The COP26 international summit should result in a “Glasgow agreement” named after its host city in the same way as the Paris accord, the UK’s climate change minister hopes.
Giving evidence to MPs on Wednesday, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said she does not yet know what the deal will be named, but she hopes “very much it will be called the Glasgow agreement”.
However a member of the Cabinet Office’s COP26 unit, Dr John Murton, cautioned that the upcoming meeting will not result in a new over-arching climate agreement.
Glasgow will host the UN climate meeting in November, which is expected to be the most significant environmental summit since Paris in 2015.
MPs from several Westminster committees joined a special session of the Scottish Affairs Committee on Wednesday to quiz Trevelyan and members of the UK Government’s COP26 unit on plans for the conference.
MPs were told that COP26 delegates will be offered coronavirus vaccines by the UK Government.
Stewart McDonald, the SNP MP for Glasgow South, asked the minister about the name of any accord reached, saying “it better be the Glasgow agreement”.
She said: “We don’t yet know what it is but I hope very much it will be called the Glasgow agreement.”
Dr Murton, the UK’s COP26 envoy, then told MPs the Glasgow meeting will have a different purpose to its French predecessor.
He said: “A lot of what we will be doing at Glasgow is working out the implementing rules for the Paris Agreement itself.
“So Glasgow is distinct from Paris in that we are not seeking to renegotiate a new over-arching agreement on climate change in the same way as was done with Paris.”
Trevelyan said COP26 will focus on how countries are delivering Paris Agreement commitments but “it’ll be the Glasgow COP forever”.
Ros Eales, chief operating officer of the COP26 unit, told MPs that previous COP summits had seen around 25,000 attendees and the Government is planning for around this number – though coronavirus makes the exact figures more uncertain.
She said hotel accommodation has been booked in Edinburgh as well as Glasgow for those attending.
Trevelyan said it is important to have an in-person meeting.
She said: “As was announced at the G7, in order to enable more representatives to attend safely, the UK’s going to be working to provide vaccines for those accredited delegations who’d be unable to get them otherwise.”
The minister was also asked about reports that the UK Government is about to approve a new oil field off the Shetland Islands.
Bristol North West MP Darren Jones asked if this shows “another gap between rhetoric and reality”.
Trevelyan said the Government has a “world-leading” commitment to phasing out unabated coal power.
She said: “In terms of oil, it’s not a new licence, there are no new licences this year.
“This is an extension of an existing oil field and the OGA (Oil and Gas Authority) is responsible for managing the licensing system for oil fields.”