A significant discussion about COP26 and COP27

Yesterday in the House of Commons several MPs raised concerns about the understanding and indeed the actions that the Government has not taken to try to protect our world from the floods and climate emergency that were discussed back in COP26 and at the 2015 Paris climate. The call is also a focus on what can be done now and what will happen at COP27. The person who raised this short debate is the Labour MP Helen Hayes from Dulwich and West Norwood. She began with this question “What diplomatic steps the Government are taking ahead of COP27 to work with partners in the global south to tackle the climate emergency” and the response for this and all the other comments came from Vicky Ford who currently is “The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs.” She initially stated

The catastrophic floods in Pakistan and appalling droughts across the horn of Africa are just two examples of where a destabilising climate is threatening the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of people. In this context, the COP26 President, my right hon. Friend the Member for Reading West (Alok Sharma), Whitehall teams and our diplomatic network are working with Egypt as COP27 host, and with partners across the global south, to accelerate global climate action ahead of COP27.

Helen Hayes responded with this comment which then led to another response from Vicky Ford

Hayes: The Minister references the deadly drought in the horn of Africa and the catastrophic floods in Pakistan, which clearly show the reality and urgency of the climate emergency. Last November, at COP26, developing countries across the global south were promised further discussions on loss and damage climate compensation. In the context that she has described this morning, why was the UK backtracking on the promises made at COP26 in the Bonn talks this summer? What message does she think that failure of leadership sends to our allies and partners in the global south?

Ford: At COP26 in Glasgow, we led a global commitment that kept 1.5° alive, and it is vital that countries across the world hold up the promises that they made there. We in the UK, and Ministers from across this Government, always raise climate change on every single diplomatic visit. I do not accept the premise that we are backtracking: just before recess, I went to South Africa to work on the just energy transition partnership, which is the landmark deal for the entire world in helping developing countries. We are leading that work and we are focused on that as a priority. As regards the work on the $100 billion delivery partner, our friends in Germany and Canada are also helping to lead that work, including on how to scale up on adaptation. It is a priority and we will continue to lead.

The next person to respond was David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham and he received a response from Vicky Ford

Lammy: As has been said, the appalling floods in Pakistan, which have affected more than 30 million people, show that the climate crisis is not a future problem—it is here and it is now. Despite the Minister’s bluster a moment ago, it is incredibly concerning that the new Conservative Prime Minister has said that she will impose a temporary moratorium on the green levies that we need to reach net zero. Will the Minister commit to doubling our commitments to net zero, so that the UK can lead from the front to build a green and secure future?

Ford: We have doubled our commitment to climate to £11.6 billion. That is helping people across the world to access clean energy, to reduce deforestation, to protect oceans and to build clean infrastructure. As the right hon. Gentleman is aware, when the new Prime Minister comes in, she will be announcing plans to help to tackle the issues with food prices and fuel prices in this country as a top priority, and also to look at the long-term needs of our energy security. He will need to wait, with the rest of us, for those announcements—but she has promised them as a top priority.

The third person to respond was Chris Law who is the SNP MP for Dundee.

Law: According to the UN Secretary General, people are 15 times more likely to die if they live in a climate crisis hotspot, which is what we see unfolding right now in Pakistan, with more than 6 million people in dire need of humanitarian aid and already more than 1,000 people dead. Last year, at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland became the first developed economy in the world, led by our First Minister, to pledge dedicated loss and damage funding. Ahead of COP27, will the UK Government finally commit to establishing a similar loss and damage policy in line with the 2015 Paris climate accord?

Ford: We are working with countries across the world to ensure that everybody holds up the promises that they made at COP26. We understand the challenges that many countries are facing, including the terrible situation in Pakistan, where we have already donated more than 10% of what the UN and Pakistan have asked for to meet their emergency need. I think, however, that the hon. Gentleman should focus on the work that the COP26 President, my right hon. Friend the Member for Reading West (Alok Sharma), has been doing with more than 50 missions working across the world to ensure that we get action before the next COP in Egypt.

It is very clear that we need the Government to be challenged about these activities in the past and that we need them to act much more constructively over the next few weeks when COP27 is being prepared. Given that we have a new Prime Minister it would be very positive if Liz Truss was willing to call for Labour and the SNP and especially the Green Party which is represented in Parliament by Caroline Lucas and also the Liberal Democrat and Plaid Cymru parties to work together with the Government to improve its involvement in November.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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1 Response to A significant discussion about COP26 and COP27

  1. Pingback: Modest answers but that should be treated very seriously | ianchisnall

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