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Scottish Event Campus, Glasgow - the venue for the COP26 summit




April Highlights

On Wednesday 21st April, the UK announced its 6th Carbon Budget, committing to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035 compared with 1990 levels. This builds on the UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution (announced in December 2020) which commits to a 68% reduction by 2030. With this target, the UK hopes to use its COP26 Presidency to lead by example and spur other governments to set ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets to put the world on a path to net zero by the middle of the century, which is essential to keeping 1.5C warming within reach. 

This came just ahead of the US-hosted Climate Leaders Summit on 22nd April, at which the Prime Minister spoke, setting out the UK's commitment to tackling climate change and emphasising that these efforts go hand in hand with economic growth. This summit marked a major milestone to COP26, with new mitigation commitments from G7 countries, notably, from the US, Japan and Canada. This means that all G7 countries, responsible for almost half of global GDP, have now committed to deep cuts to their emissions over the next decade, aligning with their net zero commitments.

However, with most announcements focusing on emission reduction targets, Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States called on major countries to raise ambition and deliver on finance commitments. While the US committed to double their climate finance by 2024, including tripling of adaptation finance, they were the only country to come forward with an increased pledge. The UK has made scaling up public finance a priority for COP26 (you can read more about this here) to help ensure we reach and surpass the Paris Agreement goal of mobilising $100bn to developing countries to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The UK has previously committed to provide £11.6bn in international climate finance from 2021-2025, doubling our previous commitment.




News from the COP26 Unit


Following key meetings on adaptation and resilience and energy transition in March, we continued to make progress on priority issues, including:

  • Alongside Mark Carney and the Race to Zero Campaign, we launched the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero on April 21, which unites over 160 firms (together responsible for assets in excess of US$70 trillion) from the leading net zero initiatives across the financial system to accelerate the transition to net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. This also featured the launched of the new UN-convened Net Zero Banking Alliance, which includes 43 banks from 23 countries, covering $28.5 trillion of assets under management. 
  • Launching the Rapid Response Facility on 12 April at the second ministerial meeting of the COP26 Energy Transition Council, which is a new technical assistance initiative to support countries' energy transitions, and holding 10 dialogues with countries in Asia and Africa to enhance international cooperation on the coal to clean power transition.
  • Alok Sharma, alongside UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps, chaired the second Zero Emission Vehicles Transition Council on 26 April, welcoming new participants including the USA and Germany.
  • The first Ministerial Roundtable for the FACT Dialogue was held on 15 April with 28 countries in attendance. The FACT (Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade) Dialogue is an initiative launched by COP26 Presidency and Tropical Forests Alliance, to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable land use practices in a way that opens up new opportunities for investment, for jobs and livelihoods in forests, land use and agriculture, and to ensure that the economies which have a sustainable relationship with forests are the ones that thrive and grow. To find out more about how you can get involved, please click here.
  • On 9 April, the COP President Designate wrote to all parties setting out his expectations for the negotiated outcome and urging accelerated progress in the multilateral process. He also attended the COP Bureau on 15 June which gave the green light to a three week intersessional from 31 May to 17 June which will be vital for advancing solutions on negotiations issues.
  • The UK's lead negotiator Archie Young and his Chilean counterpart Julio Cordano, convened this month's multilateral Heads of Delegations consultation on the 27th and 28th April. The consultations focused on Transparency and Common Time Frames, two of the key issues to be addressed at COP26 in Glasgow. Summaries of previous discussions can be found here. We have also been conducting bilateral consultations this month with negotiating groups on finance. 

The COP President Designate has also been continuing to engage widely with a range of countries, businesses, civil society organisations and other stakeholders. Highlights from April included:

  • The UAE Regional Climate Dialogue in Abu Dhabi, where COP President Designate urged partners across MENA to work together and accelerate climate action. Whilst there, he also met again with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, to discuss their continued cooperation on the road to COP26.
  • In South Korea, COP President Designate met with key Government ministers, businesses and youth groups to discuss opportunities for South Korea to show global leadership in reducing its emissions over the next decade on the path to net zero. We were pleased to see President Moon's commitment to end international coal financing announced later in April. 
  • Finally in Japan, COP President Designate met Prime Minister Suga to discuss both countries' shared commitment to tackling climate change. He also met with other ministers and representatives from Japanese civil society to hear their ambitions for climate action. The UK welcomed Japan's Nationally Determined Contribution, announced ahead of the Climate Leaders Summit, which aligns with its 2050 net zero commitment. 

