Given the global impact of COVID-19 it is unsurprising that the key international climate change conference COP 26 (due to be held in Glasgow in November 2020) is not going to proceed as planned. The solution proposed by the UK government, of a simple year-long postponement, appears sensible in the circumstances.
If accepted, this also offers a real opportunity for countries to give further thought to the need for action following the underwhelming outcome of COP25 last year.
In addition, the demonstrable impact of coronavirus lockdown measures on carbon emissions and the growing pressure to ensure that post-pandemic economic recovery takes full account of climate change have the potential to impact international decision-making significantly.
Although the delay may be frustrating for some at the start of what has been billed as a 'decade of action', a chance for reflection must be preferable to pressing ahead with a COP where parties are distracted and not fully engaged in the issues.
COP26 was already set to be a significant event, one way or the other. The current, exceptional circumstances make this even more so.
The UK Government has proposed delaying the UN climate change conference COP26 by a year. It is understood ministers have put forward new dates for the talks to begin on 1 - 12 November 2021.