies in recent years, including waste management solutions and solar power, as it moves in line with the world towards a low-carbon future.
We also look forward to seeing more electric vehicles lining Bahrain’s streets as they become more widely available.
The UK aims to become the world’s leading centre for green technology and clean wind energy as part of wider efforts to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and build back greener from the pandemic.
The UK plans to upgrade infrastructure across its regions to increase offshore wind capacity, which is already the largest in the world.
Italy is also committed to implementing its National Energy and Climate Plan aimed at achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 whereby sufficient CO2 is absorbed to offset the amount emitted.
As G20 presidency, Italy put the energy-climate nexus at the core of its agenda. Italy organised a joint ministerial meeting this July in Naples, which obtained important results on a series of common priorities building towards the Leader’s Summit, and seizing the opportunities offered by innovative technological solutions, the role of sustainable cities and the alignment of global financial flows towards a green, sustainable recovery.
The climate crisis is one of the greatest global challenges which no country can address single-handedly, nor does caring for our environment belong to a single state, ideology or party.
COP26 is our chance to help address some of these impediments while at the same time it is our opportunity to Build Back Better through international collaboration, public policy development and science-led action.
We look forward to continuing to work with Bahrain on this vital endeavour to help us deliver a successful summit in Glasgow.