Leaders in the energy and water sectors have pledged their support for the UK’s bid to host the 2020 UN Conference of the Parties climate conference (COP26).

The Conference of Parties is the supreme decision-making body of the UN’s Convention on Climate Change. All states that are parties to the Convention are represented.

Parties review the implementation of the Convention and take decisions necessary to promote its effective implementation.

At COP26 governments are being asked to agree on how to tackle climate change in the next decade and to spell out the action needed to meet the agreed targets set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement which commits countries to limit an increase in global warming to 2 degrees or less from pre-industrial levels.

Signatories of the joint letter include Affinity Water, Anglian Water, BP, Centrica, Drax Group, Innogy Renewables UK, National Grid, Scottish Power and Shell.

All are calling on the government to do all it can to ensure the landmark conference comes to the UK.

The letter insists that hosting the conference would provide the UK with a platform to “further develop and maximise the opportunities of the global shift to clean growth and showcase to the world the best of the UK economy”.

“As leading businesses, we are coming together to back the UK’s bid. Hosting COP26 will put the UK exactly where it should be – at the forefront of climate action and creating the environment and commitment for the change our world needs”, it added.

Pauline Walsh, chief executive of Affinity Water, said: “The importance of climate change and the impact on our water resources is huge.

“We need to work together as businesses, cross sectors and across borders to tackle the most important challenge of a generation.

“Hosting COP26 would demonstrate the importance the UK places on the issue of climate change and shows that we want to act now and lead the way. We look forward to working with the government to bring COP26 to the UK in 2020.”

Iain Conn, group chief executive of Centrica, said: “We believe strongly in precautionary action in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“It is clear that climate change through CO2 in the atmosphere is creating huge risk for humanity.”

Will Gardiner, chief executive of Drax Group, added: “COP26 is an important opportunity for the UK to build on its legacy and lead the world in setting a new standard for climate action.

“As a key British business and the UK’s largest producer of renewable energy, we’re proud to be playing our part in the transition towards a zero-carbon economy and driving innovation through our plans to develop carbon capture use and storage and helping our customers reduce their carbon emissions.”

Paul Cowling, managing director, Innogy Renewables UK, said: “COP 26 will create the opportunity for the UK to showcase to the world, how via industries such as ours in offshore wind, the world can decarbonise, whilst in tandem deliver long term economic growth and job creation; creating a regime in which the two are not mutually exclusive.”

John Pettigrew, chief executive of National Grid, said: “Hosting COP26 would let the UK send a message to the world that we are proud to take the lead in the fight against climate change.

“Our progress on clean energy has seen this country make international headlines, for example when we recently went over a week without any coal generation for the first time since the 19th Century. But we all need to do much more.

“This summit represents an opportunity to get the world to unite behind one of the most important challenges we all face and we look forward to working with the government to bring COP to our shores.”

A decision on the hosts of COP26 is expected to be announced by the end of June.