Climate change timeline

Follow key climate change developments through our timeline.

Keys and abbreviations


These events are UK-centric


These events are international

BEIS | Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

COP Conference of the Parties

DEFRA | Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

DIT | Department for International Trade

ESG | Environmental, Social and Governance

ETS | Emissions Trading Scheme

GHG | Greenhouse Gas Emissions

IPCC | Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

ISSB | International Sustainability Standards Board

NS&I | National Savings and Investments

TCFD | Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures

TNFD | Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures

In the pipeline

30 November-12 December

COP28 in United Arab Emirates


14 Nov 2023

Court of Appeal dismisses ClientEarth claim to hold the directors of Shell personally liable for failing to properly prepare for the net zero Transition.

09 Oct 2023

The Transition Plan Taskforce launch a disclosure framework and implementation guidance to assist businesses with their transition plans (to a greener economy).  The plans will help businesses embed sustainability into their strategies, accountability mechanisms and governance.

18 Sep 2023

The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) publishes its nature-related risk management and disclosure framework.

26 Jul 2023

UK Supreme Court ruling in PACCAR Truck appeal likely to render many Litigation Funding Agreements (including for climate litigation) unenforceable.

21 Jul 2023

Court of Appeal refuses permission for beneficiaries of a pension scheme to bring a derivative action against the directors of that scheme for failing to create a credible plan to reduce investment into fossil fuels.

26 Jun 2023

The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) published its first set of sustainability disclosure standards  (Standard 1 and Standard 2) 

31 May 2023

High Court confirms a hearing challenging the UK Government's decision to permit the first deep coal mine in more than 30 years

18 May 2023

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announces that the UK will join US-led Carbon Management Challenge

6 Apr 2023

Members of the Net Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA) are quitting the initiative following backlash from US politicians who are targeting collective climate action groups they perceive to be unfairly hitting the oil and gas industry. All have said they will continue to leverage their climate risk expertise to accelerate decarbonisation and support their insureds’ transition journeys.

20 Mar 2023

FCA publishes a letter outlining the findings of its preliminary review on ESG benchmarks

13 Mar 2023

Bank of England publishes a report on climate-related risks and the regulatory capital frameworks

16 Feb 2023

ClientEarth sues the FCA, claiming that the regulator unlawfully signed off listing documents that did not adequately outline climate change risks

24 Jan 2023

Competition Markets Authority (CMA) announces plans to ease antitrust rules on climate change initiatives

13 Jan 2023

Former Energy Minister Chris Skidmore publishes his Net Zero Review, outlining the opportunities offered by net zero

12 Jan 2023

The head of Abu Dhabi’s state-owned oil company is appointed as president of COP28 by host nation, the United Arab Emirates


7-19 Dec 2022

UN calls for biodiversity ‘peace pact with nature’ during COP15 in Montreal, Canada

28 Nov-2 Dec 2022

Intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) on Plastic Pollution in Uruguay

7-18 Nov 2022

Countries reach an agreement to provide loss and damage funding (including the creation of a dedicated fund) for climate change losses during COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

25 Oct 2022

FCA launches a consultation on Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDR) and investment labels

1 Oct 2022

UK pension schemes required to measure and disclose how their investments support Paris climate goals

19-25 Sep 2022

Climate Week 2022 in New York, USA

29 Aug-1 Sep 2022

Africa Climate Week in Libreville, Gabon

9 Aug 2022

FCA publishes an open letter to Chief Executive Officers as it prepares to crack down on greenwashing in the alternatives space

2 Aug 2022

The UK Government launches the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme which will provide £635m of funding for environmentally friendly solutions to public sector organisations

29 Jul 2022

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) publish two reports on the quality of premium listed companies’ climate disclosures

18 Jul 2022

The High Court in the UK finds that the government’s strategy for getting to Net Zero is inadequate and unlawful, following a legal challenge brought by Good Law Project, Joanna Wheatley, Client Earth and Friends of the Earth

