The United Nations global climate summit is being postponed this year. A coronavirus epidemic cancelled many global events, including this one set to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November. The meeting is formally known as the 26th Conference of the Parties.
A host country Britain has confirmed that the United Nations climate change summit will now be held next year at a date still to be determined. According to the UK government’s statement, “inclusive COP26 in November 2020 is no longer possible.”
The UN climate office head said the new infection “is the most urgent threat facing humanity today”. However, the United Nations cannot forget that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term.
To react at the postponing, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that it was a “disappointing decision, but absolutely the right one as we all focus on the fight against #coronavirus.” In addition, Glasgow’s SEC Arena, which had been due to host the event, has been named as the site of a temporary hospital for infected patients.
The UK PM Boris Johnson has made tackling climate change a priority, but Britain’s tenure at the helm of the conference got off to a bumpy start even before the coronavirus pandemic.
COP26 in Glasgo: priorities and targets
Under Paris Climatic Deal, the signatories agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and do their best to keep it below 1.5 degrees by the end of the century, compared with pre-industrial times.
This, the summit in Glasgow would have been held five years after the 2015 Paris climate accord was signed. While the countries will have no opportunity to coordinate their efforts this year, the environmental campaigners believe postponing this year’s UN talks is the right move.
“It doesn’t make sense to bring people from every country together in the middle of a pandemic,” said Mohamed Adow, a longtime participant at U.N. climate meetings who heads the think tank Power Shift Africa.
According to Mr Adow, the forced pause mustn’t stop the government from taking action to curb global warming. “Economies in the rich north must not be kick-started with dirty investment that will lead to climate suffering in the global south,” he said.
Despite the postponing of the summit, the online-work is continuing. The environment officials are planning to hold a lower-level meeting online at the end of this month.