Alok Sharma emphasises UK’s intention for live COP26 despite calls to make it virtual

COP Bureau announces virtual-only warm-up event this May and June

Pathway to COP26 report

Calls voicing concern over the prospect of a physical UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) are increasing the last few days, as new waves of Covid-19 sweep many countries and vaccine rollouts are delayed.

The event is scheduled to take place in Glasgow from 1st to 12th November.

Further doubts were raised today, after the decision made by COP Bureau to hold a three-week-long virtual meeting from 31st May to 17th June.

COP Bureau assists the COP President in the performance of his duties and is responsible for questions of process management.

Yvo De Boer, former UN official told BBC: “I think a hybrid whereby you have the high-level ministerial segment in person and the rest virtual, that might work.

“But can you cover all the ground that needs to be covered in a virtual meeting, given the fact that generally, the process relies very heavily on bilateral meetings and backroom deals?

“My overall sense is that delay is better than messing it up, overplaying your hand and having a failed meeting.”

A few days ago, Greta Thunberg said she is not planning to attend COP26 unless everyone can take part on the same terms.

However, on Wednesday, the government stressed it will continue to push for an in-person event.

COP26 President Alok Sharma said: “We are working very hard to ensure we deliver an in-person COP, which allows all countries to participate on an equal footing.

“This is incredibly important as many parties feel strongly that negotiations must be in person.

“We continue to explore how technology and other innovations can make the summit more resilient, safe and inclusive.

“COP26 has already been postponed by one year and the urgency of the climate crisis has not abated.”

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