Britain has proposed hosting in November 2021 a United Nations’ climate summit that was postponed from this November due to the coronavirus pandemic, a letter from the Cabinet Office seen by Reuters showed on Wednesday.
The two-week summit had been expected to trigger fresh pledges from hundreds of world leaders to stick to their promise under the Paris agreement on climate change and act to avert catastrophic global warming.
The report says the two-week summit is expected to be the biggest ever to hold in Britain.
According to a letter from the cabinet office to the UN, seen by Reuters, the government has proposed that the conference, known as COP-26, be rescheduled for Nov. 1 to 12, 2021.
However, the media team for COP26 at the UK’s Cabinet Office was not immediately available for comment.
The letter does not confirm if the rescheduled summit would take place in Glasgow, Scotland, as previously planned.
It also does not say whether rescheduling would mean pushing back the following annual UN climate summit (COP-27), which was due to take place in Africa at the end of 2021.
Any decision on a new date ultimately rests with the UN’s climate body, which meets on Thursday to discuss Britain’s proposal.
This has come as no surprise to those who understand how UN climate conferences work.
Since the Paris agreement, the annual gathering has been seeking to further the international commitment to limit global temperature rises.
International diplomacy by the next host nation – the UK for COP26 – begins the moment the gavel comes down on the previous COP.
Without it, there would be very little progress and with minds so heavily focused on tackling COVID-19 this other crisis – the climate one – has taken a bit of a back seat.
In addition, countries will need to understand what their starting position is with economies being crushed by the pandemic.
Many world leaders are talking of a “green recovery’’ and so allowing this breathing space might be beneficial to the long term climate cause.
Still, some investors, diplomats and campaigners said postponing the summit would buy governments time to prepare emissions-cutting plans and integrate climate targets into stimulus packages to revive their virus-hit economies.