Some of Britain’s biggest businesses, including Heathrow, have pledged their support for the UK’s bid to host the 2020 UN ‘Conference of the Parties’ climate conference (COP26).
The following firms – Affinity Water, Anglian Water, BP, Capita, Centrica, Drax Group, GKN Automotive, Heathrow, innogy Renewables UK, National Grid, ScottishPower and Shell are calling on the Government to do everything in its power to ensure the landmark conference comes to the UK.
The companies, which span the energy, automotive, professional services, oil and gas and aviation sectors, believe that businesses have a pivotal role to play in the debate around climate and say that hosting COP26 would act as a catalyst for an ambitious climate policy, putting the UK at the forefront of change.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Cabinet and leaders of the opposition, the companies said, “Hosting COP26 would provide the UK with a platform to maximise the opportunities of the global shift to clean growth and showcase to the world the best of the UK.”
"It would be the country’s moment to build further support for a clean growth trajectory, underscore ambitions for a net zero economy in line with the Paris Agreement and set out the opportunity of economic renewal through climate action."
The UK has formally bid to host COP26 and a decision on the host nation for the event is expected to be made by foreign ministers from across Europe and the world, towards the end of June.
COP26 will be the most important UN climate Conference since the 2015 Paris Agreement. That commits countries to limit an increase in global warming to 2 degrees or less from pre-industrial levels. At COP26 governments are being asked to agree upon a vision for tackling climate change in the next decade and to spell out the action they will take to meet agreed targets.
The UK is recognised around the world for stepping up to the challenge of climate change, cutting emissions by 40% since 1990. Today clean growth sustains or has created hundreds of thousands of jobs. The firms believe the UK is well placed to build further support for the global clean growth trajectory and to make the case for how countries can transform their economies while tackling climate issues.
Pauline Walsh, CEO Affinity Water said, “The importance of climate change and the impact on our water resources is huge. We need to work together as businesses, cross sectors and across borders to tackle the most important challenge of a generation.”
Hosting COP26 would demonstrate the importance the UK places on the issue of climate change and shows that we want to act now and lead the way. We look forward to working with the Government to bring COP26 to the UK in 2020″
Jon Lewis, CEO of Capita plc, said, “Together, we can work and move towards a cleaner environment and a more sustainable global economy. I am proud to stand with other businesses to support the government in its bid to bring COP26 to the UK.”
Iain Conn, Group CEO Centrica, said, “We believe strongly in precautionary action in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change. It is clear that climate change through CO2 in the atmosphere is creating huge risk for humanity.”
Will Gardiner, CEO Drax Group said, “COP26 is an important opportunity for the UK to build on its legacy and lead the world in setting a new standard for climate action. As a key British business and the UK’s largest producer of renewable energy, we’re proud to be playing our part in the transition towards a zero-carbon economy and driving innovation through our plans to develop Carbon Capture Use and Storage and helping our customers reduce their carbon emissions.”
Paul Cowling, MD, 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”.
John Pettigrew, CEO National Grid, “Hosting COP26 would let the UK send a message to the world that we are proud to take the lead in the fight against climate change.”
"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.”
Keith Anderson, CEO ScottishPower, said, “The Committee on Climate Change has set tough targets on Carbon Net Zero that offer an unrivalled opportunity to place the UK at the forefront of the global race to decarbonise economies: capitalising on being the first mover on decarbonising our own energy sector, investing in technology and innovation to repeat this across other sectors such as transport; and exporting this capability worldwide. Hosting COP26 will be the perfect platform to show how we will lead the way on the decarbonisation of the economy.”