COP26 President Alok Sharma travelled to Indonesia and Viet Nam this week to progress and strengthen delivery of the landmark Glasgow Climate Pact.
These visits continue the work of the UK COP Presidency to press for updated climate commitments from all countries ahead of COP27 in Egypt, aligned with the crucial goal of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.
In Viet Nam (13-15 February), Mr Sharma met Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha – Viet Nam’s Chief Negotiator for climate change, and Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien, and Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung.
Mr Sharma welcomed the ambitious commitments made by Prime Minister Chinh at COP26, including a 2050 net zero commitment and endorsing the ‘Coal to clean power transition’ statement. He underlined the UK’s determination to work with Viet Nam to achieve its commitments and to put forward a 2030 climate action plan that aligns with the 1.5 degree goal.
The COP President also acknowledged the scale of the task to deliver the public investment needed for Viet Nam to transition to clean energy, and the finance needed to provide dedicated support to Viet Nam to support its ambitious climate commitments. This includes the potential for support through the ‘Clean Green Initiative’, which aims to help developing countries take advantage of green technology and grow their economies sustainably.
In a meeting with members of civil society, Mr Sharma explored the opportunities and challenges for their organisations and Viet Nam in responding to climate change, and emphasised that active engagement with these organisations was key to the success of COP26 and will be vital in delivering the commitments of the Glasgow Climate Pact.
He also hosted a roundtable with representatives from international companies to discuss the vast potential of renewable energy in the country. This potential is highlighted in the UK-chaired Energy Transition Council report on coal abatement, which highlights that by switching to wind, solar and gas, by 2030 Viet Nam can reduce 59% of emissions, create 280,000 jobs and save $120bn of fuel imports.
In Indonesia (15-17 February), Mr Sharma met the coordinating Ministers of Maritime Affairs and Investment, and Economic Affairs, and the Ministers for Finance, and Energy and Mineral Resources, thanking each for Indonesia’s strong presence at COP26. Mr Sharma welcomed the Indonesian government making climate action a key priority for their G20 Presidency and pledged the UK’s support in encouraging all G20 countries to keep to the commitments made in the Glasgow Climate Pact.
This follows fresh UK announcements made at COP26 working with Indonesia and the wider region on nature and biodiversity, climate resilience, renewable technologies, and UK funded green investments to support clean infrastructure projects.
With huge renewable energy resources that could power all the country’s electricity needs more than five times over, Mr Sharma also said that Indonesia can become a regional and global leader in low carbon energy technologies and innovation, creating new industries and jobs.
On the final day in Indonesia, Mr Sharma visited the seawall in Jakarta to speak to flood experts and communities on efforts to increase the city’s resilience to land subsidence. Extreme weather and sea level rises linked to climate change may make addressing this challenge even more difficult, emphasising the need for support for countries to build resilience to climate change.
COP President Alok Sharma said:
The Glasgow Climate Pact is making its mark in South East Asia. Vietnam and Indonesia are set on a net zero future.
COP26 was a fragile win and in 2022 we need countries like Vietnam and Indonesia to honour their commitments and revisit their 2030 emissions reduction targets this year.
Speaking after his visit to Viet Nam, Mr Sharma said:
I welcome the climate leadership Prime Minister Chinh demonstrated at COP26, including the vital goal to reach net zero by 2050.
It was beneficial to discuss in person how the UK can work with Viet Nam to achieve these ambitious targets, particularly around how improvements in their grid infrastructure could be transformational and help deliver a 2030 plan that aligns with the 1.5 degree temperature limit.
On Indonesia, Mr Sharma said:
Indonesia, as G20 President, has a vital role to play in ensuring countries deliver what they promised in Glasgow.
The transition to a net zero economy represents an enormous economic opportunity to every country and sector. Net zero has become the guiding light for modern, competitive growth.
As a fast growing economy with significant renewable energy potential, Indonesia has the opportunity to become a climate leader and accelerate the transition from coal power. We and other G20 partners are keen to support and recognise its ambition.
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