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Climate Change: Raising International Ambition

Volume 689: debated on Wednesday 24 February 2021

What progress the Government have made on raising international ambition to tackle climate change as part of preparations for COP26. (912529)

We have made progress over the past year, with net zero commitments from countries collectively accounting for 70% of global GDP and 75 world leaders announcing climate commitments at the climate ambition summit that the UK hosted last December with the UN and France. However, as I said at the time, we still have some way to go and 2021 will need to be a critical year for climate action.

I congratulate the President of COP26 on his new role and wish him well.

Stopping deforestation in the tropics is crucial to reducing global carbon emissions, and to protecting biodiversity and the lands of local indigenous communities. However, UK firms, including several high street banks, have been found to be investing heavily in businesses directly causing deforestation. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Government should seek to expose and prevent these funding streams, and encourage our COP26 partners to follow suit?

My hon. Friend knows a great deal about these matters, and he makes a vital point about the incredibly valuable role of tropical forests. He will be aware that the UK is championing a new global taskforce on nature-related financial disclosures to tackle nature-related risks in investments.

With many developing nations further behind in the roll-out of their covid vaccinations, what steps is the COP President taking to ensure that every nation on earth is able to fully participate at COP26 in November?

The hon. Gentleman raises an incredibly important point. We want this to be the most inclusive COP ever and, of course, we are planning for it to be an in-person COP, while taking into account contingencies. The point about vaccines is important, because access to vaccines is not consistent globally. We will work very hard to ensure that we have a safe and inclusive COP for all.

I should point out that, more generally, the UK is supporting the COVAX facility and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the Prime Minister has recently made it clear that we will send the majority of any future surplus of vaccine doses that the UK has to the COVAX scheme to support developing countries.