Climate Change

Thank you for contacting me about Oxfam's latest campaign on climate change and COP26. I note that the campaign highlights several key areas, including the Cambo oil field, climate finance and international net zero targets.

I am strongly encouraged by the progress and agreements achieved at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. The Glasgow Climate Pact calls on countries to accelerate efforts towards the phase down of unabated coal power and phase out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, while providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable in line with national circumstances and recognising the need for support towards a just transition. 

I appreciate you raising your concerns about the Cambo oil field. The original licensing consent for the Cambo oil field dates back to 2001 when it was approved by the then Labour government. Development proposals for fields with existing licences, such as Cambo, are subject to a rigorous scrutiny process and environmental impact assessment.

While I am pleased that the Government is working hard to drive down demand for fossil fuels, I do also appreciate that there will continue to be ongoing demand for oil and gas over the coming years, as recognised by the independent Climate Change Committee. 

At COP25, countries highlighted that existing sources of funds from a wide variety of sources, including disaster reduction and response funds, respond to loss and damage. I understand they also urged donors and other funds to scale up support relevant to averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage in the most vulnerable countries. 

Therefore, I was strongly encouraged that at COP26 in Glasgow, more public and private finance was mobilised to support climate action in developing countries than ever before and I am encouraged that the global financial system is aligning behind a net zero world. New pledges made at COP26 bring developed countries closer to meeting the over £75.3 billion annual climate finance target in 2022 and ensure it is exceeded after that, as well as mobilising billions in private finance and green investment. Governments have committed to double the overall finance for adaptation and better address the threat of loss and damage in climate-vulnerable countries, and I know the UK will now work with all countries to make good on those pledges. 

When the UK took on the COP26 Presidency in 2019, in partnership with Italy, only 30 per cent of the world was covered by net zero targets. I am glad that this figure is now at around 90 per cent. Clearly, there is more work to do and I am encouraged that the Glasgow Climate Pact requires countries to return next year with a more ambitious 2030 emissions reductions target in line with the 1.5C target, ensuring crucial momentum on climate action this decade is maintained. 

I will follow further progress closely, reassured that ministerial colleagues will continue pushing for increased global ambition. 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.