Climate change timeline

Follow key climate change developments through our timeline.

  • UK

    These events are UK-centric

  • Global

    These events are international

Abbreviations

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

  • 7-18 Nov 2022

    COP27 UN climate conference in Egypt.

  • Q3

    COP15 UN biodiversity conference in China

  • Q3

    • Launch of FCA’s second Sustainability Disclosure Requirements consultation
    • Launch of UK taxonomy (currently being developed by Green Technical Advisory Group – GTAG)
    • Publication of revised Green Finance Strategy
  • 26 June 2022

    Start of the G7 Summit in Germany.

  • 25 June 2022

    London Climate Action Week commences.

  • 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 April 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 July 2021

    DIT publishes its “Green Trade” report.

  • 1 July 2021

    Defra announces the launch of the Interim Office for Environmental Protection.

  • 30 June 2021

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP announces publication of the Green Financing Framework.

  • 22 June 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.

2020

  • 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 July 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 July 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 July 2020

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

  • 29 June 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 June 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.

2019

  • 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).

2018

  • 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.

2017

  • 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.

2016

  • 4 Nov 2016

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

Focus area

Climate change

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