Skip to main content

Committee announce scrutiny of COP26 & publication of report

26 November 2020

On Tuesday 1 December, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee will hold an evidence hearing on the Government’s leadership and preparations for the COP26 climate conference and on efforts to achieve net-zero, questioning witnesses include Claire O’Neill, former COP26 President and Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, and a panel of climate change experts.


Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, has today written to Alok Sharma, President, COP26 and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with a series of questions on the Government’s priorities and preparations for the COP 26. The correspondence highlights a survey of expert views, also published today, on the climate conference.

Special report

The BEIS Committee special report follows a survey of experts on the UN's climate negotiation process conducted by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). This report draws together the views of over 500 experts working on international climate policy who took part in the survey.

For the survey, experts were asked for their views on: the most important thing the UK Government and devolved governments should consider when planning and delivering COP26, the most important question that UK Parliament should be asking UK Government while it plans for COP26, and the lessons that can be taken from the Covid-19 pandemic and applied to COP26 preparations. Responses were analysed and synthesised into themes, which are outlined in the report.

The report includes survey recommendations relating to considerations for the running and delivery of COP26, ambitions for COP26, the future of climate policy, delivering the UK’s net zero commitments, and post-Covid-19 responses.

Chair's comment

Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said: 

“The COP26 Presidency is an opportunity to showcase the UK’s global leadership in climate diplomacy and to ensure countries across the world sign up to the actions needed to decarbonise and save the planet. 

“The BEIS Committee is leading the Parliamentary scrutiny of the Government’s priorities for COP26, with our first public session on the 1st December. The expert survey from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), which we commissioned, raises important questions on the Government’s approach to COP. I hope the Secretary of State will address the issues raised in the survey and provide more clarity on what he the UK is seeking to achieve at COP26. 

 “The Climate Assembly, initiated by six select committees, was a great demonstration of the value of engaging the public in discussions about the path to net-zero. Preparations for COP26 provides the Government with an opportunity to build on the findings of the Climate Assembly and lead a national conversation about what net zero could and should mean for life in the UK.

 “The BEIS Committee would like to thank POST and the experts who responded to this survey – this will act as a valuable foundation of our scrutiny of the UKs Presidency of COP26.”

Debate & Expert Database

On Thursday 26th November, Darren Jones, BEIS Chair, will lead a House of Commons debate on the Final Report of Climate Assembly UK on the path to net zero.

POST has created a COP26 Expert Database alongside the survey. The database remains open to new entrants who wish to contribute their expertise to the UK and devolved parliaments over the next 12 months. Please click on this link to register.


Tuesday 1 December

At 10.30am

  • Claire O’Neill, Managing Director, Climate & Energy, World Business Council for Sustainable Development

At 11.15am

  • Peter Betts, Associate Fellow, Chatham House, and Visiting Professor of Practise, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE

  • Farhana Yamin, CEO, Track 0

  • Dr Emily Shuckburgh, Director, Cambridge Zero and Reader, Environmental Data Science, University of Cambridge

  • Dr Jennifer Allan, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Cardiff

Further information