In a letter to country representatives, the United Kingdom proposed that the COP26 climate summit be rescheduled to November 1-12, 2021 – one year after it was originally planned. The UK cited concerns over the health and safety of the tens of thousands of participants that attend the UN conference as well as their interest in maximizing the potential for an ambitious outcome. Today the UNFCCC COP Bureau formally accepted the proposal.
Following is a statement from Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resources Institute:
“Shifting the date of COP26 is understandable, but there can be no let-up in tackling the climate crisis. Just as we have witnessed extraordinary determination and courage in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need a similar commitment to avoid a climate catastrophe.
“As countries turn to jumpstart their economies, they have a once in a generation moment to rebuild societies to be more sustainable, equitable, resilient and healthy. Countries should not be investing in yesterday’s economy — they should be building a new, better economy for the future. As they get people back to work, countries should be investing in opportunities for people get the best jobs, which are found in the green economy.
“Leading businesses, economists and health experts are clamoring for countries to lead on the climate crisis. Last week, over 150 CEOs — representing companies with a combined $2.4 trillion in value — urged world leaders to ensure the recovery is in line with climate science. Leading economists are finding that investing in a green recovery will not only reduce emissions but create better economic returns.
"During this time, countries should focus on building political support to strengthen their national plans and ensure the climate summit achieves its goals. Governments’ climate plans should aim for the highest ambition that they can achieve, taking advantage of the economic and social benefits that comes with strong action.
“Countries like Chile and Rwanda recently revealed climate plans that are far more robust than what they offered five years ago. Others, especially the largest economies, should step forward with bold climate commitments of their own. Countries should integrate climate plans with their recovery efforts to create jobs, boost inclusive economic growth and protect the health and livelihoods of all people.”