Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
COP26 provides key moment for transformational diplomacy
The Foreign Affairs Committee today publishes its Report A climate for ambition: Diplomatic preparations for COP26.
- Read the report: A climate for ambition: Diplomatic preparations for COP26 | PDF version
- Inquiry: Environmental diplomacy
- Foreign Affairs Committee
The Report highlights COP26 as a key moment in our response to global climate change and as the most significant UN climate summit since Paris in 2015. If COP26 fails it may become impossible to limit the average rise in temperatures to below 2°C, let alone to 1.5°C.
A path to net zero
Previous conferences have too often been momentary waypoints that have not secured the change needed. The UK's Presidency will not be a success unless it sets a path to net zero made real by changes to our economy, that recognise the real cost of carbon output, and are secured by ambitious green financing. Only real change will build global resilience and count the cost of climate change.
Current global commitments and NDCs are a long way off what will be needed to keep global temperature rises under 1.5°C. The half-measures and partial promises of previous rounds risk repetition unless the UK can bring partners together to encourage more ambitious climate pledges.
The UK has the chance to lead and set ambitious domestic climate policies, alongside credible plans to deliver them. With Britain's Presidency of the G7, Italy’s Chair of the G20 and the appointment of a new US President committed to climate change, now is the moment to engage in transformational diplomacy.
Offering technological leadership through investment and financial innovation, the UK can be a leader in low-carbon industry. HM Treasury’s role, from enabling crypto-contracts to insurance, could facilitate virtual carbon capture by eliminating the savings to consumers from manufacturing in jurisdictions where carbon costs least so that the polluter pays.
This year will only be successful for British diplomacy if the G7 and COP are seen as part of a joint engagement. Both presidencies can be used to show that environmental agendas are not in competition with, but complement economic growth, health, development and security policies, and become an integrated part of a national strategy.
The FCDO's plan should include parliaments and people, along with the technological transformation called for in the Integrated Review, to deliver a more prosperous and stable world for the British people.
Impact of Covid-19
Continuing uncertainties around restrictions will present logistical challenges given that roughly 30,000 delegates would usually be expected to attend a COP. With only six months until the conference is due to take place, the Government have yet to outline any plans for what may happen if numbers of attendees are limited.
There is a distinct possibility that large parts of the summit will have to be moved online or downscaled. Those participating need more certainty on how covid may affect the logistics of the conference. In response to our report the UK Government should set out the criteria it will use to determine whether COP26 can go ahead as an in-person conference.
Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Tom Tugendhat MP, said:
"Cooperating to manage and even reverse the causes of a changing climate transcends borders. It demands international cooperation and scientific understanding.
“Diplomacy has a critical role to play in the coordinated effort against climate change, and the annual COP summits provide a moment to bring world leaders and experts together to assess the continuing challenges and pace of progress.
“Though covid has changed plans across the world, and for some, shortened horizons, the need for a strategic outlook and more radical thinking has never been more important. The way we trade, travel and interact is so different from only 18 months ago that we must rethink the traditional diplomatic jamboree.
“The lessons of the pandemic offer a way of turning away from airmiles and onto airwaves, especially when discussing the climate emergency. Alongside the networked diplomacy this committee has called for in the past, Britain has a chance to embed partners into the hosting of regional events and connect them all through technology, making this a truly global, truly green event.
“The FCDO and their Italian colleagues, who share the presidency, have the diplomatic connections needed to work together to address challenges and create opportunities, convene coalitions and build nimble networks able to meet this increased ambition.”
Latest News from
Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
Report published on the impact of COVID-19 on Parliament14/05/2021 10:05:00
The Constitution Committee publishes its report COVID-19 and Parliament as part of its inquiry into the Constitutional implications of COVID‑19.
All eyes on Government Heat and Buildings Strategy as Ministers dodge EAC recommendations to improve energy efficiency of homes13/05/2021 15:05:00
The Government’s response to the Environmental Audit Committee’s report on Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes has been published today.
Treasury Committee comments on responses to Greensill inquiry correspondence07/05/2021 13:15:00
The Committee has received responses to the Chair’s letters. It is unable to publish these letters during Prorogation, but will do so when Parliament returns next week, ahead of the evidence session with Lex Greensill on Tuesday.
Committee receives Government response to key report on procedure after coronavirus restrictions07/05/2021 09:15:00
The Procedure Committee publishes the Government’s response to its detailed report setting out a procedural roadmap for coming out of the current lockdown.
Change the law now to ensure end to blanket bans on care home visits, urges Joint Committee05/05/2021 11:15:00
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has prepared a draft statutory instrument to lay before Parliament to secure legal protection for care home residents deprived of family visits, and therefore, their human rights.
Supply chain for battery electric vehicles inquiry launched04/05/2021 15:05:00
In the latest stage of its Technological Innovation and Climate Change inquiry, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) announces that it is to look at the supply chain for battery electric vehicles.
Privileges Committee publish key report on select committee powers03/05/2021 10:20:00
The Committee of Privileges publishes a key report on select committee powers, setting out preliminary proposals to ensure the committee powers to call for persons, papers and records can be enforced and that witnesses before committees are treated fairly.
MPs urge Government to level playing field for meat and seafood exporters30/04/2021 13:05:00
The Government must take a 'pragmatic' approach in discussions with the EU to reduce 'considerable' non-tariff barriers—including red tape and checks— that the new GB-EU trading environment has created for British companies.