6 Jul 2022

The Supreme Court in the US decides that the government cannot use its existing powers to phase out coal-fired power generation without “clear congressional authorization”

29 Jun 2022

  • Climate Change Committee (CCC) publishes its report on the UK’s net zero progress
  • FCA shares feedback on ESG integration in UK capital markets and sets out potential next steps

26 Jun 2022

Start of the G7 Summit in Germany

25 Jun-3 Jul 2022

London Climate Action Week

1 Jun 2022

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) launches a consultation proposing to introduce a new requirement to ensure actuarial practitioners have regard to climate change and ESG related risks

24 May 2022

The Bank of England (BoE) publishes the results of the Climate Biennial Exploratory Scenario (CBES)

12 May 2022

The UK Government launches a consultation on updating the UK’s Green Finance Strategy

11 May 2022

The Transition Plan Taskforce (TPT) opens a Call for Evidence on a Sector-Neutral Framework for private-sector transition plans

25 Apr 2022

HM Treasury launches the UK Transition Plan Taskforce (UKTPT) to develop world leading climate transition plans for UK companies

6 Apr 2022

Commencement of mandatory climate risk disclosure for over 1,300 of the largest companies and financial institutions

6 Apr 2022

UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation announce their intention to collaborate on building synergies to support banks and other private financial institutions in setting robust, science-based targets

4 Apr 2022

IPCC publishes the third part of the Sixth Assessment Report - Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change

31 Mar 2022

International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) launches a consultation on proposed climate-related disclosure standards

25 Mar 2022

The UK ETS Authority launches a consultation on developing the UK Emissions Trading Scheme

21 Mar 2022

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US proposes rules to enhance and standardize climate-related disclosures for investors

15 Mar 2022

The Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) releases its first beta version of framework for market consultation

2 Mar 2022

Friends of the Earth announces that it has been granted permission to bring its legal challenge against the government’s Net Zero Strategy (NZS) and Heat and Buildings Strategy (HBS) to the High Court

28 Feb 2022

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) publishes its Sixth Assessment Report – Impacts, Adaption and Vulnerability, assessing the effects of climate change and how humanity can adapt

24 Feb 2022

First scheduled flight of the Nasa X-57, an experimental aircraft powered by electricity

21 Feb 2022

The International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG) publishes a report on ESG ratings and ESG data in the financial services sector

15 Feb 2022

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan unveils a new £90m green bond investment to mobilise £500m  for low-carbon projects to meet the city's net-zero target

14 Feb 2022

The UK and Scottish Governments announce a partnership agreement to create two Green Freeports in Scotland

17 Jan 2022

UK Government publishes its Third Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA3)

13 Jan 2022

Milieudefensie sends letter to 30 corporations (including insurers) asking them to reduce emissions or face action by Milieudefensie

4 Jan 2022

Chris Cummings, CEO of the Investment Association, says that the development of consistent standards on ESG investing will be key in helping the UK investment industry maintain its global pre-eminence


17 Dec 2021

FCA publishes further guidance on climate-related disclosures

10 Dec 2021

The Confederation of British Industry, the Trade Union Congress and a number of green NGOs urge the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure that the Glasgow Climate Pact reached at COP26 is implemented

12 Nov 2021

COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow concludes with a global agreement to accelerate action on climate change this decade

4 Nov 2021

In Abrahams v Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the Federal Court of Australia grants claimant first ever climate change pre-action disclosure application

3 Nov 2021

190 countries sign up to “Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement” which aims to phase out coal as an energy source

3 Nov 2021

28 new members sign up to the Powering Past Coal Alliance

3 Nov 2021

FCA publishes its ESG strategy, setting out the role of the regulator in supporting the financial sector to drive positive change and contribute to the net zero transition

1 Nov 2021

COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow starts

29 Oct 2021

HM Treasury announces that 1,300 of the UK’s largest companies and financial institutions will be required to disclose climate-related risks and opportunities from April 2022

