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Energy majors throw their weight behind UK COP26 bid

Image: Daniel Chapman/Flickr.

Image: Daniel Chapman/Flickr.

A host of the country’s largest energy firms have backed the UK’s bid to host next year’s COP climate conference and called on the government for further support.

A joint letter signed by BP, Shell, Centrica, Drax Group, innogy Renewables UK, ScottishPower and National Grid today says the government should do “everything in its power” to host the landmark conference in November 2020.

The UK has formally bid to host the 26th Conference of Parties and a decision is expected to be made towards the end of next month.

COP26 is to be the most globally significant climate conference series since COP21 in 2015, where the landmark Paris Agreement was signed. It comes amidst increasing awareness of the climate crisis across the globe, evidenced by renewed climate activism and calls for more significant climate action.

Last month the Committee on Climate Change published its recommendation for the UK to set a net zero economy target for 2050 which, if legislated for, would end the UK’s contribution to climate change by that date and place it within the leading pack of countries in terms of environmental issues.

The letter, addressed to the Prime Minister, states that while the signatories are often in competition with each other, “on the issue of climate change we are united”.

“Hosting COP26 would provide the UK with a platform to further develop and maximise the opportunities of the global shift to clean growth and showcase to the world the best of the UK economy. It would be the country’s moment to build further support for an ambitious clean growth trajectory, underscore ambitions for a net-zero economy in line with the Paris Agreement and set out the opportunity of economic renewal and enhancement through climate action.

“We know the UK government is putting significant effort behind securing COP in 2020, but there is still a way to go to ensure the 26th session of the Conference of Parties comes to the UK. Global leaders soon make a decision on where to host this pioneering global summit and we want the world to know the UK stands ready to deliver,” the letter reads.

Paul Cowling, managing director at innogy Renewables UK, said: “COP 26 will create the opportunity for the UK to showcase to the world, how via industries such as ours in offshore wind, the world can decarbonise, whilst in tandem deliver long term economic growth and job creation; creating a regime in which the two are not mutually exclusive”.

His view was endorsed by John Pettigrew, chief executive at National Grid, who said that in hosting COP26 the UK would send a message to the world.

“Our progress on clean energy has seen this country make international headlines, for example when we recently went over a week without any coal generation for the first time since the 19th Century. But we all need to do much more.

“This summit represents an opportunity to get the world to unite behind one of the most important challenges we all face and we look forward to working with the Government to bring COP to our shores.”


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