Climate change 2021

Join international climate experts to discuss what success at COP26 should look like, explore sustainable industry and finance measures and assess green recovery strategies.

24 June 2021 TO 25 June 2021 — 12:30PM TO 5:00PM

Ensuring an equitable and effective COP26

The Climate change 2021 conference will explore some of the key themes of COP26, and what the next steps are to ensure effective international climate action that is equitable, ambitious and enables society to adhere to the 1.5-degree pathway.

The conference will convene an international audience of senior business leaders, policymakers, climate experts, academics and NGOs. With a focus on interactivity, key features in the virtual environment include 1:1 networking, polling, Q&A with speakers and live analysis of results.

This conference is being held as part of London Climate Action Week (LCAW) 2021. Registration is complimentary to all Chatham House members and the general public.   

Why attend? 

  • Gain insight into what a successful COP 26 should look like and steps needed to drive climate action

  • Understand how climate risk and international environmental targets are impacting on business models and strategic planning

  • Explore what successful economic recovery packages look like and the role of technology in driving a green recovery



Thursday 24 June (BST – timings subject to change)

Defining success for COP26

This session will explore what success at COP26 entails, what it will take to achieve it, and the role of international actors in facilitating this.

  • How successful has the UK, which currently holds the Presidency of both COP26 and the G7 been in leading an international response to climate change?

  • How has the pandemic impacted the COP negotiations and international climate politics more broadly?

  • What would a successful outcome at COP26 look like? What role will the public and civil society play in driving greater ambition?

  • What is the ‘state of play’ ahead of COP26? What progress has, been made on raising the ambition of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and mobilizing finance?

  • What are the key priority areas of action between now and COP26 to maximize the prospects of a successful conference?


Peter Betts, Associate Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House
Nick Bridge, Special Representative for Climate Change, UK Government 
Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi, Chair, Least Developed Countries Group on climate change
Farhana Yamin, Advisor, Climate Vulnerable Forum
Chair: Siân Bradley, Senior Research Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House 


Keynote speech

Dr Jonathan Pershing, Senior Advisor to the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, US Department of State
Chair: Antony Froggatt, Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House


In conversation with Andrew Steer

Andrew Steer, President & CEO, Bezos Earth Fund
Chair: Bernice Lee, Founding Director, Hoffmann Centre for Sustainable Resource Economy, Chatham House


Networking break


Keynote speech

Harry Bowcott, Senior Partner, McKinsey
Chair: Tim Benton, Research Director, Emerging Risks; Director, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House


Risk and adaptation

This session will assess how we can measure climate risk and how to incorporate resilience to these risks in forward planning.

  • Given accelerating climate risks, how can we achieve a better appreciation of the full spectrum of risk that climate change creates? What more can climate science ensure that the nature and severity of these risks is fully understood?

  • How will adaptation and resilience figure at COP26? How can the international community work together to support the most climate vulnerable countries?

  • Have businesses successfully incorporated these risks into strategic plans? Where has this been done, and which industry sectors are most vulnerable?

  • How can cities incorporate climate change risk into infrastructure and development plans, and how can these areas prepare for cascading risks? Which communities and populations are most vulnerable to climate risk?


Harry Bowcott, Senior Partner, McKinsey 
Richard Hewston, Director, Climate Risk, Verisk Maplecroft
Emily Shuckburgh, Director, Cambridge Zero
Saida Muna Tasneem, Her Excellency the High Commissioner of Bangladesh  
Chair: Tim Benton, Research Director, Emerging Risks; Director, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House*  


Networking break


Driving a green industrial revolution

This session will examine how industry is adapting to and supporting the implementation of climate and environmental targets, and the role of policymakers in promoting the transition to net-zero societies.

  • How are international environmental targets on decarbonization, methane reduction and sustainable land use determined and enforced? What are the impacts of these on multinational businesses?

  • Which sectors and industries are the most exposed in a zero carbon economy, and what is the role of policy in incentivizing technological solutions?