22 Oct 2021

UK launches its first sovereign green bond through National Savings & Investment (NS&I)

22 Oct 2021

Parent company Royal Dutch Shell announced its target to halve its carbon emissions by 2030

20 Oct 2021

UK Government publishes its Presidency Programme ahead of COP 26

19 Oct 2021

BEIS releases “Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener”, setting out how the UK will deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050

13 Oct 2021

NatWest commits to provide £100bn of climate and sustainable funding by 2025

17 Aug 2021

BEIS publishes its first Hydrogen Strategy

21 Jul 2021

DIT publishes its “Green Trade” report

1 Jul 2021

Defra announces the launch of the Interim Office for Environmental Protection

30 Jun 2021

Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP announces publication of the Green Financing Framework

22 Jun 2021

FCA launches consultation on plans to extend mandatory climate risk reporting requirements to most UK companies and domestic asset managers

26 May 2021

Senior Conservatives urge the Prime Minister to introduce a new levy on imports based on carbon emissions that are not carbon taxed at source

26 May 2021

Hague District Court, Netherlands requires Shell reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030

21 Apr 2021

UK COP26 Presidency launches Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ)

20 Apr 2021

UK Government announces its plan to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035

24 Mar 2021

BEIS launches a consultation on proposals to mandate climate-related financial disclosures

17 Mar 2021

UK Government publishes its Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy

10 Mar 2021

Major UK pension funds commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier

12 Feb 2021

UK Supreme Court clarifies issues on parent company liability in Okpabi & Others v Royal Dutch Shell Plc

2 Feb 2021

Final Report of the independent Review on the Economics of Biodiversity published – led by Professor Dasgupta

20 Jan 2021

Newly elected President Biden resubmits USA to the Paris Agreement and lays the groundwork for a major climate change mitigation policy linked to the US economic recovery

  • 21 Dec 2020

    FCA publish policy statement requiring UK premium listed companies to include a statement in their financial report setting out whether their disclosures are consistent with the recommendations of the TCFD.

  • 16 Dec 2020

    The Supreme Court held the decision taken by the Secretary of State for Transport regarding the expansion of Heathrow Airport was lawful because he had taken into account the Paris Agreement when drafting the Airport’s National Policy Statement (ANPS).

  • 3 Dec 2020

    The government has set a new target for 68% emissions reduction by 2030.

  • 23 Nov 2020

    World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Report find that COVID-19 has had little impact on the global rise in C02. Whilst carbon emissions have fallen dramatically, this has only marginally slowed the overall rise in concentrations.

  • 9 Nov 2020

    The government announced its intention to make TCFD aligned disclosures mandatory across the economy by 2025 with a significant portion of mandatory requirements in place by 2023.

  • 29 Oct 2020

    Publication of TCFD consultation on forward-looking climate metrics for financial firms.

  • 29 Oct 2020

    The TCFD annual report 2020 finds only 42% of companies (with market capitalisation greater than $10bn) disclosed some information in line with recommendations.

  • 3 Oct 2020

    Committee on Climate Change Progress Report finds Scotland’s GHG emissions fell faster than any other nation of the G20 over the last decade.

  • 30 Sep 2020

    Government launches £2bn Green Homes Grant Scheme which forms part of a wider plan to “build back greener” from COVID-19. Scheme is expected to support an additional 120,000 jobs.

  • 22 Sep 2020

    China pledges to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2060.

  • 19 Aug 2020

    DEFRA sets out how it will use legally binding targets under the Environmental Bill to combat environmental and climate challenges. A consultation in early 2022 will be released for responses to proposed targets.

  • 15 Jul 2020

    Government plans to recreate new green investment bank to help fund technologies and infrastructure required to reach the legally binding 2050 net zero emissions target.

  • 14 Jul 2020

    Revised National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England laid before Parliament, setting out objectives and measures  to achieve long-term vision -  “a nation ready for, and resilient to, flooding and coastal change today, tomorrow and to the year 2100."

