Climate change timeline

Follow key climate change developments through our timeline.


  • UK

    These events are UK-centric

  • Global

    These events are international

  • 1-12 Nov 2021

    COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow.

  • 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 July 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 June 2019

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

  • 27 June 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.