Committee meetings with Claire O'Neill and Alok Sharma postponed
Due to the ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee session with former COP26 President Claire O'Neill and the Lords Committee meeting with her replacement Alok Sharma have both been postponed.
The BEIS Committee was set to question Claire O’Neill on the Government's approach to its net-zero target and preparations for the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow on Wednesday (25 March). Later on that day, the Lords Committee was scheduled to quiz new COP26 President Alok Sharma on a similar topic. Both have, understandably, been postponed, with no notice given as to whether they will be rearranged.
The net-zero session is part of the BEIS Committee’s inquiry on the national target “will run for the duration of this Parliament”, although any immediate sessions are also likely to be postponed. Future sessions are set to include follow-ups to the Committee on Climate Change’s annual Progress Report on the actions needed to meet UK emissions targets, with a new report set to be published in September.
Elsewhere, five House of Lords committees were set to hear evidence from government representatives and external climate experts on topics ranging from internal carbon markets to climate impacts on migration.
Sharma stepped into his new role in February and has already delivered strong briefings to the UN on climate change, but in recent weeks his and BEIS’s focus has shifted to assisting businesses in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
Sharma replaced O’Neill as president as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s most recent cabinet reshuffle. O’Neill – formerly Perry – was announced as president of COP26 in June 2019 and relinquished her position as UK energy minister which she has held since January 2018 to focus on the presidency role.
Whether COP26 will still go ahead is still a matter of debate, despite the Government insisting that the conference shouldn’t be affected if Covid-19 is still disrupting travel and lifestyles in November.
There are negatives and positives to delaying the climate summit, which you can read about here.