COP26 climate change summit postponed amid COVID-19 pandemic

The UN climate change conference (COP) that was set to take place in Glasgow, Scotland, in November has been postponed to 2021. The decision was announced in a press release on Wednesday night by the COP Bureau of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, along with the UK and its Italian partners. “In light of the ongoing, worldwide effects of COVID-19, holding an ambitious, inclusive COP26 in November 2020 is no longer possible.”

“The world is currently facing an unprecedented global challenge and countries are rightly focusing their efforts on saving lives and fighting COVID-19,” said COP26 President-Designate and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma. “We will continue working tirelessly with our partners to tackle the climate crisis and I look forward to agreeing [on] a new date for the conference.”

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa emphasized that climate change remains “the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term.” She continued to say that “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, and more resilient.”

The Bureau’s decision to postpone the conference is “unfortunately a needed measure to protect all delegates and observers,” said Minister Carolina Schmidy, who was the President of last year’s COP25. The 2019 conference was planned to be held in Brazil, was rescheduled to take place in Chile, and ended up in Madrid, Spain. “Our determination is to make sure that the momentum for climate ambition will continue,” she concluded.

While new dates for COP26 are uncertain, the statement indicates that the talks will still be hosted in Glasgow by the UK, in partnership with Italy.

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