The COP26 UN climate change conference set to take place in Glasgow in November has been postponed due to COVID-19.
In light of the ongoing, worldwide effects of COVID-19, the COP Bureau of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), with the UK and its Italian partners, agreed that holding an ambitious, inclusive COP26 in November 2020 is no longer possible.
Organisers stated that dates for a rescheduled conference in 2021, hosted in Glasgow by the UK in partnership with Italy, will be set out following further discussion with parties.
COP26 President-Designate and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma said: “The world is currently facing an unprecedented global challenge and countries are rightly focusing 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.”
ECCI and COP26
The ECCI team is still working hard with a host of partners to help ensure a successful COP26 when it happens.
Through the UK-wide COP26 Universities Group ECCI is collaborating on a host of great initiatives focussed on providing climate change expertise, capacity-building and public engagement and ECCI teams are working with the Scottish and UK Governments to develop plans around 'skills for net zero'.
This month saw the online launch of the new Climate Solutions course - aimed at preparing indviduals and organisations for the transition to net zero - in partnership with the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, the University of Stirling and the University of Edinburgh.
Plus, over the coming months, ECCI will be hosting online events focused on COP26, including an examination of ‘Climate, Coronavirus and COP26’ featuring the world-class panel of Katharine Hayhoe, Elizabeth Bomberg, Sarah Ivory and Hannah Ritchie.
ECCI Executive Director, Professor Dave Reay, said: "Postponing COP26 is understandable given the turmoil all nations are enduring. COP26 was (and still is) all about getting the world back on track for meeting the Paris Climate Goals. It was about increasing ambition and agreeing on the way forward on climate change over the next decade and beyond. That way forward is now shrouded in the deadly mist that is COVID-19. Yet climate change and the huge threats it poses have not gone away.
"Global temperatures and sea levels will continue to rise, extreme weather events will get even more extreme. Yes, COP26 has been postponed. This must not mean action on climate change is also postponed. With every delayed action or misspent dollar of economic stimulus the risks posed by climate change grow further.
"If the government recovery packages being put in place around the world today are not green, then the future looks blacker than ever. Yet many are overtly recognising the need for sustainability and resilience to be embedded in such investments, to avoid the mistakes made after the 2008 financial crisis and think long term."
"These are bleak times for us all, but Glasgow, and COP26 when it happens, can still be the port in this global storm we all need."