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COP26 Roadmap Briefing

COP26 Roadmap Briefing

On 1-12 November this year, the UK and Italy will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. The COP26 summit, will bring together world leaders, the science community, businesses and stakeholders with the aim of moving forward towards the goals outlined in the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The event is expected to be the biggest summit the UK has ever hosted, and the UK Government is keen to use the conference as a way to show leadership on the world stage. There are numerous ways that businesses can get involved with COP26, both on the road to the event and during the conference itself. Instinctif Partners has a COP26 specific service which will help firms make the most of this major event. For details on how Instinctif can help you navigate and benefit from COP26, do take a look at our guides for the UK and the EU. For more information, please email

In the run up to COP26, Instinctif will be providing a fortnightly update, providing an overview of the latest news, insights and policy related to the Climate Change conference. You can subscribe for this update here.

UK Update:

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng has been outlining in more detail the Government’s priorities for COP26:

  • Recently appointed Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng MP discussed the Government’s priorities for COP26 during the Institute for Government’s Net Zero Conference;
  • Kwarteng highlighted four specific areas that the UK is prioritising for COP 26. The four areas are:
    • Green Finance – Kwarteng promoted the work of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures to increase the frequency of publication of voluntary climate-related financial risk disclosures by companies. He declared that he is keen to establish a UK green sovereign wealth fund to develop the global market for green financial investment.
    • International phasing out ICE vehicles and coal – Highlighting the UK’s success in decarbonising energy generation and the introduction of its 2030 EV target, the Secretary of State said that the Government would be promoting similar international commitments.
    • Addressing carbon borders, exports and leakage – The UK hopes to tackle the lack of effective measurement of the volumes of carbon emissions being exported by developed countries through their international supply chains. This includes establishing more effective accounting and auditing infrastructures so that true national carbon emissions may be more accurately calculated.
    • Building global consensus – A key part of COP26 will be developing stronger arguments to incentivise climate action in developing countries, with a particular focus upon large carbon emitters such as China and India.

UK Chancellor prioritises climate change and urges support for vulnerable countries in first UK G7 Finance Meeting:

  • On the 12th February, Chancellor Rishi Sunak co-hosted his first G7 Finance meeting, a call with Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from across the G7 nations;
  • During the meeting, which was co-chaired with Governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey, the Chancellor asked his counterparts to take the lead in shaping support for vulnerable countries in 2021, and make climate and nature considerations a central priority;
  • Sunak spoke about bringing in a “truly green global economic recovery”, urgning G7 finance ministers to match the UK’s climate ambitions ahead of COP26;

Further information for businesses wishing to get involved at COP26:

  • Further details have been released on how businesses can get involved during COP26. Any organisation that is aiming to participate at COP26 must meet a key set of eligibility criteria. The full set can be found here;
  • Large business over 250 people – must have committed to, or set, science based environmental targets or joined the Race to Zero. SMEs (less than 250 people) are required to have joined the Race to Zero via the SME Climate Hub;
  • To exhibit or host an event in either the Blue Zone (main negotiating venue) or the Green Zone (fringe area managed by UK Government) firms will need to submit an expression of interest by 5pm on the 5th March. All applicants will be informed by May 2021 if they are successful. Guidance for these applications can be found here. However, in summary:
    • For the Blue Zone, proposals must reflect the key themes of COP26 and focus on events such as workshops, panel discussions or thought leadership sessions
    • For the Green Zone, proposals should look to drive participation and interaction, focused on the themes of climate change
    • The COP26 team will allocate successful proposals to the most appropriate event space in either of these zones
    • Event spaces are provided free of charge, with supportive technology such as power, lighting etc.
    • Exhibition spaces in the Green Zone are available for a two-week period. These spaces are focused on being a hub of “tactile and immersive activity”. One or two day spaces are also available for those business that wish to focus their COP26 presence on a particular day
    • Specific space for showcasing technology and innovation will also be allocated free of charge. This could involve technology such as EVs, clean energy demonstrations, battery technology etc
  • When evaluating the proposals and deciding on whether to approve an application, the COP26 team will take into account:
    • How the application is relevant to climate change and the UK Presidency themes
    • Audience – who will it appeal to and why?
    • Collaboration – maximising the range of participation, COP26 is keen to see partnerships where possible e.g. NGO and corporates
    • Inclusivity
    • Representation of local, regional, national and international voices
    • Incorporating technology such as social media, live streaming

