Governments must ‘redouble efforts’ for ambitious climate action following delay of COP26

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 2 April 2020

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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The COP26 UN climate change conference set to take place in Glasgow in November has been postponed due to Covid-19.  

The decision, made by the COP Bureau of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) with the UK and its Italian partners, was announced yesterday (01 April).
Dates for a rescheduled conference in 2021, hosted in Glasgow by the UK in partnership with Italy, ‘will be set out in due course’ following further discussion. 

It was felt that holding ‘an ambitious, inclusive COP26 in November 2020’ was no longer possible in light of the ongoing, worldwide effects of Covid-19.

‘Governments are expected to update their national climate plans by 2020, but as they roll out measures to bolster the ailing economy, they have a choice now: locking us into more decades of dependence from fossil fuels or focusing on people’s health, jobs and the need for resilient and decentralised energy systems based on renewable sources.

‘The coronavirus pandemic is throwing into sharp relief how the current system is failing the most vulnerable and generating multiple crises, including climate breakdown. 

‘Social justice, community-led solutions, equity and workers’ rights must be at the centre of any government actions to tackle both these crises.’

ANNA VICKERSTAFF
Senior UK campaigner at 350.org

Today’s threats and tomorrow’s

Daniel Carey-Dawes, head of rural economies and communities at CPRE, the countryside charity, said that while the delay of COP26 is disappointing, it is clearly ‘the right call to protect our health and slow the spread of coronavirus’.  
 
‘The government is rightly prioritising beating the coronavirus, but we must not lose sight of the climate crisis, which continues to deepen’, Daniel continued. ‘Rescheduling COP 26 must allow ministers time to redouble efforts to encourage ambitious climate action from countries around the world.’

‘Covid-19 is the most urgent threat facing humanity today, but we cannot forget that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term.

‘Soon, economies will restart. 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, safe and more resilient. 

‘In the meantime, we continue to support and to urge nations to significantly boost climate ambition in line with the Paris Agreement.’

PATRICIA ESPINOSA
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary

Italian Minister for the Environment, Land and Sea Protection, Sergio Costa, said despite the decision to postpone COP26, including the Pre-COP and ‘Youth for the Climate’ event, ‘we remain fully committed to meeting the challenge of climate change.’

A chance to engage citizens

Cassie Flynn UN Development Programme Strategic Advisor on Climate Change said that the postponement of COP26 presents an opportunity to help governments develop more ambitious climate policies that protect vulnerable communities.

‘By spring next year, we can hope that a world that has come together to beat the coronavirus, will be in much better shape to beat the climate crisis.’

CASSIE FLYNN
UN Development Programme Strategic Advisor on Climate Change

It will also provide time to educate citizens using the Mission 1.5 mobile game and vote. The aim of this campaign is to educate and survey the opinions of 20 million people on how to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The campaign is built around a web-based and mobile game that puts players in the role of policymakers so they can vote on the climate policies they want to see, creating a bridge between citizens and governments.

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