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COP 26

Volume 816: debated on Tuesday 16 November 2021


The following Statement was made in the House of Commons on Monday 15 November.

“Madam Deputy Speaker, with your permission I should like to make a Statement on the United Nations Climate Change Conference, better known as COP 26, which took place in the magnificent city of Glasgow over the past two weeks. It was the biggest political gathering of any kind ever held in the United Kingdom. One hundred and ninety-four countries were represented. We had around 120 Heads of State and Heads of Government, 38,000 accredited delegates, and countless tens of thousands more in the streets, parks and venues outside.

It was a summit that many people predicted would fail, and a summit, I fear, that some quietly wanted to fail. Yet it was a summit that proved the doubters and the cynics wrong, because COP 26 succeeded not just in keeping 1.5 alive, but in doing something that no UN climate conference has ever done before by uniting the world in calling time on coal. In 25 previous COPs, all the way back to Berlin in 1995, not one delivered a mandate to remove so much as a single lump of coal from one power station boiler. For decades, tackling the single biggest cause of carbon emissions proved as challenging as eating the proverbial elephant—it was just so big that nobody knew quite where to start. In Glasgow, we took the first bite. We have secured a global commitment to phasing down coal. As John Kerry pointed out, we cannot phase out coal without first phasing it down, as we transition to other, cleaner energy sources. We also have, for the first time, a worldwide recognition that we will not get climate change under control as long as our power stations are consuming vast quantities of the sedimentary super-polluter that is coal. That alone is a great achievement, but we have not just signalled the beginning of the end for coal; we have ticked our boxes on cars, cash and trees as well.

The companies that build a quarter of the world’s automobiles have agreed to stop building carbon emission vehicles by 2035, and cities from São Paulo to Seattle have pledged to ban them from their streets. We have pioneered a whole new model—an intellectual break- through—that sees billions in climate finance, development bank investment and so forth being used to trigger trillions from the private sector to drive the big decarbonisation programmes in countries such as South Africa. We have done something that absolutely none of the commentators saw coming, by building a coalition of more than 130 countries to protect up to 90% of our forests around the world—those great natural soakers of carbon.

None of this was a happy accident or inevitability. The fact that we were there at all, in the face of a global pandemic, is in itself the result of a vast and complex effort involving countless moving parts. Right until the very end, there was the real prospect that no agreement would be reached. What has been achieved has come about only thanks to month after month of concerted British diplomacy—the countless meetings; the innumerable phone calls; the banging of heads at the United Nations General Assembly, the Petersberg dialogue, President Biden’s climate summit, the Security Council, the G7 and the G20—and the setting of several examples by the UK, because again and again the task of our negotiators was made easier by the fact that the UK was not asking anyone to do anything that we are not doing ourselves.

We have slashed our use of coal so much that our last two coal-fired power stations will go offline for good in 2024. We have more than doubled our climate finance, providing vital support for poor and vulnerable nations around the world. We have made a legally binding commitment to reach net zero—the first major economy to do so. We have set a date at which hydro- carbon internal combustion engines will reach the end of the road. We have shown the world that it is possible to grow an economy while cutting carbon, creating markets for clean technology, and delivering new green jobs that reduce emissions and increase prosperity.

Every one of those achievements was not just great news for our country and our planet, but another arrow in the quiver of our fantastic team in Glasgow—a team led by the COP 26 President, my right hon. Friend the Member for Reading West (Alok Sharma). From the moment that he picked up the COP reins, he has been absolutely tireless in his efforts to secure the change that we need. Although I am pretty sure that what he really needs now is a well-earned break, I do not think that any of us here is going to be able to hold him back as he sets off pushing countries to go further still, and ensuring that the promises made in Glasgow are delivered and not diluted.

But success has many parents, so I want to say a huge thank you to the officials—in our own COP unit, in Downing Street and across government, in UK embassies around the world and at the United Nations—who pulled out all the stops to make the event work and to shepherd through the agreements that have been reached. I also thank everybody on the ground at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow—security, catering, transport, the relentlessly cheery volunteers, the police from across the whole country who kept everybody safe from harm, the public health authorities who kept us safe from Covid—and everyone in the Scottish Government. Above all, I want to say a big, big thank you to the people of Glasgow, who had to put up with so much disruption in their city and who welcomed the world all the same. I say to them: we could not have done it without you.