  • How can coalition campaigns like ‘Race to Zero’ facilitate a shift to decarbonized economies and industries while ensuring inclusive, sustainable growth?

  • Can investment in nature-based solutions or the circular economy facilitate the transition to a decarbonized future? How do these solutions address other environmental challenges, such as biodiversity loss?

  • What is the possible impact of Carbon Border Tax Adjustments on meeting net zero carbon targets?


Dr Marcia Balisciano, UK Network Chair, UN Global Compact Network; Global Head of CR, RELX
Kim Hellström, Strategy Lead, Climate & Water, Sustainability Department, H&M Group
Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council
Bryony Livesey, ISCF Director, Industrial Decarbonisation, UKRI
Chair: Daniel Quiggin, Senior Research Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House


End of day one


Friday 25 June (BST – timings subject to change)

Keynote speech

Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Chair: Antony Froggatt, Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House


Spotlight one | Driving sustainable business practices: The role of the private sector

This spotlight session looks at the role of commercial organizations in supporting and accelerating the mass mobilization of private finance to equitably transition to a low-carbon economy.

  • Where are we seeing examples of leadership in incorporating environmental considerations into investment decisions?

  • What are the associated risks and opportunities of embedding ESG into business’ forward planning? What climate risk is incurred if it is not incorporated?

  • How do shareholders and investors influence net-zero goals? What more can – and should – shareholders and investors do?

  • What is the role of effective corporate governance in driving sustainability measures?


Thomas Lingard, Global Climate & Environment Director, Unilever
Isabelle Millat, Head of Sustainable Investment Solutions, Societe Generale
Gonzalo Muñoz, COP High-Level Champion, Chile  
Chair: Mark Campanale, Founder and Executive Chair, Carbon Tracker


Networking break


Spotlight two | Greening the financial system: The role of policy

This spotlight session looks at the role of policymakers in supporting and accelerating the mass mobilization of private finance to equitably transition to a low-carbon economy.

  • How can central banks develop green monetary policies that both support and shape their national governments’ efforts to tackle climate change?

  • What role can policy play in helping investment commitments stick? How can collaboration between policymakers and industry-leaders be encouraged?

  • What types of conditions, policies or regulations would be most useful in facilitating the mobilization of private finance for climate objectives? Have these been implemented, and where?

  • How will government-led investment in infrastructure help support future sustainable investments? Which metrics are best suited to measuring the success of government-led efforts to mobilize sustainable finance?


Sheila Aggarwal-Khan, Director, Economy Division, UNEP
Theresa Lober, Head, Climate Hub, Bank of England
Emanuel Moench, Head of Research, Deutsche Bundesbank
James Irungu Mwangi, Executive Director, Dalberg Group
Chair: Kirsty Hamilton, Associate Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House


Leadership for a resilient recovery

This session will discuss what successful economic recovery packages look like, how they are being implemented and the role technology will play in a green recovery.

  • Do the green recovery packages of countries and international bodies effectively ensure sustainable, equitable and societal resilience measures? How can existing policies be reimagined to incorporate them?

  • How can international systems such as the global food system or global trade be redesigned to incorporate environmental sustainability, inclusive prosperity, sustainable growth, and improved public health and well-being?

  • What are the roles of the world’s biggest economic, political, and business players in international climate action? How important are non-state actors and sub-national governments in the process?

  • How can international actors effectively support a green and resilient recovery for the most vulnerable people, areas and nations? How can these efforts be effectively tailored to consider individual national requirements?

  • What are the clean technologies that will enable a resilient and green recovery? Are these being incorporated into existing recovery plans? 


Tanguy Gahouma, Chair, African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change
Stephen Hammer, Advisor, Global Partnerships and Strategy (Climate Change), World Bank Group
Cameron Hepburn, Director of the Economics of Sustainability Programme, Institute for New Economic Thinking, Oxford Martin School
Athena Ronquillo-Ballesteros, Managing Director, Global Climate Strategies, Climate Leadership Initiative
Chair: Glada Lahn, Senior Research Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House


End of day two


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