07 December 2021
Letter as sent to the Government.
Dear Prime Minister and Chancellor
We congratulate the Government on the outcome of COP26. The Glasgow Climate Pact is an important step on the road to limiting the average global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre- industrial levels, and to supporting vulnerable countries in adapting to the terrible climate change they are already experiencing.
But, as you know, COP26 is just the start of this process. The Pact emphasises the urgent need for Parties
“to increase their efforts to collectively reduce emissions through accelerated action and implementation of domestic mitigation measures”
and requests them
“to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their nationally determined contributions as necessary to align with the Paris Agreement temperature goal by the end of 2022.”
As the Presidency of the COP for the coming year, and in view of the urgency of the climate challenge, it is important that these clauses in the Glasgow Climate Pact are seen to apply to the UK as well as to other countries. The UK has strong and legally binding emissions reduction targets for 2030, and the recent Net Zero Strategy set out the government’s pathways aimed at meeting them. As the Climate Change Committee has noted, it is important we continue to show global leadership in setting out how the UK intends to increase its own efforts through accelerated action and implementation of domestic emissions reduction measures.
We believe the Government should therefore establish a new cross-government initiative to review how current policies could be implemented more quickly and what new policies could accelerate action.
Such an initiative should involve all government departments, including the Treasury and Foreign Office, and benefit from the leadership of the Prime Minister’s Office and of the COP26 President. If the review is completed by spring 2022 decisions could be made in time for the UK to submit a new and strengthened Nationally Determined Contribution at COP27 in November 2022, as required by the Glasgow Climate Pact.
We believe the new initiative could develop accelerated action and increased implementation by the UK in the following areas, among others:
- Capturing synergies for increased ambition: Existing policy goals and recently announced collaborative initiatives should be examined to see how they can increase the ambition of the UK’s decarbonisation agenda. This would include looking at:
- the new agreements and collaborations announced in Glasgow.
- proposals in policy areas such as the Resources and Waste Strategy, and Waste Prevention Action Plan, that could support the development of the circular economy.
- new environmental and nature restoration objectives which could accelerate decarbonisation and carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector
- how effective sectoral plans and mechanisms can unlock critical sustainable finance flows, with appropriate policy frameworks and unambiguous regulation to enable the financial services sector to drive the growth of sustainable finance and support private investment.
- Policy coherence: Various policies could be reviewed to understand how they can be updated in the light of Glasgow, including the establishment of a new overarching Net Zero Test for new policies and programme. This could consider how the UK accelerates the transition from fossil fuels. and how trade policy can ensure the competitiveness of UK businesses is not disadvantaged by imports that do not have the same carbon costs.
- Green levelling up: To deliver the net zero strategy effectively and with maximum public support there should be a significant increase in the public investment for climate action, beyond the funding announced in the Spending Review and delivered in a way that supports public engagement and private investment. This should include:
- looking at how decarbonisation of industry can be supported and accelerated, future-proofing jobs and establishing technological and competitive advantage.
- greater powers and funding to local and city authorities to enable them to accelerate implementation in areas such as planning, transport, retrofitting homes, improving skills and local job creation.
- measures to ensure that consumers have the right incentives/support to decarbonise, particularly in decarbonising their homes, and to make the net zero transition affordable for them.
- working with businesses and trade unions in high carbon sectors to establish effectively resourced “just transition plans” to give businesses, workers and communities protection from potential adverse impacts of decarbonisation and support a transition to greener business models and jobs.
- International support: A clear focus at COP26 was increased action on providing finance for international action. The UK could accelerate action to support the least developed countries in gaining access to increased funding and investment from sources such as the multilateral development banks and the private sector.
- Adaptation and resilience: COP26 also demonstrated increased understanding of the need to mobilise action to manage and prepare for inevitable climate impacts both domestically and internationally. In the UK the Climate Change Committee has mapped an ‘adaptation gap’ that the government should set out plans for closing this.
There is a huge opportunity for the UK to seize in showing continuing leadership of the global effort to address the climate emergency. As the Glasgow Climate Pact demands, we must use the remainder of our Presidency to push for accelerated action and implementation, leading by example.
Tony Danker - Director-General, Confederation of British Industry
Frances O’Grady - General Secretary, Trades Union Congress
Colin Matthews - Chairman of EDF in the UK and Co-Chair, UK Corporate Leaders Group
Peter Simpson - Chief Executive, Anglian Water and Co-Chair, UK Corporate Leaders Group
Tanya Steele - Chief Executive, WWF-UK
Shaun Spiers - Executive Director, Green Alliance
Shane Tomlinson - Acting Chief Executive of E3G