GLASGOW is about to host what is thought to be the most important global climate change conference ever. Six years ago, the Paris Agreement settled on the goal of limiting the total increase in the Earth’s temperature to “well below” two degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts towards 1.5C.

Negotiations in Glasgow will determine how countries across the world can work together to reach these targets – and significantly increase efforts to address the global challenge of climate change. Another critical goal will be to reach agreement for developed countries to raise at least US$100 billion every year in climate finance to support developing countries.

The Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee has been established to scrutinise the Scottish Government’s policies and implementation of plans to reach ‘net zero’ in Scotland by 2045, and to adapt to the warming that is already taking place. To meet these targets, the Scottish Government will need to take a whole-of-government approach and co-ordinate policy across all departments, public agencies, local authorities and the private sector.

Reflecting this, our committee will take a strategic and cross-portfolio approach to scrutinising how well the Scottish Government and public agencies are delivering the transition to net zero across all portfolios. We are also committed to getting out across Scotland to listen to communities and better understand the practical barriers to decarbonisation.

COP26 provides a unique opportunity to highlight and renew the vital role of Parliaments in addressing the climate and ecological emergencies – and also to frankly reflect on what and how we must do better.

As part of the COP26 series of events, the Scottish Parliament will host one of the largest gatherings of international parliamentarians ever brought together to discuss the climate emergency. The International Legislators’ Summit, takes place on 5 and 6 November and will see parliamentarians from around the world meet to discuss how to accelerate climate action and deliver a sustainable and resilient recovery.

The summit is a unique opportunity for parliamentarians and policy experts to share our learning, to reflect on how we can better hold governments to account on their climate change policies, and – crucially – to ensure that the public are included at every stage of this complex and sometimes difficult conversation. It is only by working together, across borders, that we can effectively meet the critical climate challenge before us.

My overall hope for COP26 is that we secure an ambitious and deliverable global deal to address the climate crisis. I also hope that policy makers find consensus on the ways in which we measure progress. Parliaments can only effectively scrutinise progress on the basis of an informed and quantifiable framework.

Glasgow negotiations signal the start of the UK Governments COP26 Presidency and so the world will be watching in the hope that solid progress is made during these initial two weeks. It is then that the hard work of implementing policies to reach Net Zero targets can really begin.

Dean Lockhart MSP, Convener of Holyrood’s Net Zero, Energy & Transport Committee