Pauline Trepczyk

Climate Change Policy Officer, British Embassy Vienna

Guest blogger for Leigh Turner

Part of UK in Austria

4th January 2021 Vienna, Austria

2021: a turning point for climate ambition

We are at a turning point for our planet. As the world comes back from COVID-19, it is vital that we build back greener and more resilient. This year, the UK will host the 26th UN climate change conference COP26, in Glasgow with our partners, Italy.

The pandemic has not stopped the climate crisis. On 12 December 2020, the day the Paris Agreement celebrated its 5th anniversary, the world came together at the Climate Ambition Summit, hosted by the UK, UN and France alongside Italy and Chile. 75 world leaders announced new commitments to climate action.

The summit showed that climate change is at the top of the global agenda despite the challenge of COVID-19.

As COP26-Presidency, the UK is leading by example: The UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement will commit us to reducing emissions -68% by 2030, the fastest rate of any major economy. Alongside that, we have submitted our Adaptation Communication and set out plans to double International Climate Finance to £11.6 billion (€12.7 billion) over the next five years. The Prime Minister also announced the UK would end direct support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas.

Success at COP26 in Glasgow will depend on all of us. We all have a responsibility to build on the ambition we have seen and to work together over the next year, to forge a brighter future. We are working with Austria to deliver ambitious commitments to protect our planet. Some of the events we have already held and HMA Leigh Turner opened, included a webinar on Green Finance by the Department of International Trade and an Expert Talk on Health and Climate, together with the Climate Change Centre Austria. Two I would like to highlight in particular:

  • Race To Zero Kick Off by the Department for International Trade in partnership with WWF. Non-state actors play an important role in the global low carbon transition, for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats. Now is the time for companies to ensure they are part of this. We will continue working with Austrian businesses in the run up to COP26.
  • COP26 Stakeholder Engagement in partnership with WWF. Deputy Lead Negotiator Huw Davies from UK and Helmut Hojesky, Head of the Austrian COP Delegation spoke about a successful journey towards COP26. Looking to 2021, the UK is committed to convening Parties and stakeholders at all levels to accelerate progress ahead of COP26.

We will continue to organise great events like these in 2021.

 HMA Leigh Turner with Lisa Plattner, Climate and Energy Policy Advisor, WWF Austria, during our virtual COP26 Engagement Meeting at the Embassy

Closer to home, our Embassy ‘green team’ are constantly looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact, such as installing low energy lighting, providing embassy bikes or supplying organic and local food only, to name a few. The latest measure we have taken is to green the three British diplomatic missions’ fleets, by swapping it to low-emission-vehicles in 2021.

The Climate Ambition Summit already proved that stronger commitments on climate action are possible. COP26, in November, will provide an opportunity for the world to come together, for our planet.  Let’s make a difference in 2021.

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About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.