Sadiq Khan has criticised the agreement reached at the United Nations COP26 summit to limit climate change, saying the deal struck by national leaders “simply doesn’t meet the scale of the challenge” facing the world and that “we cannot afford further delay” in tackling the issue more effectively.
The Mayor, who recently became chair of the C40 network of global cities committed to addressing climate change and attended the summit in Glasgow, said in a statement that cities would “continue to lead the way” with seeking to solve the crisis, describing cities as “the doers” and urging “the delayers to join us” in reversing the planet’s environmental decline.
“Cities are using every lever at our disposal to take meaningful climate action now by reducing pollution, minimising waste, planting trees, investing in green public transport and sustainable energy sources – but we simply cannot avert a catastrophe of this magnitude alone,” Khan said.
Nearly 200 nations were represented at COP26, which has produced a deal optimists hope will restrict global warming to an overall 1.5 degrees centigrade by 2030, but which was watered down at the last minute in relation to lessening the production and use of fossil fuels.
Khan said, “We need coal to be phased out, not phased down,” a reference to the eleventh hour change of wording inserted into the agreement after pressure from India and China in relation to “unabated coal” produced without the use of technologies to reduce CO2 emissions, and urged nations that have it in their power to drive change to follow cities’ example.
At the summit, the Mayor, who declared a climate emergency in 2018, pointed to and linked his own policies on climate change and air pollution as examples to follow and contrasting his programme with the approach of nations he described as having moved from being climate change deniers to “delaying taking action”. He characterised the difference between national governments and city governments as “the difference between night and day”.
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