Other UK News:

  • COP26 President Alok Sharma MP traveled to Egypt, Nigeria and India last week. During his visit Sharma met with Government figures and business leaders. Sharma emphasised the importance of nations submitting more ambitious and measurable short term climate action plans through Nationally Determined Contributions. Following his trip, Sharma commented that “powerful action from India will be a catalyst for change, encouraging others to be more ambitious in their approaches to protecting both people and planet”.
  • Leeds and London will be the home of a new UK centre for driving global green finance and investment, under plans announced by the Energy Minister last week. The Government has pledged £10 million investment for “new world-class green finance research hubs”. The UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment will begin in April with physical hubs opening later this year. The hubs will provide world-class data and analytics to financial institutions and services to better support investment decisions by considering the impact on the environment and climate change.
  • The Government has announced a £10million fund to help drive private sector investment in nature. The Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund will provide grants of up to £100,000 to environmental groups, local authorities, businesses & other organisations to help them develop nature projects in England to a point where they can attract private investment. The Government hopes that this will create a number of nature projects for the private sector to invest in.
  • Applications have opened for COP26 Volunteers to provide support during the event in November. Organisers are looking for members of the public to provide assistance and help to delegates throughout the conference. More information can be found here. Interested parties have until 31st March to declare their interest.
  • A UN backed Chatham House report has declared that the global food system is the biggest driver of natural habitat loss. The report suggests that changes to dietary patterns such as more plant-based diets can play a key role in creating a more sustainable food system.
  • The first homes in the UK fueled entirely by hydrogen will open in April this year. The homes located in Gateshead, have been funded through the UK’s Hy4Heat Innovation programme which is exploring the use of hydrogen gas in heating UK homes and businesses.
  • Gas and electric regulator Ofgem has launched their ‘Green Recovery’ The regulator claims that the arrangements, which have been agreed with energy network companies, could see hundreds of millions invested over the next two years into energy infrastructure kick starting the green recovery.

EU Update:

  • The European Commission unveiled its new trade policy stressing its openness to contribute to the economic recovery through support for the green and digital transformations, and a renewed focus on multilateralism.
    • The Commission’s executive vice-president responsible for trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, stated that the three key words of this new approach unveiled on the on the 18th of February will be “open, sustainable and assertive”.
    • Any future trade deals will include the Paris climate commitments as an “essential element”.
    • EU’s approach to include liberalisation of trade in certain green goods and services, or agreements to reduce fossil fuel subsidies.
  • Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, has called for further ‘multilaterialism’ ahead of the COP26 Glasgow Summit to a net zero pathway for all major emitters:
    • He stated that climate change is an existential threat to the entire world and a test for multilaterialism
    • He stated that regarding the climate crisis, everyone must do more on all fronts: from improving mitigation, climate finance, technology, as well as bringing together governments, industry, and scientists.
  • European Council of Regions wants to work more closely with the European Commission to feed into COP26:
    • The ‘Green Deal Going Local’ working group of the European Council of Regions (CoR) announced its roadmap on the 15th of February.
    • The Group plans to step up cooperation with various European Commission directorates general to support, in particular, the wave of renovations, the development of sustainable mobility, and the greening of cities.
    • Amount of the objectives of such cooperation would be to harmonise legislative work and mainstream climate objectives across Europe, promote a ‘circular approach’ to buildings’ renovation and develop and relaunch sustainable tourism
    • The President of CoR’s Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and the EU Budget, Isabelle Boudineau, stated that this work will ultimately “feed into the COP26 meeting”.
  • The European Commission has launched a public consultation on aspects of methane emissions in the energy sector:
    • The objective of this 12-week consultation is to feed into the Commission’s preparation of proposals for new EU legislation to further reduce methane emissions in the energy sector, due to be tabled later this year, as outlined in the Commission’s EU methane strategy.
    • Reducing methane emissions is one of the priority initiatives in the European Green Deal and the EU’s methane strategy highlights the potential to contribute towards key climate objectives, such as greenhouse gas reduction.
    • The methane strategy aims to curb temperature pathways to 2050, improve air quality and reinforce the EU’s global leadership in the fight against climate change.
  • Luxembourg has backtracked on Energy Charter Treaty withdrawal plans:
    • Last week, Claude Turmes, Luxembourg’s energy minister backtracked on his earlier statements, and declared that the EU should redouble efforts to reform the beleaguered post-Soviet-era charter.
    • Turmes spearheaded efforts to reform the Energy Charter Treaty to align the charter with the Paris Agreement on climate change and argued that if discussions dragged on for too long, the EU should consider a coordinated withdrawal.
    • Turmes now warns of a contractual pitfall in the treaty that should encourage negotiators to continue talks at European level to modernise the treaty and he set a letter to the European Commission and his counterparts in the other Member States on Friday 5 February, calling on them to be more ambitious into forthcoming negotiations.
    • According to Turmes, a withdrawal would be “a major diplomatic failure and a step back in the climate ambition just months before the COP26”.
  • EU invests €121 million in environment, nature and climate action projects through its LIFE Programme:
    • The European Commission announced on the 17th of February an investment of €121 million for new integrated projects under the LIFE programme for the Environment and Climate Action – this is was an increase of 20% compared to last year.
    • This funding will promote the green recovery and help Belgium, Germany, Ireland, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia to reach their green targets.
    • Such integrated projects are expected to channel significant additional funds, helping Member States to make use of other EU funding sources, including agricultural, structural, regional and research funds, as well as national funds and private sector investment.


