COP26: Shining a light on the Welsh response to climate change

COP26: Shining a light on the Welsh response to climate change
Melting planet

The United Nations climate conference is a pivotal moment in the global fight against climate change.  

With world leaders gathering for COP26 in Glasgow, climate change is at the very top of the political agenda. This represents a window of opportunity to agree worldwide action to tackle the defining challenge of our generation.

I want Audit Wales to play its part in the response to climate change. Earlier this year, I made a commitment to use our unique and privileged position at Audit Wales to scrutinise and inspire improvement in climate change action across the Welsh public sector.

We are now accelerating our work, starting with a baseline review of public bodies’ actions to meet decarbonisation targets. So, today I have written to around 50 of the bodies that we audit, to ask what they are doing to reduce carbon emissions and meet the 2030 targets set by the Welsh Government [opens in new window].

The Welsh Government has set a target for Wales to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But more challenging perhaps are the targets for 2030, aiming for an overall reduction of 63% in emissions and a carbon neutral public sector by that date. Our baseline review will focus on the 2030 targets, given the need to act now.

Public bodies have a key role to play. As well as reducing their own emissions, they can lead by example in the communities they serve. They can use their influence to persuade businesses and individuals to reduce emissions. However, our our Picture of Public Services report has already flagged some of the challenges facing public bodies as they work towards a just and fair transition to a low carbon economy.

As our new work progresses, we will continue to publish and promote our findings, and bring people together to share learning and support the development of new ideas and approaches – shining a light on the adequacy of the Welsh response to climate change.

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About the author

Adrian Crompton became Auditor General for Wales in 2018.

As head of the Wales Audit Office, he oversees the annual audit of some £20 billion of taxpayers’ money and is appointed on an eight-year term.