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COP26 postponed

Glasgow climate summit delayed until next year

SSE Hydro

Glasgow events campus: summit venue (pic: Terry Murden)

The COP26 climate summit scheduled for Glasgow in November will be delayed until next year because of disruption caused by the coronavirus.

An announcement was made in a joint statement from the UK and UN after a “virtual” meeting of officials.

Dozens of world leaders were due to attend the gathering in the city from 9 November .

Changing priorities mean the SEC, the chosen venue, is to become a temporary hospital to house patients affected by Covid-19.

The decision to postpone COP26 was taken by UN officials, including UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa and UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma, who is president-designate of the meeting.

“The world is currently facing an unprecedented global challenge and countries are rightly focusing their efforts on saving lives and fighting Covid-19,” Mr Sharma said in a statement.

“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.”

Laurence Tubiana, one of the architects of the Paris agreement and CEO of European Climate Foundation, said: “Postponing COP26 is the right thing to do – public health and safety must come first now.

“This crisis has shown that international cooperation and solidarity are essential to protect global well-being and peace. COP26 next year should become a centre piece of revitalized global cooperation.”

When the virus subsides, COP will be more important than ever to catalyse fast, decisive action

– Matthew Fell, CBI

Some critics of the event were already questioning the hypocrisy of 30,000 delegates, journalists and environmental campaigners flying to a meeting with global air travel among the topics for debate.

There is a view that a re-arranged summit will have the benefit of 12 months of greater global co-operation.

Matthew Fell, CBI chief UK policy director, said: “Postponing COP26 is disappointing but unavoidable. All efforts must be made to tackle COVID19, save lives and protect livelihoods.

“But the climate crisis will not pause for this health crisis. When the virus subsides, COP will be more important than ever to catalyse fast, decisive action and build a sustainable, global economy. 

“The CBI will continue to work with enterprise and government to demonstrate an unflinching commitment to reaching net-zero.”

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