Is there still more to do? Well, of course there is. I am not for one moment suggesting that we can safely close the book on climate change. In fact, I can think of nothing more dangerous than patting ourselves on the back and telling ourselves that the job is done—because this job will not be complete until the whole world has not only set off on the goal to reach net zero but arrived at that destination—a goal that, even with the best of intentions from all actors, cannot be achieved overnight. While COP 26 has filled me with optimism about our ability to get there, I cannot now claim to be certain that we will, because we have seen some countries that really should know better dragging their heels on their Paris commitments. But if—and it is still a massive if—they make good on their pledges, then I believe that Glasgow will be remembered as the place where we secured a historic agreement and the world began to turn the tide. Before Paris, we were on course for 4 degrees of warming. After Paris, that number fell to a still catastrophically dangerous 3 degrees. This afternoon, after the Glasgow climate pact, it stands close to 2 degrees. It is still too high—the numbers are still too hot, the warming still excessive—but it is closer than we have ever been to the relative safety of 1.5 degrees, and now we have an all-new road map to help us get there.

Aristotle taught us that virtue comes not from reasoning and instruction but from habit and from practice. So the success of the Glasgow climate pact lies not just in the promises but in the move that the whole world has now made from setting abstract targets to adopting the nuts-and-bolts programme of work to meet those targets and to reduce CO2 emissions. We are now talking about the how rather than the what, and getting into a habit of cutting CO2 that is catching on not just with Governments and businesses but with billions of people around the world. It is for that reason that I believe that COP 26 in Glasgow has been a success and that 1.5 is still alive. That is something I believe that every person in our United Kingdom can and should take immense pride in, and I commend this Statement to the House.”

My Lords, in line with the arrangements, the Statement made in the Commons yesterday is not repeated by the Leader, but I think most Members will have heard what the Prime Minister had to say in his enthusiasm for the agreement.

The world came together in Glasgow for what was the most important summit the UK has ever hosted. Future generations will look back on COP 26 as a time when we either met the moment or missed the opportunity. We add our thanks to all those involved in the organisation and planning of the summit—and to the residents of Glasgow, who, despite the disruption, welcomed visitors from all over the world into their city and their homes.

There seems to be some disruption; I do not know whether we are being haunted. If the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, could mute, that might be helpful—just on this occasion, I hasten to add.

This is the decisive decade for tackling the climate emergency. Although we better understand the seriousness of the issue, the real threat to progress is no longer denial but delay.

For film fans—bear with me on this—when Rick said the immortal words to Ilsa in “Casablanca”, “We’ll always have Paris”, he could not have imagined how apt they would be, 80 years later. The Paris summit in 2015 built an international alliance to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. The Prime Minister says in the Statement that COP 26 succeeded not just in keeping that 1.5 degrees target alive but in going further. I hope and want his optimism to be justified, but it feels more like the 1.5 degrees target is on life support. Meeting it would mean halving global emissions by 2030. The challenge for COP 26—so that we would always have Paris—was to close the gap between that aspiration and the reality of the pledges made. If Rick and Ilsa could do it, so can we. But did we?

We have to be honest about what has been achieved. Progress has been modest. We saw encouraging agreements on methane, deforestation, and the sales of petrol and diesel cars. Too often, however, the real delivery that will make a difference will come too late. According to the Climate Action Tracker, the pledges made at Glasgow for 2030, even if fully implemented, represent less than 25% of the ambition required. Rather than limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, we are now on track for a devastating 2.4 degrees rise. That is not just a number: it really matters. It could lead to billions of people facing extreme heatwaves, millions forced to leave their homes, and increased threats to both the natural wonders of the world and overall security. The Prime Minister kicked off the conference by saying that it was “one minute to midnight” on the doomsday clock. Can the Leader tell the House what time it is now, and whether we will still have Paris?

For years, coal has been the elephant in the room at these summits, so having an explicit reference in the agreement for the first time is really important. Who could not have been moved by Alok Sharma’s emotional reaction to that last-minute change to “phase down”? That really illustrates that hopes were cruelly dashed, despite the Prime Minister’s approval in the Statement. The raw emotion that we saw from Alok Sharma was also palpable among the Pacific Islanders. For many, climate change is genuinely existential, so even the announcement that 190 countries and organisations had agreed a timetable to end the use of coal does not bear scrutiny. Of those 190, only 46 were actually countries, of which 23 were new signatories and 10 do not even use coal. It is a coalition that includes NatWest and the national grid but not China, the United States or India.

