Countdown to COP

Our new campaign plots the course to the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow this November and looks at the key topics for utilities.

Editor's picks

Over 40 world leaders have signed up to a pact aimed at driving down the costs of green technology by 2030. This includes a pledge to ensure affordable hydrogen is globally available by the end of the century.
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Process emissions and reducing demand for water have been highlighted as key challenges on the road to net zero and adaption at the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow. Lord Deben called on wealthier countries to accept their financial responsibility for the changing climate to preserve water supplies into the future.
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Ofgem is one of the founding members of a new global coalition that will facilitate collaboration between regulators to speed up decarbonisation across the world.
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Featured

Balancing the supply and demand of energy is a crucial but highly complex part of the jigsaw puzzle that moving to net zero represents. To be affordable, decarbonisation will require energy to be used and stored in new ways, and consumers to be engaged. Can the sector deliver? In this extract from a major new report from Utility Week and Capgemini, Denise Chevin discusses.
Analysis
With just two weeks to go until the UN’s climate conference is hosted in Glasgow, Utility Week is concluding the Countdown to COP campaign with a series of interviews with sector leaders, expressing their hopes for the summit and what their companies are doing to drive forward net zero. We kick off with Electricity North West chief executive, Peter Emery.
Interviews
The Environment Agency's third climate adaptation report to government carries the stark message to "adapt or die". It said urgent action was required to help communities and industries live with the effects of climate change and this should be given as much focus as reducing emissions.
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Latest in Countdown to COP

The Green Homes Grant (GHG) should have been the first step on the green recovery. But, six months on from its launch, the project is in disarray and there are reports it could be scrapped altogether. David Blackman examines what went wrong and what lessons there are for the next wave of decarbonisation policy.
Analysis
As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, Utility Week speaks to Iain McGuffog, director of strategy & regulation at Bristol Water. He discusses the importance of a community-led approach to reaching net zero, opportunities under Brexit and why some failures will be inevitable if ambition and innovation are truly stretching.
Interviews
Can the massive network infrastructure investment needed for net zero be delivered without creating adverse impacts on public engagement or the environment? In a new report, Utility Week and Hitachi ABB Powergrids, explore the challenge.
Analysis
The debate over the imbalance of policy costs and taxation between electricity and gas bills is ramping up as the Treasury investigates how net zero should be paid for. As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, David Blackman looks at the arguments for change alongside concerns that targeting gas bills would hit the fuel poor hardest.
Analysis
One of the next Holyrood government’s first acts of the following May’s Scottish Parliament elections should be to make energy and net zero a Cabinet level portfolio, a trade body has urged.
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The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) has unveiled a “green recovery pathway” for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, whilst creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Meanwhile, politicians and business leaders from the North West, along with SPEN, Cadent and Electricity North West, have launched an “energy masterplan”.
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The principle of no customer being left behind in the shift to a smarter, more flexible energy system is hard to argue with. However, some experts believe that in the short-term a just transition is just impossible. As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, James Wallin examines different pathways to fairness – from ensuring the most vulnerable benefit first to the introduction of non-participant tariffs.
Analysis
It may be “unwise” to rely on consumers buying electric vehicles (EVs) to decarbonise transport, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has warned. The committee has also called on the government to front-load public investment in green measures that will help to counter rising unemployment.
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