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New date for COP26 climate summit in Glasgow

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The talks take place at the SEC (pic: Terry Murden)

Climate change talks which were intended to take place in Glasgow in November have been rescheduled for next year.

The COP26 UN summit will now take place between 1 and 12 November 2021 after being called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The event was expected to go ahead at Scottish Events Campus, which has been turned into a make-shift overspill hospital, although it has not been used.

Dozens of world leaders will now descend on Glasgow next year for what have been billed as the most important round of talks since the global Paris Agreement to tackle climate change was secured in 2015.

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COP26 President Alok Sharma said: “While we rightly focus on fighting the immediate crisis of the coronavirus, we must not lose sight of the huge challenges of climate change.”

Mr Sharma, who is also the UK government’s business secretary, added: “With the new dates for COP26 now agreed we are working with our international partners on an ambitious roadmap for global climate action between now and November 2021.

“The steps we take to rebuild our economies will have a profound impact on our societies’ future sustainability, resilience and wellbeing and COP26 can be a moment where the world unites behind a clean resilient recovery.

The UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, said: “If done right, the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis can steer us to a more inclusive and sustainable climate path.”

Matthew Pennycook, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Climate Change, said: “The context will have changed beyond recognition but the importance of the COP26 UN climate change conference to averting climate and ecological breakdown will remain unchanged.  

“The announcement that COP26 will now take place in November 2021 provides the certainty that governments, civil societies, businesses and investors need to ensure the conference is a success. 

“With seventeen months to prepare, there can be no excuse now for nations not to significantly boost their climate ambitions in line with the Paris Agreement and for the UK Government to lead the way with an enhanced 2030 climate pledge that put us on the path to achieving net zero”.

Westwood joins opposition to Ineos bailout

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood is among the signatories to a letter calling on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to grant a £500m loans to the petrochemical and fracking company part-owned by billionaire and tax exile Jim Ratcliffe.

More than 100 groups and individuals, including prominent activists and scientists, are opposed to providing taxpayer support to Petroineos, the joint venture of PetroChina and Ineos.

Louise Edge, Head of Oceans Plastic Campaign, Greenpeace UK, says: “Any support packages for companies must set conditions to protect workers’ rights and high environmental standards, prevent public money from being diverted into the pockets of shareholders, and re-orientate the industry towards meeting the Paris climate agreement.”


Ineos has a huge plant at Grangemouth (pic: Terry Murden)

Fashion icon Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corré, Founder of Talk Fracking, said: “Every investment in or support for Ineos would directly fuel the climate and plastics crisis, locking in future instability at a time when investment should be prioritised towards creating a secure and sustainable industry.

“The Prime Minister of the UK and the First Minister of Scotland must prove true climate leadership by not granting any government support to Jim Ratcliffe and Ineos.”

Delphine Levi European coordinator of Break Free From Plastic, says: “Ineos is well known for publicly opposing green policies and taxes – while at the same time the company owned by one of the richest men in the UK sees no contradiction in making use of a state loan guarantee to maintain its otherwise unprofitable fracking for plastics business model.

Andy Gheorghiu, policy advisor for food & water action Europe, said: “Ineos is the main driving force behind the establishment of an already existing supply chain of fracked US gas for virgin plastic production in Europe.

“The COP26 hosts shouldn’t support a climate hostile business model that fuels the proliferation of fracking in Pennsylvania, a state that was already struggling with the impacts of oil, gas and petrochemicals industry pollution.

Signatories include Talk Fracking, Food & Water Action Europe, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Greenpeace UK, #BreakFreeFromPlastic, Frack Free United, UK Youth Climate Coalition, Plastic Free Scotland, Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania, Centre for International Environmental Law, Oil Change International as well as fashion icon Dame Vivienne Westwood and climate scientist Prof. Robert Howarth, Cornell University, NY.

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