There’s disbelief at the UK’s bid to host the world’s most important climate conference

COP logo and Jeremy Hunt
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The UK is on track to host the UN’s annual climate change conference in 2020. In a public statement on the bid, the government said the UK is “at the forefront” of climate action. But environmentalists met this claim with disbelief.

Bid to host

Conference of the Parties (COP) is an intergovernmental body that sets and assesses targets on climate action. COP meets once a year, hosted by one of its state members. On 18 June, the UK publicly launched its proposal to co-lead COP26 with Italy. It said that the UK would host the main conference in 2020 while Italy would host pre-COP events including a “significant ‘youth event'”. The statement also claimed that:

The United Kingdom and Italy are at the forefront of driving ambitious climate action.

Although the bid isn’t yet confirmed, a senior source said that it’s highly likely to be supported by other COP members.


Recent events have put the UK’s commitment to climate action in the spotlight.

On 18 June, for example, the same day that the government launched its COP26 bid, Heathrow airport published its plans for expansion. The proposals faced criticism for being out of step with the UK’s climate goals. And the government’s ongoing refusal to outlaw fracking also puts parliament’s declaration of a climate emergency into question. The government can’t even decide whether it should halt the opening of new coal mines. Furthermore, human activity in the UK has also caused huge drops in its biodiversity, which is crucial to health of the climate. And it has a history of funding highly damaging fossil fuel development in other countries.

As a result, some have said the UK isn’t fit to host COP26 in its current state. Green MP Caroline Lucas, for example, gave five areas where the country needs to “get our own house in order” before hosting the event:

Read on...

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Meanwhile, the WWF‘s head of climate change, Gareth Redmond-King, said in a press release:

This is a major opportunity for the UK to show international leadership, but if we are to credibly provide the world a platform to tackle the climate crisis, we must also make sure we are walking the talk here at home. By then, we must show that the UK is matching its ambition with real action. Our next Prime Minister needs to make responding to the climate and environment emergency – and delivering on our net zero targets – an immediate policy priority across government.

Milestone year

COP26 is seen as a crucial event because a number of important climate targets come together in 2020. As the BBC pointed out, it’s the year when promises on curbing emissions are due for review and financial aid from developed countries ought to come to fruition. And the Guardian said 2020 is widely seen as the year that governments must fully adopt the Paris Agreement. 2020 is also just a decade away from a hard limit for serious action on climate breakdown.

In his video announcing the bid, foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt gave key reasons why the UK should host the important event. He said the UK has “cut emissions more than any other country in the G20”. While technically true, it masks the reality of the data. PwC, which is the source of Hunt’s claim, in fact, said that “not one of the G20 countries” is on track to effectively reduce carbon emissions.

No countries are doing enough to slow climate breakdown. But it’s hard to believe the UK government has the gall to believe it can lead anyone else given its own duplicity and inaction on the climate.

Featured image via Twitter – Jeremy Hunt

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  • Show Comments
    1. For consideration?

      “An increase of 1.5 degrees is the maximum the planet can tolerate; should temperatures increase further beyond 2030, we will face even more droughts, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people; the likely demise of the most vulnerable populations – and at worst, the extinction of humankind altogether.” P8-9.

      “The IPCC report that the Paris agreement based its projections on considered over 1,000 possible scenarios. Of those, only 116 (about 10%) limited warming below 2C. Of those, only 6 kept global warming below 2C without using negative emissions. So roughly 1% of the IPCC’s projected scenarios kept warming below 2C without using negative emissions technology like BECCS. And Kevin Anderson, former head of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, has pointed out that those 6 lone scenarios showed global carbon emissions peaking in 2010. Which obviously hasn’t happened.
      So from the IPCC’s own report in 2014, we basically have a 1% chance of staying below 2C global warming if we now invent time travel and go back to 2010 to peak our global emissions. And again, you have to stop all growth and go into decline to do that. And long term feedbacks the IPCC largely blows off were ongoing back then too.”

      “ The level of fossil fuel consumption globally is now roughly five times higher than in the 1950s, and one-and-half times higher than in the 1980s, when the science of global warming was confirmed and governments accepted the need to act on it. This is a central feature of the “great acceleration” of human impacts on the natural world. . . .
      CO2 emissions are 55% higher today than in 1990. Despite 20 international conferences on fossil fuel use reduction and an international treaty that entered into force in 1994, man made greenhouse gases have risen inexorably.”

    2. There’s disbelief at the UK’s bid to host the world’s most important climate conference
      To Witch ever Tory IDIOT get new P.M. job.
      I as a taxpayer say the bill for this event must come out of which ever party is in Govt ( in power by 2020) NOT taxpayer money pot.
      –If this incompetent Tory Govt wish to hold this event the cash layout should come out of Tory party members pockets NOT out taxpayer money.
      — We will be out FULLY of E.U. according to Boris if he becomes leader he will get us out one way or the over in OCT 31st (lets see what truly happens??)
      — Also why should we British taxpayer pay to hold a Climate change conferences when Tory Govt is hell bent on Not keeping their own words + promises on climate changes or any over green levy bill they put into law,
      but do not reinforces them on BIG firms that pollute our country?
      — FINALLY!
      To Labour leader NOW Mr Corbyn how about a new G.E. in NOV 2019,?
      then we voter will settle Tory P.M. problem by removing then all from power.
      We free voter + the Young voter(the Tory Govt) C**P on by stopping them having a say(VOTE) on the E.U. Mess back in 2016 have not forgot Tory Govt ,
      betraying the Young voters plus gagging their rights as well a fact!
      We are ready now Mr Corbyn for a new G.E. this year the ball is in your,
      court now Mr Corbyn to remove this unjust, incompetent, useless, Tory Govt.

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