COP26 Climate Summit May Have To Be Delayed, UK Warns

  • Date: 20/03/20
  • London Evening Standard

International climate change talks scheduled to take place later this year in Glasgow may have to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has warned.

Mr Raab said the Government had not given up hope that it could still host the COP26 summit in November as planned, but warned that it would be a “challenge” given the disruption caused by the ongoing pandemic.

Coronavirus has prompted many countries around the world to impose travel bans and domestic lockdowns in a bid to slow the spread of the outbreak.

“I can’t give you a cast-iron guarantee, things are moving so quickly,” he told the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Obviously it is not until November. We will keep it under close review. We would of course want it to go ahead but I can’t give you any guarantee on that.”

The United Nations-led talks – expected to attract 30,000 people to Glasgow’s Scottish Events Campus (SEC) – are aimed at producing an international response to the climate emergency.

Mr Raab said whether they could be held this autumn would depend on the “trajectory” of the Covid-19 outbreak over the coming weeks.​

“I think we are all waiting to see right now quite what the timing is going to be on the coronavirus,” he added.

“It is still possible of today that it might be doable. As long as that is the case I think we would want to try to give it a go.”

Mr Raab’s comments came after noted global climate crisis expert Lord Nicholas Stern earlier this week urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Government to resist calls to postpone the COP26 talks.

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