Why these environmental groups want COP26 postponed

The COP26 climate talks are teetering on uncertainty, with more than 1,500 environmental groups calling for their postponement due to the pandemic, a decision backed by many Canadian groups.

If the talks go as planned in early November, many important players will be left out, said Cam Fenton of the climate group. 350. Based in British Columbia, Fenton said the lack of access to vaccines, as well as the cost of quarantine and travel for many countries, would not make the Glasgow-based event as equitable or effective as it should be.

More than half of the population in high-income countries have at least one dose of vaccine, compared with 2% in low-income countries. United Nations found. Although the UK has said it will distribute the vaccines to delegates in their home countries, the Climate Action Network (CAN) said people who applied for vaccines have not yet done so. The UN Climate Conference team did not respond to a request for comment on what they have done to keep participants safe in time for publication.

“We note that the UK COP Presidency has announced that delegates will be vaccinated this week. No repeated requests have been received to the UK Presidency for clarification of support for logistics and quarantine costs, ”he wrote. MAY, which includes groups from more than 130 countries.

In addition to concerns about vaccines, CAN said many participants would come from UK countries “Red list“, Which means that unvaccinated people would have to complete an expensive 10-day quarantine in a hotel.

Postponing the talks would not undermine the urgency of the climate crisis, said Fenton, who said the importance of holding COP26 this fall is not the same.

If Canada or other countries want to go ahead with an online meeting to discuss the promises of the Paris Agreement, where they are held accountable for failing to meet climate goals, that is still possible, Fenton said.

“It is important to be able to have these meetings that specifically address some of the necessary mechanisms within the Paris Agreement to increase the targets to address financing flows, particularly from the Global North, towards the expansion of fossil fuels,” he said.

“But in essence, I think it is a bit of a false urgency to hold a meeting, as opposed to the real urgency, which is to implement the kind of national climate policies that are necessary to meet the stated imperative of the Paris Agreement of limiting warming to 1.5 ° C “

Canada is the only G7 country, besides the US, where emissions have risen every year since the Paris agreement and touts the highest jump.

No one is suggesting that the talks be postponed indefinitely, said Eddy Pérez of the Canadian chapter of CAN. There is a possibility that the event will be moved to early 2022, Pérez said, once the delegates receive the vaccines.

Some Canadian environmental groups support a call from @CANIntl to pause the upcoming # COP26 climate talks. #CrisisClima # COVID19

Moving forward on this point would not be fair, said Pérez, noting that the UK set its own conditions for vaccinating participants.

If talks are not postponed, CAN will not boycott the planned event, he added.

“What could end up happening is, (if) the UK does not heed our call … we will be at a summit that will represent … Western countries and delegates, mostly white, at a time when we need to discuss how you are. huge inequalities, COVID and the climate, are impacting … certain regions that may not be represented, “he said.

With more than 20,000 people expected to attend, Pérez said that the way it looks now, it won’t be possible for a safe event to move forward.

Prepared to speak at COP26, environmental activist Tzeporah Berman said it is concerning that those facing such severe climate change events are not at the table.

“… International climate negotiations like COP 26 are critical forums for government delegates and civil society to push leaders toward more ambitious global climate action and a just energy transition that is equitable for all,” said the director. of the international program Stand.earth.

“There is no climate justice without representation from front-line communities, and it is up to the COP Presidency to ensure that there is fair participation from the Global South.”


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