Sri Lanka opposition UNP calls for roadmap for COP26 climate summit outcomes

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka must immediately present a roadmap for the country to successfully achieve targets set out at the recent COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, the opposition United National Party (UNP) said.

“This government has taken on an international undertaking, and now has an obligation to fulfil their responsibilities to both the Sri Lankan public and the global community,” the party said in a statement on Tuesday (09) welcoming the pledges made by world leaders at the international summit.

“It is imperative that the president makes a statement in parliament regarding the outcome of the conference,” the UNP added, noting that it is parliament and not a presidential task force that must be responsible for ensuring Sri Lanka fulfils its commitment to the battle against climate change.

The party said that climate change is a global issue and one which threatens the progress and development of Sri Lanka. ‘The Global Methane Pledge’, which aims to limit methane emission levels by 30% by 2030, and ‘The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use’, which promises to halt and reverse land degradation and forest loss by 2030, are welcome initiatives which will benefit both Sri Lanka and the world, the opposition party said.

“The UNP, who ensured Sri Lanka was a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement, welcomes the government’s decision to stand in solidarity with the rest of the world in the battle against climate change. It is now imperative that the Government presents a strategy to implement the agreements signed at COP26,” it said.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who spoke at the summit last Monday (01) Sri Lanka is proud to be a co-lead of the “Global Energy Compact for No New Coal Power”.

In September this year, Sri Lanka joined six other countries in pledging a No New Coal Compact, promising to cease the issuance of permits for new unabated coal power plants after the end of the year.

The cabinet office announced on Tuesday (02) that ministers have approved a series of policy guidelines with regard to power generation including a proposal to generate 70 percent of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Other proposals include a decision to forego the construction of new coal power plants and to neutralise net carbon emissions from power generation by 2050.

Related: Sri Lanka cabinet nod for electricity policy guidelines; 70pct renewable by 2030

“It is essential that the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases fulfil their national commitments and assist developing nations navigate through the climate crisis,” the President’s Office statement quoted Rajapaksa as saying in his address.

Rajapaksa also called on nations to work together in a spirit of true cooperation to overcome the crisis and sustain humanity and the planet.

“Climate change affects all nations, but disproportionately impacts developing island nations. Developing nations that take bold steps towards climate change mitigation and adaptation deserve extensive support,” he said.

“Sri Lanka is deeply aware of the impacts of climate change. Our rich philosophical heritage, shaped by Lord Buddha’s teachings, places great value on environmental integrity,” said Rajapaksa, adding that sustainability is at the heart of Sri Lanka’s national policy framework.

In his speech, the president also defended his controversial agrochemical ban.

Related: Sri Lanka president defends controversial agrochemical ban amid mounting opposition


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