Above: Alok Sharma meeting youth and civil society representatives during his visit to South Korea

We were also encouraged to see more ambitious action and commitments from non-state actors throughout the month:

  • Over 3,591 companies, cities, states, regions and universities have joined the Race to Zero Campaign, committing to net zero by 2050 at the latest and setting robust plans to get there. We were particularly pleased to welcome a large number of new members from the US last month, including Walmart, Netflix, Visa and Twitter.
  • The UK joined a group of governments and companies forming the LEAF Coalition - a new public private initiative accelerating climate action by providing results-based finance to countries committed to protecting their tropical forests. The initiative will aim to mobilise at least $1 billion in support of this. 
  • On 29 April, the UK Business Group Alliance for Net Zero launched. Coordinated by Corporate Leaders Group and involving a range of business representative organisations, the Alliance will support UK business action and grow the membership of the Race to Zero. This builds on recent successes with over one third of FTSE100 businesses and over 500 SMEs in the UK alone now being Race to Zero members.




Coming up

  • 4-5 May: G7 Foreign and Development Ministerial 
  • 6-7 May: Petersberg Climate Dialogue, which will be chaired by Alok Sharma alongside German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze. This year, UNSG Antonio Guterres, PM Boris Johnson and Chancellor Merkel will provide opening remarks ahead of a busy two days of ministerial sessions focusing on Adaptation, Article 6, Climate Finance, Common Time Frames and Transparency.
  • 8-9 May: Pacific Leaders Summit 
  • 10 May: Business 7 Summit. In partnership with the CBI, we are hosting a Climate Leaders Summit to showcase the best of recent private sector Race to Zero commitments.
  • 11 May: REAP (Risk-Informed Early Action Partnership) Pledging Conference, a closed-door pledging conference in May 2021 to raise the ambition on achieving REAP’s targets in the run-up to UNFCCC COP26. Anne-Marie Trevelyan will co-chair this event, with Minister Rigobert from St Lucia.
  • 11-12 May: Met Office Climate Science Conference. The first of two virtual science conferences in May, organised by the Met Office and COP26 Universities Network, in partnership with the Italian University Network for Sustainable Development (RUS). These will bring together academics, policymakers and others.
  • 11-14 May: Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week, part of a series of Regional Climate Weeks in 2021.
  • 14-15 May: Y7 Summit - youth delegations from each G7 country will discuss issues relating to all G7 policy tracks (including climate and environment) and develop their recommendations for G7 Ministers. Click here for more information
  • 17-21 May: the Climate Exp0. The second virtual science conference run by the Met Office and COP26 Universities Network, in partnership with the Italian University Network for Sustainable Development (RUS).
  • 20-21 May: G7 Climate and Environment Ministerial
  • 24-28 May: Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank





Get involved

Race to Zero
We encourage all businesses, investors, cities, regions and universities to join the largest alliance of organisations committed to reaching net zero by 2050 at the latest. Small and medium sized businesses can now also commit through the SME Climate Hub. Cities can join the Race to Zero via Cities Race to Zero

Universities can also join the COP26 Universities Network - a growing group of more than 40 UK-based universities working together to raise ambition for tangible outcomes from the UN COP26 Climate Change Conference.

COY16: the  UN Climate Change Conference of Youth. people can now apply to the pre-registration portal which is now live in order to attend the event. Young people can also submit their statements to inform the COY16 declaration.

In addition to the global conference of youth event in October, YOUNGO are hosting local conferences across the world in the lead up to October, known as LCOYs. We would also welcome youth organisations to apply to host their own local conference - the window is now live.

There are opportunities to apply to host a virtual or hybrid event ahead of Pre-COP and/or Youth4Climate event. For more information, see here.

COP26 will be a carbon-neutral conference, with sustainability at its core, that will leave a positive legacy You can read more about our commitment to hosting a sustainable COP26 summit here. 


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COP26 Unit · 1 Victoria Street · London, London SW1 0ET · United Kingdom