There then came climate finance. It is a moral plight on developing nations that the 2009 commitment to provide $100 billion a year to emerging economies still has not been delivered; it will not be until 2023. That failure to deliver is self-defeating because it damages trust and prevents a high-ambition international coalition being built.

With his now typical overexuberance, the Prime Minister lauded the net-zero commitments made. Yet Saudi Arabia, for example, is still increasing oil production, despite its 2060 net-zero claim, and Australia will not even legislate for its 2050 net-zero target. We all know the importance of trade deals, but will the Leader explain why the Government dropped the Paris temperature commitment from the trade deal that we now have with Australia?

I had hoped that the Statement would refer to Thérèse Coffey’s welcome boast at the summit of the UK being

“the first country to legally require pension trustees to assess and publish the financial risks from climate change”.

I am sorry that it was not in the Statement, but the Leader of the House may recall that it was a Labour-led amendment in your Lordships’ House, supported across this House, that secured that historic commitment. We are pleased that we were able to be helpful, so that the Government could boast about that achievement at COP.

For the next 12 months, we have the COP presidency, and that gives us a key leadership responsibility. But the Government’s ability to step up and deliver is called into question by the Climate Change Committee’s recent report to Parliament, which said that the Government had been

“too slow to follow its climate promises with delivery”.

We cannot just put climate policy in a separate box: all government policies need to be linked to climate commitments, including trade deals. Yet Rishi Sunak’s Budget failed to mention climate change; it did not secure the necessary green investment, but it did give a tax break for domestic flights. That we were the only G7 country to cut overseas aid when seeking international co-operation on climate clearly damaged trust at COP.

When we wanted to focus on the summit issues and the climate emergency, many of us found it very difficult to watch the Prime Minister seeking to assure the world’s media that the UK was not corrupt, following his political shenanigans away from the summit. It was not exactly Mr Johnson’s finest hour.

Looking forward, I hope that the Leader is able to update us today on how Ministers can get a grip, reorder their priorities and invest in the green recovery. Can she give us an assurance that the net-zero test will be applied to all future decisions? Given what was said at COP 26, what is the Government’s renewed plan for phasing out fossil fuels, including rewriting the planning framework to rule out coal and say no to the Cambo oil field?

In conclusion, there was some welcome progress at COP 26 but it could have, and should have, achieved far more. Real action, not more rhetoric, must now follow, because the world just cannot wait any longer.

My Lords, I agree with the Prime Minister that those who thought that COP 26 would be a failure have been proved wrong. There were agreements on forests, methane, cars and finance, and there is undoubtedly some momentum among Governments and the private sector to move more quickly than previously.

Alok Sharma clearly worked extremely hard to achieve even more substantive progress, and he and his team deserve our thanks for all their efforts. By contrast, the Prime Minister seems to have played no concerted role at any point over the last two years. As the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, said, his second visit to COP seemed to consist only of a press conference dominated by the question of whether the UK, under his watch, is now a corrupt country.

The Statement itself demonstrates the Prime Minister’s addiction to hyperbole. The world, he says, is “calling time on coal.” Really? When is that time? The declaration on coal is positive but, as it stands, is consistent with India and China continuing to use very large amounts of coal for decades ahead, decades which the world simply does not have. The Prime Minister says, we have

“ticked our boxes on cars, cash and trees.”

I fear that, for him, that is exactly what we have done: enough to enable him to claim that a success has been achieved, with no recognition that the agreements in these areas, although very welcome, are partial and will need continuing global pressure to achieve their stated goals.

As the dust settles on the conference, the key questions in every sector contributing to climate change are, “How do we build on the progress of COP 26?” and, “What role can the UK play?” I will concentrate on just three areas: finance, China, and the UK’s own carbon reduction strategy.

On finance, it is important that companies set targets and keep to them and that we do not facilitate the funding of climate-threatening activities. On the former, can the noble Baroness confirm what carbon reduction plans the UK will require companies listed in the UK to set in future, and what sanctions there will be to ensure that they are fulfilled? Does she agree that choking off finance for new fossil fuel exploration and development is potentially crucial? If so, will the Government commit to banning new stock exchange listings of fossil fuel companies and funds? Will the Government also press for a change in the capital adequacy rules, so that they reflect the climate change risks attached to lending by banks to fossil fuel companies? Does she accept that this could in effect price out the viability of such loans in future?

