Topical Questions

Cop26 – in the House of Commons on 1st December 2021.

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Photo of Andy Carter Andy Carter Conservative, Warrington South

If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.

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

At COP26, we won historic commitments from countries and businesses to act on coal, cars, cash and trees. Countries have also committed to revisit and strengthen by the end of 2022 their 2030 emission reduction commitments to align with the Paris temperature goals. After six years, we have finalised the outstanding rules governing the Paris agreement. Of course, as I have said, we need to ensure that commitments are turned into action.

Photo of Andy Carter Andy Carter Conservative, Warrington South

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on his incredible work at the COP26 summit in Glasgow. Will he continue to work with schools and youth groups throughout the rest of his presidency? Can I invite him to Warrington to meet young people in my constituency?

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

I thank my hon. Friend for his kind words. I commend the work of young people in his constituency and I will ensure that my diary works so I can visit them.

Photo of Jessica Morden Jessica Morden Chair, Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee), Chair, Statutory Instruments (Select Committee), Chair, Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee), Chair, Statutory Instruments (Select Committee), Shadow Vice Chamberlain of HM Household (Whip)

On behalf of my constituent Poppy, who was one of the young people at COP26, what are the Government doing to help to ensure that aid gets directly to those communities most affected by climate change now, such as the Wampis living in the Amazon who Poppy met and whose plight she was deeply moved by?

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

The hon. Lady raises an important point. One issue is about the quantum of money; the other is access to finance. That is why we are now launching five pilot projects in developing countries around the world to ensure that access to finance is much better.

Photo of James Davies James Davies Conservative, Vale of Clwyd

My right hon. Friend will know the increasing importance of north Wales in supplying clean and green energy to the national grid. Further to COP26, how would he describe the prospects for tidal range technology in the region?

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

My hon. Friend is a great champion for his community on this particular issue. He will know that the Government remain open to considering well-developed proposals for harnessing tidal range energy in the bays and estuaries around our coastlines. Obviously, I recommend that he also speaks to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Photo of Ian Byrne Ian Byrne Labour, Liverpool, West Derby

According to Friends of the Earth, 33,000 premature deaths a year in the UK are linked to air pollution. During the COP26 climate summit, the Environment Bill passed its final stages in this House. Shamefully, it did not include legally binding targets for air quality, which were called for by so many, including hundreds of my constituents in Liverpool, West Derby. As the UK retains the COP26 presidency, will it lead by example and bring in the extra measures needed to clean up our air?

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

The hon. Gentleman raises a very important point, but air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010. Our clean air strategy proposes a comprehensive suite of actions required across all parts of Government to improve air quality.

Photo of Selaine Saxby Selaine Saxby Conservative, North Devon

Following on from the success of the North Devon climate summit, my constituents are keen to understand how can we empower people to make their own choices on a global scale.

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

I commend my hon. Friend and her constituents for the success of the North Devon climate summit. Every Government need to play their part and I am pleased that the UK Government’s “Together for our Planet” campaign provides practical advice on how everyone can go one step greener.

Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Justice), Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Women and Equalities)

Synthetic aircraft fuels are still in their infancy. Domestically, the Government have a tool, the renewable transport fuel obligation, by which they can mandate the mixing of synthetic fuels with conventional aircraft fuel, thereby starting the process of making synthetic fuels viable. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of any similar mechanisms in other countries, so we can start an international agreement on mixing synthetic fuels with aircraft fuels and driving the route to net zero?

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

As the hon. Lady knows, the Government are putting funding behind sustainable aviation fuels. I would be very happy to arrange a meeting for her with the Secretary of State for Transport or with a Transport Minister.

Photo of Ruth Edwards Ruth Edwards Conservative, Rushcliffe

I particularly welcome the COP outcome relating to deforestation: 130 countries, representing 90% of the world’s forests, pledged to end deforestation by 2030. How will that be monitored? What steps will be taken if countries do not keep their word?

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

My hon. Friend raises a very important point. The 90% of forests that are covered by the pledge are also being backed by £14 billion of public and private funding, so there will be a mechanism for checks and balances. In addition, we agreed the transparency framework at COP26, so we will be able to see whether countries are meeting the commitments that they have made.