  • 9 Jul 2020

    Launch of Environment Agency 5 year plan for reaching a greener, healthier future.

  • 29 Jun 2020

    The Climate Financial Risk Forum publishes guide to help the financial industry address climate-related financial risks including the recommendation of climate risks disclosure.

  • 5 Jun 2020

    COP26 President, Alok Sharma MP and COP26 financial adviser Mark Carney (amongst others) launch the “Race to Zero” campaign (the COP26 theme) to mobilise support for the net zero transition across businesses, cities and nations.

  • 27 May 2020

    EU unveil a green recovery package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 7 May 2020

    Barclays pledges to align its financing activities with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

  • 1 Apr 2020

    The COP26 UN climate change conference set to take place in November 2020 is postponed due to COVID-19.

  • 23 Mar 2020

    Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s largest energy utility company, agrees to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the 2018 Camp Fire in Northern California.

  • 4 Mar 2020

    European Commission proposes European Climate Law which sets the 2050 target and consults on the future European Climate Pact.

  • 27 Feb 2020

    First major ruling based on the Paris Agreement: Court of Appeal rejects Heathrow expansion plan as illegal for failing to adequately take into account the UK government’s climate commitments.

  • 27 Feb 2020

    COP26 Private Finance Agenda launched by the Bank of England to help private finance support the global economy transition to net zero.

  • 13 Feb 2020

    UK government appoints Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, President of COP26.

  • 30 Jan 2020

    Environment Bill reintroduced to Parliament, including a new commitment to review international developments in environmental legislation every two years.

  • 28 Jan 2020

    Commencement of the European Green Deal Initiative – the roadmap for making the EU’s economy sustainable.

  • 17 Jan 2020

    Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, appointed by the Prime Minister as Finance Advisor for COP26.

  • 8 Jan 2020

    Barclays pressed to stop financing some fossil fuel companies: shareholder climate change resolution filed for the bank’s annual investor meeting.

  • 20 Dec 2019

    Netherlands: Dutch Supreme Court confirms the European Convention of Human Rights requires a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of at least 25% by 2020 (Urgenda v Netherlands).

  • 2-13 Dec 2019

    Annual UN Climate Conference COP25 held in Madrid at which scientists announce that on current data, globally, all countries are not on track to achieve the Paris Agreement targets.

  • 7 Nov 2019

    New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Act 2019 comes into force, legislating target for net zero emissions by 2050.

  • 15 Oct 2019

    UK government introduces the Environment Bill 2019 to Parliament to make provision about targets, plans an policies for improving the natural environment.

  • 15 Oct 2019

    Prudential Regulation Authority requires banks and insurers to have an initial plan in place to manage the financial risks from climate change (Policy Statement 11/19).

  • 2 Jul 2019

    Launch of the Green Finance Strategy in the UK and the Green Finance Institute at the City of London Corporation’s annual summit.

  • 30 Jun 2019

    Chubb announces that it will stop underwriting new coal projects with existing coverage to be phased out by 2022.

  • 27 Jun 2019

    The Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2019 comes in force and sets revised target for net zero emissions by 2050.

  • 20 Mar 2019

    The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) extends scrutiny of how regulated companies are managing financial risks of climate change.

  • 8 Feb 2019

    Australia: NSW Court refuses development approval for the Rocky Hill Coal Mine Project on climate change grounds (Gloucester Resources Ltd v Minister for Planning).

  • 24 Dec 2018

    Three key pieces of EU legislation in the Clean Energy for All Europeans package comes into force setting a 2030 target of 32% of clean energy and a requirement for Member States to draw up “climate plans” for 2021 to 2030.

  • 26 Apr 2017

    Insurers begin to lead the way in withdrawing insurance coverage from coal projects: early movers include AXA, Allianz, Swiss Re and Zurich.

  • 4 Nov 2016

    The Paris Agreement comes into force setting out a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change.