The UK has been forced to delay a crucial UN climate conference in Glasgow later this year, with green economic stimulus packages now set to be high on the agenda when it goes ahead in 2021.
The 26th UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is the most important international climate summit since 2015 in Paris - when most of the world’s nations agreed joint action on climate change for the first time.
New and improved commitments
A host of world leaders and around 30,000 other delegates were expected to attend the conference in Glasgow this November, where countries were expected to announce the ramping up of their individual climate action plans. However, the conference will now be pushed back to a yet-to-be-confirmed date in 2021.
Business secretary and the government’s COP26 president-designate, 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.”
Green economic recovery
With the Coronavirus taking centre stage, attention will now turn to how the international community can encourage a green economic recovery from the crisis. Governments will be under pressure to ensure that any policies put in place do not support a growth in fossil fuel use.
Patricia Espinosa, the UN’s executive secretary on climate change, described the Coronavirus as “a change to shape the 21st century economy in ways that are clean, green, healthy, just, safe and more resilient.”
The UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which advises the government on climate action, has announced that it will amend its work programme for 2020 towards how the UK can support recovery alongside its statutory responsibility to deliver net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Chris Stark, chief executive of the CCC, said: “Responding to the pandemic is, rightly, the immediate priority for everyone. Eventually, thoughts will turn to the need to rebuild after Coronavirus – the climate priorities can help shape these efforts. The Committee will offer advice to government on constructing a resilient recovery. Coronavirus is teaching us all the value of prudent planning for global shocks.”
Posted under General Interest, Climate Change and What it Means to You and Environmental Regulations and Legislation on 22 April 2020