• Multiple countries are vying to host the next important climate conference – COP26.
  • MPs say UK is best place to host this historic event
  • Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport tells PM to fully get behind this bid

Yesterday 162 MPs from across the political spectrum sent a letter to the Prime Minister calling for the UK to use its diplomatic weight to bring COP26 to UK shores. With a long history of climate change leadership and an experienced Foreign Office the UK would be well placed to encourage more difficult countries to take a strong stance, pledging ambitious climate change actions to build upon the Paris Agreement.

Nearly 200 countries will attend the 2020 UN climate summit where they are expected to deliver new greenhouse gas-cutting commitments to avert dangerous levels of global warming. The UK, France and Germany are among G7 countries that have already pledged to work on emission reduction plans to ensure they are carbon neutral by 2050.

According to the UN’s IPCC climate science panel, the world has warmed by more than 1°C since the 1850s, with significant and costly impacts on our communities, our health, and our planet. Here in the UK, the Met Office has estimated that last year’s summer heatwave was 30 times more likely by climate change. The sustained heat across the UK and EU led to crop damage, forest fires and drought, with rivers like the Rhine running so low cargo shipments were stranded.

Lead signatory Alex Sobel MP said:

“Having just announced a climate emergency MPs from across all parties in the UK Parliament are keen to see bold action taken on climate change. COP26 is a key moment when the countries of the world will also be looking to cross divides to come together and build on their climate change pledges. With its diplomatic weight and having passed the World’s first Climate Change Act over 10 years ago the UK is ideally placed to play this role, guiding even those less ambitious countries towards strong commitments.”

Luke Pollard MP said:

“We are facing a catastrophic rise of 3°C in global temperatures, this conference will be the most important climate discussion since the Paris Agreement. The letter I have signed today makes clear that the UK is the ideal location to hold these talks, due to our long history of global leadership on environmental issues. COP26 would be a great opportunity to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to tackle the climate crisis by taking the lead in limiting global heating to 1.5C.


“We can be leaders in the transition towards a green economy. Labour recently put forward a motion for Parliament to declare a national climate and environmental emergency. The motion passed and we became the first Parliament in the world to declare a climate emergency. Other countries have done the same since. I hope the Prime Minister listens to our calls and fully gets behind this bid.”

The text of the letter reads:

“Dear Prime Minister,


“UK bid to host COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in 2020


“We, 162 MPs from across the political spectrum, are writing to you to welcome the announcement that the Government has formally expressed its interest in hosting COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference in 2020.


“While recognising the interest from other nations in hosting this summit, we believe the UK’s strong record of leadership and ongoing commitment on climate change makes us the ideal place to hold the most important climate talks since the Paris Agreement.


“The world is currently on track for more than 3°C global warming above pre-industrial temperatures by the end of the century. If we are to have any chance of averting this catastrophic scenario, all countries must urgently step up their efforts. At COP26, signatories to the Paris Agreement have promised to come forward with more ambitious climate action plans that will get us to our shared aim of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.


“We firmly believe a UK Presidency at this summit will be able to deliver this. Our reputation as a progressive force on climate change can inspire all countries, regions, businesses and civil society towards higher ambition. 11 years ago, the UK passed one of the world’s first pieces of legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – the Climate Change Act – with near universal support from MPs. This cross-party consensus has enabled the UK to be a leading player in the global transition towards a green economy. According to a recent study by the World Economic Forum, the UK is ranked first out of the G7 nations in the race to switch away from coal and other fossil fuels to low-carbon energy sources.


“At a time when the rules-based international order is under greater pressure than ever before, the UK remains steadfast and undistracted in its commitment to climate change multilateralism – the only way climatic breakdown can be averted. Our diplomatic service is renowned for its ability to handle some of the most complex challenges facing the world, playing pivotal roles through international fora such as NATO, the G20 and using our permanent seat on the UN Security Council.


“The spirit of global cooperation is embedded in our unique and long-standing history with the UN. It was in Westminster’s Methodist Central Hall, just a few dozen yards from Parliament, that the first meeting of the UN General Assembly took place in 1946, amidst the still smouldering rubble of World War II. Now, over seven decades later, the UN has the opportunity of congregating once again in this country – but this time uniting in the face of an altogether different threat: the climate crisis.


“If the UK is given the honour of the COP Presidency in 2020, we greatly look forward to welcoming our friends and allies from around the world in order to work together, across political and geographical divides, in order to deliver a successful COP26 that achieves the highest possible ambition, putting us firmly on the path towards a more prosperous, just and sustainable planet.”

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