Coronavirus delays Glasgow’s COP26 climate conference until 2021

The event, originally scheduled for November, was heralded as being the ‘most important meeting of minds since the Paris Agreement was signed’

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The COP26 climate change conference has been postponed until 2021 due to Covid-19.

Representatives of the COP Bureau of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as the UK and Italian partners, decided to delay the event, stating: “In light of the ongoing, worldwide effects of Covid-19, holding an ambitious, inclusive COP26 in November 2020 is no longer possible.”

Set to take place in Glasgow in November, the 26th event in the UN’s series of climate change conferences was heralded as being the ‘most important meeting of minds since the Paris Agreement was signed‘ and planned to signficantly increase global climate ambition, build resilience and lower emissions – a new date will now be set out in due course following further discussion.

Rescheduling aims to ensure all parties can focus on the issues to be discussed and adequately prepare.

COP26 President-Designate and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma said: “The world is currently facing an unprecedented global challenge and countries are rightly focusing their efforts on saving lives and fighting COVID-19. That is why we have decided to reschedule COP26.

“We will continue working tirelessly with our partners to deliver the ambition needed to tackle the climate crisis and I look forward to agreeing a new date for the conference.”

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said Covid-19 “is the most urgent threat facing humanity today” but stressed it was vital to remember climate change is also an essential issue to tackle.

She added: “Soon, economies will restart. This is a chance for nations to recover better, to include the most vulnerable in those plans, and a chance to shape the 21st century economy in ways that are clean, green, healthy, just, safe and more resilient.

“In the meantime, we continue to support and to urge nations to significantly boost climate ambition in line with the Paris Agreement.”