A global network of more than 1,500 green organisations in more than 130 countries has called for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be postponed.
The Climate Action Network (CAN) said the failure of the vaccine rollout in poor countries, the increasing costs of travel and accommodation and the uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic make it impossible to create a safe, inclusive and global climate conference.
Tasneem Essop, Executive Director of Climate Action Network, said: ”Our concern is that those countries most deeply affected by the climate crisis and those countries suffering from the lack of support by rich nations in providing vaccines will be left out of the talks and be conspicuous by their absence at COP26.
“There has always been an inherent power imbalance within the UN climate talks, between rich and poor nations, and this is now compounded by the health crisis.”
COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma said: “COP26 has already been postponed by one year and we are all too aware climate change has not taken time off. The recent IPCC report underlines why COP26 must go ahead this November to allow world leaders to come together and set out decisive commitments to tackle climate change.
“We are working tirelessly with all our partners, including the Scottish Government and the UN to ensure an inclusive, accessible and safe summit in Glasgow with a comprehensive set of Covid mitigation measures.
“This includes an offer from the UK Government to fund the required quarantine hotel stays for registered delegates arriving from red list areas and to vaccinate accredited delegates who would be unable otherwise to get vaccinated.
“Ensuring that the voices of those most affected by climate change are heard is a priority for the COP26 Presidency and if we are to deliver for our planet, we need all countries and civil society to bring their ideas and ambition to Glasgow.”