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

This decision has been taken by representatives of the COP Bureau of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), with the UK and its Italian partners.

Dates for a rescheduled conference in 2021, hosted in Glasgow by the UK in partnership with Italy, will be set out in due course.

In light of the ongoing, worldwide effects of COVID-19, holding an ambitious, inclusive COP26 in November 2020 is no longer possible.

Rescheduling will ensure all parties can focus on the issues to be discussed at this vital conference and allow more time for the necessary preparations to take place. We will continue to work with all involved to increase climate ambition, build resilience and lower emissions.

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.”

Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “We welcome the common sense decision to postpone COP26.

“Given the global health and economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that hosting an international conference in November would be difficult if not impossible. The decision also means that much needed resources can be focussed on the immediate task of saving lives and protecting the economy.

“The Scottish Government remains committed to supporting Glasgow as host of COP26. When the time is right, we look forward to welcoming delegates to a successful COP26 in Glasgow, that sets the world on course to net-zero in a way that is fair and just.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon commented,

“Given the worldwide health dangers of coronavirus, it is understandable that the UN climate negotiations in Glasgow have been delayed.  Every effort must be made to save lives and protect the vulnerable who will suffer the most in this crisis. 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. Because the climate crisis is very urgent, COP26 needs to take place in the first half of 2021 and COP27 should still happen as planned that autumn.”

“The climate talks should go ahead as soon as it is safe to hold them, but it is essential that they do so on the basis that global south nations are able to fully attend and demand the action necessary to deal with the climate emergency. This means full access for global south nations, experts and activists.

“There is historical precedent for two sets of climate talks in one year, with two rounds of climate negotiations taking place in 2001 in Bonn and in Marrakech.“