Nations that snub Cop26 will be ‘outliers,’ Shapps says

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China is the world’s biggest polluter  (Getty Images)
China is the world’s biggest polluter (Getty Images)

Grant Shapps has criticised nations that do not attend the Cop26 climate summit later this month as “outliers” after reports Chinese leader Xi Jinping will not attend.

The transport secretary told Sky News: "If countries don’t come they’ll be the outliers rather than central to this and most countries want to be relevant to this.”

An unidentified British source was quoted in The Times as saying: "It is now pretty clear that Xi is not going to turn up and the PM has been told that.

"What we don’t know is what stance the Chinese are going to take."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says countries want to be relevant to COP26 (PA Wire)
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says countries want to be relevant to COP26 (PA Wire)

The 12-day summit aims to secure more ambitious commitments to limit global warming to well below 2C with a goal of keeping it to 1.5C compared to pre-industrial levels. The event also is focused on mobilizing financing and protecting vulnerable communities and natural habitats.

However, Lauri Myllyvirta , lead analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, said expecting Xi to attend the conference and commit to limit global warming to 1.5C earlier than projected was naive.

She tweeted: “It will take a lot more pressure and coaxing and leverage than offering a photo-op in Glasgow to change the mind of Chinese decision-makers. And however much leverage you bring to bear, that’s going to be one factor at most alongside domestic considerations.

“Also anyone decrying China not going substantially further needs to ask ‘were we prepared to go much further as a part of a deal?’ and/or ‘does our own current commitment rank much higher on the scale of fair and equitable effort than China’s?”

US climate envoy John Kerry said Saturday he thinks “enormous progress” can be made at upcoming U.N. climate talks in Scotland but more governments must come up with concrete commitments in the next 30 days.

China is the world’s biggest emitter, and the United States is second. Mr Kerry said US president Joe Biden has had “constructive” talks on the subject with Chinese president Xi.

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