I welcome this general debate regarding the Devolved Administrations and COP26.
It is fantastic that the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, hosted by the U.K in partnership with Italy, will take place from 31 October to 12 November 2021 in the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow.
Wonderful, cultural and innovative Glasgow was chosen by the U.K Government to host COP26 due to its extensive experience in hosting world class events and its commitment to sustainability and excellent facilities. It has recently been awarded the status of Global Green City and the city is also ranked fourth in the world in the Global Destination Sustainability Index that promotes responsible business tourism best practice. This is a great achievement for a U.K – a Scottish – city, Glasgow City Council and its residential and business communities.
COP26 will be the largest summit the UK has ever hosted, bringing together representatives from nearly 200 countries, including world leaders, experts, and campaigners as we accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The UK is already leading the world in tackling climate change – and as we emerge from the pandemic, we are determined to go further and build back greener in a way that benefits every part of society in every part of the U.K.
This Government’s Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution will help us to deliver on this mission – including by creating thousands of new highly-skilled green jobs, restoring our natural environment, and helping save people money by upgrading their home’s energy efficiency. This Government is mobilising £12 billion of government investment to support this goal, which will spur over three times as much private sector investment by 2030. The plan includes quadrupling our production of offshore wind, ending the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, and protecting and restoring our natural environment by planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year -across the U.K.
Our green industrial revolution will be powered by companies and technologies from all across the U.K, delivering on this Government’s - our Prime Minister’s - promise to level up and create jobs as we build back better and greener.
COP26 will unite the world to tackle climate change - but also unites Great Britain and Northern Ireland - the United Kingdom - in its endeavours. Its aim is to encourage other countries to increase ambition and boost their climate plans for emissions reduction, as well as increasing climate finance pledges for developing countries. Priorities for COP26 include: a clean economic recovery, a phase-out of coal- fired power generation (the Powering Past Coal Alliance), expanding nature-based solutions like tree planting (a priority for the Prime Minister), mandating financial actors to integrate climate risks in future investment decisions and accelerating adaptation to climate change.
The U.K leads the world in tackling climate change; the U.K was the first G7 country to legislate to achieve net zero by 2050, and we are decarbonising faster than any G20 country.
All the devolved nations are part of this progress.
The U.K Government has established a COP26 Devolved Administrations Ministerial Group to bring together the COP26 President Designate, the honourable member for Reading West, Territorial Secretaries of State, and climate change ministers from the devolved administrations.
This Ministerial Group has been meeting quarterly and is designed to ensure “effective engagement and collaboration on COP26”. U.K Government Ministers are working through the group to ensure that the summit is representative of the whole U.K.
The U.K Government is working with the devolved administrations to “ensure an inclusive and ambitious summit for the whole of the UK.” Ministers have repeatedly stressed that all parts of the UK will have important roles to play in ensuring the summit’s success.
As a member of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, I welcome the joint delivery framework which has been agreed between the Scottish delivery partners, including the Scottish Government, and the COP unit. The U.K Government says it wants this to be as inclusive as possible.
The Scottish Government has been undertaking work to prepare for COP26, including by announcing a community engagement programme. The stated aim of this programme is to “engage communities in the journey to net zero and empower them to take action”.
It has also been announced that the Scottish Government will host COY16 – the Conference of Youth - the UN’s official youth event for COP26. The Conference of Youth will give young people a voice in the climate negotiations and will set out young people’s hopes and expectations for the climate negotiations. The Scottish Government has provided £300,000 to deliver the event.
And, as part of the Scottish Government’s legacy ambitions, a Scottish Climate Week is running this week from 13th - 19th September.
I am looking forward to going up to Glasgow with the Select Committee later in October to see how preparations are progressing for COP26. This really is a great opportunity we have in this country to host such an historic event.