COP26, the United Nations' influential climate conference, is being postponed by a year and we've lost yet another opportunity to solidify the Paris Agreement
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COP26, the United Nations’ influential climate conference, is being postponed by a year and we’ve lost yet another opportunity to solidify the Paris Agreement

COP26, the United Nations’ influential climate conference, is being postponed by a year and we’ve lost yet another opportunity to solidify the Paris Agreement

As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to increase in the U.S. and around the world, social distancing rules are axing events. Major conferences and events have been delayed, canceled, or transitioned online left and right. One of those major events is the COP26, the United Nations’ 2020 climate change conference.

The event typically brings together many of the world’s most powerful leaders. Now, the event that would have taken place in Glasgow this November, will be pushed back. And it looks like organizers will have the event pushed back until 2021. It’s really bad news for a lot of people — here’s why.

COP26 was an opportunity to revisit failed negotiations from last year’s conference

Greta Thunberg speaking at the COP25 in Madrid
Greta Thunberg speaking at the COP25 in Madrid. Photo Credit: Minamata-KiaraWorth

This will be the first time the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will postpone an event since its debut in 1995. Previous conferences have included the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Last year’s conference aimed to iron out rules for the Paris Accord but fell short as negotiators settled on pushing back issue resolution to COP26. Many describe the event as a failure, which placed a higher emphasis on the success of COP26.

The UNFCCC set out a detailed timeline for future events for the next year. However, it was unclear as to how it will hold the events. 

UNFCCC to double down on accelerating climate action progress ahead of the next conference

Despite postponing the COP26, the UNFCCC doesn’t plan to slow its plans down. Still, the UNFCCC hopes to hit its May 28th financing goals for development events. Additionally, it hopes to make World Environment Day in June ‘business as usual.’

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Specific targets for the UNFCCC’s High-Level Champions, which include appointed officials tasked with bridging the convention to stakeholders, include financing low carbon and clean energy investments. The Champions are also asked with accelerating the transition to zero-emission vehicles globally. The UNFCC was unspecific about how these tasks would be accomplished during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, shed some light on the situation. She shares:

“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.” 

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