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Scots firms back COP26 as Boris ‘missing targets’

North Bridge demo - Extinction Rebellion

Climate change protestors in Edinburgh last year (pic: Terry Murden)

NatWest (RBS) Group, SSE and ScottishPower will be among the big companies helping to underpin the COP26 climate change summit due to take place in Glasgow next year.

The three companies will join the National Grid as principal partners of the Summit which was meant to be held this month.

COP 26 will take place at the SEC in Glasgow from 1- 12 November 2021 and will focus on five core areas: Clean transport; Finance; Nature Solutions; Adaptation and Resilience; Energy Transition.

However, the sponsorships were unveiled as Labour produced figures from the Business department revealing that the UK is seriously behind in its performance to meet its own carbon budgets.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to release a ’10 point low-carbon plan’ to tackle climate change. Labour is calling on Mr Johnson to ensure this plan meets the scale of the challenge.

Ed Miliband, Shadow Business Secretary, said: “What we need this week is a plan, not a piecemeal set of points. It needs to be ambitious enough to meet the scale of the challenge, and it needs to reflect the urgency of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs now.”

Mr Johnson has been an enthusiastic supporter of COP26 and has invited new US president Joe Biden to attend.

All sponsors to the event have committed to the “Science Based Targets” initiative to set ambitious goals to cut emissions and draw up credible action plans to achieve them.

SSE Hydro

SSE Hydro: venue for summit (pic: Terry Murden)

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “It is fantastic that three Scottish companies at the forefront of business efforts to tackle climate change have been announced as sponsors of the crucial COP26 summit.”

COP26 president and Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the sponsors have “all shown ambitious climate leadership through setting net zero commitments and Science Based Targets.

“When it comes to climate action, we all have an important role to play. Only by continuing to come together can we build the zero carbon, climate resilient future that is essential for our people and our planet.”

NatWest, which trades as RBS in Scotland, said more than 1,500 leaders from across the bank to undergo climate change training with the University of Cambridge and University of Edinburgh

NatWest Group has committed to provide an additional £20 billion of funding for Climate and Sustainable Finance (2020-2022) to help accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.

Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest Group, said: “NatWest Group is committed to being a leading UK bank helping to address the climate challenge. We will do this by driving material reductions in the climate impact of our financing activity and by making our own operations net zero carbon in 2020.

“But we want to do more than play our part. We want to lead on the collaboration and cooperation that is so critical to influencing the transition to a low carbon economy, which is why I am so proud that NatWest Group will be the COP26 banking sponsor.”

Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower, said: “COP26 offers a fantastic opportunity to showcase what has already been achieved in the UK on the journey to Net Zero and to learn from others the steps needed to ensure we meet our climate change targets. We’re very proud to be able to play a part in it.

Keith Anderson ScottishPower

Keith Anderson: ‘fantastic opportunity’ (pic: Terry Murden)

“The next five years are absolutely critical and we will be investing £10bn in the clean energy generation and networks infrastructure needed to help the UK decarbonise.”

Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE Chief Executive, said: “Climate ambitions can feel a long way off, but we are acting now by investing £7.5bn in vital low-carbon infrastructure for the UK and Ireland – supporting jobs and creating opportunities.

“As the eyes of the world fall on Glasgow at this pivotal moment, we’re proud to partner with the UK Government to play our part in delivering a net zero future.

John Pettigrew, Group CEO of National Grid said: “To transition to net zero, we are connecting more renewables to the electricity grid, we’re creating the right charging infrastructure in the US and the UK to enable an increase in electric vehicles and we’re continually developing and deploying new decarbonisation technologies.

“It is crucial that every country, every government, every industry and every one of us works together to find ways to cut the carbon we produce. If we don’t, we will put the planet in jeopardy.”

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