  • New Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, puts climate change at the heart of his plans to run Italy:
    • Draghi has newly created a ‘superministry’ to ensure a transition to green energy drives recovery and makes full use of European Union funds.
    • Roberto Cingolani, previously the CTIO at Leonardo SPA, will head this new ecology transition ministry which will take over energy matters previously shared with other ministries and combine them with the environment portfolio.
    • Draghi told his first cabinet meeting last Saturday that ‘“[his] will be an ecological government”.
    • The creation of the new ministry helped to win over Italy’s 5-Star Movement, which faced internal strife over the prospect of joining a cabinet containing its political foes.
    • The development of ‘superministry’ has been received positively by many stakeholders. Edo Ronchi, the Italian Minister of the Environment from 1996 to 2000, and President of the Foundation for sustainable development, called its creation “essential”.
  • Ambassador Mariangela Zappia highlights the importance of 2021 for the future of the planet at UN Headquarters:
    • The Ambassador to UN Headquarters stated during a briefing by Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the preparations for the Glasgow summit that the actions that the countries will undertake in the coming months will strongly affect the global response to climate change, the biodiversity crisis, and the pace of green transition.
    • Zappia stressed Italy’s commitments on this front as president of the G20 and in the framework of the partnership with the United Kingdom for COP26.
    • The Ambassador stated that Italy’s approach aims to actively involve all actors, starting with young people, and that Italy is carrying out close consultations with all international partners to ensure that the pre-Cop26 in Milan prepares the ground for a change of pace in Glasgow.
  • Pope Francis highlighted the importance to tackle climate change in a speech to the Holy See’s diplomatic corps:
    • The Pope emphasised that ‘humans’ are not the only ones currently ‘sick’ but the Earth as well.
    • The Pope stressed that the pandemic has shown how fragile and in need of care the Earth is too.
    • In his speech, the Bishop of Rome meditated on the theme of the environmental crisis caused by indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources which “requires shared long-term solutions”.
    • The Pontiff stated that COP26 will “allow an effective agreement to be found to address the consequences of climate change and that now is the time to act, since we can already touch the effects of a protracted inaction”.
  • Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi named Ambassador Luigi Mattiolo as his diplomatic advisor and personal representative for the G7 and G20 summits:
    • Mattiolo, 64, has been in the diplomatic service since 1981 and has been a mission chief in Tel Aviv, Ankara and Berlin
    • His first appointment will be the video conference in which Draghi will participate today together with the English Boris Johnson, the American president Joe Biden, and the leaders of France, Germany, Japan and Canada.

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