Friends of the Earth Scotland & Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland statement reacting to the announced delay to the UN Climate Summit, which had been scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November 2020.
Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon commented:
"Given the worldwide health dangers of coronavirus, it is understandable that the UN climate negotiations in Glasgow have been delayed. Every effort must be made to save lives and protect the vulnerable who will suffer the most in this crisis. However rich countries must not use the delay in the talks to delay taking urgent action on reducing emissions and providing climate finance for developing countries. "
"Because the climate crisis is very urgent, COP26 needs to take place in the first half of 2021 and COP27 should still happen as planned that autumn."
"The climate talks should go ahead as soon as it is safe to hold them, but it is essential that they do so on the basis that global south nations are able to fully attend and demand the action necessary to deal with the climate emergency. This means full access for global south nations, experts and activists.
"There is historical precedent for two sets of climate talks in one year, with two rounds of climate negotiations taking place in 2001 in Bonn and in Marrakech."
Rachel Kennerley, international climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said:
"We are now faced with two immediate crises – COVID-19, while the climate crisis has not gone away. Both are global, both have disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable people in society. Both crises need global cooperation to overcome them and solutions that put people first.
"While postponement of the climate talks is a loss to international climate action, it doesn't give governments a way out of facing their responsibilities. To stop climate breakdown we need international cooperation whenever the talks happen.
"We need to be asking what governments, especially the UK government, can do as part of the recovery from the coronavirus to make a fairer, healthier and sustainable future.
"People and communities around the world are already building solutions to the climate crisis. Now, during a pandemic, people and communities are showing again that huge change is possible. People will continue to build solutions to these crises and show what works, governments should follow their lead because there is a way out of both crises if we collaborate, listen to the science, and stop losing time."