This decision has been taken by 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 following further discussion with parties.
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.”
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said:
“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.”
Italian Minister for the Environment, Land and Sea Protection, Sergio Costa, said:
“Whilst we have decided to postpone COP26, including the Pre-COP and ‘Youth for the Climate’ event, we remain fully committed to meeting the challenge of climate change.
“Tackling climate change requires strong, global and ambitious action. Participation from the younger generations is imperative, and we are determined to host the ‘Youth for the Climate’ event, together with the Pre-COP and outreach events.
“We will continue to work with our British partners to deliver a successful COP26.”
COP25 President, Minister Carolina Schmidt, said:
“The decision of the Bureau on the postponement of COP26 is unfortunately a needed measure to protect all delegates and observers.
“Our determination is to make sure that the momentum for climate ambition will continue, particularly for the preparation and submissions of new NDCs this year”.
An interfaith statement has been released about the postponement of COP26:
“An Interfaith Earth Day message in times of Covid 19 and Climate Emergency
Inter-faith group active at UNFCCC conferences response to the postponement of the COP26 – 22nd of April, Earth Day
As faith-based organisations and movements calling for fair and just policies able to tackle the climate emergency, we understand and support the UNFCCC decision to postpone COP26 in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic that is affecting the whole of humanity. We nevertheless call on ourselves and on all stakeholders to not delay ambitious and urgent climate action.
We see the trauma, anxiety, vulnerability and loss of life around the world caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among already vulnerable communities. We are appalled by the increase in human rights violations, including racism, extreme surveillance, xenophobia, misuses of emergency powers and domestic violence.
We remain hopeful as we see people of all faiths and across all borders rising to a powerful call of solidarity, kindness, and support, adjusting our lives for the greater good, looking into creative and simple solutions to show care for one another. We also witness more time for reflection.
We proclaim loudly that we were already living in a state of emergency prior to COVID-19. We have a responsibility to ensure we do not return to behaviours which, as the current crisis has shown, leave the vast majority extremely vulnerable to hardship and suffering after only a few weeks of economic stagnation. Here we see the role of faith in learning from the COVID-19 crisis and to advocate for a just recovery to build a healthier future where the human family lives in a way that respects nature and Mother Earth on which we all depend.
The choices we now make will shape our society for years and it is crucial that efforts to rebuild economies put people’s health before profit. Governments have pledged extraordinary amounts of money to prevent economic disasters because of this pandemic, but that money must not be used to finance future environmental degradation. We must not return to relaunching fossil fuel subsidies and unhealthy consumption patterns. The plans for a just recovery from COVID-19 must take into account the necessary measures to tackle climate change with a managed, planned and fair approach. We call for a rebuilding which upholds the human rights, health and wellbeing of citizens as critical to the stability and security of all countries.
We are moved by our faiths to see beyond this moment of fear and call on solidarity, community action and moral courage. We call on the UNFCCC, all governments and all people, to build a sustainable, just and healthy society that is resilient in times of crises such as COVID-19 and climate change, and to act early enough to prevent greater hardship and suffering in the future. This is the time to create a healthier and more resilient society together.”