We’re a long way from where we need to be on climate change, expert says

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Peter Betts was made a Companion Order Of The Bath by the Duke of Cambridge at Windsor Castle (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)
Peter Betts was made a Companion Order Of The Bath by the Duke of Cambridge at Windsor Castle (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

The former UK and EU lead negotiator for UN climate talks has said the Glasgow climate pact was a “success” but added that far more needs to be done to protect the world from climate change.

Peter Betts urged other developed countries to make better commitments towards helping reduce carbon emissions in a bid to prevent any further damage to the planet.

Mr Betts spoke about climate change after receiving a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) for his services to international climate change agreements at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

He was presented with the honour by the Duke of Cambridge, who has previously issued a call to action over climate change and has been a royal patron of the Tusk Trust, which undertakes conservation efforts across Africa, since 2005.

The ceremony took place on Tuesday at Windsor Castle (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)
The ceremony took place on Tuesday at Windsor Castle (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

At the end of the Cop26 event in Scotland last month, the Glasgow pact was established.

It calls on countries to accelerate climate policies and efforts, and to strengthen their national plans for action up to 2030 by late 2022.

Asked if he thought the pact was a success, he told the PA news agency: “I think it was a success, given the political and other constraints.

“It’s clearly not remotely enough to tackle the problem, but that’s because currently the world’s political leaders are not willing to do everything that’s necessary. Given the bounds of the possible, it was definitely significant progress.”

Outlining what he thinks needs to be done to make a real difference to climate change, he added: “The developed countries need to deliver their commitments and we need to try to persuade the really big emerging economies, particularly China, to go a bit faster.”

The UK has previously unveiled ambitious targets to combat climate change, which include policies to meet its long-term goal to cut emissions to zero overall by 2050.

We need to decarbonise heat, we need to roll out charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and we're going to have to start tackling agriculture and emissions from the food chain

Peter Betts

However, last week the Climate Change Committee said the UK does not yet have all the policies in place to deliver this ambition.

Mr Betts, who advises the committee, echoed these sentiments on Tuesday but said he was hopeful for the future.

“We need to decarbonise heat, we need to roll out charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and we’re going to have to start tackling agriculture and emissions from the food chain,” he said.

“Clearly, currently, we are not on track … the UK does have a very good track record on meeting its emissions targets. I’m sure the Government is going to move quickly in the next couple of years.”

Outlining his discussions with William during the event, he said: “I’m delighted to receive the award and to have received it from William, who’s obviously very engaged on climate change.

“He was interested in my views in how Cop26 had gone and I shared with him that the sort of negotiated outcome was at the top end of the possible, but we’re still a long way from where we need to be.”

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