UK to unveil major climate change package to cement Cop26 legacy

Rishi Sunak will make a series of announcements on energy transition, climate financing and forest and nature preservation

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arriving in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to attend the Cop27 summit. Getty Images
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Britain’s prime minister will unveil a major international climate change package as he hands over the baton to Egypt on Monday at Cop27.

Rishi Sunak will make a series of announcements on the energy transition, climate financing and forest and nature preservation to cement the legacy of Cop26, held in Glasgow, Scotland last year.

Mr Sunak will tell Cop27: “The world came together in Glasgow with one last chance to create a plan that would limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees. The question today is: can we summon the collective will to deliver on those promises?

“I believe we can. By honouring the pledges we made in Glasgow, we can turn our struggle against climate change into a global mission for new jobs and clean growth.

“And we can bequeath our children a greener planet and a more prosperous future. That’s a legacy we could be proud of.”

As part of the package to be revealed on Monday, the UK government will commit to tripling its funding for climate adaptation, from £500 million ($568m) in 2019 to £1.5 billion in 2025.

Mr Sunak will host an event on the same day to launch the Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership, a group initially comprised of 20 countries. It will meet twice a year to track commitments on the landmark Forests and Land Use declaration at Cop26, which aims to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030.

To support the forest agenda, the UK will commit £90m on Monday for conservation in the Congo Basin, a rainforest home to some 10,000 species of tropical plants and several endangered species, including forest elephants, chimpanzees and mountain gorillas.

The prime minister will also pledge £65m in funding for the Nature, People and Climate Investment Fund, which supports indigenous and local forest communities, and new financing for Treevive, which is working to conserve and restore two million hectares of tropical forest.

The government has said it is focused on partnering with the private sector to facilitate green innovation and energy transition, at home and around the world, to reduce the global demand for oil and gas, cutting off the funds for Russia’s war machine.

In support of this, the prime minister will also announce a further £65.5m for the Clean Energy Innovation Facility, which provides grants to researchers and scientists in developing countries to accelerate the development of clean technology. The fund has supported the creation of biomass-powered refrigeration in India, prototype lithium-ion batteries in Nigeria and clean hydrogen-based fuels for steel production in Morocco, among other innovations, since it was launched in 2019.

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Mr Sunak is scheduled to meet Kenyan President William Ruto on Monday.

The pair will discuss a number of flagship green investment projects the UK is supporting, including new and expanded solar and geothermal power plants in Kenya backed by British International Investment; UK export financing for Nairobi’s ground-breaking Railway City; and a major public-private partnership on the £2.65bn Grand High Falls Dam hydropower project led by UK firm GBM Engineering.

The UK will also confirm new financial support for Egypt’s flagship Cop27 initiative, the “Nexus on Food, Water and Energy”. The British funding will develop projects including solar parks and energy storage innovations, and is expected to mobilise billions in private-sector finance.

The prime minister is expected to hold a series of bilateral meetings at Cop27 on Monday, including with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni.

Updated: November 07, 2022, 7:38 AM