Opportunities ahead of COP26

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With COP26 now less than 250 days away, the Government is ramping up its preparations ahead of what is earmarked to be the most significant climate event since the Paris Agreement, as well as the largest summit the UK has ever hosted. This presents those operating in the low carbon sector with a number of opportunities, as the Government will be on the lookout for businesses with projects that it can use to demonstrate UK leadership in tackling climate change.

The Government’s ambitions for COP26 are clear: The Prime Minister sees it as an opportunity to cement the UK’s leadership in the fight against climate change and, in doing so, to establish the post-Brexit ‘Global Britain’ image. Simultaneously, this provides common ground for the Government to build its relationship with the Biden administration that has placed an emphasis on climate action. The success of the UK’s Presidency of COP26 requires it to lead by example and to generate sufficient momentum ahead of the event to secure concrete commitments from other nations. The Prime Minister is aware of this and will be seeking to showcase UK innovation and action for tackling climate change.

WHAT THIS MEANS

The new year has already seen several initiatives and statements coming from the COP26 team, such as the launch of the ‘Race to Resilience’ campaign. As the summit approaches, the Government will be looking to follow through on these warm words with concrete action.

This presents businesses with a host of opportunities, both leading up to the event, as well as during the event itself. For a start, the applications to become involved in COP26 opened last month, with possibilities ranging from hosting events and forums, to holding an exhibition space. This offers businesses a unique opportunity to showcase their projects to stakeholders from across the world.

The opportunities are not however limited to the event itself.  The Prime Minister’s 10 Point-Plan showed his eagerness to adopt the green agenda as the platform for much of the Government’s economic and political objectives. With the Energy White Paper laying the groundwork for a raft of new policy announcements in the coming year, the Government will be hoping to encourage low-carbon innovation and clean energy companies to step forward with proposals and initiatives.

Business must seize the moment and engage with UK policymakers now before the Government’s agenda is set. With the Government wanting more than ever to show climate leadership, industry may find it more receptive than ever to receive endorsements and support for their technology and solutions.

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