Milan's "pre-COP" climate talks setting tone for Glasgow conference

(Xinhua) 09:57, October 04, 2021

ROME, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The last ministerial-level talks before the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) later this month in Glasgow helped illustrate the urgency of the problem of climate change, according to media reports and analysts.

The northern Italian city of Milan was the site of the pre-COP talks, the last and largest preparatory meeting before the COP26 conference, which will start on Oct. 31.

The Milan talks focused on preparations for COP26 as well as input from youth participants, including Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who opened the talks on Thursday calling for major industrialized countries to "match their words with action" by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and raising billions of dollars to help poor and emerging countries adapt to climate change.

There was also a large march in Milan on Saturday, calling for strong action in Glasgow.

"What we have seen in Milan is important because it illustrates the importance of taking stronger action than ever before to confront climate change," Nino Rossi, a climate researcher and analyst with the University of Florence, told Xinhua on Sunday.

"What is most important is that the people making the call are young people -- those who will suffer the most if action is not taken," Rossi said.

Alok Sharma, a former British secretary of state for business and president-designate of COP26, agreed with those remarks, telling reporters in Milan that "the energy that came forward from the youth did galvanize the ministers."

Sharma went on: "As we go forward in the next few weeks and into the COP, we must always keep (those) voices in our minds."

Sharma said that delegates in Milan agreed to do more to keep the target of limiting global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels within reach and to deliver on a pledge to raise at least 100 billion U.S. dollars for adaptation efforts in poor and developing countries.

Frans Timmermans, executive vice-president of the European Commission for the European Green Deal, said that the Milan talks helped ensure countries "will arrive at COP26 with a game plan." He went on to say that "every government must take steps" and that everyone has to work "beyond their comfort zone."

Timmermans characterized the COP26 talks as "a fight for the survival of humanity."

Italian Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani, meanwhile, said it would be key for countries to "disincentivize the use of fossil fuels" at the Glasgow meeting, which will conclude on Nov. 12.

Britain is the main host of the COP26 talks, with Italy in a key partnership in the hosting process. Italy's La Repubblica has referred to the span between the start of the Milan negotiations and the end of the Glasgow summit "50 days for the climate" and LifeGate, a news site, called the Milan event "the starting gun" for COP26. 

(Web editor: Shi Xi, Liang Jun)


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