Alok Sharma faces embarrassment on world stage as Environment Bill won’t be ready for Cop26The Sunday Telegraph, 12 September 2021
Alok Sharma is facing embarrassment on the world stage at November’s Cop26 climate conference because the Government is unlikely to have passed its flagship Environment Bill in time for the summit, The Telegraph can reveal.
Ministers had hoped the bill – which runs to some 270 pages and includes dozens of new commitments on the environment – would receive royal assent by October 31, when the conference begins.
But following a series of successful attempts to amend the Bill in the House of Lords, Downing Street has decided to delay it entirely if the changes cannot be fought off in time.
The Telegraph understands Mr Sharma, who has spent the past eight months flying around the world securing international cooperation on measures to be agreed at this year’s conference, has been pushing for it to be completed before world leaders arrive in Glasgow.
But that would have meant agreeing to amendments passed in the Lords, including one that would force ministers to declare a climate emergency – a key demand of Extinction Rebellion.
“The sort of people who want to make the most out of Cop would like to politically say that the Environment Bill is this great landmark achievement, and therefore Britain is delivering on all that stuff around the time we do Cop,” a source said.
“The mood in No10 is now about getting a good Bill rather than getting a Bill which is sorted by Cop. Obviously, the Government is not going to agree to Extinction Rebellion-written amendments.”
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