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COP26 Update

Statement made on 14 December 2021

Statement UIN HCWS479


COP26 concluded with agreement by all Parties to the historic Glasgow Climate Pact. This Pact, combined with increased ambition and action across mitigation, adaptation, and finance means that the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C remains in sight. But it will only be delivered with concerted and immediate international efforts.

Today, I want to update the House on our priorities for the Presidency Year, to ensure we build on and secure the legacy of our COP Presidency and the UK’s international reputation as a climate leader.

Delivering the Glasgow Climate Pact

Throughout the UK’s Presidency year, we will work with Egypt as incoming Presidency, the UNFCCC Secretariat, and to convene Parties to deliver on the agreed outcomes in the Glasgow Climate Pact. In doing so we will continue to champion science, especially the IPCC and its major reports in 2022, and the urgency of action. The Paris Agreement made promises and now Glasgow’s legacy is focused on delivery.


In the context of the latest climate science, all countries have agreed to revisit and if necessary strengthen their 2030 targets for urgent action this decade. Progress was made in the run up to Glasgow and in our Presidency year, we will work with all Parties to deliver on this commitment and go further and faster to close the gap to a 1.5°C pathway. This will include working with countries to explore further sectoral action and public and private opportunities for investing in their low carbon resilient transition. We will work with the UNFCCC and other international organisations, and seek to use the calendar of international events in 2022 to progress this work. We look forward to working closely with Egypt and the UAE, as incoming COP27 and COP28 Presidents, and with Germany and Indonesia, respectively G7 and G20 Presidencies, to ensure commitments and agreements made at COP26 are built upon and delivered.

Adaptation, loss and damage

At COP26 we made significant progress on adaptation and boosted efforts to deal with climate impacts. The Glasgow-Sharm el Sheikh Work Programme on the Global Goal on Adaptation was launched, for which four mandated workshops will be held in 2022. Developed countries also agreed to at least double their collective provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing countries by 2025. This is a significant step forward which will help reduce vulnerability, strengthen resilience and increase the capacity of people and the planet to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

We will work with countries to come good on this commitment, increasing the availability, efficiency and accessibility of adaptation finance for climate vulnerable countries and providing support and leadership to initiatives that are part of the UK’s Presidency mandate.

Loss and Damage was a critical issue at COP26 and we have moved into a new phase focused on action. Under our Presidency we will ensure progress continues to be made through the new Glasgow Dialogue on arrangements for funding relevant activities, and making sure the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage gets up and running.


Under the UK’s Presidency, 95% of the largest developed country climate finance providers made new commitments, with many doubling or even quadrupling their support for developing countries to take climate action. These pledges mean that we can provide confidence that the $100 billion finance goal will be met by developed countries and multilateral development banks by 2023 at the latest, with $500 billion being delivered over the period 2021-2025. We will continue to build momentum on mobilising the $100bn per year to support developing countries, including increased finance to help vulnerable countries cope with climate impacts. We will also oversee the start of the new ad-hoc work programme on the new collective quantified goal.

We have improved financial flows to those most vulnerable by launching the Access to Finance Taskforce with Fiji, including a commitment of £100 million of funding to support climate vulnerable countries to deliver on their climate plans. Pilots will be launched in Bangladesh, Fiji, Jamaica, Rwanda and Uganda. Building on the South African Just Energy Transition Partnership model and the UK’s leadership of the G7, we will explore new opportunities for transformational, country-led climate action through the Clean and Green Initiative. In this context, we will also champion climate action as a core component of the work of international financial institutions, to support the delivery of Paris-aligned growth and development.

We will build on the progress made in Glasgow in aligning private finance flows with the Paris Agreement globally; and in providing tailored support to specific countries and sectors. We will work with partners to leverage the trillions of private finance needed to finance the transition in all countries including the major emitters, and remain accountable and transparent throughout.

Driving sectoral change

COP26 must mark the start of a decade of accelerated climate action. At Glasgow we saw countries commit to accelerate the phase-out of coal power, halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation, speed up the switch to electric vehicles and commit to work together to reduce emissions in key sectors.

Progress in these and other sectors has an important part to play in unlocking further progress on medium and long-term targets. In the year ahead, we will work to turn sectoral commitments into clear delivery plans, including through implementing the Energy Transition Council and Zero Emissions Vehicles Transition Council 2022 action plans, so we can accelerate the pace of the global transition to zero emission vehicles and meet our Paris Agreement goal. On coal, we will work with partners to ensure that commitments from key G20 countries to end overseas coal financing are made good, that signatories to the Glasgow Declaration on Ending International Fossil Fuel Support implement their commitments and that more countries have the support to enable them to commit to new coal power and to phasing out existing coal plants.

On forests and land use, we will work with endorsers of the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use to assess progress, raise ambition and accelerate global action on forests and land use, in order to meet our collective target of halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030. We will work with our partners to ensure the financial commitments made to protect key forested areas – such as the Congo Basin and the Amazon – are fully implemented, and that Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities receive the support they were promised at COP26. We will continue the work to tackle the financial incentives driving deforestation, supporting the financial institutions and development banks in delivering their commitments to eliminate deforestation from their portfolios and align them with nature. We will also work with fellow governments to implement the actions in the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade roadmap, which was launched at COP26 by 28 countries responsible for 75% of global trade in forest risk commodities.

As in 2021, we will work with partners to ensure major events in the international calendar including at CBD COP 15, G7, UNGA and G20 support these objectives and will use the full range of instruments to encourage higher ambition NDCs, further commitments on net zero, and on coal, cars, cash and trees.

Delivering an inclusive Presidency Year

The Glasgow Climate Pact emphasises the importance of collaboration across sectors and all parts of society to deliver effective climate action. All those who make and shape our economies and societies have a role to play in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

At COP26, we were pleased to agree the 10-year Glasgow Work Programme on Action for Climate Empowerment, and the new 3-year work programme on local communities and Indigenous Peoples, alongside other important steps. Through the UN-backed global campaign Race to Zero, we saw nearly 8,000 businesses and other non-state actors committed to halving global emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest - the largest ever such coalition.

During our Presidency year, we remain committed to taking a whole-of-society approach. We will work in collaboration with civil society, young people, businesses and governments to deliver on our commitments. We will continue to encourage countries to remove the barriers to participation and work with them to implement the necessary policies and projects.

Delivering this ambitious programme will only be possible with a whole-of-government and all of UK approach. A strong team will remain in the Cabinet Office coordinating work across Government to support and deliver the UK’s COP Presidency. The FCDO’s diplomatic network will remain essential to our international efforts, as will leadership from BEIS, Defra, DfT, DIT, HMT and others.

Existing Parliamentary processes will also ensure the necessary scrutiny and support to deliver on the commitments made at COP26.

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This statement has also been made in the House of Lords

COP26 Update
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister for Pacific and the Environment
Conservative, Life peer
Statement made 14 December 2021