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COP 26 Climate Summit - Business Committee evidence hearing

26 April 2021

On Tuesday 27th April from 10.30am, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee will holds the latest session on COP 26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, with a focus on engaging businesses and the public to help make the summit a success.

On Tuesday, the BEIS Committee will hear from witnesses from business, civil society and public interest groups, including We Mean Business, Teach the Future (youth group), the British Chamber of Commerce, SSE, Friends of the Earth, and the Head of COP26 Team, Glasgow City Council.

Purpose of the session

At Tuesday’s hearing, the BEIS Committee are likely to look at the challenges and opportunities for business at COP26 and what businesses are looking for the COP summit negotiations to deliver. The session is also likely to examine questions around climate targets for businesses and, amid concerns around ‘greenwashing’, the approaches that will be necessary to ensure targets are robust.

On Tuesday, the Committee will also examine impact of the public and civil society at COP26, including how to deliver on the Government’s pledge to host “the most inclusive COP ever”. Amid speculation that COP26 may be postponed, or moved online, due to the pandemic, the Committee is likely to explore questions around the impact of these potential developments. The session will also examine the challenges and opportunities for public engagement in the UK on climate change offered by COP26.

On 5th March, the BEIS Committee published an interim report on Preparations for COP26 as part of its Net zero and UN climate summits inquiry.


Tuesday 27 April 2021

From 10.30am:

  • Miranda Barker, Chair, Climate Challenge Group, British Chamber of Commerce
  • Emily Hickson, Coalition Member, We Mean Business
  • Sam Peacock, Director of Corporate Affairs and Strategy, SSE
  • Stephanie Maier, Global Steering Committee, ClimateAction100+

From 11.30am:

  • Anna Brown, Campaign Coordinator, Teach the Future
  • Josh Tregale, Campaign Coordinator, Teach the Future
  • Jamie Clarke, Executive Director, Climate Outreach
  • Jamie Peters, Interim Director of Campaigning Impact, Friends of the Earth
  • Michelle McGinty, Head of COP26 Team, Glasgow City Council

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

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 5th March, the BEIS Committee published an interim report on Preparations for COP26 as part of its Net zero and UN climate summits inquiry.

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.

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 Climate Assembly UK, a citizens’ assembly on combatting climate change and achieving the pathway to net zero carbon emissions.

The BEIS Committee published a terms of reference (Monday 19 April) for its Climate Assembly inquiry.

Darren Jones, BEIS Committee Chair, welcomed 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.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is currently undertaking an inquiry examining the path to decarbonising heating in homes. The Committee’s inquiry on decarbonising heat followed a successful pitch by Dr Jan Rosenow, Principal and European Programme Director, Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), at the Committee’s “MyBEIS” evidence hearing in July and is part of the BEIS Committee’s ongoing work on net zero and its follow-up to the findings of the Climate Assembly.
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.

Over the last year, the BEIS Committee held evidence sessions looking at the future of carbon pricing and UK arrangements for an emissions trading scheme (ETS).

Further information

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