COP26 president Alok Sharma to appear before House of Lords climate change committee

COP26 president Alok Sharma is set to be quizzed on the action being taken to ensure effective cross-government delivery of the outcomes of the United Nations climate deal agreed in Glasgow at the end of last year.

The UK minister will be asked to explain measures being implemented across government departments during an appearance before the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee on Monday, as the group continues its inquiry into implementing COP26 objectives across government.

Mr Sharma is also expected to be asked how the government will take forward climate change adaptation measures at international and domestic levels; what the government expects from revisions of 2030 emissions targets by some countries and how it will support these; and how commitments made on nature will be turned into progress at the UN’s forthcoming COP15 biodiversity conference, which is due to take place this spring.

As part of the inquiry the committee invited submissions from nine UK government departments, setting out what they saw as their roles in preparing for COP26 and how they were developing climate-credible policies.

In a letter to Mr Sharma ahead of COP26, the committee described climate change as “one of the greatest challenges of our time” and the conference as “the largest single political event that the UK has ever hosted”.

But the committee expressed concern over the ability to fulfill commitments.

The letter stated: “We would have expected a full-fledged response from the government with clear leadership from the top and effective processes in place to coordinate actions across departments.

“The evidence presented demonstrates that not all departments are as yet sufficiently embedding climate change into their policy-making processes.”

– despite heroic efforts from some individuals – that the delivery of COP26 across government will be equal to the scale of the challenge.”

Key decisions agreed in the Glasgow Pact include: strengthened efforts to build resilience to climate change, to curb greenhouse gas emissions and to provide finance for both.

And nations collectively agreed to work to reduce the gap between existing emissions reduction plans and what is required to achieve the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Fossil fuels were mentioned for the first time in COP history, with countries called on to phase down unabated coal power and end inefficient subsidies.

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