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News from the COP26 Unit

There were a number of high profile events and announcements in May which allowed us to make progress in several key areas:

In the run up to G7 Leaders’ Summit next month under the UK’s Presidency, COP President Designate and the Rt Hon George Eustice MP chaired the G7 Climate and Environment Ministerial where the G7 took a major step towards a net zero economy by agreeing to phase out international fossil fuel finance, except where consistent with a 1.5 degree pathway, and to end the international finance for unabated coal this year. 

  • At the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting, G7 countries committed support to make people safer from climate disasters through early warning, better preparedness and early action.
  • The Petersberg Climate Dialogue took place 6-7 May, co-hosted by Alok Sharma and the Minister for the Environment of Germany, Svenja Schulze. It brought together 39 ministers and other high level representatives for discussions on key negotiation issues, including on Adaptation, Finance and the outstanding elements of the Paris Rulebook. The UK and Germany’s co-chairs’ conclusions can be found here, together with a ‘making of’ video.
  • On 24 May the UK and Chile convened the most recent in a series of monthly consultations with all Heads of Delegation, this time on the central topic of finance. The discussion covered issues related to the current $100 billion per year finance goal, the approach to deliberations on the post-2025 goal, and how to make progress on the huge number of finance-related items for negotiation at COP26. 
  • A joint ministerial statement on the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue, endorsed by 22 governments, was published on 27 May. Through this, countries commit to collaborative action to protect the world’s forests and other terrestrial ecosystems from destruction through promoting sustainable supply chains and sustainable trade in agricultural commodities. You can read more about how to get involved in the FACT Dialogue here.
  • Alongside Mark Carney’s Private Finance Hub and the High Level Climate Action Champions, we released a Call for Announcements from private finance institutions. This document sets out the ambitious commitments we are looking for and some key events they could be linked to. 
  • We were also delighted to appoint Sir David Attenborough as the COP26 People’s Advocate, to help build momentum ahead of COP26. Sir David will address world leaders at major events over the next six months, including the G7 Summit in Cornwall in June, to put climate and the protection of nature at the top of their agenda. 

Ministers and other senior figures continue to be involved in a range of meetings and other events to drive further progress across a range of priorities. Highlights from May included:

  • In Denmark, the COP President Designate met with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Danish senior ministers, businesses, youth and civil society representatives to discuss a range of issues including the international clean energy transition and the phasing out of coal. 
  • In Rome, the COP President Designate met with faith leaders including Archbishop Gallagher of the Holy See to discuss mobilising the faith community for COP26. He also met with youth activists and senior Italian ministers including Ecological Transition Minister Cingolani to emphasise our G7, G20 and COP26 Presidency partnership priorities. 
  • In Madrid, the COP President Designate met with Prime Minister Pedro SanchezEcological Transition Minister Ribera and other senior ministers and business leaders, to talk through our shared commitment to climate action and to lead by example ahead of COP26. 
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience met countries including Kenya, Bangladesh, Egypt, Antigua & Barbuda, and Grenada, to discuss how the UK can support action on adaptation and resilience ahead of COP26. She also met with civil society groups from Climate Action Network, and participated in events hosted by the UN’s International Organization for Migration and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan also visited Costa Rica, and met with Environment, Climate and Development Ministers, climate experts, local indigenous communities, women and youth groups, and visited adaptation projects building resilience on the ground.
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan chaired the Risk-Informed Early Action Partnership, and announced £12m of new funding for the Start Network for rapid responses to crises like droughts and floods, and a further £8m to the Centre for Disaster Protection to help climate-vulnerable countries deal with crises such as extreme weather caused by climate change. 

We were also encouraged to see more momentum, ambitious action and commitments from several countries and non-State actors during May:

  • Countries have been continuing to submit new or updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) throughout the last couple of months. Most recent submissions for the month of May included: Georgia (05/05), Armenia (05/05), Lao PDR (10/05) and most recently Honduras (19/05). The UNFCCC are asking countries to submit by 30 July in order to be included in the final NDC Synthesis Report to be published in advance of COP26.
  • The Business 7 Summit convened businesses from across the G7, including at the B7 Climate Leaders Summit which showcased those who have joined the Race to Zero recently. There has been an almost 50% increase in the number of major companies committing to robust net zero targets under the Race to Zero since January 2021.
  • The International Energy Agency released their Net Zero Roadmap. This sets out how the transition can be managed to bring huge benefits in terms of job creation, economic growth and wellbeing, but also that we must act now to achieve this.