In Sharma’s last evidence session before the COP presidency is handed from the UK to Egypt, Sharma was questioned by multiple select committees on the progress being made towards implementing the commitments agreed at COP26.
This meeting came after Sharma was stripped of his cabinet position, but he reassured those in attendance that he will still lead negotiations on behalf of the UK at the upcoming COP.
This news came in response to questions from MPs from multiple select committees ahead of COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, in Sharma’s last evidence session before COP presidency is handed to Egypt. The meeting gathered minutes after Sharma was stripped of his cabinet position, but he reassured those in attendance that he will still lead negotiations on behalf of the UK at the upcoming COP.
On the reshuffle, he said: “I will negotiate for the UK at COP27 and I think it’s very important that we finish that work. I think the government going forward will be judged on the commitments that we’ve made in legislation and net zero by 2050, our carbon budgets, and whether the government is adhering to that or not.”
When asked whether the UK was backsliding on its climate commitments, such as those made at the Paris and Glasgow COPs, Sharma said it was not and said that the UKs updated nationally determined contribution (NDC) is in line with the Paris Agreement to limit warming by 1.5°C compared with pre-industrial levels.
However, in terms of global backsliding he said: “I would have certainly liked us to go further, and faster, for countries to follow through on the commitments they have made.”
He raised concerns that some countries are beginning to question the science, and said: “The baseline has to be, [what] was agreed in Paris and in Glasgow, otherwise it's very difficult to continue with negotiations and frankly for the world to have faith.”
On being questioned over the UKs stance on fracking, Sharma confirmed he has said “very publicly” that he is against the practice and said: “You saw very clearly the concerns that members of parliament have on this issue, and all the polling out there suggests this is not an issue that is particularly popular.”
In response to climate minister Graham Stuart’s comments that fracking is consistent with net zero, Sharma referenced the International Energy Agency’s warning that there can be no new fossil fuel projects going forward if the world is to meet its paris agreement warming commitment.
Avoiding answering whether there was a commitment gap, Sharma said: “The onus is very much on the government to explain and demonstrate how any of these policies are indeed consistent with the legally binding commitments.”