Skip to main content

UK Priorities for COP28

Volume 741: debated on Thursday 30 November 2023

The UK is committed to tackling climate change and restoring nature. We have reduced our emissions by more than any other major economy since 1990 and, going forward, have one of the most ambitious targets for 2030. Our emissions are down 48% compared to 1990 and we have grown the economy by 70% over the same period.

We brought the world together at the COP26 Glasgow summit to speed up the global net zero transition, as well as brokering a historic deal to end deforestation and kickstart new green finance markets. However, limiting global temperature increases to 1.5° will only be possible if countries around the world commit to join the UK on a net zero pathway. The science is clear that global emissions need to peak by 2025 and must be reduced by 43% in 2030 compared to 2019 in order to achieve this.

The upcoming 28th conference of the parties under the UNFCCC (COP28), to be hosted by the UAE in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December, will mark an important moment to get to net zero. Amid record global temperatures, the first global stocktake of progress against the Paris agreement will show that the world is currently off track and urgent action is needed to keep the 1.5° goal within reach. The world needs to take a hard look at what is working and where we are failing to deliver, focusing our resources on practical, deliverable solutions. This COP must deliver the framework and targets already agreed, including in Glasgow, and set out the long-term decisions that are needed to bring everyone with us, from rural communities to the countries most impacted by climate change.

The context is challenging, given the current geopolitical tension, conflict and macroeconomic environment where countries are battling inflation and debt. At the same time, the widespread impacts from increasing global temperatures have never been felt more, underscoring the need to deliver on our climate commitments and reduce emissions.

His Majesty the King will attend the opening ceremony of the world climate action summit at COP28 at the invitation of the UAE and at the request of HMG, and will deliver an opening address. The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Environment Secretary and other Ministers will attend the summit. I will lead the negotiations for the UK.

The Prime Minister’s focus will be on forests, finance and net zero transitions. These are areas where the UK can lead global progress, building on our track record, and working with the UAE presidency, other countries, business and civil society.

Overall at COP28 the UK wants to see progress in five priority areas:

New commitments and action to keep 1.5 alive. Coming out of the global stocktake, we need renewed leader-level political consensus and increased ambition to keep 1.5 in reach. We need commitment to peak global emissions by 2025 and clear guidance for the next round of NDCs. And we need a clear, forward-looking road map with global targets in key sectors and commitment to action including through the breakthrough agenda, on forests, and through the phasing out of hydrofluorocarbons. Since 2010 the UK has seen nearly £200 billion of public and private finance investment in low carbon energy sectors. We will use this domestic experience to spearhead efforts to accelerate decarbonisation of key sectors of the global economy.

A clean energy package with clear commitments to transition away from fossil fuels. This includes commitments to triple global renewables and double energy efficiency by 2030, to phase out unabated fossil fuels—in line with the G7 commitment the UK helped to deliver earlier this year—and to end new unabated coal power and phase out coal power globally.

An outcome on finance that helps deliver the trillions needed to accelerate the transition. This includes reform of international financial institutions, delivery this year of the collective goal of $100 billion climate finance per year for developing economies, and progress on the post-2025 climate finance goal with contributions from a broader range of donors. Based on preliminary data, the OECD has stated that it is likely that the $100 billion goal was met in 2022. The UK will play its part. We are fully committed to delivering on our £11.6 billion of international climate finance and we are a world leader in green finance. We will work with partners to realign financial flows with the Paris agreement and global biodiversity framework.

Progress on building resilience to climate impacts—demonstrating progress on the Glasgow commitment to double adaptation finance by 2025 and establishing an effective loss and damage fund to support countries that are particularly vulnerable. We are pleased that the loss and damage transitional committee, mandated by COP27, has put forward a recommendation on the fund. The UK was instrumental in securing that recommendation and we hope it will be agreed at COP28. We will continue to advocate for the priorities of the most vulnerable. I co-chaired a third climate and development ministerial alongside the UAE, Malawi and Vanuatu at pre-COP last month. This focused on enhancing access and delivery of adaptation finance, the equitable delivery of high-quality grant-based finance and concessional finance.

Real progress towards protecting, restoring and sustainably managing nature, on land and in the ocean, which is crucial to delivering on net zero and building resilience. We need COP28 to maintain momentum on the implementation of the global biodiversity framework agreed at CBD COP15 last year, to make concrete progress on the historic agreement to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. We want to see forests prioritised in the global stocktake and to use the Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership as the vehicle to drive accelerated delivery of the Glasgow leaders declaration on forests and land use. To date UK International Climate Finance has avoided over 410,000 hectares of ecosystem loss.

We will continue to deliver ambitious reductions, embracing innovation and green finance opportunities. The UK will go into COP28 with a strong record at home and internationally. We recently committed $2 billion to the green climate fund second replenishment, the biggest single international funding commitment the UK has made to help tackle climate change, making us the top contributor cumulatively to the world’s most prominent international climate fund.

In his recent net zero speech, the Prime Minister set out the long-term decisions to enable a just transition to net zero while maintaining public support. We are absolutely clear that net zero is the right thing to do for our long- term national security, economic prosperity and the future of our children.

All countries around the world need to do more to keep 1.5 alive. The UK is delivering significant progress, and following the clear framework and targets agreed at Glasgow COP, we saw 90% of global GDP committed to net zero. We must now drive progress and support other nations constituting 99% of emissions to grasp the benefits of green growth.

We will update the House in the usual way once negotiations have concluded.