COP26 President visits India to welcome climate leadership

  • Alok Sharma travelled to India in his first visit to Asia as full-time COP26 President
  • The COP26 President met India’s Prime Minister as well as leaders from government, business and civil society to discuss shared aims
  • He welcomed India’s renewable power ambitions and visited a rooftop solar plant

COP26 President Designate the Right Honourable Alok Sharma MP travelled to India to strengthen close working ties and discuss taking action on the shared challenge of climate change.

While visiting the country this week Mr Sharma saw firsthand India’s ambitious work on renewable energy, and held vital discussions with government leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, businesses and civil society.

He also used this opportunity to build on the positive work India and the UK are doing together ahead of COP26 in Glasgow this November.

Mr Sharma congratulated Prime Minister Modi on his personal leadership on climate action and his recent commitment to deliver 450GW of renewable energy by 2030.

On his two-day visit to Delhi, Mr Sharma also welcomed Prime Minister Modi’s global leadership in setting up the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, which the UK co-chairs.

During his visit Mr Sharma held meetings with leading thinkers and civil society to discuss India’s strong approach to tackling climate change and improving global resilience.

He also talked to business leaders, highlighting the opportunities presented by a low carbon economy, and encouraging influential businesses such as Dalmia Cement to promote their efforts to introduce science-based net zero emissions targets.

Speaking at the end of his visit, Alok Sharma said:

I am inspired by the resolve I have seen this week across Indian Government and wider society to tackle the impacts of climate change. This visit has bolstered our already strong partnership with India which is important as we look ahead to COP26.

I firmly believe that powerful action from India will be a catalyst for change, encouraging others to be more ambitious in their approaches to protecting both people and planet.

Mr Sharma also met senior leaders from the Indian Government including Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, RK Singh, Sherpa to the G7 and G20, Suresh Prabhu, and India’s lead climate negotiator, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar.

Mr Sharma and Mr Javadekar discussed a number of initiatives being driven forward by India to reduce emissions and adapt to cope with the impacts of climate change.

Helping communities and countries adapt to the worst effects of climate change by stepping up access to funding and expertise for resilience and adaptation is a priority for the UK COP26 Presidency. During his visit Mr Sharma stressed the need for partners around the world to meet their climate finance commitments.

Mr Sharma visited the India Habitat Center where a UK Development Capital-funded rooftop solar installation is helping to save approximately £20,000 (more than 20 Lakh Rupees) and reduce 300 tons of CO2 emissions per year through a 250 kWp rooftop Photovoltaic plant.

Alok Sharma added:

We want to use COP26 to drive forward a global shift towards renewable energy, and so I’m delighted to have seen this pioneering UK-India climate collaboration in action.

India is showing impressive leadership when it comes to renewable power and I hope other countries will look to this example and think big ahead of COP26. India’s expertise will be of tremendous value to global discussions around clean energy transition.

A read-out of the COP26 President’s meeting with Prime Minister Modi is available on GOV.UK.


Notes to editors:

  1. As host of COP26, the UK is setting a strong example on climate action, with a legally binding target to cut emissions to net zero by 2050. Between 1990 and 2018, the UK nearly halved emissions whilst growing the economy by 75%, and will cut coal use in the power sector entirely by 2025.
  2. The UK has committed to double its International Climate Finance to at least £11.6bn over the next five years, to help developing countries to take action.
  3. In November the UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26 in Glasgow, with our partners, Italy. This will provide an opportunity for the world to come together and commit to urgent action.
  4. The UK will lead by example during this unprecedented time. Guided by science, the UK will invest in a green recovery which creates sustainable jobs and addresses the urgent and linked challenges of public health, climate change, and biodiversity loss.
  5. The UK is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire action ahead of COP26.


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