COP26 postponed due to coronavirus crisis

Article by Amanda Doyle

THE COP26 climate change summit, which was due to take place in Glasgow, UK, in November, has been postponed in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The event was expected to host around 30,000 participants from all over the world to discuss vital strategies needed to address the climate crisis. The 26th UN Conference of Parties (COP) summit is particularly important as it has been five years since the Paris Agreement was adopted at COP21 in 2015. Countries are expected to submit new or updated nationally-determined contributions (NDCs) which show increased ambition on policies that deal with the climate crisis.

According to Business Green, the impact of the coronavirus globally had effectively halted diplomatic efforts between the UK and other countries, which was critical in the run up to COP26. The summit, which is co-hosted with Italy, will now be postponed until 2021, although a new date has not yet been set. Rescheduling to a later date will allow parties to focus on the issues of the conference and allow more time for the necessary preparations to take place.

The Scottish Events Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, which was due to be the venue for COP26, will now be turned into a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients.            

Alok Sharma, COP26 President-Designate and the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “The world is currently facing an unprecedented global challenge and countries are rightly focussing 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.”

Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, said: “COVID-19 is the most urgent threat facing humanity today, but we cannot forget that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term. 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.”

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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