COP26 postponement allows for renewed commitment to net zero

Pablo Tucker
April 4, 2020

John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace UK, said the decision to postpone the climate talks in Glasgow was inevitable given the health emergency the world is now facing. but stressed that the climate emergency can't also be put on hold.

Harjeet Singh, ActionAid's global lead on climate change, said the climate disasters won't stop for the COVID-19 crisis.

Cop26 president-designate Alok Sharma said: "The world is now facing an unprecedented global challenge and countries are rightly focusing their efforts on saving lives and fighting COVID-19".

They said shifting the timing was a hard decision but the right one in the face of the unprecedented health crisis.

"When COP26 does eventually arrive in Glasgow next year I am confident that global leaders will be more determined than ever to ensure that meaningful climate action is achieved, especially if there is a new US President".

"We all need to do all we can to fight Covid-19, and many of our members are working to support vital services and the vulnerable during this period, including faith organisations, development charities, local community organisations and trade unionists".

These national climate plans should not be disconnected from the recovery, but instead should be an integral part of national efforts to create jobs, boost growth, reduce health risks, and build more resilient economies, he added.

The Pre-COP and "Youth for the Climate" event, which will take place in Italy, were postponed at the same time. That will be the challenge and opportunity of COP26 next year.

Considering the global health threat posed by the coronavirus, the decision to postpone is sensible. "That is why we have made a decision to reschedule COP26", said Alok Sharma, president-designate for the climate talks. This crisis has shown that concerted worldwide effort is possible in the face of a global threat to human life. "But while the summit has been delayed, the climate emergency can't be put on hold". However rich countries must not use the delay in the talks to delay taking urgent action on reducing emissions and providing climate finance for developing countries.

The fact is the COVID-19 crisis has exposed profound fault lines and weaknesses in the multilateral systems.

'This dramatic human crisis is also an example of how vulnerable countries, societies and economies are to existential threats, ' he said in a statement.

Experts have come out saying that air pollution may exacerbate the effects of COVID-19. The economic stimulus packages being devised must be climate aware so that the increase in emissions that was seen following the 2008 global financial crisis is not repeated.

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