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BEIS Secretary of State and COP 26 President to appear before Committee

15 January 2021

On Tuesday 19thth January from 10.30am, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee will be questioning Kwasi Kwarteng, the new Secretary of State, and Alok Sharma, COP 26 President, with a focus on COP 26, the Energy White Paper and its contribution to the path to ‘net zero, and also covering issues across the BEIS portfolio, including the impact of Brexit and the support available to businesses and workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Purpose of the session

On Tuesday, the BEIS Committee are likely to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Energy White Paper, including issues around the energy and industrial transition to ‘net zero’, the anticipated costs of delivering on the White Paper’s proposals and efforts to engage consumers and the wider public, and efforts to support jobs and the levelling-up agenda.

On COP 26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, the Committee is likely to explore the Government’s aims for COP, its diplomacy and engagement strategy, and the role of the Prime Minister, Parliament, and the devolved administrations in these activities.


Tuesday 19 January

From 10.30am

  • The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, President for COP 26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference
  • Peter Hill, COP 26 Chief Executive Officer, Cabinet Office
  • Archie Young, UK Lead Climate Negotiator, Cabinet Office
  • Ros Eales, Chief Operating Officer, COP26, Cabinet Office

From 11.30am

  • Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS)
  • Julian Critchlow, Director General, Energy, Transformation and Clean Growth, (DBEIS)
  • Joanna Whittington, Director General, Energy and Security (DBEIS)
  • Jo Shanmugalingam – Director General; Industrial Strategy, Science & Innovation
  • Ashley Ibbett - Director General for Trade, Europe and Analysis

Background – BEIS Committee work relating to emissions trading, climate change, ‘net zero’, COP 26, and the Climate Assembly

On Tuesday 12th January [include link to transcript], the BEIS Committee held an evidence session on the Energy White Paper and ‘net zero’ with witnesses including Chris Stark, CEO, Climate Change Committee (CCC), Emma Pinchbeck, CEO, Energy UK, and representatives from the renewable energy, gas, oil, steel, chemical and minerals industries.

In October, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy launched an inquiry examining the path to decarbonising heating in homes – evidence hearings will begin later in the New Year.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee is leading the Parliamentary scrutiny of COP 26 has a standing inquiry for the Parliament on the UK’s ‘Net Zero’ target and the UN Climate Summits and in this Parliament has held sessions examining the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) 2020 Progress Report & the Climate Assembly UK Interim Report.

On Tuesday 1 December, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee held an evidence hearing on the Government’s leadership and preparations for the COP 26 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.

The BEIS Committee inquiry on the UK ‘Net Zero’ target and the UN Climate Summits inquiry is considering issues including:

  • Progress in delivering the UK’s 2050 net zero target;
  • Progress in cutting emissions to meet the UK’s five-yearly Carbon Budgets;
  • The role of BEIS in leading climate change mitigation policy across Government;
  • The potential role of business and industry in the net zero agenda;
  • Preparations for the 2021 Climate Summit in Glasgow, and the UK’s performance as Summit host;
  • The ongoing role of the UK in international climate talks and initiatives to tackle climate change.

In a separate but related inquiry, launched in June, on Post-Pandemic Economic Growth the BEIS Committee will be looking at the options available to Government to secure our economic recovery from the impact of Covid-19; covering investment, industrial strategy, jobs, skills, exports and sustainable growth.

The BEIS Committee recently held evidence sessions looking at the future of carbon pricing and UK arrangements for an emissions trading scheme (ETS), including a session with Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth.

The BEIS Committee was one of six select committees of the House of Commons (joining Environmental Audit; Housing, Communities and Local Government; Science and Technology; Transport; and Treasury) to support the Climate Assembly UK, a citizens’ assembly on combatting climate change and achieving the pathway to net zero carbon emissions.

Darren Jones, BEIS Committee Chair, welcomed the Climate Assembly UK’s final report published in September, in the House of Commons. The Climate Assembly final report set out a clear, internally consistent and timely path for how the UK can reach its legally binding target of net zero emissions by 2050. Climate Assembly UK’s report showed how a representative sample of the population believe the UK should meet its net zero emissions commitment with detailed recommendations across ten areas including: how we travel; what we eat and how we use the land; what we buy; heat and energy use in the home; how we generate our electricity; and greenhouse gas removals.

Further information

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