The UK continues to hold the Cop Presidency and the UK Government has a responsibility to show international leadership by keeping its climate and nature promises.
A coalition of trade unions, environmentalists and businesses have urged the UK Government to strengthen climate action in the wake of Cop26.
Leaders from union organisation the TUC, WWF UK, Green Alliance, the climate think tank E3G as well as the CBI and the UK Corporate Leaders Group have written to prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for them to implement the Glasgow Climate Pact.
The pact, secured at the United Nations talks in Glasgow hosted by the UK last month, calls on countries to accelerate climate policies and efforts and to strengthen their national plans for action up to 2030 by late 2022.
With the UK holding the Cop26 presidency until the start of Cop27 in Egypt in November next year, the groups have warned the Government it must lead by example and implement the pact at home.
The letter calls for place a new cross-governmental initiative on how to implement policies more quickly and bring in new moves to accelerate action.
The initiative should be led by the Prime Minister’s office and by Alok Sharma, Cop26 President with involvement from other departments, in particular the Treasury and Foreign Office, they urge.
The letter calls for an overarching “net zero test” for all new policies and programmes, as well as developing further policies on waste and recycling, nature conservation, and support for decarbonising industry.
There should be an increase in public investment for climate action, greater powers and funding to local and city authorities to speed up action in transport and retrofitting homes and measures to make sure people have the right incentives and support for cutting carbon from homes and can afford to do so.
And there should be plans to close the “adaptation gap” identified by climate advisers to help the UK be better prepared for the inevitable impacts of global warming such as more intense heatwaves and floods.
Tony Danker, director-general of the CBI, said the UK presidency played a crucial role in securing progress at Cop26 “but that was the starting pistol, not the finish line”.
“The UK Government must build on this momentum, focusing on accelerated action and implementation of our ambitious domestic climate goals.
“This will require alignment of all government departments and unprecedented collaboration with businesses, who are ready with the investment and innovation to make commitments a reality.”
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “Our call for a significant increase in public investment in green tech and industry will safeguard jobs in Britain’s industrial heartlands.
“And it will help create good quality new jobs across the UK too.
“It’s where the levelling up agenda and our net zero targets meet – an opportunity to put Britain on a path to greater regional equality and prosperity for working people.”
Tanya Steele, chief executive of WWF UK, said: “Without urgent action to reverse nature loss and slash emissions from polluting fossil fuels, we risk climate catastrophe.
“The UK continues to hold the Cop presidency and the UK Government has a responsibility to show international leadership by keeping its climate and nature promises.”
Emily Beament is the environment correspondent at PA.