On China, the Prime Minister has expressed his frustration that they did not make further commitments at COP 26. He rightly accepts that he is not in a position to tell President Xi what to do, but there seems to have been a retreat in the diplomatic resources and effort put into climate change diplomacy, not just with China but globally. China’s stock has been weakened in the eyes of the island states, and much of the developing world, by their unwillingness to move more quickly. Surely this is something we should be tapping into via our Diplomatic Service to encourage those countries to put pressure on China, which in the past has so assiduously sought their votes at the UN and in other international bodies. Will the diplomatic resources devoted to climate change be increased to allow this to happen?

Domestically, the Government’s policy, despite the targets, is characterised by a lack of consistency and ambition. Will the Government now make it clear that they oppose any further coal or oil extraction in this country? Will they up their game on insulating homes and installing heat pumps? Will they give real impetus to developing working carbon capture and storage schemes, which have been promised for so long but not delivered? Will they stop doing counterproductive things, such as the reduction in air passenger duty?

The Prime Minister, quoting Aristotle in his Statement, says that

“virtue comes ... from habit and practice”

and implies that he favours virtue, at least in our approach to climate change. Will he therefore heed his own, or rather Aristotle’s, words, cut out the hyperbole and more assiduously practise what he preaches?

I thank the noble Baroness and the noble Lord for their comments. I am slightly disappointed, although, to be fair, the noble Baroness did highlight that much progress had been made. I think we have been very clear that we did not reach all the targets that we wanted to reach, but it is a misrepresentation of COP to say that we did not make some significant progress. The Glasgow climate pact was a historic agreement, the gap in ambition has narrowed and we now have net-zero commitments for over 90% of the world’s economy, up from just 30% two years ago.

COP has kept 1.5 degrees alive. I completely accept the noble Baroness’s point that we did not get as far as we wanted, but the combination of net-zero targets, enhanced 2030 emission-reduction commitments and agreed action in key sectors, all underpinned by the rules, systems and support agreed in Glasgow, will significantly reduce emissions by 2030 and can put the world on track for below two degrees. I totally accept, as does the Prime Minister, and indeed Alok Sharma, that there now needs to be a concerted effort and delivery by all countries. We are not on track for 1.5 degrees at the moment, but that is one reason why COP 26 agreed that countries will return next year with stronger emission reduction targets for 2030, so that we can keep the momentum going and try to get back on track.

So countries have agreed to return next year with their new targets. This will be combined with a yearly political round table to consider a global progress report and a leaders’ summit. The pact creates a new UN programme to work with countries to scale up their emission reduction targets, and these will report back next year. Following this COP, a yearly report from the UNFCCC, which was previously conducted every five years, will give a clearer picture of countries’ latest targets and how they are going to close the emissions gap. The noble Lord talked, for instance, about pressure on China. All these actions are aimed at shining the spotlight on all countries and globally, and helping us continue to move forward.

One thing that neither the noble Baroness nor the noble Lord mentioned, but which it is important to mention, is that the Paris rulebook—the guidelines on how the Paris Agreement is to be delivered—was completed after six years of discussion. These guidelines are an important step forward in transparency and holding countries to account for their targets.

The noble Baroness and the noble Lord rightly talked about coal. We have been quite clear that it was disappointing that some countries wanted softer language than perhaps we would have liked. However, I still maintain that this was the first time that a pact has mentioned coal power and fossil fuels. They were referenced in a COP text and were agreed by all the countries involved. Some 65 countries have now committed to phasing out coal, including four of the world’s top 20 coal power-generating countries: South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Poland. All major coal-financing countries have committed to end international coal finance by the end of 2021. We also saw a significant commitment of the G20 countries in that regard, which included China, the USA and India, which can have an immediate impact in the Asia-Pacific region.

The noble Lord asked about the Chancellor’s announcement. He set out plans for the UK to be the world’s first net-zero aligned financial centre, with new requirements for UK financial institutions and listed companies to publish net-zero transition plans that detail how they will adapt and decarbonise as the UK moves towards a net-zero economy by 2050, and further work and publications will come on that side of things.

Both the noble Lord and the noble Baroness rightly mentioned the $100 billion climate finance target. Again, we have said that we deeply regret the fact that this target was not met in 2020 as originally committed to, but the plan does show that the goal will be met by 2023 at the latest and continues on a rising trajectory to 2025. We are increasingly hopeful of meeting, or coming close to meeting, the goal by 2022, although I accept that that is obviously still two years out. It has been important that 95% of the major developed country climate finance providers have come forward during COP with increased multi-year climate finance commitments, with some doubling or even quadrupling their climate finance.

