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Tackling Climate Change: International Ambition

Volume 692: debated on Wednesday 14 April 2021

What progress the Government have made on raising international ambition to tackle climate change as part of preparations for COP26. (914041)

When the UK took on the role of the incoming COP26 presidency, under 30% of the global economy was covered by a net zero commitment. The good news is that that figure has now increased to 70% and of course I am pressing all countries to come forward with net zero commitments. However, as colleagues in this House have acknowledged previously, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s initial “NDC Synthesis Report”, published in February, showed that we have much more progress to make on the 2030 emissions reduction target, and I am pressing countries on that as well.

The UK is a global leader in protecting the ocean, as shown by the success of its Blue Belt and 30x30 programmes, but as my right hon. Friend will know, only 1% of international waters currently have effective protection. Will he commit the UK to taking the lead in pushing for a strong global oceans treaty at the United Nations, to establish an international framework for protecting marine biodiversity in international waters?

My hon. Friend raises a vital issue, and she will be pleased to hear that the UK is working hard to see negotiations concluded this year on a new UN convention for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdictions. That will enable the establishment of marine protected areas and help to deliver on the 30x30 target.

In a letter to all UNFCCC—United Nations framework convention on climate change—parties this week, the COP President rightly argued that we must halve global emissions by 2030 if we are to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5° within reach, yet he will know that recent UN analysis makes it clear that current national pledges will reduce emissions by just 1% by the end of this critical decade. We need the major emitters to do much more if we are to close the gap. That means a need for deep cuts in American emissions and for Chinese emissions to peak by 2025, but it also means a need for tangible progress on the part of India. With the Prime Minister meeting President Modi later this month, will the COP President tell the House what the UK is willing to put on the table, particularly in terms of climate finance and technological support, to help to ensure that India feels able to increase its ambition markedly ahead of the summit?

I agree entirely with the hon. Gentleman but, of course, all countries need to make much more progress when it comes to ambitious, nationally determined contributions to the 2030 near-term emission reduction targets. I have spoken with large economies around the world. As he knows, I met Prime Minister Modi a few weeks ago and, of course, we are working on a number of initiatives with the Indian Government. When the Prime Minister goes to India, I am sure there will be further announcements.