CoP26: Summit president Alok Sharma pledges the global event will involve 'all of UK'

The global climate change summit CoP26 due to be held in Glasgow will be an “all of UK” event, according to its president, despite suggestions Downing Street is trying to freeze out Nicola Sturgeon.

Alok Sharma, addressing MSPs on Holyrood’s net zero committee on Thursday, insisted he wanted the event to be one in which the whole UK could be proud.

The conference, which will bring world leaders together in Glasgow for vital talks on how to limit global warming, will be held in November.

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Boris Johnson declared in August the First Minister would play a “huge role” at the UN summit in Glasgow, despite once declaring he didn’t “want to see Nicola Sturgeon anywhere near it”.

Alok Sharma stressed the desire for there to be a “whole of UK approach” to the COP26 summit in GlasgowAlok Sharma stressed the desire for there to be a “whole of UK approach” to the COP26 summit in Glasgow
Alok Sharma stressed the desire for there to be a “whole of UK approach” to the COP26 summit in Glasgow
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Boris Johnson offers role to Nicola Sturgeon in COP26

Since then there have been further reports that advisers in No.10 and the Cabinet Office have been seeking to sideline Ms Sturgeon's role, concerned she may seek to use the event as an “advert” for Scottish independence.

But Mr Sharma told MSPs: "I very much want to see this as an all of UK COP, something that we can all collectively be very proud of.

"We will be welcoming the world to Glasgow and this is an opportunity to showcase what the United Kingdom has to offer."

COP26 president Alok Sharma. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA WireCOP26 president Alok Sharma. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
COP26 president Alok Sharma. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Mr Sharma also stressed a desire for there to be a "whole of UK approach" to the summit.

He said: “I am sure shortly you will hear more from the UK Government on this issue, but this is something the Prime Minister leads on.”

Speaking about the involvement of ministers from the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments at COP26, Mr Sharma said: “There has always been the precedence that as part of the UK delegation we also have representation from ministers in the devolved administrations.”

He added that “detailed discussions” were underway with the three devolved administrations “on numbers of people who will join the UK delegation”.

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Mr Sharma said the UK's “overarching” ambition for the event was to keep the goal of limiting temperature rises to 1.5C, as agreed at an earlier summit in Paris, “within reach”.

He said: “This is a decisive decade. We need to get this right at COP.”

To help achieve, the summit president said he wanted more countries across the globe to set targets to cut emissions.

The UK commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2015 was, he said, something all of the leading G7 nations had pledged to do.

“But we still need other countries, particularly some of the G20 nations which have not yet come forward with ambitious 2030 emission reduction targets to come forward,” he said.

Mr Sharma also stressed the importance of richer nations making good on the commitment to deliver $100 billion (£73bn) a year to help developing countries deal with climate change.

Asked about the Cambo oil field development, he said it was a “policy issue” that sat with the Department for Business and added: "A licence for this field was originally awarded back in 2001 and we’ve been clear in terms of the future licences will need to be compatible with achieving net zero by 2050.”

Lee McDonough, director general of net zero strategy at the Department for Business, said: "Scrutiny by the oil and gas authority is underway and no decision has been made yet.”

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