Comments on UK COP Presidency Leadership in 2022 & COP27

Attendees of an ECIU media briefing heard a panel of experts discuss what approach the UK should take, in its continuing role as COP President, in the run-up to COP27.

By Kathy Grenville

Information on this page correct as of:

At a media briefing hosted by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, attendees heard a panel of experts discuss what approach the UK should take, in its continuing role as COP President, in the run-up to COP27 to deliver on the Glasgow Climate Pact and set COP27 up for success.

Speaking about the UK’s commitment to net-zero, Bim Afolami Conservative MP for Hitchin and Harpenden and Chair of All-Party Parliamentary Group for Renewable and Sustainable Energy said:

“Let’s be clear, in terms of delivering net-zero, there is no real option other than what the government has set out. It’s a shame that it needs saying, but everyone should rest assured that the bulk of the Conservative Party and the Government is four-square behind this, and committed to getting it done. “

Speaking about the job ahead for the UK as it sees its presidency of the UNFCCC through from COP26 to COP27, Bim Afolami said:

“What this means for Britain in the world is that the issue of climate and net-zero is on the agenda of British diplomats and Ministers every time they go abroad – and it will only grow in importance as we get into the UK’s trade deals with other nations. And domestically, Alok Sharma is a member of the Cabinet who has acquired political strength and is sought out by his colleagues around Whitehall for all things environmental.”

Speaking about the job ahead after COP26, Bernice Lee, Hoffman Distinguished Fellow for Sustainability and Research Director, Futures, Chatham House said:

“The outcomefromGlasgow was either glasshalf full orglasshalf empty; it is important for the UK to be pushing onthosehalf-full aspects to go further. With the theatre of negotiations done, and with lots of new net-zerotargets,what really matters now isto ensurestuff is actually happening on the ground.

“It is important, for example,thatwe see the commitment to doubling adaptation finance turned into what is really needed – more projects, more capacity to deliver, and developed countries showing that they aregenuinelydelivering on this commitment. Governments have to move from headline-grabbing summitry to delivery.”

And speaking about the UK presidency’s role in driving that, Bernice Lee said:

“There has been very good work done by Alok Sharma and his team. The UK needs to keep building on that, including on our own domestic legacy – the importance of the credibility and the goodwill that comes from delivering at home on net-zero, from upgrading its NDC, and from its development budget and other forms of support to developing nations.”

Speaking about sector deals landed at COP26 in Glasgow, Lord Adair Turner, Senior Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) and Chair, the Energy Transitions Commission said:

“The crucial job [for the UK presidency] is to ensure that what was promised is absolutely delivered.

“On transport, it seems clear that the corporate commitments will speed up and overtake the country commitments – transition on decarbonising ground transport will increasingly be driven by the private sector.

“On methane, this is hugely important and has not received anything like enough attention in nationally-determined contributions. We emit 360m tons per year … and getting those levels down is one of the quickest ways to limit warming. A huge slice of that comes from oil and gas production and transport. We should start with tighter standards on oil and gas companies – the bit we know in engineering terms how to do.”

And speaking about the spike in gas prices, Lord Adair Turner said:

“Faced with that gas-price spike, some say we should never have gone down the renewable energy path at all. But that is completely wrong. What we are facing is a failure to go fast enough on developing the new system that we need for the future. Almost everything going on in the energy markets at the moment is gas price – 85% is from increase in wholesale gas, not to do with renewable energy prices.

“We have got to get smarter in the future in thinking through key aspects of the transition, seeing how vulnerable we are to these cycles in fossil fuel prices now. A zero-carbon electricity system will be more stable. 70-80% of all the investment needs are to expand power systems and to decarbonise them, in both the developed and developing worlds.”