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Campaigners critical of COP26 sponsors

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Questionable choice by UK government

Criticism is being levelled at the UK government after it announced a trio of energy companies, one of which uses fossil fuels, are to be a sponsor of COP26.

The event, due to take place in Glasgow next year has announced that SSE, Scottish Power and National Grid have are the primary energy sector sponsors for the climate talks.

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference will take place in November 2021, at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow.

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.

The sponsorships were unveiled as figures revealed that the UK is seriously behind in its performance to meet its own carbon budgets.

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.”

However, Friends of the Earth Scotland (FOES) said it was surprised by the development, saying that in August the UK government announced it was looking for sponsors with "credible climate action plans".

Mary Church, FOES head of campaigns said: "While the very worst big oil companies are notably missing from this initial list of sponsors for the Glasgow climate summit, the companies chosen by the UK government are hardly showing the kind of climate leadership we urgently need at this stage of the crisis.

"The choice of SSE is very surprising given that they operate Scotland’s single most polluting site at Peterhead gas power station, which belches out over one and half million tonnes of climate changing emissions each year.

"SSE has made no public commitments or plans to close the plant, and ensure a just transition for workers, so it’s hard to see how they meet the UK government's COP26 sponsorship criteria of credible short term climate action plans.

“While SSE can boast of being a leading renewable energy generator, on that front it is failing to deliver the decent, green jobs badly needed here in Scotland, with manufacturing contracts for the £3bn Seagreen offshore wind project all going overseas."

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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