Queen to attend Alok Sharma led COP26 climate summit

Queen to attend Alok Sharma led COP26 climate summit
Courtesy: WPA Pool / Pool | Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II will attend the UK-hosted United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP26 summit scheduled for November in Glasgow, Scotland, the organisers have confirmed.

The 95-year-old monarch will join world leaders at the event, which was originally due to take place in November last year but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is among the world leaders expected to attend the summit alongside US President Joe Biden, among around 120 heads of state and government. Others expected to travel to Scotland for the event between November 1 and 12 include Pope Francis and climate campaigner Greta Thunberg.

“Absolutely delighted that Her Majesty the Queen will attend COP26,” UK Cabinet minister and president of the COP26 summit, Alok Sharma, tweeted.

Sharma, the Agra-born minister who recently returned from a visit to India as part of his role for the summit, had tweeted earlier this week about his discussions during that tour.

“Impressed to hear, during my visit last week, about India’s progress on renewables towards a 450GW target by 2030 Hope India will consider incorporating such ambitious policy commitments in any enhanced NDC [Nationally Determined Contributions] ahead of COP26,” he said.

Following some stark warnings issued by a recent UN report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the science of climate change, the UK is calling for urgent global action in response.

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The report warned that climate change is already affecting every region across the globe and that without urgent action to limit warming, heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and loss of Arctic Sea ice, snow cover and permafrost, will all increase while carbon sinks will become less effective at slowing the growth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It highlighted that cutting global emissions, starting immediately, to net zero by mid-century would give a good chance of limiting global warming to 1.5C in the long-term and help to avoid the worst effects of climate change. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had dubbed it a “wake-up call” for the world to take action for the “critical COP26 summit”.

As extreme events are felt across the globe, from wildfires in North America to floods in India, China, across Europe, and parts of Africa, and heatwaves in Siberia, the COP26 organisers said Alok Sharma has been negotiating with governments and businesses to increase global climate ambition and take immediate action to help halve global emissions in the next decade and reach net zero emissions by mid-century in order to keep the 1.5C goal set out in the Paris Agreement within reach.

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