The UK looks set to host major international climate talks in 2020 – after reaching a deal with Italy over rival bids to hold the UN meeting, the Foreign Office has said.
Under the proposal, the UK will host the “Cop26” meeting, which is due to be in Europe next November, while Italy will host a “pre-Cop” event in the run up to the talks.
The meeting is the most important round of talks since the global Paris Agreement to tackle climate change was secured in two weeks of negotiations in the French capital in 2015.
Next year’s talks mark the full adoption of the Paris Agreement and the date by which countries are expected to come forward with stronger emissions cuts to meet the goals of the deal.
Plans submitted so far by countries are putting the world on a pathway towards more than 3C of warming, though the Paris Agreement commits them to curb temperatures to 1.5C or 2C above pre-industrial levels in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Today through great joint diplomacy we have agreed a bid for a UK Cop26 presidency in partnership with our friends in Italy.
“Together, through our continued commitment to work across Europe and internationally, we will build a better world for our children.”
Italian Minister for the Environment, Land and Sea Protection, Sergio Costa, said: “This partnership between Italy and the UK sends a strong signal of determined and informed cooperation on climate change, which is a theme that requires a change of paradigm and which will dominate our agenda and that of future generations.”
The proposal will be voted on by western European nations and several other countries including Australia and Canada, with the final sign-off by the UN at this year’s annual conference in Santiago, Chile.
The UK and Italy had both been vying to host the talks, but the deal now means it is expected the conference will be in the UK.