COP26 – Government should spell out how it will measure success at the UN Climate Change conference

5 Mar 2021 10:29 AM

The Government’s ambitions for the COP26 climate summit need to be clearer, says the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee in an interim report on Net Zero and COP26 published today.

The Committee notes that no details have yet been provided by Government on how success will be measured against each of its headline ambitions. The report recommends the Government set out a clear list of COP26 ambitions, with a set of accompanying measures of success.

Chair's comments

Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee said:

“COP26 this November must conclude with countries around the world setting out their road maps to delivering on the Paris Agreement targets set five years ago. The British Government must put sufficient resource behind these global negotiations to ensure that agreements are reached at COP26 which both commit and help each country to make the required changes.

“We have concluded that the current ‘themes’-based approach to COP26 is too broad, without clear measures for success, and that more focus needs to be given to the overriding necessity to agree deliverable policies that keep global temperature rises to as close to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels as possible.”

The report notes that the success of COP26 will be dependent on effective diplomacy but that it remains unclear whether the COP26 Unit has been assigned a dedicated diplomatic team or the extent to which the diplomatic network is engaged in helping to achieve summit objectives.

The Committee’s interim report also makes recommendations, in the wake of Covid-19 and issues around differing vaccination roll-outs, to help ensure all countries, including those from developing countries, are able to fully participate at COP26 in November.

The report emphasises the need for the Government to show global leadership by taking decisive action on the UK's domestic ambitions and recommends the Government accept in full the Climate Change Committee (CCC) sixth carbon budget advice (covering the period 2033–2037) and bring in the necessary secondary legislation as early as possible.

The BEIS Committee’s report follows up on key commitments made in the Committee’s evidence sessions (including with Alok Sharma, COP President, and Claire O’Neill, former COP President) and, in particular the COP26 President's plans to engage with Parliament over the next nine months. The interim report also follows up on ongoing discussions around the UK delegation to COP26, covid-19 contingency measures and digital access to the summit, and on the UK Government's intentions in relation to the sixth carbon budget.