We welcome Australia’s commitment to net zero by 2050. I can assure the noble Baroness that our trade deal with Australia will include a substantive chapter on climate change, which reaffirms our joint commitment to upholding our obligations under the Paris Agreement, including limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. That goes further than many previous trade agreements.

Domestic aviation, which both the noble Lord and the noble Baroness mentioned, accounts for less than 1% of the UK’s total emissions in 2019. We have announced, alongside the announcements in the Budget, a new ultra-long-haul ban to align more closely with our environmental objectives. We are also investing £180 million in a competition to support the development of plants for sustainable aviation fuel in the UK.

The noble Baroness asked about the Cambo field. That proposal is being scrutinised by independent regulators, and no decision has yet been taken, but the UK was the first G7 country to agree a landmark deal to support the oil and gas industry’s transition to clean green energy by 2050 while supporting 40,000 jobs. The reason we were able to bring people together and take these steps forward is that we are a world leader in this area. We are leading by example and we will continue to lead by example. While we did not achieve everything that we wanted at COP, it has been a major step forward for the world.

My Lords, the oceans play a unique role in regulating our climate. Unless we take unprecedented action to restore and protect the oceans, none of the shared goals announced at COP can be met. Can my noble friend give an indication of the progress made at COP 26 on ensuring that oceans play a stronger role than they are currently able to play in regulating our climate? It is essential.

I thank my noble friend. The UK presidency marked Ocean Action Day at COP, championing a call for action to protect and restore ocean health and resilience. For instance, more than 100 countries have now signed up to protect at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030. My noble friend Lord Goldsmith is obviously very heavily involved in this work and will continue to lead international action in this area.

My Lords, like the noble Lord, Lord Newby, I was surprised that the Prime Minister rather bravely referred to Aristotelian virtue in the Statement. Four essential characteristics of virtue, according to Aristotle, are prudence, temperance, courage and justice. There is no provision in the Glasgow agreement for loss and damage payments—reparations for the fact that the global south is already suffering deadly horrendous damage because of the emissions of the global north. The Statement says that Alok Sharma will push countries to go further. Will the UK lead in putting in funds for loss and damage, as Scotland has already done, reflecting the fact that the most vulnerable nations made it very clear at COP that they expect this to be fully sorted out at Sharm el-Sheikh?

I am surprised that the noble Baroness did not realise that this was, in fact, the first COP decision that included a position on loss and damage, which is a recognition of how seriously developed countries are taking their obligations. The Glasgow dialogue was launched better to co-ordinate financial support for extreme impacts, and it agreed that there would be a dialogue between parties, relevant organisations and stakeholders to discuss the arrangements for funding activities to avert, minimise and address loss and damage. We also established the functions of the Santiago network, which will provide technical assistance to developing countries to address loss and damage. So progress was most certainly made.

My Lords, I congratulate the Government on the tremendous commitment and energy given to COP 26. My first global environment conference was on saving the ozone layer with Margaret Thatcher in 1988, which was British science-based. It was a global movement, with the Montreal treaty, business getting involved and a massive public campaign. Well, how much has happened. My real delight is that it is not only nations but regions and communities that will deliver these commitments. I was there to represent the Humber region, the greatest provider of carbon in the country, and it is going net zero, with a major wind farm, major investment in hydrogen and major investment in carbon capture. This is a community—local authorities and business leaders—with political support, taking action into its hands. We are none of spectators; we are all participants. If the Minister can find her way to Hull, I would very much like to introduce her to these remarkable leaders.

I thank my noble friend. She is absolutely right. So many people played such an important part in COP 26. It was attended by 120 world leaders. There were over 38,000 delegates from 194 countries. We brought together thousands of delegates from civil society, indigenous peoples, business, youth groups and women’s groups—all coming together with a common goal. I would be delighted to visit Hull if she would like to arrange it.

My Lords, I was very pleased to hear in the Prime Minister’s Statement that, as I understand it, Alok Sharma will continue his full-time role as president of COP 26 until Egypt next year. I congratulate him on what he achieved this time.

