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Climate Change: International Engagement

Volume 696: debated on Wednesday 9 June 2021

What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on increasing international engagement on climate change ahead of COP26. (900910)

I am in regular contact with Cabinet colleagues on COP26, including on co-ordinating our international engagement. The Prime Minister and Ministers across Government are raising climate change with international counterparts to secure ambitious climate commitments by November this year.

Does the President agree that diplomatic efforts ahead of COP will need to be more than discussions with other states, and with non-state actors as well? What discussions is he having with non-governmental organisations—in particular, with the Under2 Coalition—ahead of COP, and what role does he envisage their playing in November?

The hon. Gentleman raises a very important point. We want this to be the most inclusive COP ever. As he will know, we have set up a civil society and youth advisory group, which is an opportunity for groups from the global south and the global north to come together and discuss issues. I can say to him that, ahead of the climate and development ministerial meeting we had on 31 March, we took a lot of feedback from this grouping in deciding what we needed to discuss.

Many stake- holders that would normally engage at COP26—civil society groups, NGOs, politicians, business leaders—still do not have clarity about how they will engage at COP in November. I understand the difficulties related to the pandemic, but can the President give the House an update today on when guidance will be provided to stakeholders about online versus offline and whether presence will be allowed in Glasgow?

I have always been clear, and I reiterated in a speech I gave in Glasgow with six months to go to COP, that we want this to be a physical event. That is the basis on which we are planning, and we are ensuring that we are exploring all measures to ensure this is covid- secure—safe for the people of Glasgow and, of course, safe for participants as well.

The recent G7 agreement on an international minimum corporation tax shows the significant progress that can be made at such forums. What can the President-designate tell us about the environmental Marshall plan the Prime Minister reportedly intends pursuing at the G7, and how will that impact on the discussions he is currently having with other countries in his capacity as COP President?

Matters related to what G7 leaders are discussing will of course come forward in the communiqué at the end of that process, and that is up to the Prime Minister and his fellow leaders. What I can tell the hon. Member is that we had a successful Climate and Environment Ministers meeting of the G7, which I co-chaired together with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In that meeting, we made commitments on overwhelmingly decarbonising power systems in the 2030s in the G7 countries, but also commitments on phasing out fossil fuel support overseas.