Global efforts to tackle climate change suffered another setback this week as India — the world’s third-biggest emitter — failed to attend a key diplomatic gathering in London.
India was the only one of 51 invited countries that didn’t attend a two-day ministerial meeting in the U.K. capital, hosted by the incoming president of the COP26 United Nations talks, according to people present at the summit who asked not to be named.
The conference was designed to lay the groundwork for a successful COP26, which is due to take place in Glasgow in three months time. COP26 President Alok Sharma has said it will be the last chance to ensure global temperature increases don’t exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius — the lower limit of the Paris Agreement. A Group of 20 meeting last week failed to clinch a more ambitious agreement on climate, and India was a key holdout.
The London event was positioned to follow on from the G-20 with a broader group, meeting mainly in person. India had been due to attend the conference, according to a statement released by Sharma’s office beforehand.