The UK has formally received the backing of all countries responsible for agreeing on the host of the COP26 climate conference. The event will take place in Glasgow in December 2020, with more than 30,000 national policy leaders, business representatives and climate scientists from across the world in attendance.
As part of the bid to host, the UK Government has agreed that the event will be hosted in partnership with Italy, with the main event held in Glasgow and a smaller pre-event gathering held in Italy. Glasgow was chosen as the preferred UK base for the conference this summer, with Ministers praising Scotland’s decision to set a 2045 net-zero target, and Glasgow’s own ambitions to become carbon-neutral and fully aligned with circular economy principles before this date. Glasgow is one of the UK’s most sustainable cities with a great track record for hosting high-profile international events.
The Government has hailed the backing as a huge vote of confidence in the UK’s green policy frameworks and green economy. However, there are many industry experts calling for the UK to address the policy gaps that currently stand between the UK and net-zero by 2050 ahead of COP26. It is expected that world leaders will be reporting on progress against the commitments made at COP21 in Paris in 2015. The UK is notably already off track to meet its fourth and fifth carbon budgets, which are aligned with the 2008 Climate Change Act’s original target of an 80% emission reduction by 2050, against a 1990 baseline.
Claire Perry MP, has been appointed as COP26 president after stepping down as Energy Minister and has a huge task ahead. The UK can only credibly get countries to agree actions to stop climate change if it practices what it preaches and shows real progress towards the net-zero commitments by November 2020. This will mean improving housing stock, bringing forward electric vehicle targets, reinstating the natural environment to absorb more carbon, supporting solar and onshore wind and making industry more efficient.
The success of COP 26 will demonstrate that the UK is driving action against the global climate emergency and will provide cleaner air, safer homes, lower bills and a better environment for future generations.