Vicki Treadell

British High Commissioner to Australia

Guest blogger for UK in Australia

Part of UK in Australia

17th November 2020 Canberra, Australia

Creating our future: #TogetherForOurPlanet

In November 2021 the UK is hosting the next major UN Climate Conference – known as COP26.  Glasgow, the UK’s most sustainable city, will play host to what has been called “the Olympics of international diplomacy” as thousands of representatives from every country arrive to discuss the challenge of tackling climate change.

While the entertainment value of the Sydney and London Olympiads is unlikely to be surpassed, this conference provides a different type of excitement: the opportunity to change the world.

Under the 2015 Paris agreement, Governments – including the UK and Australia, made significant commitments to keep global temperature rises to below two degrees. Sadly, we are collectively off track to meet this goal. That’s why to mark five years since the Paris agreement the UK is hosting the COP26 Ambition Summit on 12 December 2020. The UK is calling on world leaders to come to the Summit with ambitious targets. The COP26 Ambition Summit and next year’s Glasgow conference present an opportunity for the world to get back on the path to take action.

It will require leadership and resolve to transform the way our economies work. Yet the science and economics are clear: a sustainable, low-emissions future is better for our planet, better for our health and better for our financial wellbeing.

This week, with one year to go until COP26, we – the UK in Australia – are hosting a series of events focussed on how we can work together to mitigate climate change, protect the environment and live sustainably.  In our public programme we will cover everything from electric vehicles to sustainable fashion; from the vital role that businesses will play to the technical detail of climate negotiations and the how we can adapt to sustainable long-haul travel.  Full details of all the events can be found here, and keep an eye out for opportunities to apply for free university courses at some of the UK’s best institutions.

Though I am sorry to have to admit it, it is not my generation that stands to gain from our success nor lose from our failure. Those that stand to benefit the most if we get this right are the youngest among us. The younger generations need no convincing whatsoever of the importance of this mission.  Whenever I speak to young Australians across the country they tell me that climate change, the environment and sustainability are the most important issues to them.

It is our duty to listen to their concerns and act to make sure their future is a bright one.

While it is often fascinating to discuss the high politics of the climate debate, I believe in doing.  The UK government is putting its money where its mouth is, yes by setting ambitious long-term targets, but also by taking practical actions.  Small things that, collectively can begin to make a difference.  For example within a year every vehicle driven by every British Ambassador or High Commissioner around the world will be a hybrid or electric vehicle, including my own.

As I said, it is the younger generation that matter most in this.  That is why as part of our programme I’m delighted to launch our new Australia-wide Young Leaders Network. This network will be open to 18-35 year olds of all backgrounds from across Australia. My team and I want to hear your views on the issues that matter the most to you, including climate, the environment and sustainable living. I strongly believe that only by listening to and engaging with our future leaders can we create a modern, innovative and diverse UK-Australia relationship that is fit for the 21st century.  If you would like to get involved in this exciting initiative please contact us at

There are significant challenges to be overcome to secure our future. But we cannot be daunted by the size of the challenge and allow this fear to prevent action. Together we can protect our environment and secure a green recovery by building back better. I am constantly dazzled by the talent and ambition in Australia and I have no doubt that our shared future is a bright one.  I look forward to working with many of you to make that goal a reality.

You can read more about about our upcoming climate focused events here: