COP26, which had been due to take place in Glasgow in November, has been postponed as a result of the Covid pandemic
A global climate change summit which was due to take place in Glasgow this winter has been postponed.
The world’s leaders were due to travel to Scotland in November for COP26, which has been billed as the most important environmental summit to be held for years.
However it was decided, after a virtual meeting of key partners, that the summit be postponed as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. The summit is still expected to be held in Glasgow and will take place by the middle of next year.
The decision to move COP26 was taken by UN officials and UK Government officials. UK business secretary Alok Sharma, who is president-designate of the meeting, 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."
The summit is due to be hosted at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), which has been converted into a field hospital for now to treat those battling coronavirus.
Tom Ballantine, chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, backed the decision.
He said: “While clearly hugely disappointing, this decision was absolutely necessary given the current situation with Covid-19. The immediate priority needs to be saving and protecting lives from this virus.
“We all need to do all we can to fight Covid-19, and many of our members are working to support vital services and the vulnerable during this period, including faith organisations, development charities, local community organisations and trade unionists.
“Despite this decision to postpone COP26, the need for us to take action on the climate crisis remains as urgent as ever. This pandemic brings into even sharper focus that global crises need global answers. We also need collaboration and cooperation between governments to save lives from the climate crisis, with action based on what the science demands.
“When it happens, COP26 will be a critical opportunity to accelerate global climate action. It must secure faster action to slash climate emissions and to boost support to communities already being devastated by droughts, floods and storms, while ensuring the voices of those most impacted are fully heard.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland director, Dr Richard Dixon, said: “Given the worldwide health dangers of coronavirus, it is understandable that the UN climate negotiations in Glasgow have been delayed. Every effort must be made to save lives and protect the vulnerable who will suffer the most in this crisis. However rich countries must not use the delay in the talks to delay taking urgent action on reducing emissions and providing climate finance for developing countries. Because the climate crisis is very urgent, COP26 needs to take place in the first half of 2021 and COP27 should still happen as planned that autumn.
“The climate talks should go ahead as soon as it is safe to hold them, but it is essential that they do so on the basis that global south nations are able to fully attend and demand the action necessary to deal with the climate emergency. This means full access for global south nations, experts and activists.”
Scottish Greens climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP said: “Following the disastrous conclusion to COP25 in Madrid there was real hope that COP26 in Glasgow could provide the breakthrough we need and set us on a transformative path for the next decade.
“While it is naturally disappointing that COP26 has now been postponed, it’s clear that it would have been almost impossible to make the necessary preparations and negotiations in the face of the current COVID19 crisis.
“The climate and health emergencies mean that we must re-build the economy in a way that that supports people and creates new jobs in sectors that are vital for our future. That will need fresh thinking about how governments can develop a Green New Deal that intervenes and invests in the economy, creating fair work while also improving our health and wellbeing.
“When COP26 does eventually arrive in Glasgow next year I am confident that global leaders will be more determined than ever to ensure that meaningful climate action is achieved, especially if there is a new US President.”