Alok Sharma: Let us seize the moment and reap the benefits of a cleaner city

·2-min read
Alok Sharma: Let us seize the moment and reap the benefits of a cleaner city

This summer we have seen Europe hit its highest ever temperature of 48.8C, floods sweep through China and firefighters battle record blazes in North America.

Extreme weather events like these will get much worse, unless we act now. That was the clear message from the intergovernmental panel on Climate Change this month.

London did not escape these warnings. Scientists predict that downpours and heatwaves in the city will intensify, an issue brought to our doorsteps, with a month’s rainfall in parts of the city in just one day.

The UN climate conference, COP26, must be a turning point. The moment the world commits to decisive action to limit the average rise in global temperature to 1.5C, essential to avoiding the worst effects of climate change.

Londoners are alive to this, with 92 per cent saying they’re worried about global heating. And as home to almost nine million people, thousands of businesses and one of the world’s top financial centres, steps taken here can make an enormous difference.

Alok Sharma says Cop26 ‘has to be the moment we get it right’ on action on climate change (Leon Neal/PA) (PA Wire)
Alok Sharma says Cop26 ‘has to be the moment we get it right’ on action on climate change (Leon Neal/PA) (PA Wire)

The City is rising to the challenge. Almost half of UK FTSE100 companies have made credible commitments to reduce their emissions to net zero by 2050 at the latest.

Last week, the COP26 presidency announced London start-ups that will pilot solutions to help us reach zero emissions under our Tech for Our Planet initiative. And London is home to a new UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment.

With just over two months to go before COP26, I urge those that have not yet joined this green revolution to do so.

Companies can keep pace with a greening world by joining the UN Race to Zero campaign, committing to net zero emissions.

The City can mobilise the trillions needed for a zero emissions global economy, and every Londoner can get inspired by our One Step Greener campaign.

Let’s seize these opportunities and reap the benefits of cleaner air and green jobs. Every business, city and region has a part to play. A healthier London and a safer planet awaits.

Alok Sharma MP is president-designate of the 26th UN Climate Change conference, COP26. Watch his Ted Talk on why COP26 is our best chance for a greener future here.

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