COP26: UK’s Objectives

Cop26 – in the House of Commons on 24th February 2021.

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Photo of Nicola Richards Nicola Richards Conservative, West Bromwich East

What discussions he has had with (a) business owners and (b) other stakeholders on the UK’s objectives for COP26.

Photo of Virginia Crosbie Virginia Crosbie Conservative, Ynys Môn

What steps he is taking to consult businesses in preparation for COP26.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma Minister without Portfolio , COP26 President (Cabinet Office)

Businesses have a vital role to play in tackling climate change through the COP26 business leaders group and, indeed, through other engagements in the UK and internationally. I have spoken directly with many hundreds of global businesses, and of course we are calling on businesses, investors and other non-state actors to sign up to the Race to Zero campaign and commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Photo of Nicola Richards Nicola Richards Conservative, West Bromwich East

We are hugely proud of our diverse communities in West Bromwich East, and many of my constituents place great importance on the role of our allies across the world, especially in India, in working with the UK to tackle these global issues. Can my right hon. Friend update the House on the success of his recent international engagement?

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma Minister without Portfolio , COP26 President (Cabinet Office)

I can tell my hon. Friend and, indeed, the House that, over the past few weeks, I have had productive discussions with Government Ministers on visits to Ethiopia, Gabon, Egypt, Nigeria, Nepal and India. She mentions India, and I met Prime Minister Modi in Delhi. I have also spoken to a range of other Governments, including the US special envoy, John Kerry, and China’s special envoy for climate change, Minister Xie Zhenhua, and I stressed the importance of the three key pillars of the Paris agreement: mitigation, adaptation and finance.

Photo of Virginia Crosbie Virginia Crosbie Conservative, Ynys Môn

I am delighted that, on 1 July, the Minister responsible for science, research and innovation, my hon. Friend Amanda Solloway, will be coming to Anglesey to open an innovation jobs fair I am organising alongside the Menai science park. This event will bring together innovative green businesses such as Moorlights and Beacon biocomposites to showcase their work. The event offers a perfect opportunity to put a spotlight on COP26 for the communities and businesses here in my Ynys Môn constituency. Will the COP President ensure that there will be resources available to help me do this?

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma Minister without Portfolio , COP26 President (Cabinet Office)

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend’s excellent work in supporting green jobs in her constituency. Of course, as host of the G7 and COP26, we want to showcase innovative British green businesses, such as those housed by the Menai science park in her constituency. I am delighted that the science Minister is opening her innovation jobs fair, and I know they will work closely together to ensure it is a success.

Photo of Deidre Brock Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

In those discussions with interested parties, did they ask why the UK’s objectives are so vague and so unambitious? Did they point out that the UK Government have missed a slew of targets on the climate change emergency and that there appears to be little to no effort being made to catch up? How can the UK Government pretend to any world leadership on this issue when they show such a marked reluctance to act at all?

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma Minister without Portfolio , COP26 President (Cabinet Office)

I respectfully suggest to the hon. Lady that she look at the record of this Government in cutting emissions. We were the first major economy in the world to legislate for net zero and, of course, I hope she is pleased not just with the 10-point plan but with the very ambitious, nationally determined contribution that the Prime Minister set out last year.