Two themes that came out in COP 26 were methane and carbon sequestration. Going from the macro to the micro, I suggest two things that the Government could easily do, almost immediately, to help in those areas. In North Sea gas flaring, we are still the laggard in comparison with other North Sea oil and gas producers. We allow flaring. The Oil and Gas Authority recently released a new strategy which said that it would stop flaring, except in exceptional circumstances, by 2030. Why do we not stop it immediately?

With carbon sequestration, peatlands are one of the major areas of carbon storage and the UK has some of the largest areas in the globe. Yet we still allow peat extraction for gardening and other areas, and we allow it to be sold as a gardening accessory. We can stop this almost immediately. It is the Government’s intention to do so, so why do we not do both those things now?

I am happy to raise the noble Lord’s points with colleagues and we will continue to look at ways to meet our obligations. The noble Lord rightly talked about methane emissions. More than 100 countries, responsible for just under half of all methane emissions, joined the global methane pledge to cut them by 30% by 2030. That includes six of the top 10 methane emitters—the US, Brazil, the EU, Indonesia, Pakistan and Argentina—and the noble Lord will be interested to know that, according to the global methane assessment, action on methane can avoid up to 0.3 degrees centigrade of warming by 2040. He is absolutely right that we need actions at all levels to ensure that we continue working towards this goal.

During last week’s questions on the COP Statement, I asked the Minister how the funding was progressing towards raising that £100 billion annually from developed countries to distribute to less developed and developing countries, to help reduce emissions and to combat and adapt to climate change. Can she now update the House on the final climate finance contributions from the major economies, and can the Government publish a list documenting the amounts from each contributor?

I thank the noble Lord. I knew that he would probably ask me this question, so I have an answer for him about the United States, which he asked about last week. It intends by 2024 to further double its annual public climate finance to developing countries to around £11.4 billion, including around £3 billion to support adaptation efforts. He might be pleased to know that we have indeed published such a document, COP26 Presidency Compilation of 2021-2025 Climate Finance Commitments, which lists the commitments made in this area and which he might be interested to read.

My Lords, I would like to acknowledge the unexpected progress that was made at COP, for example on rainforests, which I do not think anybody has mentioned. On the move to change the energy mix, I think it is at least as important for the Government that they keep the lights on as it is to take measures to save the planet. In that context, does my noble friend agree that the move to intermittent renewables needs to be balanced, and indeed balanced now, by a substantial investment in the British nuclear industry, another source of zero-carbon energy? Does she further agree that the neglect of the nuclear industry since the mid-90s has been a disgrace?

I am sure my noble friend is aware that we have a Bill in the House of Commons looking at this area which will be coming to your Lordships’ House soon so we can discuss these issues. We are certainly looking to reinvigorate that sector. I will also just say that last year was the first year in which renewables were the primary source of the UK’s electricity and we have quadrupled the percentage of our electricity that comes from renewables but, of course, we need a mix in order to make sure that we have security of supply.

My Lords, do the Government accept that to some extent global climate change and global heating and biodiversity loss are two sides of the same coin? In furthering their work after COP 26, will the Government do more to include the effects on biodiversity loss of the policies they are promoting?

I completely agree with the noble Viscount. That is why we were so pleased, for instance, with the 140 leaders representing over 90% of the world’s forests pledging to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030. We also had 45 nations pledge action and investment to protect nature and to shift to more sustainable ways of farming and, as I mentioned earlier, there was action on the global ocean. The noble Viscount is absolutely right, and that is why we put this front and centre and included it in COP in a way that had not happened before. My colleague, my noble friend Lord Goldsmith, is leading this: he is passionate about it and will continue to talk to global colleagues in order to keep this agenda going forward.

My Lords, the Statement says that we have seen countries that really should know better dragging their heels on their Paris commitments. The Minister will be aware that the Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance has launched, led by Denmark and Costa Rica and also involving the states of California and Quebec. Given that we are committed to 1.5 and one of the commitments of the Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance is 1.5, meeting Paris commitments, are we not dragging our heels by not signing up to this alliance?

No. We have been central to action in this area. For instance, we were central to setting up the Powering Past Coal Alliance which now has 165 members, including national and subnational Governments, businesses and organisations. We will obviously continue to look at this area but we are certainly leading the way. In fact, the transition is already under way. In OECD countries, the share of coal in power generation has fallen from a peak of 40% in 1990 to a low of 23% in 2019. As we have said, although perhaps we had watered-down language, as we have all accepted, the end of coal is in sight, and that is what we want to continue to work to.