Alok Sharma has said ambition to limit global heating to 1.5C is “on life support” after a deal was struck in the early hours of Sunday morning at the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt.
“Friends, I said in Glasgow that the pulse of 1.5 degrees was weak,” he said in a speech at the closing plenary session of the UN climate summit. “Unfortunately, it remains on life support.”
The Cop26 president, who shepherded through the Glasgow Climate Pact last year, welcomed what he described as “historic” progress on the contentious issue of loss and damage, with an agreement on a fund to compensate vulnerable countries for irrevocable climate damages reached at the summit.
The agreement was a major breakthrough after developing countries on the frotnlines of the climate crisis have called for loss and damage to be addressed for decades.
But Mr Sharma also ticked off the lack of progress in the agreement on the ambition to cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit global heating.
“Emissions peaking before 2025, as the science tells us is necessary. Not in this text.
“Clear follow-through on the phase down of coal. Not in this text.
“A clear commitment to phase out all fossil fuels. Not in this text,” he said in his speech.
“And all of us need to look ourselves in the mirror, and consider if we have fully risen to that challenge over the past two weeks,” he added.
Adding to the chorus of disappointment on ambition to limit global heating, Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband on Sunday accused countries of “kicking the can down the road” to tackle global heating.
“Cop27 has delivered an important step forward in recognising the consequences of the climate crisis for the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries,” Mr Miliband said, referring to the agreement struck on loss and damage.
“But yet again we hear the unmistakable sound of the can being kicked down the road on the necessary actions to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees – and as a result it is now at grave risk.”
The Press Association contributed to this report.