Story at a glance

  • Climate advocacy groups are urging the delay of the upcoming U.N. climate summit as strains created by the coronavirus pandemic could limit the participation.
  • “There has always been an inherent power imbalance within the U.N. climate talks and this is now compounded by the health crisis,” Essop continued.
  • Less than 2 percent of populations in lower- and middle-income countries are partially vaccinated.

Climate advocacy groups are urging the delay of the upcoming U.N. climate summit as strains created by the coronavirus pandemic could limit the participation of vulnerable nations. 

The Climate Action Network said in a statement Tuesday that it is now impossible to hold a “safe, inclusive and just” COP 26 climate conference in the U.K. given a host of inequities, including disparities in access to COVID-19 vaccines. 

”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 conspicuous in their absence at COP26,” Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, Climate Action Network, said in a statement. 

“There has always been an inherent power imbalance within the UN climate talks and this is now compounded by the health crisis,” Essop continued. “Looking at the current timeline for COP26, it is difficult to imagine there can be fair participation from the Global South under safe conditions and it should therefore be postponed until such time it can be.” 


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Global data shows that 40.6 percent of the world’s population have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Yet less than 2 percent of populations in lower and middle income countries are partially vaccinated. 

COP26 President Alok Sharma said in a statement Tuesday that the summit is expected to move forward as scheduled given the already year long delay.


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“COP26 has already been postponed by one year, and we are all too aware climate change has not taken time off,” Sharma said. “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.”

The conference is scheduled to begin Nov. 1. 


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Published on Sep 07, 2021