UK must turn climate pledges into action

At the UN General Assembly, both the US and China outlined significant climate policies. The Green Party is urging the UK Government to take more meaningful action to tackle the climate crisis ahead of COP26, warning that more needs to be done if the world is to meet global warming pledges.

Smokestacks at sunset

Tony Webster

Green World

The Green Party has welcomed firm action from both the US and China ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), but warns that there is still much more that needs to be done – including by the UK Government – if the world is to meet the pledge to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C. 

At the UN General Assembly, Chinese President Xi Jinping outlined plans to withdraw funding from foreign coal-fired power plants. This came just hours after US President Joe Biden announced plans to double financial aid to poorer nations to support movements towards cleaner energy. In April, Biden stated that the US will increase its contribution to $5.7 billion, this figure now increasing further to $11 billion.

A recent report by Green Alliance found that, in its current state, the UK Government is not set to meet its climate targets ahead of COP26. With less than 50 days before the Government is set to host the summit in Glasgow, the Greens have emphasised the opportunity that COP26 presents to enact fundamental changes. However, Caroline Lucas has stated her reservations about the summit, pointing to the Government’s ‘creative accounting’.

Acting Green Party leader, Sian Berry, said: “News that the US is to double funding to help developing nations tackle the climate crisis and that China is to end investment in coal abroad are both welcome developments. As the world’s two largest polluters, it is hugely significant to see the US and China take firm action. 

“Meanwhile our own government makes endless pledges about targets while policy heads in the other direction, slashing overseas aid, giving the green light to new coal mines and dramatically increasing funding for overseas fossil fuel projects. 

“Despite the important steps taken by the US and China, there is still a mountain to climb to transition the global economy so we can keep the planet within the 1.5C Paris Agreement threshold. Every country in the world needs to end fossil fuel subsidies and embrace a Global Green New Deal”.